Hideo Kojima, Just Stop Doing Metal Gear Solid
(This is another edition of </RANT>, a weekly opinion piece column on GameFront. Check back every week for more. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect those of GameFront.)
For those who don’t follow the development cycle of Metal Gear Solid games very closely, allow me to tell you how a new game in the series is made. First of all, Hideo Kojima says he will not be directing it. A month later, Hideo Kojima starts to direct, write, produce, and essentially make the whole damn thing. The mad professor of videogames has attempted — or least pretended — to quit the Metal Gear Solid franchise numerous times, but every time he ends up attached as the leading brain. If you’re a follower of games and you’re tired of MGS’ endless bait-and-switch silliness, you’re not alone — Hideo Kojima himself seems pretty damn sick of it as well.
Thus it is that, when asked about a potential Metal Gear Solid 5, Hideo Kojima sounded more resigned than ever, and yet again promised to have minimal involvement.
“I think we’ll probably have to make it at some point, but what that will be, we have no idea,” he said. ”As far as my involvement in the project is concerned, [it] probably won’t be as much as it was with MGS1 –maybe I can do just one stage! For MGS1 I made the maps myself, laid out the enemy routes myself, did everything hands-on – that level I can’t do again.”
Kojima says he can’t do it again, but what Kojima says and what he ends up doing are not often the same thing.
Of course, Kojima cannot entirely be blamed for this. It’s been said that he has received death threats from fans in the past, demanding that he continues to make Metal Gear Solid games or otherwise face dire consequences. No matter how hard he tries to communicate his growing apathy for the franchise, the fans are satisfied with no less than eternal commitment to the universe of Solid Snake. I dare say that Konami itself is pretty keen to keep Kojima on board as MGS’ creative engine, especially since Metal Gear Solid is about the only original series Konami has that’s not been completely ruined yet.
Still, you’d have thought that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots had served as an effective enough message that Kojima’s heart was not in it anymore. The character of Old Snake is often considered analogous to his creator, an old man tired of having to do the same old thing, weary of the world around him, and just waiting for the blessed release of death. With its heavy doses of nostalgia, the game also served as a particularly heartwarming sendoff for Kojima. It included plenty of references to past games, tied up many loose ends, and essentially acted as a way for the director to say everything he could’ve needed to say about Metal Gear Solid. While it’s clear that Guns of the Patriots would not be the last MGS game in the world, it seemed fairly clear that it ought to have been the last Kojima-led MGS game.
I believe Metal Gear Solid: Rising is another clear indicator that he’s had enough. Although this game bears the name of MGS, it’s clearly a very different project, perhaps given the MGS name just so Kojima could get away with doing it. Solid Snake won’t be the star, and the focus will be on katana combat rather than sneaking about. It’s a very different game, with Kojima finally spreading his creative wings, but still it’s had to be tied down by the Metal Gear Solid name, and I cannot help but wonder if that was done by choice.
I am not against new Metal Gear Solid games, and I certainly would be excited for an official announcement of Metal Gear Solid 5. I do, however, believe that it’s time for Kojima to be a man, take his life back, and officially step away from the series. After MGS4, I don’t know how anybody could have the energy to make another, least of all work on portable spin-off games and an action title focused on Raiden. Kojima’s tone when speaking of MGS, and his continued attempts to quit the series, indicate that he emotionally checked out a long time ago, and I think that if he really wants to stop, then he needs to bloody stop. Of course, if he doesn’t want to stop and it’s all been a ploy, then he should cease pretending. Either shit or get off the pot, as they say.
Fact of the matter is, I’d rather have no Metal Gear Solid than a Metal Gear Solid made by someone who doesn’t give a shit anymore. What’s the point of that? And what kind of fans would issue threats to force a guy to make such a game? So-called “fans” who want Kojima’s name attached to MGS projects for no reason other than tradition aren’t fans at all, and Kojima certainly shouldn’t feel bad about upsetting them. They clearly don’t give a shit about Metal Gear Solid, they only give a shit about feeling good about Metal Gear Solid. Screw those guys, they don’t care about what would make a good game.
Kojima is a man with a lot of crazy ideas, and such creative minds often hate to do the same thing repeatedly. It’s hardly surprising that Metal Gear Solid, Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater were full of so many wild and different gimmicks. The guy clearly can’t help being inventive, and I hate to think what it must be like for such an inventive guy to feel obligated to sticking with one franchise.
For his own sake, and for the good of Metal Gear Solid, I really think he should finally walk away. Both Kojima and the IP would be better off, I think, and the “fans” will have to learn to just get over themselves. I just dread to think how half-hearted and tired Metal Gear Solid 5 would be if Kojima once again resigns himself to taking the creative lead — all because the rest of the world won’t fucking let him do something else.
It’s no wonder the villains of the series are all about robbing people of their free will. Kojima’s gotta be telling us something there.