Hideo Kojima’s and Konami’s split stole the headlines in December 2015. Now nearly two years later, Kojima reflects fondly on his time at the studio.
Toyokeizai recently interviewed Konami, who was very open about his career with Konami.
When asked about why he chose to found Kojima Productions rather than joining another studio, no doubt with a lucrative contract, Kojima reflected on the accessibility of the current video game industry: “The choice to realize what is required of me was only the form of current Kojima Production. Thirty years ago when I entered this industry, in order to make video games, I had to belong to a company or studio with some capital. It was necessary not only for development but also corporate physical strength such as publicity and sales. But from now on, that is not the case.”
He expanded on this by looking at the tools available to video game developers in the modern age: “With talent, individuals can also make games. Game development tools, engines, video editing software are also released free of charge, anyone can use it if there is one PC. If you upload your work to the net, you can send it to users all over the world.”
Despite this, Kojima did concede that he can’t possibly do it all alone. “What I’m trying to do and AAA’s high-end game development that is required from fans all over the world can not yet be done on an individual scale. Moreover, in order to create new games that have never existed, there is a limit in collaboration development with existing studio. I needed to create an organization that can directly reflect my intentions and instructions. To that end, we have collected the latest technology and staff who can deal with it.”
After discussing the similarities between video games and movies, he dropped some insight on his reasoning behind continuing his relationship with Sony: “Some people say that Sony is the first company to finance the project, which is too simple as it is too simple, but that is not the case. Rather simple, it’s easier to do because there’s no need for extra sideways spears. I think that it is a desirable relationship also in terms of compatibility between commercialism and ‘writerism’. I have been a fan of Sony from a long time ago and have been with me for a long time at work. There is also a relationship of trust. The compatibility between the market of PlayStation and my creativity is also good.”
Kojima went on to reflect positively on his time with Konami and the freedom they afforded him. “When I proposed something I wanted to make, they let me make it. Conversely, I wasn’t bound by them saying, ‘You need to do it like this.’” When he would ask for permission to make the game, submitting a proposal, he’d get the green light. “It was like that from when I joined to the end. Because of that, I’m the person I am today.”
In Japanese, Kojima specifically says “kansha shite iru” (感謝している), which translates to “being appreciative,” “being grateful,” or “being thankful” of Konami.
The rest of the interview makes for a fascinating read; you’ll need a translator, but it is well worth it.
While it is sad that the relationship ended on a sour note, Hideo Kojima and Konami made some truly brilliant games together. It’s nice to see Kojima reflect on the good times with the studio that gave him the tools to create the iconic video games we know and love.