Kojima Productions & Previous Japanese Break-Offs


However fowl Hideo Kojima’s breakup with Konami may have been, the man’s fans have probably been waiting years for the day when he’d no longer be forced to do Metal Gear games. If anything Kojima is just one of the last classic Japanese video game auteurs to go the independent route. I won’t try to predict what he’s got cooking with Sony, but it’s worth looking at how this process went in previous cases.

Depending on how far back in time you want to go I guess you could count the people who made up Treasure (IkarugaGunstar Heroes) an example of this since they worked on Contra way back. An early modern example would be Hironobu Sakaguchi leaving Square Enix to bring about Lost OdysseyBlue Dragon, and The Last Story. He’s doing mobile games now but the people who played Last Story liked it a lot. Shinji Mikami left Capcom before giving us Vanquish and The Evil Within — two high-production-value games. The most successful recent example of classic Japanese creators branching off has got to be Platinum Games however, which some people consider to be one of the last bastions of Japanese arcade game design in today’s market.

All those guys more or less went on doing what they’d been doing at their old companies but with perhaps a bit more creative freedom while also navigating relationships with publishers. Platinum has had to pay the bills with licensed games (albeit pretty good ones) for instance. Keiji Inafune is trying to Kickstarter his way into some good games with somewhat mixed execution. Kojima seems to be putting good use to his longtime relationship with Sony. I wouldn’t be surprised if his newly announced project wasn’t his last with Sony.

As for what this new project might actually be. Even though I said the other guys went on doing what they did well, a lot of people probably expect Kojima to veer pretty far away from what Metal Gear was. Some might even want him to go in a direction back towards his adventure game Snatcher. I think it might still be an action game to some degree if Sony is pushing it as a big-selling product. Then again, Sony has also promoted David Cage’s games. It would be really cool to see Kojima put big production values behind something similar to what he tried with Silent Hills or something else with adventure elements.

I guess if there’s one thing people want out of Kojima, it’s something that really goes against what the rest of the industry is doing while still having the polish of a blockbuster game.


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