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Friday, January 27, 2017

Hideo Kojima's Toxic Mono-Entertainment Philosophies

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Kojima puts the Hideo in hideous.

When legendary game designer Hideo Kojima isn't awkwardly embracing Geoff Keighley, he's in Tokyo working for himself at Kojima Productions, currently trying to develop Death Stranding, a game we know nothing about other than that it's disturbing and inappropriate, reflecting Kojima's creepy fantasies.

Kojima recently took the time to speak with BBC's Newsbeat gaming reporter Steffan Powell, who asked Hideo Kojima some questions. While Mr. Kojima refused to give any more details about Death Stranding (not that I was wondering, personally), he did provide information on the current status of his philosophy regarding the entire umbrella of the entertainment industry:

“Things such as games and music and novels and movies and all of these things will kind of mesh together into one type of entertainment. [...] The time you have to choose what media or entertainment you experience is dwindling. [...] More and more people are looking at types of media that combine elements together. [...] If we just make a game people are less likely to choose that as something to do. They would rather engage in something that combines different forms of entertainment together. That's where we need to focus our efforts, on this convergence.”
To be fair to Hideo Kojima, he's not saying he WANTS that kind of thing. That's just where he sees the entertainment industry going, and he's going to try to have a first-mover advantage into it.

That said, he probably has that futuristic vision because it confirms what he's believed for years, not because he has any hidden insights or market research that the rest of the world doesn't have. So let's talk about it.

First of all, it appears that in Kojima-world, there won't be categories such as books, or games, or movies, in the future. You'll just have one thing. One medium for any kind of artistic expression. This is absurd. Think about that future.

On one hand, we'll have full-on automation for anything non-creative. Robots will do anything that doesn't involve creating something new. There'll be massive unemployment with that. While people have nothing to do regarding work, they'll have to look towards creative types for entertainment. But instead of having novelists, and film studios, and game designers, and bands, you'll have some kind of mega-job that no one will be qualified for. Who out there can design all of those things at once? You just can't do it. And if that's what the market will demand (not that anyone will have money), you're going to have a very low supply of super-entertainment products because no one, besides forward-thinkers like Hideo Kojima, will be able to do that.

Or you'll have a lot more partnerships. But it'll get very messy, very quickly. Enormous scope-creep. Entertainment products trying to be everything at once will end up being nothing at all. ...Or it'll be something, but it'll all suck.

Budgets? BUSTERS.

Hideo Kojima Productions office conference room water Japanese eyes slits lines glasses
Hideo Kojima doesn't even bother looking at financial budget spreadsheets, since his eyes are too small to see anything anyway.
Source: That BBC article I already linked's video.

Between Hideo Kojima's dystopian entertainment future and the nostalgic building-blocks approach advocated in yesterday's advert-article by Mega Cat Studios, I'd much rather side with the latter. If we want to learn from someone, I'd rather learn from older, successful games (that tried to be games) that people actually remember, rather than weird FMV movie-game attempts such as Psychic Detective.

(I don't recommend watching that, by the way. I sure haven't. SOMEONE on the staff suggested I name-drop Psychic Detective and so I did.)

I ask this of Hideo Kojima: Don't most AAA games nowadays take inspiration and tropes from other mediums, such as the movie? You have cutscenes and a cinematic-like structure to games (complete with rising actions and climaxes and whatever), and you've had that for a long time now. You have games with professional communist voice actors, just like Hollywood!

Let's suppose that the game is not the base product, however. If you're applying game features to other things, such as movies, that's called gamification. Gamification is already its own field, used specifically to make boring, mundane everyday activities more engaging to people. Other entertainment mediums are supposed to already be engaging on their own right without being gamified, and according to the billions of consumers of other entertainment mediums, they are.

I know lots of people who aren't into games but are big-league into reading, or watching movies, or listening to music. I also know people who are into games, but also into one or more of those other mediums, and they don't want them combined.

Where will those people be in Kojima-world? ...Well, besides homeless.
By the way, Kojima also took a very veiled shot (some may say that it was SO veiled that it wasn't even intended as a specific shot, but I'll say it was so I can hyperlink a good article) towards Konami and their Castlevania pachinko project when he said,
What I really want to avoid is, like you see in some games, characters with big breasts with no back story.
 ...Amen to that!

If you believe that Ludwig missed Hideo Kojima's point entirely, which is quite possible, feel free to counter Ludwig's points. Or, you could counter Kojima's points, just do so in a way that doesn't just restate what Ludwig wrote.

Hideo Kojima left Konami, possibly leaving it to fall apart.
At least in the Kojima-future, people won't be able to say “go read a book” when you're playing a game or arguing over the Internet, since there will only be one medium.
For more information on toxic movie-first philosophies, click here.
For more information on toxic no-music philosophies, click here.


  1. What is he on about I don't even...

    Although, I think he was more saying that his mythical, Harmonic Convergence type of entertainment would be more popular than any of those mediums alone, not that stand-alone movies, TV, novels, and games would cease to exist entirely.

    Then again, I don't even what he is on about, so what do I know?

    1. Yeah, so I'm totally open to the possibility that I just don't understand what goes on in Kojima's mind.

      Kojima wants not just him to focus on the convergence, but everyone else in the industry, as well. If non-convergence isn't popular in the future, it'll disappear.

  2. There are games, such as visual novels, that rely on a lot of reading and may contain cutscenes, but I do not see why these should be the future of entertainment. Let games be games, books be books, and movies be movies.

    1. I'm interested in what he has in mind for interactive music concerts, personally. He also said virtual reality is totally being misutilised, so maybe he'll do VR correctly?


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