Has Hideo Kojima Had His Day?

Has Hideo Kojima Had His Day?
Konami | Kojima Productions | Hideo Kojima Instagram

Written by 

Tom Chapman


3rd May 2022 16:05

Can someone be too good at their job? Well, yes, it's entirely possible. You only have to look at acclaimed movie directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, and Martin Scorsese to see that when they fall, they fall hard. In fact, the latter two have been vocal about the way the movie business is heading - citing it as the reason their more recent outings might've floundered.

It's much the same in the video game world, as having one big hit means you're at the mercy of a baying crowd waiting for you to spill your blood. Long-term God of War name Cory Barlog seems to have the right idea - bowing out after 2018's critically acclaimed reboot - but it's left incoming Director Eric Williams facing the same scrutiny. Caught in his own glass box of success, the industry sits and waits, ever watching the lauded Hideo Kojima. The question is, how long can he stand the pressure?

The Legacy Of Hideo Kojima

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A post shared by Hideo Kojima (@hideo_kojima)

Up there with the Miyamotos, Bleszinskis, Druckmanns, and Miyazakis, there are few who can really claim the title of gaming auteur. And yet, there's an overriding urge to call Hideo Kojima that... even in this article. A quick scroll of his Instagram is like stepping inside a sophisticated museum of pop culture. From homages to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's WandaVision, there's also plenty of love for The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus - presumably because they worked together on Death Stranding.

Back in the day, Kojima was known for his pioneering work on Metal Gear and helping populate the stealth genre. Even though Metal Gear made waves on the MSX2 home computer when it launched in Japan in 1987, it was its Nintendo Entertainment System port later that year that really helped the franchise (and Kojima) find its feet. Working with Konami on Snatcher, Policenauts, and Zone of the Ender, Kojima went on to form Kojima Productions in 2005. 

Kojima's Fall From Grace

Death Stranding Gameplay
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Kojima Productions

Things went pretty well between the two sides, and toward the end of his tenure at Konami, Kojima was famously linked to Silent Hills. The much-hyped reboot of the franchise hoped to reinvent after the disappointing Silent Hill: Downpour in 2012. Kojima Productions worked with Konami on the lauded Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, but unfortunately, the cracks were starting to show.

Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain would be Kojima's last under Konami, and although the title won Best Action Game and Best Score/Soundtrack at the 2015 Game Awards, rumours claim Kojima was banned from attending by Konami. To this day, the Silent Hills playable teaser (known as P.T.) is a monster hanging over Kojima's head. Much like the nightmarish nurses or even Pyramid Head of that tormented town, he's still haunted by the spectre of P.T. and what never came to be.

Kojima is so closely linked with the canned project, barely a mention of Silent Hill can be made before sensationalist headlines claim he could return to the idea. I'll admit that even I've been guilty of this sin. So where does he go next? Releasing Death Stranding 2 would undoubtedly split fandom down the middle, but whatever Kojima is working on, we imagine it would be equally out-there. It looks like he's definitely found his niche. 


A Bright Future Of Darkness Ahead

Silent Hills Game
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Instead of Kojima spending all this time cultivating an artsy library for his creativity, where's the actual news on what's next? It's not that he's too popular, but he's somewhat backed himself into a corner, begging the question if he'll ever be able to deliver something as pioneering as Metal GearDeath Stranding reached for this, and arguably overshot while leaving some with a headache.

Even the most die-hard Kojima nuts are left baffled more than excited by his current schedule. Only recently, the man himself did a typically Kojima-esque stunt by posting a series of clocks across his social media. Most thought they were counting down to something, but weeks later, we're once again looking like a right bunch of mugs. No matter what comes next, someone will be disappointed. 

There's still the baffling notion that Kojima could return to Metal Gear. It's no secret that Konami has let its legacy IPs like Metal Gear, Silent Hill, and Castlevania slide. Having Kojima give Solid Snake the revival he deserves is a nice idea, but there's no way Konami would let its poster boy go. Silent Hill is slightly more likely, but even then, we don't see the studio handing over the name anytime soon - even if it let the domain go to someone else. Also, those whispers of Kojima jumping ship from Sony to Microsoft haven't come true.

Whatever Kojima is (hopefully) working on, he's not ready to reveal it yet. The buzz of the industry is a breadcrumb trail of teasers and titbits, making an eventual reveal all the more exciting - even if you were miles off the mark. Sadly, some think Kojima is the boy who cried wolf one too many times. Despite grumbles from this tired video game journalist, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be recreating the Fry from Futurama meme and shouting "shut up and take my money" at this purveyor of pixels. Whatever Kojima delivers is a wild ride, so we'll take two tickets, please. 


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