Hideo Kojima. Considered by many to be one of the greatest game developers of all time, Kojima has delivered countless innovations and surprises within the world of gaming. Most notable of these is his work on the critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid franchise, a series that defined the action-adventure stealth genre.
Having worked in the industry for thirty years now, Kojima has received countless awards and congratulations for his work, including a lifetime achievement award in 2008.
Kojima is no fool when it comes to game development. He knows what he wants, and how to get it. He knows what makes a gamer tick. It’s understandable that he should desire complete control and creative freedom over his projects, else his visions and ideas may never be fully realized – that would be (and has been) a damn shame.
A recent example occurred only last year, where Kojima was restricted from creating his highly anticipated entry into the Silent Hills franchise. This led to an outcry by millions of fans and was a total let-down to the expectations of the entire gaming community.
Bad Konami. Bad.
Fear not, though. Sony and Kojima now have a healthy, blossoming relationship via Kojima Productions – Kojima’s new studio and a big fuck you to Konami (especially after that absolute masterpiece of a teaser from Sony’s briefing).
A few may be wondering though, just how exactly did this partnership come about? The implications it has in terms of exclusivity is sure to annoy many, particularly those without a PS4. Turns out, the reasoning is pretty sound. In an interview with Gameblog, Kojima had the following to say (translated by some kind folks over on the NeoGAF forums):
Gameblog: Why did you choose Sony as a partner for the first project of your new studio, Kojima Productions?
Hideo Kojima: I’ll admit I received numerous offers. But for our first title, I wanted to ensure that we would be under the best conditions. I’ve maintained for a while now a wonderful relationship with Sony, with absolute trust between us, which allows me to focus on the creative aspects. Working with another partner would definitely have required more time on the non-game development tasks. It would have taken time for contract negotiations, and I don’t think things would have happened as quickly as they have to date. Working with Sony also afforded me a lot of freedom, and their support has been exceptional.
Essentially, Sony and Kojima understand each other, and appreciate what can come of a cooperative and respectful relationship. Kojima can have that creative freedom that he so desires, because Sony understands talent when they see it. He goes on to say…
For example, if this had been with a “normal” company, right now, I’d be preparing a pitch for my game, we’d be looking for financing, explaining what we wanted to do. Like with a Kickstarter. With Sony, of course I have to explain my plan to them, but they immediately told me “go for it, do you what you have to do.” They offered me their trust. All the energy that would have gone into the project pitch, I could focus it on the creation of the project itself. That makes a real difference.
The partnership is built upon a strong, secure foundation of trust and respect. Freed from the shackles and constraints placed upon him by Konami, there’s nothing to stop Death Stranding being Kojima’s best work yet.