The Kojima Complex

The mastermind game designer that has brought the gaming community such innovative and inspiring games has a bit of a puzzling issue. Hideo Kojima, the guy behind the Metal Gear Solid series, seems to want to quit MGS all of the time. Wait what was that again? Yeah, that’s right he wanted to stop working on Metal Gear Solid after every single MGS game starting with Metal Gear Solid 2. Let’s dig into the past and reflect on this puzzling complex.

The first Metal Gear Solid had playstation fans jumping right back into the Metal Gear Solid franchise.  It was a nice reboot from the Nintendo generation. Gamers simply wanted more, but there was a bit of a wait in store.

The first MGS came out in 1998 and the second MGS was released in 2001. Some gamers were actually treated to an awesome playstation 2 demo that took place on the tanker level. Everyone was hyped about this game. The new title had great visuals, a seemingly promising story, and of course the return of Solid Snake. However, once everyone got their hands on the MGS 2 they learned that they would not be Snake for the whole game. It was quite a big shock considering that everyone was familiar with Snake.

Instead, MGS fans were treated to another main character called Raiden.  He had long anime like hair and one scene had him doing naked cartwheels. This decision didn’t piss off everyone some anime fans liked the switch, but the damage was done. MGS fans had a huge WTF sign over their head while completing the game.

Overall, MGS 2 tuned out to be a great game, but its confusing storyline and surprising character switch conflicted with quite a few fans. To make things worse Kojima claimed that MGS 2 would most likely be the last Metal Gear Solid game. However, the mixed reception and fan demand set the stage for the next Metal Gear Solid game (Let’s also not forget about the MGS 1 remake: Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes).

Metal Gear Solid 3 was released in 2004, which was three years after MGS 2. Kojmia felt that MGS 3, since it went back to the past, would explain enough of the story for him to back out of the franchise. Of course that didn’t last too long and soon enough gamers heard about the upcoming playstation 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4 in 2006.

Let’s take a look at what Kojima stated in an interview with, which took place back in 2008:

Hideo Kojima answers: I was supposed to end this in MGS2, you know, originally (laughs). And then I created MGS3, and I said, ‘Okay, this is the final one. It’s over.’ But people said, ‘No… there’s still not enough answers (in that game)!’ As a game design, the story was almost complete in MGS1, 2 and 3, or so I initially thought. But of course, there were some questions that weren’t answered, especially with some things after MGS2. I didn’t decide that this was the timing – there were a lot of voices saying, ‘We want the answer to all of the questions!’ That’s why as a game, and as a saga, MGS4 is the complete wrap up.

PR-wise, I really don’t want to say that [Metal Gear Solid 4 is] the final game or this is the wrap up, but if I don’t say it, people will make me create MGS again! (laughs) So I have to say, ‘Die, Snake,’ and really end it so I can move on to something else! (laughs) Actually, it’s a game, so even if Snake dies, the game can live on. We have to kill him at a certain point.

So, MGS 4 was supposed to be the end for Kojima and MGS, he completed the storyline and answered many questions that puzzled fans of the series. At least that’s what some of us thought. Soon after he mentioned a psp title called Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Oddly, enough gamers were treated to yet another MGS game despite hints from Kojima that MGS 4 would be the last MGS game.

Did this stop Kojima from backing out on the franchise? Metal Gear Solid still has a huge following and the Solid Snake universe doesn’t seem to be losing steam. The upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, which oddly enough follows a revamped Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 4, seems to let Kojima take a little bit of a back seat since he is only producing the game. Perhaps he is actually starting to back out of the franchise?

Here is what Kojima stated after announcing a new secret title:

The next project will challenge a certain type of taboo. If I mess up, I’ll probably have to leave the industry. However, I don’t want to pass by avoiding that. I turn 47 this year. It’s been 24 years since I started making games. Today, I got an ally who would happily support me in that risk. Although it’s just one person. For a start, it’s good.

Kojima isn’t just talking about leaving the Metal Gear Solid franchise like before. He is talking about leaving the entire gaming industry if his next game fails. Hideo Kojima is viewed as one of the most inspiring and talented game designers of the generation, but he seems to always have this sense of failure nipping at his shoulder. He has a complex and he cannot seem to overcome his fears. It seems like he wants to quit while he is ahead. He wants to end a franchise and possibly exit the industry on a good note, but thankfully in the end he doesn’t let his feelings stop him from making a new title and listens to his fans.

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