I know a lot of unreasonable gamers don’t want to hear nice things about Konami these days, but when it’s their Messiah Hideo Kojima preaching, they might just drop the pride and listen.
In a recent interview with Toyo Keizai, the famed Metal Gear creator praised the video game company, saying that it granted him a lot of freedoms to make the games he wanted. He followed up lamenting that many developers haven’t been as lucky as him, and that he was treated very well when it came to pitches, budgets, and creative control.
However, he also admits that the video game industry is changing, and Konami simply can’t afford to take those same kinds of risks anymore. Kojima was a breakout star in the late 80s and early 90s, when gaming was still a niche hobby and games were relatively cheap and easy to make. Kojima struck at just the right time where as today’s young developers aren’t as lucky.
Many young recruits out of college are thrown into a line and continue to make small background objects or explosions for three or even five years.
Working for any AAA company and trying to find a break is becoming more and more improbable, and Kojima’s Cinderella story to success is not likely to occur ever again. Only through the indie scene can an aspiring developer find that kind of fame. It’s not just a problem at Konami, it’s a problem with the gaming industry growing too large in general.
There are more and more staff members who only affect extremely small parts of the games while not being able to see the product in its entirety.
He regrets that many talented people will gather a lifetime of experience and yet never have the opportunity to make their own games, as he did. When Kojima worked in his first game, he was on a team of just five people.
You couldn’t say ‘well my specialty is….’ I remember having to study and work very hard, only sleeping three hours each day. If I didn’t have that experience I wouldn’t have been able to continue until where I’m at today. I had both information on the micro bits as well as a macro viewpoint of the whole project.
He closes by saying that the video game world will change because game developers are becoming marginalized. They have to focus on specific elements of the games they are working on, and very few are lucky enough to be able to see the project as a whole.
Personal note here, this is the true path to corporate suits dictating the creation of video games, not the actual creative people themselves.
Again, this is not Konami’s fault. That’s just how video games are these days.