Video game designer and director Hideo Kojima is known for a few big things in the video game industry. His most noteworthy creation is the “Metal Gear” series that originated back on the MSX2 computer system in 1987. Eleven years later he would craft “Metal Gear Solid” and create a piece of gaming history. The title would go on to become one of the most influential games of all time, in part for its complicated plot and storyline, accentuated by strong cinematic cutscenes and very memorable voice acting. Is it any real surprise then that Kojima wants to make movies?
For fans of Kojima and his work, that question is very much rhetorical; of course it’s no surprise that Kojima would want to dive into making film. Even setting aside the cinematic style he’s adopted into his works, there’s also his hiring of people from film and television into his projects. Norman Reedus and Guillermo del Toro were heavily involved in the “P.T.” project that was supposed to become “Silent Hills.”
Reedus would again show up in Kojima’s “Death Stranding” game alongside Lea Seydoux, Mads Mikkelsen, and even Conan O’Brien. Prior to this, Kojima had hired film composer Harry Gregson-Williams to work on his main numbered “Metal Gear” games. It’s even rumored that the whole reason the voice of series protagonist Solid Snake (David Hayter) was replaced by Kiefer Sutherland was because of a possible live-action adaptation with the Hollywood star.
Oh, and then there’s his Twitter bio that looks like this:
And also this recent post teasing….SOMETHING.
So yeah, Hideo Kojima is a cinephile, like even more so than Michael Bolton in that Lonely Island song/video for “Jack Sparrow.” If you follow Kojima on Twitter you’re likely to be scrolling through your feed and suddenly find him talking about his latest finds of classic films on blu-ray or how great a movie was that he just got done watching. Case in point:
Kojima is also well known in the game industry for the messy break-up he went through with his longtime employer, Konami. The falling out between the video game producer and publisher led to “Metal Gear Solid V” releasing as an unfinished product and “P.T.” getting cancelled despite general critical consensus that it was one of the most promising horror titles in years. Ultimately it led to Kojima founding his own company, Kojima Productions and the development of his own game, the aforementioned “Death Stranding.”
This newfound freedom, coupled with the success of “Death Stranding” has led to Kojima Productions announcing a new studio in Los Angeles, California. Former PlayStation executive Riley Russell has been tapped to lead the division which has the goal of “expanding the reach and awareness of the properties now under development at Kojima Productions, and to make them even more a part of our popular culture.” Sure, he doesn’t directly state they’re expanding into film and television, but you don’t exactly open up a new studio in Los Angeles just to focus on audio books.
Not to rain on Kojima’s parade, but there is something to be said of the risk involved in this. Kojima Productions wouldn’t be the first video game company to try doing something like this. “Final Fantasy” producer and publisher Square tried doing this in 1997 to create Square Pictures and develop the 2001 film, “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” The film was a massive financial failure and Square Pictures was eventually absorbed back into the company as a whole.
Branching out into other media when you’ve only focused on one for most of your career can be a chancy venture. Fortunately one thing Kojima has for sure is a dedicated fan base that has grown accustomed to his bizarre storylines and perplexing narratives. Plus, if he ever needs help he can just ring up Guillermo del Toro for some advice; it’s good to have friends in high places. Should the new Kojima Productions studio announce an upcoming project, we’ll be here to report on it and break it down for you.