GDC 2009: Hideo Kojima’s Keynote

Mr. Kojima starts off by saying:

I've been in the industry for more than 20 years, but this is the first time I've come to GDC. Traditionally, there was always E3 after that.

Kojima decided to attend GDC this year with some great news and to claim his award of course. He continues to thank everyone that supported him for his lifetime achievement award which he received last night. He then moves on to talk about all of the previous Metal Gear Solid games and how he once thought they were impossible to achieve. However, “Impossible” is merely an assumption according to Kojima.

Kojima’s first mission was to make a combat game for the MSX2, but he thought this was impossible because of sprite limitations. Then he thought; A combat game without fighting?, A combat game about escaping?, then he got it… A combat game about hiding. "You're sneaking, you're staying still. And I thought this could work. This could be revolutionary." So he made it an infiltration stealth game, better known as Metal Gear.

That year, Metal Gear was released in Japan and Europe, but not in North America sadly. "But you may remember the NES version of Metal Gear, but that was a crap game since I wasn't involved in it."

“Metal Gear is a hit! Onto the sequel: Create a stealth game on the next gaming platform that surpasses the previous creation." Unfortunately no advancement was made in the hardware so he had to just create a deeper stealth than before using the same MSX2 hardware.

In the new Metal Gear sequel, Kojima changed the character’s vision to look more human-like. He also added the radar in this game. "I thought that was quite a good idea."

Technical problems occur during Kojima’s presentation, but he is quick to apologize. "Please don't post this on YouTube, okay?"

Still on the subject of Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear’s sequel, Kojima also added in an evasion phase along with hearing. Now you couldn’t only hide from your enemies, you have to stay quiet as well.

Mr. Kojima says this about the US sequel: "Snake's Revenge -- that was a little crap game, because I didn't do that game either." You make us laugh Hideo.

Metal Gear: Solid Snake’s concept was the "infiltration into an area" not just a screen and included vision plus hearing, radar, and 3 new alerts. “Okay, mission completed."

The game was a hit and players demanded a sequel. Kojima’s next mission: "Create a 3D stealth game for the MSX2." "The wall of impossibility this time is really high." Four years later, the PlayStation arose.

"This was really 3D” Being able to see in first-person through ducts or while using a sniper-rifle. Wow, this really was great. Metal Gear Solid was released in 1998 and yet another mission accomplished for Mr. Kojima.

His next mission: "Create a more immersive stealth game on the PS2." "I wanted to create the whole environment. But now just how it looks -- I want it to effect how you play the game." Metal Gear Solid 2 was released in 2001-2002 worldwide. "Now, this is 60 frames per second, and we did motion capture for the first time. So we created more cutscenes, and I think some of you didn't like these cutscenes at this point."

... "You were supposed to laugh at that point."

Another successful mission. However, the people wanted another sequel…

"We need to change the software technology and game design, using nothing else." Kojima’s new goal: "break out of man-made closed spaces."

In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, he introduced the camouflage and food systems, therefore a survival game. Metal Gear Solid 3 was released in 2004-2005.

"Although the series was said to be concluded, the world was eager for a sequel. So there was no escape -- we had to make it!" "So I came up with a plan: What if I made an ultimate stealth game, then I wouldn't have to work on Metal Gear anymore!"

A year later, the PS3 popped up, changing Kojima’s missions to: "Use the actual power of the PS3 to create a new infiltration experience." He did very well by adding dynamic battlefield alliances, octo-camo, and disguises. Once again… Missions Complete!

Making the impossible possible in game design.

"Simply put, Metal Gear was born out of hardware limitations advancing together with hardware to reach new heights."

"And in the future of Kojima Productions and how we design games, I want to add both the western and Japanese way of hardware advancement and software advancement, and then add the game design ladder.”

He didn’t leave us there though. It seems, by looking at the next image, there will in fact be another mission for Kojima: “The Next MGS.”

Kojima is actually recruiting at GDC, trying to find American and European developers to help him. For now, I’m saying the odds of yet another Metal Gear Solid are looking great. We will find out at E3: “An official game announcement will be made at E3.