There are very few video game designers that are as celebrated as Hideo Kojima. In fact, when you think about it, he might be the only designer that holds as much weight in just his name.
But given that the Metal Gear franchise is his only real major claim to fame, and Death Stranding left the industry as a whole scratching their heads, should he ever have been given so much freedom?
Being Let Off The Leash
Most are aware that Kojima worked in conjunction with Konami for many decades, putting out the Metal Gear franchise to near universal acclaim. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was hailed as one of the best games of 2015, if not one of the best games of all time.
But after a rather public falling out Kojima and Konami parted ways. Why, exactly, Kojima was let go is not known, but speculation is rife that Metal Gear budgets were spiralling out of control. That and, of course, the company was restructuring to focus more on Apostasesportivas no Brasil. This meant that lengthily to develop, expensive productions like the Metal Gear were no longer on the cards.
To put it another way; developing something like real money is far easier than an $80 million Metal Gear game. That, and the returns are a great deal more guaranteed.
But it wasn’t long after he was set free that Kojima set out on his own, partnered with Sony, and got to work creating a video game that was no longer bound to a franchise. That game was Death Stranding.
It is assumed that Konami had kept Kojima somewhat grounded, giving him some degree of freedom, but ensuring that he at least made games that would appeal to the video game industry at large. The Metal Gear franchise, no matter how weird in terms of plot, had still been based around familiar elements; stealth, shooting, guns, and cool robots.
Death Stranding had few of those things, and sorry to say, it was not a Metal Gear level of success. In fact, although reports first claimed that the game had been a success, rumours are now suggesting that the game could more closely be called a flop.
Wait, What Is Happening?
Death Stranding is tedious, slow, and not a single soldier is shot in the head with a silenced pistol. A great deal unlike anything Kojima had made before, and rather unlike any other big budget game in history. If it is or isn’t your personal cup of tea is negligible, the point is that it cost a great deal to make, and did not achieve success.
So, should Hideo Kojima really have ever been allowed to make something unchecked? Did his reputation, and the general public’s love for him, create a situation that should never have existed? Perhaps his best work is done when he is beholden to a publisher, rather than when he is calling 100% of the shots.
Perhaps his initial failure will have given him stronger focus, and his next project will be more palatable.