Sunday, January 20, 2013

I interviewed Hideo Kojima in Dubai


Metal Gear Solid was a topic that would often pop up during high school lunch breaks. It’s one of those rare titles that manage to surprise us and create serious gaming discussions (yes, that’s a thing). “How do you defeat Psycho Mantis?” “I can’t defeat The Pain. I just keep dying” “That MGS 3 ending made me feel all emo”.  The series was a staple and true hallmark that showed games can be similar to movies or even better. Of course none of this would have probably happened had it not been for man in the director seat, Hideo Kojima. His name popped up as well, which was a first among us Arab gamers. Sure there were some big names in the industry already (such as Miyamoto) but none of them came close to Kojima's presence. When “Hideo Kojima” and “game” was mentioned in the same sentenced, people listened. It was the kind of respect rarely scene for a game developer in our region and is probably the first to be taken seriously. He was our Spielberg  Picasso  and Mozart all in one. His vision of turning the gaming industry into the next Hollywood was something we all supported and wanted to see become a reality.


Looking back now I  would have never imagined that I would actually meet Hideo Kojima yet alone interview him one on one...in Dubai. A place that was less than an hour away by flight. When it came to it I had to make some quick decisions with money being a major factor. In the end, however, I chose to attend the event. Because money may come and go but opportunities likes these come rarely. After it all, it was HIDEO FREAKING KOJIMA!!


Hideo Kojima began with an opening speech where he express how happy how happy he was being in Dubai. Following that statement the one on one interviews kicked off. Sadly, right before I began  I was told that they could only be published by text. Oh, well. Not a problem. 


TAG: Hideo Kojima, it’s an honor having you here. Pluto games, Konami, and Kojima productions seem to be really pushing for the industry to grow in the region. The fact that you’re here shows that things are changing. Now regarding the game development scene do you see it as something that will grow here as well? Would a metal gear solid game ever come from this part of the world?

HK: I was always interested in Dubai and the Arab region from 3 years ago and I’m sure the industry is going to grow even bigger. I wanted to come here before others so that I can start creating a good environment and a solid base.

TAG: Okay, so let’s talk about you. Do you play videogames?

HK: [laughs] Not recently

TAG: Ah, so what was the last game you played?

HK: Red Dead Redemption. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to complete it.

TAG: When it comes to developing games what is your main source of inspiration? Like for me, I enjoy listening to music. It helps me be more creative. What about you? What makes you Hideo Kojima?


HK: Things that inspire usually come from the things that stimulate me: Film, music, playing with children, and even drinking coffee--I take all as these as forms of inspiration. All these things give me different inputs and feelings which output to new ideas. Say for example you’re walking down the road. When you turn back the path looks different--it’s giving off a new vibe. It’s all about perspective. And because I take my daily routine into consideration I basically never run out of ideas.

TAG: Okay…that’s good!

[Both of us laugh]

TAG: I noticed when you make your games you love using a lot of cinematics, which I enjoy watching cause they feel engaging—kinda like you’re watching a movie but at the same time playing a game. Do you think with next gen hardware there will more transparency between movies and games? Possibly blending into one new media?

HK: Technology is still growing and evolving. We will eventually reach a stage when gameplay rendering quality will reach to the same standard as movies. Even now we have groups around the world who are using game engines to film movies. But with my game design I’m not just trying to make better cinematics but new gameplays mechanics as well that will make players feel they are playing a movie. I can’t get into the details right now, but hopefully within the next generation you will see what I mean.

TAG: Wow sounds interesting. Can’t wait. Now this next segment is dedicated to my readers/viewers. They have some interesting questions they wanted to ask you. The first question is Metal Gear Rising related. Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4 was sort of a family man, he was mainly fighting for Rose and his son. Yet in the latest Metal Gear Rising trailer you see him killing people relentlessly like a mad dog, what happened?

HK: [laughs] Well originally I had planned a story for Raiden. It would take place before the events of MGS 4 and would explain a lot of his story and how he became a cyborg. Then the project was taken over by Platinum Games who then became in charge of Raiden’s character. They wanted to create a story after the events of MGS 4.

TAG: Ah, so they basically made him the crazy Jack we saw in the trailer.

HK: Yea, they wanted to take that direction.

TAG: I see. The next question is who is your favorite MGS villain and why?

HK:  Pyscho Mantis.

TAG: Knew it!

HK: His boss battle just stood so much, especially with his tricks and messing with gamers heads. The infamous Hideo black out got me a lot of complaints but it in the end it was totally worth it. I also wanted a very unique character that would only work in videogames.

TAG: Yea that hideo black really freaked me out. I still remember yelling at my brother for thinking he was switching channels. Alright, the last one is regarding Snake’s next big adventures. Will we see any of them this year?

[both of us pause and laugh]

HK: Well, I can’t be too specific but everything is going on schedule. But while everyone is waiting for those games I recommend you all to play Metal Gear Rising.

TAG: Yea, sure will. Thank you so much for your time Mr. Kojima.

HK: You’re welcome!


Of course I couldn't walk out without getting a nice memento
How was he? Well his bold take on game development and his appeal towards it is something I highly respected.  He always seems to be staring almost as though as he was analyzing me--which probably relates to his inspiration segment. I’d love to think he was getting inspired by me and I’d also love my cat to understand the words of men, so, yea. Although he still relied on a translator I was overall impress by how much English he knows (possibly from all those movies).

Following the interview, I decided to look around and admire Sumeet Aggarwal's hardcore collection which ranged from MGS to ZOE. A lot of his stuff was also signed by Kojima himself (prior to him visiting Dubai) making the collection even more vintage.




Even Kojima was impressed by the collection
Towards the end things got a bit crazy. An Edea inspired belly dancer appeared who began giving Kojima and his entourage quite the fiery show.



And of course it wouldn't be a party without gangnam style!


Pluto Games also made sure I wouldn't leave empty handed so they gave me ye' old goodie bag. It was mostly filled with Metal Gear Rising material with the "cut at will" brochure being the highlight.








The following day Hideo Kojima conducted a fan signature event at Geekay. Unfortunately I couldn't attend the event but from what I've heard people (including Kojima himself) were having a blast.
Hideo Kojima’s attendance in Dubai may seem minute to the west, east, and north (Europe). But to us, this was a big deal. It’s a huge step forward to the gaming industry scene and will hopefully encourage other to follow. 

Click here to check out the Facebook album for pics. I'd also love to give my deepest thanks to Pluto Games for inviting me to the event.

4 comments:

Wonderful!!! Man, i can't thank you enough for asking him the question i brought up oin the other post! Thanks so much for asking him about the "family man Raiden"! Your interview was awesome and i find it very nice to find such an amazing job when it comes to interviewing our master, Hideo Kojima.
Your questions were all very nice, bringing very interesting topics. I have a site, dedicated to games, in Brazil and i want to tell people about your interview and translate it to portuguese, if that's ok with you. Be sure i'll be telling that was an amazing work from The Arab Gamer!
Cheers and keep up with this awesome work!

You're welcome! And yes, you can translate it. I'm planning on uploading a video soon so you can look forward to that ;)

Thanks a lot, my friend! I'm translating the interview right now and i'll be posting soon on my site: www.areainsana.com
My site is very new and still doesn't have many articles, but we're working on it! Thanks again!

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