A provincial, a dreamer, an introvert, a failure writer, a movie fan with a suspicion of TV addiction - this is how Hideo Kojima presents himself to the public. But in the eyes of fans, he is a combination of timeless archetypes: hero, champion, chosen one, rebel and, finally, a wizard. Kojima is a living example for his fans, the owner of life experience, which motivates no worse than the trainings of top coaches with fireworks and dancers.
Childhood left him a traumatic experience: at the age of 13 he lost his father, “faced death” (he was almost hit by a train), after his life in Tokyo he ended up in a small town and grew up without parental supervision, but in the care of the TV. He now admits that he turns on the TV to avoid feeling lonely.
In his youth, Hideo began to look for his calling. He got carried away with writing and began to write immensely long stories, which were not accepted by any literary magazine. My uncle's profession prompted me to think about a career as an illustrator, but this path did not promise financial stability - I had to abandon it. His love of films spurred him to shoot his own, but limited budgets stifled director's ambitions.
In 1986, Konami, a haven for outcasts, a haven for losers of gamers, recruited Hideo Kojima with no experience as a design assistant. But even this achievement seemed dubious, and 23-year-old Hideo lied for a long time to his relatives that he was working as a financial consultant.
However, times changed faster than one could imagine: the profession of a game designer was gradually crowding out prestigious economic specialties. Konami eventually became the alma mater of yesterday's intern: they collaborated for nearly 30 years to create the action-stealth franchise Metal Gear, which brought Kojima to cult fame.
Hideo Kojima at the presentation of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots in Milan. 2008 © Vittorio Zunino Celotto
As a true fan of cinema, Hideo often looked to his favorite films for inspiration. Cinephilism influenced the development and evolution of video games: intrigue, extended suspense, dramatic blocks and cinematography tricks appeared in Kojima's plots, not inferior to the best works of Emmanuel Lubezky and Hoyte Van Hoytema. Gamers looked at their passion in a new way.
Kojima received the nickname Genius, given to him not without sarcasm. Especially often the "title" accompanies a game designer in the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet because of the meme "Kojima is a genius" that arose after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, favored by critics. The reason for the jokes was the deliberately frequent mention of the author's name in every chapter of the game. But memes are not born in emptiness, because "genius" is not just a sarcastic membrane of a bubble with ethereal air: there is a weighty content inside it. This is Kojima's comprehensive approach to creating video games, combining techniques from two industries - gaming and cinematography. Hideo Kojima's projects have always been author's "film games".
However, demiurgic ideas required corresponding financial injections. Konami, having analyzed the changing market and the ambitions of its leading employee, opted for the first - went to conquer the niche of mobile video games. The company parted ways with Kojima.
The 2015 "divorce" was painful and overgrown with rumors that gather around divorced movie stars. According to the version prevalent among offended Kojima fans, the "petty" management of the company was tired of the creative enthusiasm of the main star, who spent too much money on his "whims", that is, the development of grandiose sequels to Metal Gear. Unfortunately, the final scandal testifies in favor of the version: Konami removed Kojima's name from the cover of the latest release of the video game.
© Richard Ecclestone / Edge Magazine / Future via Getty Image
The cover incident is, as they say, a trifle, but unpleasant. Although Kojima's regalia is enough to be called the people's game designer of the planet. In 2008, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Game Awards, in 2014 he received honors for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, in 2016 the AIAS Hall of Fame and an Industry Icon from The Game Awards.
Taking up the trampled honor and dignity, as well as trophies and Kojima Productions' own brand, instead of a mournful exile, Kojima went free sailing and moored to the shores of Sony. The company gave him creative freedom, finance, and the chance to leisurely pursue a new project - Death Stranding for PlayStation 4.
The mysterious development, for which the author assembled a team from scratch and attracted brilliant Hollywood stars, was announced in 2016 and instantly turned into the most anticipated game. As a true storytelling genius, Kojima has bewitched fans all over the world with understatement, decoy trailers, movie star selfies and masterpiece posters.
The most relevant names were involved in the creation of Death Stranding. The godfather of horror movies, director Guillermo del Toro, who worked with Kojima on the game Silent Hills, which never saw the light of day. The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus.
French actress Lea Seydoux is Bond's girlfriend and blue-haired Emma from the drama Adele's Life. Visionary director Nicholas Winding Refn, whose crime series Too Old to Die Young, debuted at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is the winner of the Cannes Award for Best Actor in The Hunt and the performer of the role of Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal.
The list, which in itself looks more impressive than any ad, is framed by another ingenious idea of Kojima. The Death Stranding project is more than a video game in its conception. This is a pacifist statement in the form of a so-called connecting concept, in which all players are involved.
The Demiurge Wizard vaguely explains the meaning of the game, referring to the story of Kobo Abe, a parable about a stick and a rope as the first tools created by man. Kojima compares basic techniques in video games - hitting and shooting - with a stick, and his new project, Death Stranding, with a rope that is supposed to tie people in a game together. While the audience listened, eyes wide, lower jaws relaxed and trying to unravel the idol's mysterious hints, Kojima presented a game play and announced a release date of November 8, 2019.
It will be difficult for distracted observers to recognize Kojima's activities as extraordinary, despite the array of text on top. But, as they say on the Internet, millions of people cannot be wrong. A brilliant marketing bubble that looks like a sparkling disco ball, in which a Japanese game designer keeps his creative gift like a needle in an egg, throwing glare over astronomical distances. So why is Kojima a genius? Perhaps everyone who has been touched by the glimpse of the famous Japanese's name will have their own explanation.>