Del Toro and Kojima still working together

According to an IGN interview:

In an interview with IGN, del Toro said, “I love working with Kojima-san. We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that’s not going to be [Silent Hills].”

Guillermo del Toro also detailed a bit about what Silent Hills — though still very early in the development process — could have been.

“We were in the planning stages, and it’s a shame it’s not going to happen,” del Toro said. “We were talking about really pushing the boundaries of the new consoles, and making the game really mess with your head. One of the great moments in Metal Gear [Solid] was Psycho Mantis. The idea that a game can actually interact with you, and stuff like that.”

It’s good to know the collaboration will keep going, especially since there is so much uncertainty about what’s next for Kojima.

Also worth noting that some fans believed Silent Hills was in full production, but del Toro says it was in planning stages, meaning that very little real work had been finished.

Konami erases Kojima’s name from MGSV box art

 

Well, your worst nightmares have come true, Metal Gear fans: KONAMI seems to be erasing the Kojima Productions logo and the classic “A Hideo Kojima Game” phrase from the box art of The Phantom Pain.  And as you would expect, people are very confused.

The logic of this move isn’t so crazy.  KONAMI wants gamers to stop being loyal to Kojima, and start being loyal to KONAMI.  With Kojima on his way out, but the Metal Gear series set to continue on without him, why not?  But even news sites are having a hard time comprehending what they’re doing:

But even if they have a bone to pick with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, removing his name from the Metal Gear Solid V box itself, is absurd and unprofessional, the petty act of a spurned lover.

MGSV Box-Art

He goes on to explain the common perception about the situation:

This follows Konami pulling Kojima’s name and that of his studio Kojima Productions from marketing materials earlier this year. At the time, Konami assured everyone that it was simply a restructure: The Japanese publisher was moving to a “headquarters-controlled” system and Kojima and his team would remain intact. That was not to be, as revelations of Kojima’s departure emerged shortly after.

Konami and Kojima may have parted ways, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is the man and the team responsible for creating one of the best-selling, most critically acclaimed series in Konami’s history as a company. Nor does it change the fact that Kojima himself is popular with gamers, and erasing him risks even more bad press and alienation than Konami has already faced.

Of course it’s a controversial move, at a time when they should be focusing on hyping up their huge blockbuster title, not generating hatred from hundreds of thousands of their most loyal customers.  He goes on to express his confusion:

But outside of a little passive-aggressiveness, I’m not sure what Konami is hoping to achieve here. Smug satisfaction?

 

That’s the question we need to be asking.  I could remind you of another 20 reasons why this story doesn’t add up, but let me take another stab at a good explanation instead.

  • Hideo Kojima tells the company executives he wants to quit the Metal Gear series after The Phantom Pain and move on to other projects such as Silent Hills.  MGSV is designed to be highly expandable (episodic mission structure,) and the LA team is set up to handle multiplayer support.
  • KONAMI complains, but allows him to keep working and promoting it in the hopes that he’ll buckle under pressure along the way.
  • Kojima predicted this and already made MGSV about the whole situation from the start, even as early as Ground Zeroes.  Hence his “career-ending taboo” hints early on in production.
  • Kojima makes it clear that he won’t be continuing the series, no matter what, and eventually has a fight with the top management, who start pulling out threats that Kojima has already predicted.
  • KONAMI threatens to cancel MGSV, sack Kojima Productions, kick out Kojima, and cancel Silent Hills too.
  • Kojima knows that MGSV will tell his story, and watches as they start executing their threats, as he expected.  They are burning the bridge while scrambling to hire a new team for future titles and don’t even know how to save face.

I refuse to believe that Kojima was blindsided by these events, or that he wasn’t fully prepared for them in his mind and heart.  He’s too old, has gone through too much bullshit with Konami and the Metal Gear series, and has put too many hints into MGSV already.  Remember shining the blue light on the Metal Gear logos that he considers canon?  Completely needless, mostly ignored, but suddenly highly poignant once you realize that he was trying to send a message to players through the game in a way that Konami couldn’t erase.

Perhaps MGSV truly is about revenge, but for something that he knew was going to happen in the future.

Official confirmation that Kojima Productions has been disbanded

JunkerHQ, The Snake Soup, and others have reported it.  The news comes from the Japanese voice actor of Snake, Akio Otsuka on Twitter.  The translation is a farewell to Kojima Productions and a promotion of MGSV as their greatest work yet.

Some people were hopeful that the display of the Kojima Productions logo in the recent E3 trailer was proof that the company would be allowed to exist, but obviously that’s not the case.

It’s looking very unlikely that the “trolling theory” can still hold weight now, despite the outrageous level of coincidence and parallel with the themes of MGSV and its early marketing stunts.  Truly, we have to wonder what it all means, and how much decision Kojima himself had in it.

Greatest game ever?

I could explain all the reasons why this gameplay demonstration makes me excited, but it really speaks for itself.  I can hardly believe it.  My only hope is that the game has plenty of areas besides Afghanistan, because I could keep doing this forever.

New MGSV gameplay demo is glorious

The new MGSV gameplay demo was revealed today, and I’m very impressed by what I’m seeing.  The link to the full definition video is here, and my quick thoughts on it are here:

  • Any one of the buddies you can take along with you would merit it’s own game, but when you combine them all as options, I can hardly believe how many ways you’ll be able to approach missions.
  • The robot is amazing, flat out.  The scanner system, ability to ride it, and drive it super fast and quietly, and everything else it demonstrated kicked ass and had a very valuable functionality in an huge-scale sneaking mission like MGSV has.
  • The need for translators is fantastic, logical, and serves as a perfect illustration of the theme of race and cultural divide, which is at the core of the story this time.
  • The loadout system looks very clean and functional.
  • The shields, helmets, and armor of enemies seem to actually be effective, which is essential to forcing players to think differently, not just double down on stupid.
  • The ability to steal shields and everything else is great, and will no doubt be balanced by the ability to customize your own weapon beyond anything the enemies will usually carry.  Solving the problem of too many guns being available by creating a great suite of customization options is just having your cake and eating it too.
  • The enemy dummies are a fantastic touch, and one that will legitimately screw up players who are too impulsive.
  • And my favorite thing of all, enemies really do learn and adapt to what you’ve been trying before.  This is among my personal, all-time, most wished for features of gaming, period.  The age-old fact that exploitative players love to abuse the predictability of enemies, patterns, and situations in games needs to be met with an equally robust solution of adapting enemies and dynamic challenges.  This immediately turns an otherwise boring and routine cycle into a tempting challenge of cat-and-mouse.

Watch the video directly (without IGN’s website and advertisements) by clicking here.  *(Thanks to this guy’s Twitter post for finding out that trick.)

Steam refunds get reaction from developers

Steam’s new refund policy has opened a discussion about gamer “entitlement” (basic consumer rights) and the never-ending indie developer struggles.  Some think that the new policy will lead to 100% of developers going bankrupt due to the evil gamers abusing the system, while others think that only 90% of developers will go bankrupt.  This new article on Gamasutra interviews different developers to get their reaction.

The results were more interesting than I expected.  Some developers love the idea that angry customers won’t feel stuck with their purchase, which in turn leads to overly negative reviews.  Others appreciated that this will encourage people to try full-priced games, instead of waiting for sales with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be able to return the product if it turns out to be garbage.

I suggest you read it.

#GamerGate crap keeps going on

In case you missed it or forgot, the neofeminist movement is pushing against the largely male gaming community and the game industry itself as a way to position themselves as important people who need to police culture, speak at conventions, become “representatives”, and generally make money by contributing absolutely nothing.

To accomplish this, they bully and pressure everybody they can into picking sides that are unfair and unhelpful — creating a false dichotomy — so that they can build up an army of outraged puppets that will destroy the reputations of anyone who resists them.

This is a recent video I stumbled across.  It surprised me that people are still talking about #GamerGate, but I found it interesting.