IT’S JUST A BOX: Why #AHIDEOKOJIMAGAME Is Misguided

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The embarrassingly naïve outrage over Kojimagate continues on, and although I don’t have time to flesh this out the way that I normally would, I’m going to race through the points and try to point out how silly fans are acting right now.  This isn’t just about the hashtag, but all those fans who are getting upset because they seriously think that Kojima has been betrayed by Konami…


 

 

1. We don’t know how Kojima feels about it, or how much of it was his idea

  1. It’s probably some next-level trolling.  I described the basic theory already, but as many have pointed out, there is a suspicious amount of parallels between the themes of Ground Zeroes and this whole “erasing Kojima” scandal.  If we also remember the earlier hoax revolving around The Phantom Pain, we get an abundance hints that there’s more to this than meets the eye:
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    1. The destruction of Mother Base = The destruction of Kojima Productions
    2. The supposed death of Big Boss = The supposed firing of Kojima
    3. The way Skull Face erases XOF from the helicopter = The way Konami erases Kojima’s name from promotional materials and websites
    4. “Those Who Don’t Exist” = Kojima and his brand no longer existing, not being allowed to use social media, etc.
    5. “Ishmael”, the mysterious bandaged man who watches over and protects Big Boss after he falls into a coma and presumably is laying in the hospital with Kaz and Big Boss after the plane crash, shares the same appearance as “Joakim Mogren”.  Mogren is later revealed to be Hideo Kojima, while Kojima told Geoff Keighley that the man in the hospital bed was, in fact, Kojima himself.  Kojima = Ishmael = Mogren
    6. Ground Zeroes has a mode where you pick up a mysterious gun that shines a light, which erases logos of Metal Gear games scattered around the level, but only games that Kojima personally directed.  In the game, Kaz literally says “You might be able to erase the markings, but the memories will never disappear”.  Once you erase all of them, Psycho Mantis literally comes over the radio and says “You seem to be a fan of Hideo Kojima games,” to which Kojima himself replies, “Thank you for your support!”
    7. Early on in pre-production, Kojima made a series of tweets about possibly losing his job if his plan for his next big project wasn’t received well.  He said his plan was controversial and taboo, and he needed to get approval from the executives from Konami.  Later he said it was successful.  Without this whole situation being a hoax, there is nothing so far to indicate why he would lose his job from The Phantom Pain.
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  2. Even if Konami were the ones who forced Kojima to think of an exit strategy, this was probably his idea.  Konami knows the value of Kojima to their company, and it’s highly unlikely that they would be cruel to him in the months leading up to his biggest release ever.  The Phantom Pain is the first fully-fledged sequel in the Metal Gear series since 2008’s MGS4, and it is the first full MGS game ever to be truly multiplatform on release, making the sales potential through the roof.  Even if Konami wanted to restructure their corporation and demote Kojima (which is highly unlikely) they would want to be conservative and keep the Kojima Productions brand intact until after MGSV’s release.
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  3. It’s crunch time, and Kojima has been known to “submerge” before.  Remember the most famous game trailer of all time?  It was E3 2001, when MGS2 was debuted.  At the end of it, this showed up…mgs2_submergesKojima being “censored” is an amusing excuse for why Kojima is no longer doing podcasts, interviews, and publicity things.  He’s working hard on finishing the game.

 

2. Kojima’s legacy is in no danger of being forgotten

Putting aside who’s idea this whole scandal was, let’s just look at the plain facts of Kojima’s legacy and what this erasure means for him…

  1. He’s already world famous for Metal Gear.  Nobody in the industry is ignorant of who Kojima is, and what he has contributed to the world.
  2. His name is all over the credits.  Anyone who plays a Metal Gear game will see the name of Hideo Kojima in the credits, opening cutscenes, etc.  Fans and people who care about games will easily be able to see who to give credit to.
  3. He literally put himself into the games.  The most famous moment in MGS1 is when the word “HIDEO” appears on the screen during the Psycho Mantis fight.  Kojima later put himself in Peace Walker as a comrade you can recruit, and put his face-scanned 3D model into Ground Zeroes as a VIP you have to rescue.  There’s just no way that he could be erased or forgotten.
  4. This situation will only add to his reputation.  Whether it’s a hoax or a real incident, Kojima’s name is making waves because of this incident.  Like any famous artist, controversy and tragedy only add to their legacy, not subtract.
  5. He’s still alive.  Even if he is getting fired and has to move on, he can still do interviews, make new projects, write things, and be a part of the entertainment industry.

 

3. Metal Gear was never going to end with Kojima

Many fanboys are upset about how crappy the Metal Gear franchise is going to become once Kojima is gone, as if he was going to stay and keep making new ones forever.  Let’s take a look at how valid that line of argument is…

  1. Kojima wants out, but the series is too big to be killed.  Kojima has talked about leaving the series for a decade, and yet the Metal Gear franchise has continued to grow and stay profitable to Konami.  He has tried to find a successor, tried to teach his team how to make games without him, and tried to beg for fans to stop asking for more.  All of this has failed, but one thing is certain: the Metal gear franchise is going to outlive him.
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  2. The FOX Engine was created to make it easy on the next guy.  Kojima designed the FOX Engine to be a next-gen solution for creating multiplatform open-world games, able to port to the 360, PS3, handhelds, PC, and current-gen consoles.  Clearly, Kojima wanted (or needed) to give Konami the tools to be able to do things on their own when he quit, with a nice big example to lead the way.
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  3. Metal Gear Solid V is designed to establish a new, easier formula for creating Metal Gear games.  Think about how MGSV is doing everything it can to diminish the need for a “Kojima-like” designer to plan everything, and instead makes the world itself a big playground…
    1. Open-world means less level design, more replayability
    2. Weather systems and day/night cycle means less environment planning
    3. Gameplay emphasis means less cutscene emphasis
    4. Collecting tapes means less cutscene emphasis
    5. Facial capture means less need for animators with detailed models

 

4. They’re just not thinking straight

I’ll add more to this when I get time, but here’s some of the more amusing things I’ve seen…

One favorite reaction I’ve seen already is outrage that Konami is having a sale on Ground Zeroes on Steam!  Get the pitchforks!  Of course the real outrage is because Kojma’s name is not on the picture.  Grown adults are having a fit, spending their time and energy trying to demand that a corporation changes their marketing strategy on a digital distribution service.  I know the title of this article is “It’s Just A Box”, but… that’s not even a box, it’s a JPEG.  That level of emotional attachment is cult-like.

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The over-the-top, despairing tributes to Kojima make it seem as if he’s a POW who needs to be rescued by… well… some kind of secret spy who infiltrates Konami.

“IT’S OUR TURN TO PROTECT YOU MR. KOJIMA!”

What is the goal of this movement?  If there was a “falling out” and Kojima is now the enemy of Konami for some big secret reason, a YouTube video isn’t going to change that.  Kojima must have severely disappointed Konami in order for them to kick him out of the company so dramatically, right?  He can’t be trusted to stay as an executive, lead a studio, or have his name on the box, but here’s a hashtag that will change everything!

If what people fear is true, then the movement to restore Kojima’s relationship via hashtags and tributes is like kids asking their parents not to get divorced by showing them pictures of their honeymoon.

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