Kojima: “I think about ways that I can use the game systems to reinforce my story”

This morning The Guardian has posted an interview with Kojima, in which he discusses the themes of MGSV in some new ways.  Some of it is cool, and some of it makes me disappointed.

I develop the design and construction of the environments and I set the theme and topic from the game and work to ensure that it fits with the game systems. That all has to come from me as the vision holder.” 

I didn’t realize Kojima was designing levels still.  Actually, I thought he specifically said that they allowed the artists to create things according to realistic photographs and maps, and then adjusted it and designed things accordingly.

“I love movies but if I was to create a film I’d use different methods,” he says. “I make games. That’s what I do. So I think about ways that I can use the game systems to reinforce my story, or do things that simply aren’t possible in other media.”

So the story isn’t designed to serve the game systems, but the other way around.  This is important if you want to analyze the gameplay or the story, because they should reinforce each other, right?  (Ahem…)

“The player is able to flesh out the detail and background of the game by discovering and listening to cassette tapes,” he says. “It’s a different way to develop story but one that is arguably, more impactful: the player puts it all together in their mind.”

Damn it.  I don’t like collecting cassette tapes, Kojima.  It’s one of the worst aspects of Ground Zeroes, even though I love what Peace Walker did with its Briefing tapes.  You shouldn’t have to collect the story in bits and pieces.  Let me guess, you’ll find a snippet of a private conversation between Dr. Emmerich and Dr. Strangelove before the Ground Zeroes mission sitting in a pile of horse shit in a back alley in Afghanistan?  And the other tape will be miles away during a different mission, in the back pocket of a POW.  What’s the point?  Is this how we’re going to end up with 400+ hours of “gameplay” and a massive online hunt for data?

Honestly, it’s clever of Kojima to force us to discover the story, since games like Dark Souls have proven that people actually try to understand things when you don’t spoon feed it to them (and thus become “preachy”).  But cassette tapes still feels like an uncreative and sloppy way of handling it.

I suggest you read the full interview.