In a new interview with TIME, Kojima answers questions about the psychology of his game design, what motivates him to continue making Metal Gear, and how to make players empathize with the moral questions his characters are in.
For example, when asked about technology allowing increasing realism of violence on screen, Kojima shifts the focus away from the visuals, and back to the meaning behind the violence:
There are so many games where you fight aliens or zombies, and they have very high-fidelity graphics, but they don’t ask the question of why the events are happening. In Metal Gear, I’m trying to get at why all these violent things happened in the first place. My intention is to get the player to question why these things are happening.
He’s been answering this next question in many interviews recently, but once again we see the real motivation for continuing the Metal Gear series includes the fact that he gets a huge budget to work with:
Originally I wanted to hand the series off to younger staff and let them carry on with it. And so we did, and that resulted in the game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. But after Rising, we found that for my younger staff, the numbered games were just too heavy for them. So that’s why I decided to come back and work on them myself. Ideally I’d want them to handle this, and for myself to be focused on creating a different IP. That said, Metal Gear is a huge title, it usually has a massive budget, and that wouldn’t happen for any game.
However, that doesn’t stop him from promising that this is truly the last Metal Gear game that he’ll be working on:
And this time — I’ll say it again — this is the last one. Not the last Metal Gear, but the last one I’ll work on. This is my focus when I go into working on a game. Every game I make, I create thinking it’s really, really going to be the last game I create. So I put as much as I can in and make sure I have no regrets.
Perhaps one of the most pointed answers Kojima gives is on the things that “haven’t changed” since the old days of gaming:
And the content of the game, what is really the essence of the game, hasn’t moved much beyond Space Invaders. It’s the same old thing, that the bad guy comes and without further ado the player has to defeat him. The content hasn’t changed — it’s kind of a void.
It’s interesting how Kojima doesn’t recognize the moral depth of big hits like The Last of Us, or even the latest Grand Theft Auto, when giving this answer. Either he hasn’t been playing a lot of new games, or he isn’t satisfied with how far they go in dealing with the themes and moral situations presented to players.