The past year for Hideo Kojima has been one of hard times and one of joy. The former being the obvious, a difficult departure from Konami, a company he had been a part of for years. The latter being his latest creation, the astounding Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a Game of the Year winner for Examiner.
Kojima has left Konami and is now one of the lead developers at his recently opened independent studio, Kojima Productions. The studio is located in Japan and as far as we know, it will create high-quality, AAA games, much like Kojima did during his time at Konami. He learned a lot about creating successful games on a global scale and explained one of the most important business lessons he has taken away from his years of working on major projects.
“The only way to create high-end games is to target the global market. But in order to target the global market, the management behind the project needs to have a keen sense for what will work, and be willing to take risks,” Kojima told The New Yorker.
Risk taking and AAA game development don’t always go hand-in-hand. The nature of risk involved with a AAA project tends to be a bit less sink or swim than something you might see with a smaller project. The amount invested in AAA games these days has made risk an element that publishers and developers must manage carefully.
Konami has shifted their focus from making AAA games to primarily making mobile content. Risk with the latter sort of content is less on a project-by-project basis and more on the overall performance of a cluster of brands. Kojima spoke about what he believes to happen when a company is focused on generating a short-term profit, without looking into the long-term.
“If you’re only focussed on the profits immediately in front of you, the times will leave you behind. It becomes impossible to catch up again,” Kojima said.
Surely the transition and new content focus of Konami has had a significant impact on the decision of Kojima’s to leave the firm he’s been attached to for so long. With the change and being a part of an independent studio now, Kojima spoke about some of the benefits he’ll gain as a result of going independent.
“When working in big companies, especially Japanese companies, every little thing has to be approved beforehand, and you need paperwork to do anything…Now that I’m independent, I can do what I want with much more speed. I don’t need to invest time in unnecessary presentations. I shoulder the risk…When I was in a company, my personal statements could be taken as the over-all direction of the company. As such, I couldn’t say just anything,” Kojima said.
Kojima and his studio, Kojima Productions, will be creating a new game for the PS4 and PC, though we do not know anything about what this new project will be about. We’ll find out more soon enough and will keep you updated as things come about.