Hideo Kojima has made several appearances in his Metal Gear games. In Metal Gear Solid, it was only his name that appeared on screen during the Mantis fight (although in the Japanese version, you would hear his voice if there were save files for both Snatcher and Policenauts on your memory card). Also, in MGS1’s remake, The Twin Snakes, a picture of Kojima can be seen hanging on the wall in the commander’s office. In Metal Gear Solid 4, his voice can be heard during certain moments, and during Mantis’ appearance you can see flashes of a picture of Kojima. He can also be spotted during some of the surreal live action videos at the start of the game. In Peace Walker, the game designer has a more substantial cameo, he can be acquired as a Mother Base staff member. But his most elaborate role is in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, where there’s a whole side mission dedicated to securing the game’s director – after all, he is kind of crucial to the series.
In a side op called ‘Intel Operative Rescue’, Snake is tasked with saving an important operative who needs to be extracted from the enemy base. During the briefing, Snake is holding a pair of glasses. Very familiar glasses for most Metal Gear fans. ‘To say he’s a critical VIP would be a massive understatement.’ Kaz says.
The first part of the mission has Snake providing cover fire from a helicopter, while the operative moves through the base trying to reach the helipad. He communicates with Snake in short sentences with a thick accent. Upon arriving at the heliport, the chopper sets down and after clearing the area, Snake carries the operative aboard. They set off, while Snake has to take out an enemy helicopter firing at them.
If you are unable to protect the operative, the mission is over. A time paradox, right? Can’t have your creator die when he still has 40 years of canon storyline to write.
After they managed to get away safely, Snake shuts the door, and turns towards the operative. ‘Snake…’ the man murmurs. He takes off his pilot shades and drops them on the floor. Snake hands him his glasses. The operative carefully puts them on, the camera moving in for a close up, a lens flare lights up the rim, adding to the drama. He raises his head and looks at Snake, but then suddenly turns to the left and makes eye contact with the player.
At this point he can say two different things, depending on the player’s performance. Normally he asks ‘What took you so long?’, but if you’ve managed to obtain an S-rank, he says ‘That was perfect!’. The thematic Ground Zeroes guitar riff plays. Hideo Kojima has been rescued. The future of the series has been secured.
In the months prior to the game’s release, Kojima gave some hints that he was working on such a cameo. Pictures of him doing voice overs, and suited up in the motion capture studio. What’s cool about these cameos is how they’re clearly a product of the ideas and technologies central to their respective games. In a sense, they are a timeline of the developments, in a playful manner. In MGS1, it was part of the breaking of the fourth wall that plays a big role during the Mantis fight (and in the Japanese version, made use of the memory card functionality). In Peace Walker, it tied into the base building aspect; you can actually employ Kojima to work in Mother Base. In Ground Zeroes, Kojima really is a fully-fledged character, with a highly detailed character model created using the 3D scanning that is so important to the game, including voice overs in two different languages. It’s another cameo, but one they could not realize before. Plus, it’s just damn fun.
Hideo Kojima also has a cameo in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In a side op, he needs to be rescued by Snake again, and he can be found tied to the same pole as Miller in the first story mission. Like Miller, he says: “Snake… what took you so long?” Kojima will also join Mother Base as a volunteer, but only if you rescued him in Ground Zeroes and transferred your save data.