During the latest Kojima Productions Alert the official podcast of the studio, level designer Jordan Amaro was invited to be on the show to tell about his involvement in the project.
Amaro previously worked for 2K Czech and Crytek, and joined Kojima Productions in March of this year.
“It’s good to be working on something that has its own voice, and that will make a dent in the industry.”
“Hideo is a very energetic guy.” Amaro said. “Very focussed guy, lot of good ideas, and always willing to hear your opinion.” He also talked a bit about how it has been working with him on a project. “We don’t speak every day. But we speak quite a few times a month. And also Shinkawa-san, a little bit. [..] Obviously you don’t go to him [Kojima] at any moment, because we have a lead designer, Osada-san, who is a brilliant guy. [..] So most of the questions, he would be able to answer them.”
But of course, for other decisions they have to go directly to Kojima. “Especially if it involves characters, the game’s tone or a really important moment.” Kojima comes up with the overall structure, and it’s the job of the designers to fill in the little details. “He writes it, he does all the high game design, and iterates on it.” But for certain things they need to go to Kojima directly. Amaro went on to illustrate this using an example, but this part was heavenly censored on the final podcast. Questions that are asked to Kojima are about things like whether to include a certain mechanic or not, and about the characters, as mentioned earlier.
When asked about the cultural difference between Japan and the West, Amaro said the production process in Japan is very different. Also, when talking to his Japanese colleagues he realized they see things differently. “Not just game design itself.” Amaro explained. “But the way to make the game.”
Amaro will return on a later episode of the podcast to talk about more specific things, and to get more into in depth game design and level design.