During the last day of E3, Hideo Kojima did two live interviews, with gaming websites GameSpot and IGN, both lasting around 20 minutes. The two interviews covered more or less the same subjects, including the themes of the game and the transition of Big Boss from ‘hero’ to ‘villain’.
Going from the ‘hero’ to the ‘bad guy’ in a video game is a very delicate process, you have to make sure the player goes along with Snake and understands his motives in order for it to work. He wants players to understand Big Boss’s decisions and choices, but at the same time have a double morale as they don’t want him to go there.
The organizations that over the course of the games are built and then destroyed (MSF, Diamond Dogs, Outer Heaven) are used to show how Snake changed, his metamorphosis as a person can be seen through the organizations and how they differ from each other. For example, MSF was initially created to help Paz, it had good intentions. Diamond Dogs has a very different reasons. Big Boss doesn’t want the same thing that happened to MSF to happen to Diamond Dogs, so he takes a different approach. Kojima couldn’t say too much about the subject though.
Kojima wants to convey a certain theme, and he uses certain characters with certain relationships that can relay that message.
On the different themes if the Metal Gear games, Kojima said that one theme leads to another. In MGS, the theme was ‘genes’, but Kojima thought to himself that there are also memes that shape a person, the cultural aspect. That’s how Metal Gear Solid 2 came to be.
Something similar happened when he had developed Peace Walker, the theme of which was ‘deterrence’. He thought to himself: if there is deterrence, why are there all these wars in the world? The answer lead to the theme of Metal Gear Solid V: the chain of revenge.
But how do you translate this theme of revenge to the player? Kojima explained that by having Mother Base destroyed, which players spent hundreds of hours on building in Peace Walker, he could evoke in the player a feeling of wanting to take revenge.
To watch the whole interview, go here.
A bit later in the day, Kojima was also interviewed by Greg Miller from IGN.
The conversation started off with Greg asking what’s going on in the trailer. Kojima explained that The Phantom Pain ends with Big Boss creating Outer Heaven. “I want the player to experience this in a convincing way, so I need people to empathize, to understand what is happening to Snake.” Kojima said (translated by Mendoza).
“I don’t want people to play as ‘Snake the Bad Guy’.” Kojima said. Instead, he wants people to go along with Snake, who had no choice of becoming who he became.
The underlying theme of the game is the chain of revenge, and how this creates wars all over the world. “I want to experience along with the player how this is chain of event is contagious, and it ultimately affects organizations, even societies. […] I want the player to experience that along with Snake.”
Kojima once again drew a comparison with Breaking Bad, and the path of its protagonist Walter White.
You go along with Snake, experiencing what he experiences, but once you take a step back, you see it’s morally wrong.
As during the GameSpot interview, Kojima explained how Snake’s revenge ties in with the player after Mother Base is destroyed in Ground Zeroes, which the player was really invested in during Peace Walker.
When Snake wakes up from his 9-year coma, his memories start coming back. This is also done with those players in mind who haven’t played any Metal Gear game before (it sounds like we can expect flashbacks or something similar).
Kojima also emphasized that MGSV is something different (since it’s now open world), but the soul of the series will remain unchanged. This is the game Kojima wanted to create 26 years ago, but due to hardware limitations this wasn’t possible. Now, with the help of the Fox Engine, it is.
Greg also asked if Kojima was surprised by the negative feedback on how Paz’ story ended in Ground Zeroes. Kojima’s answer was that they weren’t all that surprised, because in a way this was intentional. He wants players to feel the ‘phantom pain’ of characters they loved dying, the feeling of loss this causes. “That’s precisely the Phantom Pain, a pain that keeps stinging you despite the thing is gone. That’s exactly what the phantom pain is.”
Then Kojima was asked why he keeps making Metal Gear games. He answered that first of all he loves Metal Gear. Furthermore, working on the franchise gives him the possibility to try out new ideas within the series. He gets a big budget when making a new Metal Gear game, which he can use to try out these new things.
He once again said that if he were to retire from Metal Gear, he would like a new generation to continue the series, drawing a comparison with the James Bond series that is passed on to new creators.
Near the end Greg asked Kojima when the game was coming out. Kojima smiled, and said – in English: ‘1984’.
To watch this interview, go here.