In an essay published by Glixel, Hideo Kojima talks about Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie, The Shape of Water. In it he discusses the difficulties of retaining authorship over a large production in a market driven industry – whether it be Hollywood or the AAA games industry. However, Kojima feels that the ‘creator’s soul’ is important for the creation, and for that reason he labels his own games with the famous ‘a Hideo Kojima game’ line, in the same way The Shape of Water is ‘a Guillermo del Toro film’.
In AAA games, the division of labor is well established, and there are almost no “directors” that like James Cameron or Guillermo del Toro can take charge of both direction and creation from the initial planning stages all the way through to release. In fact, there is no desire for this kind of director. This is one of the traps the current game industry has fallen into. The assembly line process and digital manufacturing are an efficient pair. As a result, the “director” only need be a delegator of jobs, just as in major Hollywood film making. A director that takes part in planning, conceptualization, production, script, music, and even promotion is only wasting time and resources, and is inefficient. It doesn’t benefit the corporation either.
This line of thought, which may sound correct to some, is a big mistake. And from a different angle, this may also lead one to the false conclusion that efficient digital creations don’t have authorship, and are mere products, while only painstakingly crafted analog creations can be considered creative. Analog or digital is merely a question of methods and tools. How they are used is what defines the difference between a mere product and a creative work; the difference between copycat products and truly original creations.
Films and games are forms of entertainment that require a significant investment of the user’s time. There must be love from the creator there. A human with a soul must deliver love through their creation to an unfathomably large and unseen audience. To succeed, every ounce of their creation must be imbued with the creator’s soul. At the very beginning of this movie made “for those with a deep love for film and love itself”, on-screen text reads “A Guillermo del Toro Film”, but it’s not for the sake of vanity; it’s a statement and a signature stating whose love and soul is in the creation. It’s pride and responsibility towards the creation.
It’s the same reason I put “A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME” in my works. I want to deliver a game with the love from a man named Hideo Kojima to an audience that has “a deep love for games and love itself.”
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