Hideo Kojima has relaunched the Hideo Kojima YouTube show ‘HideoTube’, a Hideo Kojima production starring Hideo Kojima. Okay I’ll stop with the obvious jokes, but this is a new episode (“The HideoTube 2024 special”, no less) in a series that stopped shortly after the creator’s acrimonious departure from Konami, and the first new entry in seven years. It’s an hourlong and wide-ranging chat between Kojima, host Risa Unai, and various talking heads involved with Kojima Productions’ work.
I’m the biggest Kojima fan in the world, but I will admit the man is not shy about blowing his own horn. A whole bunch of the running time is Kojima and company re-watching the recent trailers for Death Stranding 2, OD and the Physint announcement and then talking about how good they are. Which is a bit like getting pleasure from the smell of your own farts, but I watched through for the good stuff so you don’t have to.
While there’s some discussion of Death Stranding 2 and OD (which we’ll come to) the bit that really jumps out is near the end, where Kojima talks about Physint and whether this is essentially Kojima Productions making a new Metal Gear. Buckle up, because it sounds like someone’s decided he really is Big Boss.
“[Physint] will be both a game and a movie at the same time,” begins Kojima. “Of course it will be a game. However, if your mother walks in on you playing this game, she’ll think you’re watching a movie. I’m not sure how far we can take it yet.”
It’s the motivation behind making it where Kojima starts to get a little more philosophical.
“Why did I make this game,” Kojima asks himself? “Well first off, because I became independent, I wanted to do something new with my own IP. So to challenge myself I first made Death Stranding. Then to create a franchise I made Death Stranding 2. And I wanted to do something even newer, so I started working on OD.
“And since then there have been a lot of new ideas. But in the last eight years, every day on social media, from users all around the world, people have been asking me to create another Metal Gear and stuff like that.”
Anyone who follows Kojima’s various social media feeds has already seen this in action. In the years immediately after his departure from Konami, Kojima said nothing about the series that made him, but in recent years, he’s been a lot more engaged about things like Metal Gear anniversaries and acknowledging his time on the series. Turns out that he also had a bout of ill-health four years ago that made him take stock.
“I fell ill in 2020,” says Kojima. “It was also during the pandemic, so I was sick and isolated during all of it. I even had surgery. And I thought ‘I can’t anymore.’ I was at my lowest and felt like I couldn’t go back to making games.
“I wrote a will, too. And in that moment, I realized that people die.”
On the face of it this may seem an odd statement, because Kojima’s work is absolutely shot-through with death and its consequences. Hideo Kojima’s father, Kingo Kojima, was a travelling pharmacist and named his son because “Hideo” was the most common name that the doctors he met had: so you can see where the old man’s ambitions lay. Sadly Kingo Kojima died when Hideo was a 13 year-old boy, and the impact of this loss can be felt in the major themes of everything his son has done since.
But the death of others, even those most dear to us, is one thing. Confronting one’s own mortality, as the body changes and the inevitable begins to slowly happen, quite another.
“I turned 60 last year,” says Kojima. “I’ll turn 70 in ten years. I hope to never retire. Having said that, if the users desire it [a new Metal Gear-style game] so much, I thought I should change my priorities a bit.”
Kojima goes on to say that, while he was tempted by the offers to make movies, this is the kind of thing that actually gets his juices going: and of course gets another of his Hollywood buddies into the story.
“I still want to do new things, but I decided to make an action-espionage game,” says Kojima. “I get many requests from Hollywood to make films, but I’ve refused them. Because I have my own company now, I can’t leave for one or two years to go make a movie. The company would collapse, I was in a tough spot.
“And I talked to Guillermo del Toro about it. And he said ‘Hideo, what you’re making is already a movie. Keep going as you are.’
“His words saved me. And since we’ll be working with many creators in the business, though the output is a game, it won’t be too different from movies.”
So Metal Gear fans should clearly get hyped for Physint, even though it’s clearly years away from release (and Sony hasn’t confirmed a PC version but, c’mon). Elsewhere in HideoTube Elle Fanning has a segment to enthuse about how fantastic DS2 is and (ironically, I hope) describe herself as “happy to be a cog in the wheel of his genius mind” before laughing (Oh Hideo, edit these bits out).
There are also some deeply amusing moments, such as when Norman Reedus is wheeled-out as a special guest and basically delivers a stream-of-consciousness about Death Stranding 2’s trailers like a stoner. “There’s a lot going on,” says Reedus, who I’m sure was not actually baked, before going on to describe various weird things in the trailers and how he likes the robot dog. This is a man who is clearly enjoying the ride, and how those finger-gloves on Fragile really tie the room together.
As for the Death Stranding film adaptation, Kojima says that converting a 50-60 hour game’s story into a two-to-three hour film is an issue (I bet this thing is over three hours long), but the most important thing is to make something “artistic”. He then modestly states the goal is to “create something that can win awards at film festivals like Cannes, Venice or Sundance.”
Well. The movie doesn’t yet have a director, and Kojima claims that even things like casting Norman Reedus haven’t been decided, so we’re some way out from seeing anything of this project yet. Kojima Productions’ next release will be Death Stranding 2, with OD afterwards and then, finally, we’ll get Physint and, you know what, I already know what the lead character’s first line is going to be:
“Kept you waiting, huh?”