Highlights from Kojima Interview with Sugoi-Japan

Hello friends. Suogoi-japan posted an interesting interview with Hideo Kojima. He discusses Mads/Reedus/Toro, making games, and his vision of the AI future.

I grabbed the most interesting bit for you.

Original interview 

Kojima on Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen

“I wanted to show a different side of Norman than we’re used to seeing, by having him in tears and hugging an infant. Most people only know him as Daryl from ‘The Walking Dead’. However, this time, Norman… is butt naked! [laughs]. Don’t you think Mads Mikkelsen look cool in the second trailer [slyly smiling]? I’m absolutely in love with Mads, to the point where I watch one of his films every day.”

About loyalty

“Norman showed concern and supported me during my previous situation, so when I went independent I went to ask him to appear in my first project. When I offered him a role in my next game, he replied: “Of course, that would be cool! Yes! I would be a fool not to take this!”.
It’s a similar story with title sequence designer Kyle Cooper. We’ve been friends since 1999, he’s a very special person to me. He also worried for me when I decided to go independent, and wrote to me saying, “I understand your decision, and I’ve always got your back.”, which made me cry. For Kyle, and Nicolas and Guillermo as well, even if there are differences in what we create, what language we use, what kind of hardware we use, and which methods we employ, all creators have a way of connecting with one another. We can share in each other’s joys and sorrows regardless of language. Therefore our lingua franca isn’t English, but “creating”. As long as we have this connection, we can become great friends. Even if I can only meet them a few times a year, actors and creators who’ve I’ve known for a long time are always willing to lend a hand.”

Naming the game engine

“The name of the game engine was announced on December 1st as the DECIMA engine. KojiPro is now also involved with engine tuning, so we gave it a new name. The name actually comes from Nagasaki’s “Dejima”, but we were told that the Japanese “JI” sound is hard to pronounce, so we went with DECIMA instead. Another reason is that DECIMA is one of the goddesses of fate, who is said to allot human lifespans, and we thought that this name was appropriate for us as game creators.”

 

His satellite office at Guerilla Games

As for technology, Europeans – especially Northern Europeans – are the best people when it comes to video games. So, we’ve set up a KojiPro “Dejima” or a satellite office within Guerilla Games. They are completely fine with us having this office, and we plan on hiring technicians there.”

Making games at 53

“For the past 30 years I’ve created video games, and though it’s a grueling task, I just can’t stop. I thought that working alone may give me a way out, but I just can’t seem to run away from it. Even when I am cornered, there’s an urge in me to keep creating something more exciting, new and something the world has never seen before. This is probably the reason I’m still doing this at the age of 53.”

Not setting his games in Japan

“It’s not that I don’t want to make Japan a setting. It’s just difficult to realize my vision with Japan as the setting If I want to make a game that includes themes like race, ethnicities, creeds and religion. It’s easier for me to use locations or countries outside of Japan, they’re a better match for my style.
However, I used to focus on making games for the Japanese market, but when the original PlayStation® came out, everything changed. America became the largest market, followed by Europe. The markets in Japan and the rest of Asia are rather small in comparison. As a result, I end up focusing on what Americans and Europeans want.”

“Sapiens to Ludens”

“(Homo) Ludens means “people who play”. I believe that “playing” brings humanity to the next step of evolution.
With the KojiPro logo movie that shows Ludens walking on a barren surface in space, the intent is to show us like travelers on the Enterprise bringing “play” to new places, and building society on that foundation. I am a creator, so I am both both Ludens and Faber (maker). I want to encourage players to eventually become makers. I want to cultivate new creators whereby someone may think: “Hey, this game changed my life. Who made this? Oh, so it’s a guy called Kojima. I want to make something too.” This is the kind of connection I want to work hard to achieve.
I can’t forget the sight of children playing outside on their portable gaming devices after their homes were destroyed by the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Having a means to play helped them confront and overcome their difficult situation. I think that’s what my job is. I can’t send tons of water or rice, but I can deliver something to play with.”

The Future

I think that the gaming, film and service industries will merge, and become a larger part of our daily life, so the concept of setting aside time just to play a game may disappear. The true essence of “playing” will also become more accentuated. Impromptu actions will be the essential element of “play”. A world where almost everything is done through AI (artificial intelligence) will eventually come. There are already self-driving cars, lights and air conditioning will be automatically adjusted for individual preference, and if you get thirsty a drink will be at the ready. People won’t have to do anything for themselves. You’ll be able to go anywhere you want without worrying about running into trouble, and everything will be safe. Personal relationships may change too. A boy might be able to filter out hurtful words spoken from a girl he likes in order to protect himself, etc…
If all this happens, the only true active thing left to do is to play. You have to let your guard down to play with someone. Through playing, people can meet, connect, learn new things and experience things. Having a playmate opens a world of coincidences and adventures. That’s why I decided to play and entertain to my last breath.
I’m now 53. My limits as a game creator are only about ten years ahead, but I’m not thinking about how to prepare the next generation or anything like that. I’m only fixed on what I can accomplish in the next decade, and how I can utilize everyone I know [laughs]. But I’m sure there’ll be people who’ll still pursue me, and I’ll give them a chance because that’s the connection from Ludens (players) to Faber (makers).

Original interview took place at Shinagawa, Nov 18th, 2016

Credit to Sayuru Tokai (text) and Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc. (translation)

 

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