Hideo Kojima

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Hideo Kojima

Hideo Kojima (小島秀夫 Kojima Hideo, born August 24, 1963) is a Japanese video game designer and former vice president of Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Currently he is the head of Kojima Productions, a new team devoted to creative game development leaving behind all the business and administrative decision making. He is the creator of a number of successful games, including the Metal Gear series, Snatcher and Policenauts. He has also produced both the Zone of the Enders and the polemic Boktai series, although he didn't design them.

His trademark style is to address and approach a multitude of important, large issues and aspects of human life in a philosophical, verbose (some would argue heavy-handed, and inappropriate or at least unlikely) fashion. Another strong Kojima trademark is that he's never afraid to break the fourth wall; a light-hearted touch guided by his notably unique sense of humor. Also noticeable is his love of film, made present by a number of homages found in his stories and characters.

Born in Setagaya, Tokyo, he later moved to Kobe at the age of three. Initially having ambitions of becoming a film director, he joined video game publisher Konami's MSX division in 1986 as a designer.

The first game he worked on was Penguin Adventure, as an assistant director. The first game he actually developed was Lost Warld, a Mario-like war game, in 1986. However, it was cancelled by Konami.

His first released game was Metal Gear. It was released in 1987 to critical success, although due to the MSX's obscurity, the initial MSX version of the game was barely well-known in Japan and Europe and many people (especially Americans) didn't play the game until it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (although went through numerous changes during the conversion process and Kojima was not directly involved). The game featured Solid Snake, a rookie soldier who has been sent to the fortified state of "Outer Heaven" to stop a nuclear equipped walking tank known as "Metal Gear". The game was unique by being the first successful stealth-based game, in which the player is encouraged to avoid visual contact with the enemy as opposed to engaging in direct confrontation (this was done due to the graphical limitations of the MSX, since the hardware couldn't handle scrolling very well, nor display too many moving objects at once). He later released the critically acclaimed Snatcher, a text-based adventure with a cyberpunk setting and Cold War themes, in 1988.

Kojima later designed Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake in 1990, remade Snatcher in 1992 for the PC-Engine under title of Snatcher CD-ROMantic (which would become the basis for the subsequent versions of the game) and designed Policenauts, a film noir/sci-fi-themed adventure game set in a space colony (often regarded as a "spiritual sequel" to Snatcher), in 1994; Snatcher and Policenauts were both huge successes in Japan. He also produced a series of adventure games based on the Tokimeki Memorial dating sim series dubbed the Drama Series, which were made on the same game engine used by Policenauts.

With the release of Metal Gear Solid in 1998 for the PlayStation, Kojima became an international celebrity among gamers. Noted not only for its well-designed gameplay, Metal Gear Solid was also highly regarded for its characters and storyline, which featured themes of nuclear proliferation and genetic engineering.

In early 2000, Kojima released the first details of the sequel to Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, for the PlayStation 2. The game's highly detailed graphics, physics, and expanded gameplay quickly made it one of the most anticipated games ever. However, when the game was released in late 2001, it was met with mixed reactions, some criticizing it for employing a highly unusual and complex storyline, and having very long cinematic cut-scenes. The introduction of a new main character, Raiden was also unpopular; his androgynous appearance annoyed many fans in Europe and the United States.

Before MGS2's release, Kojima produced the game and anime franchise Zone of the Enders in 2001 to moderate success. In 2003, he produced Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand for the Game Boy Advance. In this, players take the role of a young vampire hunter who uses a solar weapon which is charged by a photometric sensor on the game cartridge (forcing them to play in sunlight). He also began work on Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a GameCube remake of the first Metal Gear Solid with all the gameplay features of Metal Gear Solid 2 and with cutscenes redirected by action/horror film director Ryuhei Kitamura. It was released in 2004.

Afterwards, Kojima also designed and released Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the PlayStation 2, which is set in the year 1964 (during the height of the Cold War) and involves wilderness survival, unlike the previous games in the series which took place in the near future and focused on indoor locations. In this game, the player also needs to use camoflauge to evade enemies. The North American version was released on November 17, 2004, with the Japanese counterpart following on December 16. The European version was released on March 4, 2005. Critical response to the game has been more favorable then that of the previous installment and has increased interest in any future installments of the series.

At that time Kojima also worked on Boktai's sequel, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django for the Game Boy Advance. Released in summer 2004, it makes more extensive use of the cartidge's sunlight sensor and allows players to combine various new solar weapons.

Also released was Metal Gear Ac!d for the PlayStation Portable handheld. This turn-based game is less action-oriented than the other Metal Gear games and focuses more on strategy. It was released in Japan on December 16, 2004.

Kojima Productions

On April 1, 2005, with Konami's merging with several of its subsidiares transformed Kojima's team at Konami Computer Entertainment Japan into "Kojima Productions." Currently, Kojima and his new company are working on three projects:

The first is Metal Gear Acid 2 for the PlayStation Portable. It features the same turn-based, strategic gameplay of Metal Gear Acid, and uses brighter, cel-shaded-style visuals. It will contain twice the cards of the original and a more user-friendly interface.

The second is Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for the PlayStation 2. This updated version of Metal Gear Solid 3 contains two online play modes, a new 3rd-person camera and all the additional features (Duel Mode, Demo Theater) that were previously exclusive to the European release of the original game. It also contains the original MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (with the latter being released for the first time outside Japan), based on their 2004 Mobile Phone releases.

The third is Metal Gear Solid 4 for the PlayStation 3. Kojima originally said he would not direct, but later announced that he is assuming the role of director and designer again. Co-directing the game with him is Shuyo Murata, director of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. It is expected to be released in 2007.


External links

es:Hideo Kojima fr:Hideo Kojima ja:小島秀夫


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