After a tumultuous year and arduous relationship with Konami, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has finally left the Japanese publisher and has joined forces with PlayStation. Kojima will now be making a second-party exclusive title for the PlayStation 4.
Acquiring the talents of one of the best creative minds in the video game industry was a significant power move on Sony’s part. Likewise, it was clever for Kojima to avoid going fully independent with his first title as he won’t have to worry too much about any financial ramifications. He can make any type of game he wants, but what exactly will he be making, and what do we want him to make?
It’s easy to speculate and guess, but we can learn quite a lot by looking at Sony’s library of exclusives. What types of games is PlayStation missing? Definitely not linear, story-driven titles. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is releasing in April this year alongside The Last Guardian, which we would presume to be a bit more linear than open-world. Developer Studio Japan’s only two games are Ico and Shadow of the Colossus after all. Quantic Dream is making Detroit, and the studio is known for its narrative-driven, linear, movie-inspired experiences. Both Sony Bend and Santa Monica have been dormant for quite a while but looking at both studio’ portfolios, they also prefer making linear games. Insomniac Games is releasing Ratchet and Clank in 2016 -- another game that definitely isn’t a giant open-world experience.
Besides Guerrilla's Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is also releasing next year, PlayStation doesn’t really have many open-world exclusives. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the best open-world games this year. It was pretty clear to me when I was reviewing the game that Kojima wanted to make a wholly unique title that’s inspired by Skyrim and The Witcher. MGSV isn’t a Metal Gear Solid game, not really. It lacks the series’ trademark zany storytelling and interesting characters. Instead, MGSV offers fantastic and dangerously addictive open-world gameplay. It’s a blast to play and Kojima clearly shows that he has good open-world sensibilities, and that’s where his passion currently lies.
His background and origins definitely lie in linear stealth games, but after making them for decades it feels as though he’s ready to move on from that. I can’t see him making something that’s similar to the first four Metal Gear Solid games -- he’s been past that for a while now. I still think he has quite a lot to do and say in the open-world genre. Even though MGSV is a fine game, it’s still bogged down by the fact that it’s called Metal Gear Solid and Kojima was forced to make yet another entry in his beloved franchise. Snake feels out of place in the game alongside some of the more eccentric and rather strange story beats and cutscenes. Kojima was finally coming out of his shell with this title and given a little more leeway to make something different.
If he’s given enough creative control, which he probably is in his new deal with PlayStation, then he can create a mammoth open-world title from the ground up replete with brand new characters and lore. There’s potential there for something truly amazing. There’s also the canceled Silent Hills game, and plenty of people are speculating that Kojima and his new studio might actually be making it now. Considering that Konami owns Silent Hill it definitely won’t be a new game in that series, but I can see Kojima joining forces with director Guillermo del Toro to make a horror title. The P.T. demo is interesting and creepy after all. But yet again, I think if Kojima does indeed try to make a horror game, it’ll be open-world rather than something a little more linear.
But whatever he decides to make, people will definitely be paying attention, and PlayStation will still benefit a great deal from the acquisition of his creative talents.