One of the biggest names in gaming is Hideo Kojima, most notable for his Metal Gear Solid franchise. Kojima entered the gaming industry in the mid-1980s and crafted the debut entry of his iconic series in 1987. He made several other titles like Policenauts and Snatcher before achieving mainstream success with Metal Gear Solid in 1997. Every title in the beloved series tried something bold and new, sometimes to the ire of fans. Regardless of whether one likes his work or not, no one can deny his fearlessness. Currently, Kojima is hard at work on Death Stranding, a new, enigmatic IP set to release this November.
One can tell a lot about someone from their work, but what about the real story behind the legend? What was his life like before video games? What does he do when he isn't crafting stories in the interactive medium? The next ten entries will answer these and more as they explore ten facts you never knew about Hideo Kojima.
10 He Wanted To Be A Filmmaker
The influence film has had on him is apparent, from Solid Snake's design taking inspiration from Escape From New York's Snake Plissken to the boss battles mirroring the gunslinger's encounters with the gunfighters in Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo. Metal Gear Solid is credited with bringing a cinematic flavor to the gaming landscape, with cutscenes stressing cinematography and character movement.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Kojima wanted to be a filmmaker before opting to design games. It makes one wonder if he will ever direct or write a screenplay sometime in the future. Game design was probably the better choice, especially since it gave him more exposure in the West. Foreign films, save for a few exceptions, generally don't gain popularity in the United States.
9 He Loves Music
Any follower of his twitter will know just how much he loves music. Hints of his passion are in the games too. One of Major Zero's code names was Major Tom, a direct reference of the character from David Bowie's classic single, Space Oddity.
Bowie is a particular favorite, as evidenced by The Phantom Pain's opening featuring a cover of "The Man Who Sold The World." Snake Eater was also going to close with "Space Oddity" and "Ashes to Ashes" playing over the credits when the game centered more around space.
8 Director Friends
Kojima's kinship with legendary Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is well-known. The two worked on the tragically canceled Silent Hills, and del Toro's likeness is in Death Stranding. A lesser-known friendship exists between the game designer and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, known for films like Drive, Only God Forgives, and Bronson.
Refn is also set to appear in Death Stranding in a similar manner to del Toro; his image was scanned but another actor provided the motion capture and voice. Because one good cameo deserves another, Hideo has a small part in Refn's Amazon Prime series Too Old to Die Young.
7 He Wanted To Leave Metal Gear For A While
Kojima's exit from Konami was a dirty one and left The Phantom Pain in a sadly unfinished state. The silver lining is it gave him a chance to work on a new IP, something he wanted for a while.
Every Metal Gear game starting from Metal Gear Solid 2 was set to be his last, but fan demand kept bringing him back for more.
6 He's A Cinephile
While he never became a director, he's still deeply invested in the medium.
Kojima watches movies like his life depends on it. A quick glance on his social media pages reveals the latest films he has seen and he regularly retweets film-related posts.
5 Literary Influences
Films aren't the only influence on his work. Books also have a substantial impact. Metal Gear Solid 2, in particular, has several parallels with Paul Auster's New York Trilogy.
The most obvious one is the name Peter Stillman showing up in both, but it runs deeper than that, with both dealing with identity and how one's environment shapes them. This can be similarly found in The Phantom Pain, which deals with giving somebody a completely new identity.
4 He Wrote Short Stories
In his young adult years, Kojima spent time writing short stories and submitting them to publishers and magazines. By his account, none of them were accepted. For the magazines, they were too long for acceptable standards. This is Kojima we're talking about, so long, drawn-out narratives are no surprise.
3 He Wanted Snake In Smash Brothers
Solid Snake appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a dream come true. Brawl is not as celebrated as the other games in the franchise, but he, fortunately, showed up once more in Ultimate. It was Kojima's idea to add him to the roster, and he wanted him to be in the prior entry, Melee, but time restraints prevented it from happening.
2 His Childhood
Kojima admits to living a lonely childhood. He would often come home from school to an empty house and take care of himself until his mother came home.
Even from this early age, though, he had an urge to make things and tell stories. He used to help his friend make 8mm short films in his spare time.
1 His Education
Given his knack for creativity, one would think his studies involved the arts. Unexpectedly, Kojima went for economics. It wasn't his first choice, but the pressure to find a good job made him study a more financially sound profession. Fortunately for the world, his passion took over and he went into a creative field anyway.