Famed director of cinematic games, Hideo Kojima, finally revealed recently that his studio Kojima Productions would eventually start making movies. It all came out thanks to a BBC documentary into the making of Death Stranding. As well as saying that he would start making films Kojima said:
“If a person can do one thing well, then they should be able to do anything well.”
Apart from the obvious fact that making good films doesn’t mean you’ll make good games and vice-versa, we should probably all stop and take a minute to think about what this means.
In case you aren’t aware of any of Kojima’s previous works (how?) let me remind you of a vague overview of some plot points from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. A trio of rapidly aging clones is created of a mercenary/terrorist who may or may have had a robot arm in the 80s. Actually he definitely didn’t because SPOILER ALERT he also brainwashed someone else into being him for a bit. One of said three clones has to sneak around an island-based, fighting a psychic Russian, an Alaskan Shaman, and a cyborg ninja. His main ally was a nerdy scientist who wet himself.
That description might sound like a lot, but that’s mostly taken from 1 game. Things that happen in other games get even more insane, and only more so as Kojima’s career has progressed. Can you imagine a 3-hour long exposition dump supported by the oddest cast imaginable? Because that’s exactly what a movie written and directed by Kojima is going to be.
The other thing you can be sure of with Kojima’s first movie is that it is going to make insane amounts of money. Even if the script is all painful, pretentious analogies to consumerism and overblown exposition, Kojima is still going to make money. It won’t even matter how bad the reviews are. Kojima will walk away as a winner.
While Kojima’s work is universally bonkers, it’s also usually pretty fun and ridiculous. Sure Metal Gear Solid had like 3 hours of cutscenes where people sat around talking about political intrigue, DARPA and stolen nuclear weapons. It also had a scene filled with diarrhea jokes because why not have that scene?
Any movie written by Kojima is liable to have that same blend of complete insanity and humor. The main problems are that he thinks he is good at films because he makes games, and that without the ‘game’ part of his stories to keep things interesting they’re liable to just devolve into ramblings about conspiracies and everyone will fall asleep.
With Kojima finally making the move into film-making we could be seeing a brave new world. A world where artistry is no longer constrained by the medium. A world in which famed directors can make the transition from movies to games and vice-versa with no problems.
Actually, scratch that. Just because you’re good at one medium doesn’t mean you will be at another. In fact, if Kojima goes into films thinking he knows what he is doing, then his first movie is going to suck. Trust me, film-making is tough and completely unlike making games. Unless Kojima plans on just stapling together all of the MGS cutscenes into a movie, then the world is in for a treat when his first film releases.
If you need any further proof just look at Death Stranding’s most common criticism. The fact that it was as boring as all sin. This doesn’t necessarily bode well for a Kojima movie, dull, and loaded with exposition and tropes.