June 7, 2020

Hideo Kojima: Games, Movies And Strong Cult Following

Hideo Kojima

I have to be quite frank here. My first introduction with Hideo Kojima’s work was with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It’s one of my husband’s favorite games, and after playing it, it became one of my favorites as well. Well, after Red Dead Redemption 2, but I digress. And he thought that by introducing me to the Metal Gear Solid 3, I’d love the 60’s, the Cold war setting, and the fact that I’m playing with Big Boss. Which I do BTW, and I also love a damn good origin story as well. So we started from the best, not the first. A bold move, I might add, but hey…the strategy worked. It made me a Hideo Kojima fan, so I’m not complaining.

Hideo Kojima and Death Stranding

However, the reasons for this post are far more plentiful. First and foremost, there are the Metal Gear Solid games that are currently on sale at IndieGala. Next, the pre-purchase availability of Hideo Kojima’s latest project – Death Stranding (also on IndieGala). And of course the scrapping of his next big project. According to some reports he was not working on Silent Hills and there’s no word on what project (in particular) fell through. But I bet it would have been great. Like I said- brand new Kojima fan here, so bear with me.

And speaking of Death Stranding, my colleague here at IndiGala wrote a fantastic review of Death Stranding that’s worth checking out. Seriously, it’s great. And I for one, can’t wait to try out the game as well. I mean, Kojima, Guillermo Del Toro, Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen all in the same place? Heck yeah!

Hideo Kojima

Hideo Kojima and past failures

As my research on Kojima went on, I found out that he’s not immune to failures. And I guess, I have the uttermost respect for him because of that. I mean, you can’t really achieve success without going through failure first. The scrapping of Silent Hills and the subsequent removal of the P.T. demo from the PlayStation network must have been a bitter pill to swallow. Add that the acrimonious „divorce“ from Konami…. and well. You get my point.

Now, Kojima has a cult-like status among the fans. Speaking in cinematic terms he’s the Quentin Tarantino of the gaming industry. The man has devoted fans, critical acclaim and commercial success in all of his projects. What more can a man want?

But I think my husband best described Kojima and his video games. Unlike Tarantino movies (where most of the style or themes are stolen from other directors and the movies predictable at best), you can immediately recognize a Kojima made video game. It’s the unique cinematic storytelling, the Hollywood style narrative, innovation in gameplay, the A-list stars in the cast. Not to mention his ability to direct really good video games.

Which at times is better than most A-list Hollywood directors. And honestly, very few directors have that ability even now. To be able to recognize his work even without looking at the intro. Some do have it still to this day (say David Fincher), and some (say Tim Burton, Paul Thomas Anderson) have lost it completely over time.

The cult of Kojima

First and foremost, you can easily say that his friendship with Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro is every nerd’s dream. How can it not be? They’re awesome. But I think that that’s the least interesting part of the cult of Kojima. Why? Let me give you an example.

I frequent certain movie outlets (Collider, Den of Geek, Cinema Blend) where I usually find interesting content for my blog. Writing inspiration, if you will. Never have I ever seen articles about „movie list recommendations“ from any other game developers. Ever. I found plenty of movie recommendations from Kojima there, and so much more cool stuff too. There are also countless YouTube channels devoted to the life, career and artistry of Hideo Kojima. And from what I can tell, he enjoys a celebrity life status too. I would also argue that he would be an excellent feature film director, if he would ever make the transition to the film industry. I love his style and would love to see that same style in a movie as well.

Hideo Kojima

Hideo Kojima and what he means to the fans

Which brings me to my point. The cult following I mentioned in the title. If I wasn’t clear enough in this post, the man has plenty of that. But there’s cult fan following and just being a fan of his work. Luckily for Hideo Kojima, he has both, and they were really handy when he needed them the most. Let me explain. In my prep for this post, I found a fantastic story about Kojima, which I feel sums up the influence that he has on his fans. Believe it or not, it was presented by a female fan, but we do exist so…. Make of that what you will.

When he reportedly left Konami, he was looking for financial backing to start his independent production. And to make Death Stranding of course. So, he went to several banks and applied for plenty of bank loans. Most of the banks turned him down, saying that he didn’t have any financial liquidity. Kojima had a god-damn rock-star status but couldn’t get a bank loan to make Death Stranding. He was considered a risky investment, which in part is true. Going solo in his early 50’s after spending 30 years in one company. Risky is an understatement indeed.

Hideo Kojima

The fans to the rescue!

Do you know who eventually approved his bank loan? A bank executive who was a huge fan of Metal Gear Solid. The same thing happened with the attempt to find office space to start his company. The owner of the building from which he leased the office space to Kojima, was a huge fan of his work, and I guess it worked out well. All because of his fans.

I mean they could have easily said no. They had every right to do so. But their decision was not made based on profit, but love for this man’s work. So, yeah. That in a nutshell is my take on the cult of Hideo Kojima.

Your thoughts

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