Hideo Kojima Reflects on 25 Years of Metal Gear

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Hideo Kojima Reflects on 25 Years of Metal Gear

Gray Fox

One of the worst ways to realize you’re getting old is when something you hold dear reaches a certain age. That being said, Metal Gear celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.

The Metal Gear series, although not originally created for PlayStation consoles, began to reach its current level of popularity in 1998 when Metal Gear Solid was released on the original PlayStation.

We met with Hideo Kojima to talk about his thoughts on the series’ landmark games, and to discuss what’s in store for the future’s franchise.

Metal Gear 25th Anniversary

Metal Gear — 1987 (MSX2)

Hideo Kojima: This is the year I began working in the video game industry, as a game designer and planner. I was very young — among the first generation in the industry in Japan. I had already built up a certain reputation when I started as an employee, but the first game on which I worked for half a year was cancelled. We didn’t know when we were going to finish it, and one day my superiors called me to inform me they we cancelling it.

I thought about leaving the company and looking for other work, but they offered me the chance to develop a combat game for the MSX. The result of this offer was the first Metal Gear. It was launched exactly 25 years ago. It is well known that the MSX had many technical limitations, and I didn’t want to make war games. So I decided to create something similar to The Great Escape — something involving an escape — and in the end I made an espionage game.

Metal Gear received good reviews, and as the planner I had to create some drawings for the game. I didn’t have many tools, so I had to go to the programmers and tell them exactly what I had in mind and what I wanted them to do.

Back then, programmers made the final decisions, rather than the planners, which bothered me a lot. I wanted to have the final say on the games I was creating, so I asked for a script system to be made so I could input sounds and animations whenever I liked. This is how Snatcher was born.

Metal Gear Solid — 1998 (PlayStation)

Metal Gear 25th AnniversaryHideo Kojima: I was making games like Policenauts, and I heard rumors about a console on which polygons could be created in real time. This really grabbed my attention, since one of the major attractions of games is the sensation of action, and I was intrigued to see what I could achieve with those polygons. Metal Gear is a hide-and-seek game, and the thought of doing this while adding a camera that could change position really excited me. So I stopped making script-based games and went back to asking for favors from programmers for this 3D world.

I was a designer for Metal Gear Solid, but I was not a producer, so I had no say in the budget, release date, or promotion of the game. I remember when they told me what the release date would be and I had no say in the matter… these are bitter memories for me.

At Kojima Productions I’m a director, producer, and designer of video games; I have control over the budget, and more say in what to do or what not to do, especially regarding hiring. In fact, the people who worked on the first Metal Gear Solid are still the core of Kojima Productions.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty — 2001 (PlayStation 2)

Hideo Kojima: Metal Gear Solid sold well throughout the world; it was a great success. When I heard about the hardware for the PlayStation 2, I wanted to try something new. Up to that point, all cutscenes had focused more on details like facial expressions, but I wanted to pay more attention to the surroundings, to see how much I could change them in real time. Current games like Call of Duty have followed this trend of making your surroundings more realistic.

Since Metal Gear Solid sold very well, I had a bigger budget for MGS2, so I was able to work with people like Harry Gregson-Williams, with whom I had wanted to work for some time, but had always been told the funds weren’t available. We were under a lot of pressure, but at the same time I enjoyed the creative freedom I had in making the game.

We were also able to promote the game in parallel to its production. I remember at E3 2000 we received a standing ovation, which I really enjoyed. Looking back, I have fond memories of the development of Metal Gear Solid 2.

Metal Gear 25th AnniversaryMetal Gear 25th Anniversary

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater — 2004 (PlayStation 2)

Hideo Kojima: While MGS2 sold well, many fans of Snake were upset that Raiden was the main protagonist; we received a lot of complaints about that. There were also comments about the story unfolding too quickly; it created quite a stir. With this in mind, we created Snake Eater.

At the time, I was not just a designer but also a manager, in charge of the studio. We were therefore able to develop several projects at once, such as Boktai, Zone of the Enders, and The Twin Snakes. I thought it would be very hard for me to develop Snake Eater as the lead creator, so I tried to delegate responsibilities to younger employees in the studio. In the end it couldn’t be done, but it was my first attempt in doing it.

After MGS3 was finished, in order to make it clear that the next Metal Gear would not be directed by me, while on tour in Europe we announced that the next director would be Alan Smith, an alias.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots — 2008 (PlayStation 3)

Hideo Kojima: The PlayStation 3 was quite a complex system; games had to be developed in three levels. By the end of the Metal Gear Solid 4 project we had nearly 200 people working on it, with three directors (although often they were directors in name only, and I ended up doing a lot). This is why the game was delayed.

We made MGS4 according to a very Japanese method. At the time, the trend was for open-world games, but we decided to pay no attention to this and take another path. I already felt the need to create something similar to what we are doing with the Fox Engine.

In order to develop the Fox Engine, I had to understand how things worked elsewhere, so for a year and a half I visited studios around the world, and since we are Japanese people we were able to see the way others worked and recognize that in many respects their methods were better than ours.

Since the Fox Engine was going to take a lot of time to create, at the same time we began working on Peace Walker.

Metal Gear 25th Anniversary

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker — 2010 (PlayStation Portable)

Hideo Kojima: We did not only develop Peace Walker for the PSP because it was a popular console in Japan, but also because we had the concept of Transfarring in mind, so as a test we developed it on the PSP. Transfarring is now up and running, but it was something we had planned since the very beginning.

I think Peace Walker was a success. We were able to accomplish much of what I wanted, for example the whole social aspect which we had not achieved on the PS3. With simpler hardware, we were able to focus on doing things we had been wanting to try.

Fox Engine

Hideo Kojima: The Fox Engine is nearly finished, but the only way to be sure it works is to create a game at the same time and improve the engine with our tools as we go along. Originally we were going to do this for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but a lot happened along the way and instead it is being made with the engine they have at Platinum Games.

Production studios in Japan are nearly extinct, a fact that we have recognized for nearly 10 years, and although the Fox Engine is not finished we are ready to show what it can do… on August 30th in Japan to be more specific.

Comments are closed.


  • Peace Walker is great (better than 4 imo) but can we get Portable Ops working on Vita please?

  • FIRST! I just waiting for the MGS4 TROPHIEEEES!

  • You know what would be awesome?? If he remakes Metal Gear Solid ’98 in HD with trophies!!! That would be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Best video game (and entertainment) series of all time!

    Seriously… Never a story or characters drove me so much into the story!

  • @2 — I totally agree! PLEASE bring Portable Ops to Vita for North American PSN accounts!

  • Mr Kojima is a god , announce MGS5 already and add trophies to MGS4 so I can give it two more playthroughs . May the Church of Sony bless you good sir .and don’t make MGS5 for 360…. I’m a 32yo fan boy,no shame in my game

  • Just checked; why is Peace Walker for PSP (on PSN) the same price as the full HD trilogy on PS3?

    The Vita version of the HD collection is $10 more expensive than the PS3 version and the PS3 version comes with a remake of Peace Walker. Meanwhile if I want to play Peace Walker on my Vita it’s $30 on PSN!

    I LOVE these games but the PSN pricing structure is broken. Any chance of a MGS anniversary sale?

  • “Hideo is GOD” :D I can’t wait to see what else Hideo has up his sleeve to celebrate MG’s 25th anniversary, supposedly he may remake MGS1 from the ground up! And I may get MGS4 again to gain all the trophies :) RIP MGO :( I hope at some point he does manage to create a MG game focusing on the Boss and the Cobra Unit, and can’t wait to play MGR:R!! Getting the Zone of the Enders HD Collection to get the demo :3 Long live Metal Gear!! Long live Hideo Kojima!! :D

  • LOL @ oZc-Gauss for thinking he was FIRST

  • Anyone think it is REALLY worth buying MGS HD Collection for vita?

  • NICE! but why isn´t the MGS HD collection for Ps3 on the PS store? the vita collection is but the Ps3 version isn´t,camon sony put that on the store its about time.

  • Looking forward to seeing the Fox Engine Debut. PeaceWalker (HD Version) was a blast to play and I am especially happy that Trophy Support will finally come to MGS4. I hope that one of them requires a Big Boss Rank playthrough since I have never tried it but would be a fun challenge.

  • where’s Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on the US PSN ???

    other regions got them months ago.

  • Awesome , can’t wait to see what happens on aug 30.

  • the ending to sons of liberty totally freaked me out me i was younger lol, i heard they are finally bringing trophies to MGS4? is this true?

  • I love the MG series, but I feel they f’d up a lot of the story in MGS4 (gameplay is awesome though), I’ll replay it when the trophy patch is ready and see if I can hate it less now that I know what to expect

  • I Love the Metal Gear series to death.
    While MGS1 is my favorite, MGS4 is a close second. Putting a massive emphasis on player choice and bringing Solid Snake’s story to a close, it was the perfect blend of stealth, action, and choice.

    I’m sure I’ll be playing though it many more times once the trophy patch is released, and I can’t wait to hear more on the future of the metal gear franchise!

  • listen up everyone, you guys need to download JunoWallet or Bamboo Wallet, depending on your phones.. its this sweet app i just found that gives you PSN cards just for downloading apps, check it out for yourselves, just use the code CK1169746 to get free .25$, add me on PSN @ MushThePainter if you have any questions ;)

  • “…although the Fox Engine is not finished we are ready to show what it can do… on August 30th in Japan to be more specific.” – Can’t wait to see what it can do!!!

  • It’s been around 10 years now since I first played a Metal Gear game, MGS2 to be exact. I had a blast with the game, and I thought it was difficult at the time. In 2007, I got the game again and for some reason, I found it to be easy. I had more experience I guess(me gamer since 1994). I played MGS3 in 2006 and totally loved. Played MGS1 in early 2008 and loved it too. MG1 and MGS2 in late summer 2009 in MGS3: Subsistence. I also got MGS2: Substance a little earlier than MGS3: Sub. and enjoyed all of the VR missions. Enjoyed them both. I finally get to play MGS4 at the last month of 2009 when I got my PS3 Slim. Got to play PW at the beginning of 2011. Longest MGS game if you do all of the missions.

    My collection: MGS1(digital too), MGS2, MGS2:S, MGS3, MGS3:S, MGS4, MGS:PO, MGS:PW, MGS HD Collection for PS3 and Vita. Not really fan of comics and PO Plus is online only so that’s my reason I don’t have get these two on the PSP.

    I hope Kojima Pro./Konami would bring the MGS1 VR Missions as PSone Classics on PSN soon. Can’t wait for the MGS4 patch.

  • Happy Birthday Metal Gear woooooooooooooottttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Playstation as a celebration please bring all psp Metal Gear games to the U.S. PSN my collection feels incomplete on my vita (I would’nt mind repurchasing them). Anyways LONG LIVE METAL GEAR!!!!

  • @3 way to fail.

  • Literally can not wait for Aug 30! Thank you Kojima for you contributions to the industry.

  • Metal Gear!? Kojima created some of the most fleshed-out awesome heroes and villains in videogames history. MG series is his major masterpiece but he’s put his mark of excellence in everything he’s done.

  • Please, please have somebody tell Hideo Kojima that I would love it if Metal Gear Acid 1 and 2 were put on the PSN Store and made compatible with my Vita. I miss playing those games. A little strategy, a little luck, and of course classic story telling all using a deck of cards.

    While your at it, tell Square Enix that us Vita owners would also love Crisis Core as a download. Thanks and keep up with the good work Sony blog team.


  • Thank You Mr. Kojima For The WonderFull Creation Of The “EZ-GUN”! I Have Been Useing It Non-Stop In Snake-Eater And It Is Soooooooo EASY TO USE! BeFore There Was “EZ-GUN”… I Went Ballistic Over OTHER Guns, The M22 Was Nice… But It Just Got Too Loud After The Silencer Wore Out… And ALL THOSE BULLETS! When They Were Gone…They Were Gone For Good, And CQC Can Be MESSY…. AND DANGEROUS! Then I DisCovered The “EZ-GUN”! No Need For Silencers… No Need For Scavengeing For Ammo! The EZ-GUN Fires UNLIMITED DARTS … AND!… It Stays SILENT… Like A Whisper! I Have Used It To Take Out Foot-Soldiers, VTOL Jockeys, Astronauts With FlameThrowers And Senior Citizens With Sniper Rifles! Even Takes Down PARROTS… PAINLESSLY! THANK YOU HIDEO KOJIMA… EZ-GUN Has CHANGED MY LIFE! -Richard (Ottawa, Ontario)

  • wish my vita could play MGS. Please hurry up sony I want to revisit the game that got me into gaming while on the go.

  • I was raised by Metal Gear Solid and Armored Core. Words cannot explain how I idolize these games!!! Thank you Hideo and FromSoftware!

  • Love the Metal Gear series! It’s among my favorites along with Uncharted and God of War. I still remember playing the first Metal Gear for the 8-bit NES back in the day. Who knew what it would eventually evolve into? But wasn’t there a Metal Gear II for the NES? I know I never played it, but I remember seeing something like it in a store way back when. Can any of you old-school gamers confirm this?

  • Loved every MGS game I have ever played and looking forward to future versions!! I would like to also ask for a PSN release of MGS HD Collection for the PS3. Really hope the Vita versions weren’t the reason for not releasing them for SCEA on PSN. O.o

  • So inspiring. I love the fact that he ignored the Western trend with MGS4 and I really think that’s what makes him a great director. All these other Japanese companies are failing and only reason I can think of is because they’re all westernizing their games. Kojima, you’re exactly the kind of people I look up to, a true artist. The kind that will stand your ground no matter how bad the storm is.

  • @9 Wait, did you just say that Jesus is developing video games? Are you sure?

  • Congratulations. A 25 year run in the gaming industry is a minor miracle. I bought the HD collection for the Vita & the PS3. I’ve never played a Metal Gear game before so it will all be new to me. I really want to try out the transfarring.

  • I Agree With Any Vita Users. We Need Portable Ops And Portable Ops +

  • @Duke301 (or #30)

    The very first two games in the series were released in Japan and Europe for the MSX in the 80’s. Metal Gear saw a US port on the NES (the MSX version was far superior). The NES version received its own sequel that wasn’t a port of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. For this, some people consider the NES iterations non-cannon. Also considering the fact in the NES version of Metal Gear, you don’t really fight a Metal Gear; just a gigantic computer with nuclear capabilities.

    To to Kojima: Please keep making awesome games, Man! I just picked up MGS: HD Collection for the Vita and it is absolutely amazing. I swear, if you port MGS4 to the Vita as the rumors suggest, I will pledge my allegiance forever. Hopefully the FOX Engine can be used to create a game for the Vita. Perhaps in the style of Peace Walker where the game is separated into individual missions. That would be really nice.

    YES! It is so worth it. Two great PS2 Metal Gear Solid games for a portable?! It is the most fun you could have on a bus.

  • PLEASE GOD :D Kojima make MGS5 just for the PS3 or PS4! ! ! :P

  • Can’t wait for the MGS4 trophies!!!

  • I cannot wait for more!! thank you!

  • When the MGS4 trophy patch goes live, please put the full game on PSN.

    Thank you.

  • Sad who they wasted time on MGS revergence which looks horrid to appease the 360 kids. MGS 5 should be a ps4 launch title exclusive.

  • To all the ppl who wanna get Portable Ops and/or Portable Ops+, just purchase and download it on ur ps3, then use content manager 2 put it on.

  • awesome news…..i cant wait for the mgs4 trophy patch….would also be nice if konami and kojima productions would fix the audio track on the opening too mgs3 hd….ugh so annoying watching it

  • Awesome Sauce!!!!!!!!!

  • MGS HD COLLECTION ON PSN STORE?! camon guys where is it?

  • THERE’S ONLY ONE GAME … that should grace the Fox Engine

    Zone of Enders 3 … nuff said.

  • @30

    “Metal Gear” for NES was a sad port of the game. Kojima had no part in it. Play the MSX2 version. It was much better. (They added it along with “Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence” and the “Metal Gear Solid HD Collection” on PS3)

    As for Metal Gear 2, the only sequel that came out for NES was “Snake’s Revenge,” which was not created by Kojima and is not part of the series’ cannon. “Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake” is the true sequel.

    If you want to experience the series in chronological order, play them like this.
    “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” (PS2/PS3)
    “Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops” (PSP)
    “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” (PSP/PS3)
    “Metal Gear” (MSX2/PS2/PS3)
    “Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake” (MSX2/PS2/PS3)
    “Metal Gear Solid” (PS1)
    “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” (PS2/PS3)
    “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” (PS3)

  • Happy 25th anniversary Metal Gear and to Hideo Kojima, It would be great if for this month to celebrate PSN released Portable Ops for PS Vita

  • Happy 25th anniversary and congratulations for this amazing serie!
    OOH YEAH and I cant wait to see whats on the 30th August! kkkk

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