- Kojima’s convoluted storylines and overuse of retcon in the Metal Gear Solid series have led to plot holes and questionable decisions.
- The controversy surrounding Quiet’s costume in Metal Gear Solid V highlights Kojima’s questionable design decisions and his stubborn defense of those decisions.
I am a huge fan of Hideo Kojima’s work. I even bought his semi-autobiography and read it twice! However, writing a book or creating a video game does not make you immune to fallibility. This visionary genius has made some questionable decisions, often backed up with poor or sometimes no explanation. Now that the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection is in the spotlight and MGS alum Stefanie Joosten’s retrospective thoughts on the whole “Quiet” thing, it might be fun to delve into some of Kojima’s less important points.
Long and tangled snake
Personally, when I think of Kojima, the Metal Gear Solid franchise naturally comes to mind, with MGS 1 being my first introduction to the series and introduction to the Kojima-verse. I remember the boss fights, the cigarettes, and the stealth, but honestly I lost track somewhere between MGS 1 and MGS 5, with the convoluted storylines full of snakes, philosophical leanings, and overuse of retcon. I mean, how many dead people can you lazily justify reviving through “cloning” or some other means? deus ex machina?
Even Kojima himself admits in interviews that the plot holes in MGS basically exist because he didn’t put the stories together properly when developing the games. Fair enough and an honest answer. Apology accepted, Hideo. All you need to tell a good story is excellent gameplay, memorable characters and lengthy cutscenes, right?
Yes, Sam, this game does It feels like things are looking up, doesn’t it?
As a noted fan of movies, Kojima’s directing spirit naturally focuses on the more cinematic moments of games, but if you can’t get the job done without resorting to an absurd amount of cutscenes, then it’s basically 50% gaming and 50% from film period, and it feels downright disturbing. Titles like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Death Stranding felt very much like an exercise that Kojima intentionally put players through to test their loyalty and patience. For example: “If you can survive this, you’re ready to be my fan.” For example, MGS 4 holds the Guinness World Record for the “longest cutscene in a game” at a whopping 71 minutes. Death Stranding comes in third place with a total of 7 hours of cutscenes, one of which lasts 30 minutes.
nothing new in the West
Ironically, while Kojima doesn’t seem to go for short, revealing cutscenes or storylines, he’s completely fine when it comes to costume choices for female characters. With MGS 4, Kojima and his team’s serious artistic façade began to crumble with admittedly more mature content. According to KotakuKonami’s original intentions for the Beauty and the Beast unit were revealed at the MGS 4 signing event in Shinjuku, where the costumes were completely different than what we saw in the game.
“Rest” is clearly written more as a whimsical object.
In Metal Gear Solid V we first meet the character Quiet, the enigmatic and silent sniper whose skin is covered in parasites that need to breathe and absorb sunlight, just like you do. Her controversial wardrobe left little to the imagination, but hang in there! Hideo Kojima says to get your thoughts out of the gutter because “you just don’t understand how vocal cord parasites work and you should be ashamed.” Whatever you say, Hideo.
I thought you could lure us in with the old bait-and-switch protagonist routine, didn’t you?
Funnily enough, Japanese audiences treated the concept and appearance of “Quiet” much less carefully and much less delicately than Western audiences. Of course, when Kojima was bombarded with questions about Quiet’s outfit in America, he tried it Explain to Polygon that her backstory justifies the appearance and stubbornly maintains that the intention was to make Quiet quiet and “sexy.” Back home in Japan it was a completely different story.
Lost in translation
At the 2014 Tokyo Game ShowKojima and the MGS 5 team spoke at a live panel alongside famous Dutch model Stefanie Joosten, where Quiet was voiced and filmed. Speaking to his Japanese fans, Kojima revealed that Quiet’s original concept was similar to MSG 4’s Beauty and the Beast crew (again!), who definitely wouldn’t have flown to the US, but what was most interesting about this event, was Joosten himself. Speaking in fluent Japanese, she expressed her delight at being in the game but declined to comment on the design.
In one Current interview with IGN, Joosten’s thoughts on her legendary character seem to have changed slightly. While she ultimately respects Kojima’s decision to go with the skimpy outfit, she admits that there were many other options they could have chosen. It makes sense that she wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds her, but her comments touch on the original claim 10 years ago and Kojima’s problem in general.
Compassionate and encouraging, Snake growls, “You’re not bad. You were just drawn to it.”
From course he had other options! The thing is, instead of coming clean, Kojima followed up with an absurd backstory to disguise his youthful tendencies. And I’m not saying Kojima is an uncompromising chauvinist. In MGS’s past, fleshed out female characters like Meryl or Big Boss were excellent and necessary to the plot, but at some point the priorities shifted, with Quiet clearly being written as more of a quirky object. Essentially, despite Kojima’s arguments, she was a character designed to stare at and sell action figures.
To be honest, Kojima’s problems mentioned above are not the case Excellent outrageous, and I love this guy’s stuff. What I can’t stand, however, is an inflated ego. Left unchecked, it eventually coagulates into hubris, to the point where your self-perception is that of a demigod. Oddly enough, Kojima’s book is everything species of tenderness and sentimentality, with many admissions and poignant reflections. Maybe one day he’ll release a sequel called Things I May Have Been Wrong About, but I doubt it. For the author, self-knowledge is a commodity.
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