Hideo Kojima wants people to know that he is an independent video game developer. That is to say, not only does his studio have “no relationship with anyone,” but also “every day” the Death Streak Auteur is refusing purchase offers from other companies.
“Some of those offers are ridiculously high prices,” Kojima said in the latest edition of Brain Structure, a podcast available through Spotify. (For the record, Kojima speaks in Japanese, with too much English). “But it’s not that I want money. I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
The podcast is hosted by Kojima, and his good friend Geoff Keighley, himself a host of The Game Awards, was a guest this week – so it looks like Kojima was leading the discussion. (Disclosure: Kojima is a member of The Game Awards advisory board.)
However, Keighley quickly took on the role of interviewer, asking Kojima about recent developments in the games industry. “There are so many rumors about games, especially on social media, and I thought we might talk about some of the rumors that are out there, and some of the truth behind those rumors,” Keighley said. .
The two then engaged in a lengthy discussion about rumor culture, entertainment products and social media. After citing this summer’s announcement that Kojima was working on a game for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, Keighley brought up Kojima’s close working relationship with PlayStation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (Death Streak was, and still is, a Playstation console exclusive), and whether it had made commitments to one console maker or another over the years.
“I think a lot of people have a misconception about Kojima Productions,” he said. “I created this company in 2015 after leaving Konami. It was 100% out of my pocket. There is no funding from anyone. Therefore, we are independent.”
Kojima admitted that his studio’s physical proximity to Sony’s global headquarters (in Shibuya, Tokyo), as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s HQ, “means that people think we’re part of Sony.” But as this summer’s Microsoft announcement suggests, “We’re Indians. We have no affiliations, and we have no endorsements from anyone. […] And every day, offers come to me from all over the world to buy our studio.
“Some of those offers are ridiculously high prices, but it’s not that I want the money,” Kojima said. “I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
In other words, for those hoping for Kojima Productions (and mascot Ludens) to be their latest big-name acquisition of a year gone by, don’t hold your breath. “As long as I’m alive, I don’t think I’ll ever accept those offers,” Kojima said.
One assumes that Kojima’s stance stems from how his tenure with Konami ended in 2015, when the publisher told him and his ideas in favor of making pachinko machines and burning Pro Evolution Soccer to the ground.
But Kojima also speaks as an artist (35 years and counting, in this medium) who understands creative capital and how much it deserves.