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Hideo Kojima Argues Against Storytelling In Games

Posted July 25, 2012 - By Adam Rosenberg

Kojima To Show Off The Fox Engine Next Month

Read the following statement very slowly, as you're not going to believe what you're seeing: Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise, doesn't think that game developers should be trying to tell a story. "I am not trying to tell a story," he said in an interview for the Critical Path project (via NeoGAF).

Context is important here. While it's a little mind-boggling to see the guy responsible for a cutscene-heavy game like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots arguing against storytelling in games, Kojima is really making the point that it's important for players to identify in some way with the character that they're playing. This is a universal truth in just about any form of storytelling: whether you're stepping into the shoes of the main character or just observing him/her, there needs to be a point of personal connection.

Kojima says as much in his Critical Path interview. “You are inside a story, an environment, and acting as a certain character,” he explains. “And what that character is feeling inside that environment is what I want the players to feel as they play the game. You don't need a storyline for that. Within that environment I want the players to not only have a fun and exhilarating experience, but also think about many different things. That’s my concept.”

I don't think that Kojima's previous efforts have necessarily embraced this idea. There's an awful lot of watching going on in Metal Gear Solid 4, the most recent example, but can any of you really say that you felt Snake's motivations bleeding through into your own experiences? I certainly didn't.

That said, we haven't seen an entirely new Kojima effort (ie not a remake) since 2008. Perhaps these are the words of an evolved developer. With Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance supposedly coming sometime within the next year, we'll get to see soon enough if those words are a reflection of a new attitude.

Tags: Videogames
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