Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro Talk About their Relationship, Games, Movies and Much More

on February 18, 2016 5:34 PM

During a panel at DICE Summit, Legendary Metal Gear Solid creator and Kojima Productions founder Hideo Kojima and Film Director Guillermo del Toro shared a lot of information about their relationship and much more.

If you missed the talk, you can read a full recap below:

  • Kojima-san first met Del Toro for the first time in 2008, when the film director was in Japan for the launch of Hellboy 2. Before that, Kojima-san learnined that Del Toro was a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, and Konami asked him to write a comment for the launch of Metal Gear Solid 3. After that, in 2009, Del Toro invited Kojima-san in his man-cave, where he keeps all of his toys, and ever since they have been in touch. When Del Toro visits Japan they go to have dinner and Karaoke together,
  • Del Toro mentioned that they are from the same generation, and share a cultural link due to the fact that when he was young in Mexico they aired the same shows, cartoons and anime that Kojima-san loved. They watched the same shows as kids, and when they go to Karaoke they sing anime songs together. They also share a passion for melancholic ideas executed in big action genres.
  • Del Toro explained that the moment in which he started admiring Kojima-san, was when Psycho Mantis started “reading his mind” in Metal Gear Solid, and that actually scared him. Del Toro also feels that Kojima-san is not just a game designer, but he also works like a film maker and writer that brings lyricism, literal ideas, and complex character mythologies to his games. His worlds are complete and you can recognize his “voice” in them.
  • Kojima-san loves all of Del Toro’s movies, but he mentioned Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy and Hellboy 2 as examples. In Del Toro’s movies there are a lot of grotesque elements, but there are also beautiful and cute elements, and that’s what makes them unique.

Kojima

  • Del Toro explained that the two creators are also united by their passion for collecting toys.
  • According to Del Toro, both games and movies belong to industries that are a marriage of creative and financial, and that’s very restrictive. Storytellers look ahead, and the “money people” look back. Yet, the consumption of games is changing according to the platforms, the same as movies. There are both gorgeous minimalist games, and complex and cinematic games. What you can do with the medium is amazing adn limitless. It’s only limited by “the bastards with the money.” That said, as the tools become more democratic and accessible, games come out without the need for huge budgets like indie movies.
  • Creators in both movies and games are always looking ahead, Del Toro continued, while studios are like dinosaurs coming to the edge of a cliff, and they try to stop and turn around, but they’re too heavy to manage.
  • Del Toro feels that we’re approaching the “mono-platform world” in which movies, games, information, internet and all kinds of entertainment will be completely interactive, not only on the same platform, but also merged and interacting with each other.
  • Kojima-san mentioned that the beauty of games is that they are interactive. Yet, because they are interactive, they make some things really hard to convey. You can’t force players to do what they don’t want to do or to experience what they don’t want to experience, and that’s a big difference with movies. For example, in Alien 2, Ripley approaches the alien mother. In a game, the player wouldn’t do that. This is a barrier that movies can overcome that games can’t.
  • Del Toro explained that games certainly influenced him,  for instance when he sees an action scene in Kojima-san’s games or when he gets lost in the soundscape and in the colors of Bioshock. That’s noticeable in the saturation of his colors and palette, for instance in Pacific Rim, where he used very saturated colors that don’t feel too realistic.
  • According to Del Toro, Games and Movies are both entertainment and art. Games are worth analyzing and revisiting as pieces of art and narrative, and that unfortunately happens rarely. He keeps all the old consoles so that he can replay old games.
  • Kojima-san has been making games for thirty years, so initially he thought he’d take a year to do something different, like writing a novel or a small movie, or making a small indie game. Yet friends and acquaintances from all over the world, and pretty much all said the same thing. They told him that his fans are waiting for him, and they’re expecting to see the next big thing from him, so he doesn’t have the time for that. He has to start working on something big because that’s what people expect from him, and they have a point. That’s why he changed his mind and started to put a team together to create a new studio.
  • Del Toro mentioned that at that time they exchanged mails, some of which cannot be quoted (including words like “fuck” and more). According to him, Hideo Kojima is a “creative powerhouse,” and this transition will make him a better artist. Some times hard experience produce greater works, some times they don’t, but all a creator can do is to go through the hardships and not give up.
  • Del Toro will do “whatever the fuck” Kojima-san wants to do with him. Every time he tries working on games something terrible happens, but all he cares about at the moment is fun, and with with Hideo Kojima he always has fun, so that’s all that matters, regardless of any monetary or fame-related concern.
  • Kojima-san would also like to work with Del Toro. He doesn’t know or care about what it is, whether it’ll be a game or a movie, but it’ll happen sooner or later.
  • According to Del Toro, they had “great plans” for P.T. Kojima sand planned to make it sort of low-tech and “crappy” so that people didn’t know who made it until the end. The results were “amazing,” and Kojima-san wasn’t even “putting the foot fully on the pedal.” It was supposed to be a “decoy.” They thought gamers would take ten days or two weeks to solve it, but they were much faster.
  • Kojima-san found working with Del Toro inspiring and motivating, and it was a good shake-up for him, making him grow as he was forced to do things that he doesn’t normally do. Outside of work they can talk about a lot of topics, like Tokusatsu (Japanese super hero series), anime and more, and it’s a great way for Kojima-san to exchange information.
  • Kojima-san feels “extremely free” right now. Yet, he’s trying to make a “big, very edgy game” with an extremely small team. For his first project he’s working with Sony, so he has to do something he wants to do, but at the same time he needs to fulfill the expectations from the fans and for sales, so he feels the pressure and he needs to be careful. Yet, he has no intention to change anything he does in order to sell more or be successful. He wants to make something he’d want to play and wants gamers to play, and  within that, figure out ways in which that can appeal to the market and be successful.
  • According to Kojima-san, you have only twenty-four hours in one day, so the most important thing is how you use those twenty-four hours. When you are really busy, not counting the time you sleep, you can’t focus all your time into creative endeavors. You need time to watch movies, to do what you want to do and be with your family. You have to have that kind of input in order to have a creative output.
  • According to Del Toro, you have to be “incessantly curious.” You could spend all your day consuming culture, but you’d still have a “huge blind side,” so you need to be selective about what you watch and consume. That’s why he tries to be a “very conscientious audience.” When he watches a movie he evaluates many things at the same time, but the main link with it is still emotion. Some times you find inspiration in art where you least expect it, but you also find it in life.
  • Kojima-san really liked the Hungarian movie Son of Saul this yearHe strongly recommends it, and feels that the same techniques can be used in gaming, building the world mostly outside the frame of the camera, instead of putting all the information within the frame.
  • Del Toro is playing Fallout 4 right now, and he’s being killed a lot.
 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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