From One Genius To Another
Dunkirk has cemented itself as one of 2017’s biggest hits, and in the process created a war film that will be reflected on for years to come, with the potential to become of the all time greats should history look kindly on it.
As it turns out, the film also had a profound effect on one Hideo Kojima, the video game developer who has pushed the boundaries of the medium through the masterfully crafted Metal Gear series.
In an article for Rolling Stone magazine, Kojima put into his own words how Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic juggernaut had an affect on him.
“By refusing to rely on computer graphics, opting instead to create life-size sets and employ a large cast of extras, Christopher Nolan recreated the war movie construct.
Its approach to technology in movie making and refusal to rely on defeating one’s enemies as a portrayal of war, reminds me in many ways of my work on Metal Gear and where I hope to see my next game go.”
This isn’t only profound but all kinds of awesome from a nerd perspective. The man who thought up Solid Snake and The Boss praising the director who gave us The Dark Knight. Seeing one artist show his respect to another, even one from a totally different medium, is pretty amazing.
Kojima then goes on to talk about the core values that helped him shape the Metal Gear franchise.
“Is it possible to tell a similar story using the interactive medium of video games? My 30-year struggle to answer this question has been Metal Gear.
‘Anti-war’ and ‘Anti-nuclear weapons’ were the consistent messages through the series. My parents’ generation was born during WWII. My generation grew up listening to their firsthand accounts of war, and we also learned of the wretchedness and absurdity of war and nuclear weapons from the movies and books around us. Video games are a natural fit for “fighting” and “competition,” but even so I felt that they should be able to promote an anti-war, anti-nuclear weapons message, and more so, that it was necessary. I also wanted to change the idea that games could only be about fighting.”
Did he succeed? Well after playing through Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater, Guns of the Patriots and The Phantom Pain, many a gamer would agree that yes, yes you did Kojima.
Finally, he concludes the article by giving us a hint as to the kind of complex moral issues we can expect to see in Death Stranding.
“The following is a translated excerpt from Kobo Abe’s short novel The Rope.
‘The rope and the stick are two of humankind’s oldest tools. The stick to keep evil at a bay, the rope to bring that which is good closer, both were the first friends conceived by humankind. The rope and stick were wherever humankind was to be found.’
Fifty-five years have passed since the creation of the early video game Spacewar!, but video games are still primarily players with sticks fighting each other. They cannot break the curse of using sticks to keep evil away, or defeating enemies. I want to change this.
It’s time for humankind to take the rope in hand. We are ready for a game not based on competition, but on the rope that will bring good to the player and make connections. We don’t need a game about dividing players between winners and losers, but about creating connections at a different level. My current project, Death Stranding, aims to fulfill this goal.”
Be sure to check out the trailer for Death Stranding below.