Sep 05th 2017

Hideo Kojima on making a scene in the game industry vs the film industry

Hideo Kojima is one of the biggest names in gaming. In a business where people and companies are known by their series, he has managed to become a popular name. Today he has released a bunch of tweets seemingly out of the blue on a few of his ideas on game development. Specifically, he touched on some differences between making a scene in a game and in a movie.

Earlier today, Hideo Kojima let us peer a little into his thought process. He explained why making a scene in a video game was different than making a scene in a movie. He was very blunt, and essentially said for a movie it is a formulaic process while games have to constantly adapt on the fly. He also decided to use a hallway for an example. Some people may wonder why a hallway, but a well crafted hallway scene can have a huge impact on either a video game or a movie. Just look at The Shining or P.T.(the big reason I think he used a hallway to be honest).

Hideo Kojima explained that for video games the process is ever evolving. Even something as simple as a hallway scene has a mess of variables to contend with. That means each day the people working on the game have to adapt to new challenges and tweak the game ever so slightly. He goes on to explain that because of this games can't simply assign tasks with a rigid mold to someone and then leave them without checking on them within the scope of the rest of the project. After all, when they have finished their piece it may not even fit where it was supposed to anymore because of the need to constantly tweak things.

Now, the real question here isn't whether this is an accurate comparison between the film industry and the game industry. Oh no. What really bears looking into is what Hideo Kojima is really trying to say. After all, he is fond of hidden messages and double meanings. It looks like this line of tweets is no different. On the outside it may say that it is about video games and the film industry, but it is really about the state of the video game industry itself, specifically outsourcing. Just look at when he said, "An action game can never be completed by ordering from a blueprint and assembling parts off a factory line." Then as if that wasn't clear enough he added later, "When everything is outsourced, the parts that come back just don't fit together." It is clear that he doesn't like the state of the industry, and thinks the buggy games are because of trying to shoehorn in parts that don't fit together anymore.

Whether it is a commentary on the modern game industry or a comparison of how crafting a scene is different in video games and the film industry, Hideo Kojima certainly does seem to have a firm stance. Will Death Stranding be a commentary on the AAA industry? Maybe, or maybe its performance with gamers will be enough of one. Then again, I could just be a nut-job conspiracy theorist who is reading too much into this. Do you think I'm crazy, or is Hideo Kojima poking fun of big studios that rely too much on outsourcing? Tell me what you think on Twitter @spencerhavens.

The full text of his tweets reads;
"Game creation is different from film making. Let’s say we imagine “a hallway the player is meant to walk down according to the game design. The hallway has meaning in the plot as well as the game design. Is the purpose to deliver the story, to practice the controls, to show the scenery, or to add rhythm to the game play? A variety of possibilities exist.

As the game development proceeds, the details need to be fleshed out. How about the lighting, the walls of the hallway, how long is it and how high is the ceiling? Can doors be opened? Who else walks down the hallway? How does player feel at this moment in the game? There is a never ending stream of revisions based on the plot, gameplay, the map layout, as well as dealing with technical hurdles.

There are other various details to consider, like adding a crank turn to the hallway, is it possible to add NPCs, how to fix poor gameplay tempo, making the characters stand out, or even whether to show the ceiling in cutscenes. Almost everyday revisions are made depending on the point in the game development process.

An action game can never be completed by ordering from a blueprint and assembling parts off a factory line. If decision making and supervision are delayed, production efficiency drops, and that leads to redoing work. In order to avoid this trap, one must make small daily adjustment on site while creating the game. When everything is outsourced, the parts that come back just don't fit together. That is why it's important to take charge of the little details every day.

The feeling of gameplay in a single hallway, the concept, the visuals, the controls, the story hints, the map, the sound, the directions, all those are important to the overall game. Scripts and gimmicks change everyday. This is what it means to make games, a process completely different from the concept ->script->game design->preproduction ->shooting->postproduction process of film."