Hideo Kojima wants people to know that he is an independent video game developer. That is, not only does his studio “have no relationship with anyone,” but also “every day” the Death Stranding the author declined purchase offers from other companies.
“Some of those offers are ridiculously high prices,” Kojima said on his latest episode of Brain Structure, a podcast available through Spotify. (For the record, Kojima speaks in Japanese, with an English overdub). “But it’s not that I want money. I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
Kojima hosts a podcast, and his guest this week was his good friend Geoff Keighley, who hosts The Game Awards – so, Kojima is obviously leading the conversation. (Disclosure: Kojima is a Game Awards advisory board member.)
However, Keighley quickly took on the role of asking questions, asking Kojima about the latest developments in the gaming industry. “There’s a lot of rumors about sports, especially on social media, and I thought maybe we’d 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 conversation about gossip culture, entertainment products, and social media. Following this summer’s announcement that Kojima was working for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, Keighley pointed out Kojima’s already close relationship with PlayStation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (Death Stranding it was a PlayStation console only, and still is, and whether he was committed to one console maker or another over the years.
“I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding about Kojima Productions,” he said. “I founded this company in 2015 after leaving Konami. It was 100% out of my pocket. No money from anyone. So, we are independent.”
Kojima admitted that his studio’s proximity, physically to both Sony’s global headquarters (Shibuya, Tokyo), and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s HQ, means that “people often think we’re part of Sony.” But as this summer’s announcement about Microsoft points out, “we’re indies. We have no affiliation at all, and no support from anyone. […] And every day, I get offers from all over the world to buy our studio.
“Some of those programs are ridiculously high prices, but it’s not that I’m looking for money,” Kojima said. “I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
In other words, for those expecting Kojima Productions (and mascot Ludens) to be the latest big-name acquisition of the year they’ve been handed over to, don’t hold your breath. “As I’m still alive, I don’t think I’ll ever accept those requests,” said Kojima.
One imagines how Kojima stands from how his tenure at Konami ended in 2015, when the publisher abandoned 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 (of 35 years and counting, in this medium) who understands the cost of creation and how much he’s earned.