[GDC09] We were live blogging from the GDC09 keynote of Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise. His keynote was inspiring and entertaining. To make a long story short, Kojima-san advocated a pragmatic approach that takes into account the cold, hard reality of limited hardware and resources and told us how he and his team have overcome sometimes seemingly impossible goals.
Interestingly, he did simply change the goals many times because it’s just unproductive to seek impossible goals. However, what’s important is to make constant progress and innovate. In his visions, the ladder that takes one to the next level is made of: game design innovation, hardware advancements and software advancements. In his opinion, Japanese developers are more driven by game design while western ones tend to focus on technology to reach the next level.
In the end, he advocated to use all three means to make games better and even pointed out that Kojima Productions is hiring right there at GDC – there’s no doubt that their HR department will face an onslaught of developers this afternoon. You can check the photo gallery and/or the live blogging session (we’ll make an archive soon).
As someone who worked in the industry, I enjoyed this keynote (and the MGS franchise) very much. In the end, there’s a reality and limited resources (hardware, software, human, time) that we can build with. Kojima-san adapts his ideas to the development context and finds ways to innovate with what’s at hand. It might seem obvious, but believe me most of the industry does just not work this way. You’ve got people who are incapable of doing (the right) compromises and others that are unwilling to take any risks. Some simply can’t make fun game to save their lives, and finally many thinks that they can simply do a quick buck on a great franchise. Most of the time, this problem is rooted in management. After all, they that’s where these types of decisions are made – if you work for a game company, you know what I mean.
However, there are teams that do the right thing and even if they do not achieve Hideo Kojima’s level of fame, we hope that they’ll get there in time and we would like to give them some props right now (we know who you are). The very topic that was discussed by Kojima-san today is basically one of the “solid” recipes to make good games, consistently.
To conclude he says something like: nothing is impossible, but added, given enough time and technology – two things that most game developers (and Hideo himself) can’t afford to wait for. Be pragmatic!
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