There are few creators as bizarre as Hideo Kojima. He has made a ton of classic games, including the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and lots of underappreciated gems like Snatcher (look it up, it’s great). And just recently, he’s released the much anticipated and… divisively received Death Stranding!
Which I don’t want to talk about. I like playing fun video games.
Saying that Kojima’s work has been inspired by cinema is about as obvious and brain-dead an observation as looking directly into the sun and stating “That shit be fucking bright!” His games have always had a taste for the cinematic, both in terms of the plot and the visual aesthetic. Ever since Metal Gear Solid 2/3, Kojima’s games have grown closer and closer to a realistic visual style, which has grown so impressive that they truly do look almost real. While the story is still incredibly bizarre, limited only by Kojima’s publisher, they do have a more movie vibe than a video game one.
But no, Kojima has no limits. He’s running his own company, which we all assumed would be specializing in video games. But Kojima has more plans. Now, he’s going to try his hand at the medium that inspired him as a youth. Kojima Productions is going to be making a movie.
But I have an odd question in mind: should Kojima actually do this? Can Hideo Kojima, the bizarre mastermind behind some of the best and craziest video games ever made, make a movie? Or are his particular skills unsuited for a film?
Note: I’m not saying he shouldn’t try. I firmly believe that people should pursue their dreams, no matter what may stand in their way. If you want to make a movie, even if you don’t have the skills to make a good one, I absolutely think you should! There’s no better way to create something good than to try, fail, then learn! If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be writing this article in the first place. So if Kojima wants to try making a film, then I firmly believe he should give it a shot!
The question of this article is as follows: will the skills he’s built up from making video games for over twenty years carry over into film? Can his insane method of storytelling make its way into filmmaking? Or will he have to develop a whole new set of skills to succeed?
Visually speaking? Absolutely not! Kojima’s flair for cinematography is incredible! He has a masterful understanding of what makes a shot visually creative and engaging! Combine that with his interesting science-fiction settings and masterful skill in bizarre setpieces, such as the river of the dead in MGS3 or literally anything in the cutscenes of Death Stranding.
It would help a lot if his film were animated in the same style as his games. His character models have reached such an insane degree of quality that they almost look real! The environments are insanely gorgeous! Plus, having the entire film be animated would make it all the easier for Kojima to deliver his signature maximum insanity!
So no. In terms of the presentation, Kojima is already prepared to make a film. However, it’s another story entirely in the… story department.
Kojima’s stories are ridiculously convoluted and confusing! Trying to break down the plot of the Metal Gear Solid series is so difficult that it’s become a meme! Death Stranding built its hype around the fact that it’s bizarre, confusing, and intriguing! In terms of plot, character development, and world-building, Kojima’s works are always insanely deep and insane.
So how does he get all the information across to the audience? Exposition!
Kojima games have infamously long cutscenes featuring way too much exposition. Every single Metal Gear Solid game features at least two scenes where someone explains the plot to that game’s protagonist for ages! You get exposition dumps after basically every mission in Death Stranding!
Now, in a video game, that isn’t so bad. Sure, they can be a bit dull. But you at least have the controller in your hands! You say to yourself “Alright! After this cutscene, I finally get to beat the shit out of Psycho Mantis!” You’re rewarded for sitting through the cutscenes with the excellent gameplay!
But in a movie? That exposition is the reward!
In a video game, cutscenes are tolerable because they give context to the gameplay. But in a movie, there is no gameplay. All you can do is sit still and enjoy the story. Sure, you can still hold a controller. But you’re not gonna use the damn thing.
Kojima stories are dense, heavily relying upon exposition to get the necessary information to the audience. Neither of those fly in a cinematic space! The audience can’t sit there for three hours while you explain to them why the next four are going to be awesome!
Also, you can’t sit them there for seven hours.
Hideo Kojima’s stories fly perfectly well in a video game. But if he really is attempting to make a movie, he’s gonna have to learn how to trim the fat. Cut down on the exposition and communicate things visually! Otherwise, his films are doomed to be confusing, overly long, and far from entertaining.
Can he pull it off? Probably. But I doubt he’ll get it right immediately. I think it’ll take him some time to develop the necessary writing skills for filmmaking. I doubt his first film will be very good, although I have no doubt it will be interesting in a visual sense. But if he gave it a few more goes? I believe he can make a good film eventually.
Or maybe he could make a good movie right off the bat. All he has to do is let someone else write the script. I mean, he’s friends with some big-name directors! I’m sure Del Torro wouldn’t mind taking care of the writing.
Which would result in a Guilmerro del Torro story with the visual style of Hideo Kojima. I’d actually kill a man to see that.