Hideo Kojima wants people to know that he is a resolutely independent video game developer. That is, not only his studio has “no associations with anyone”, but also “every day” the Death stranding author rejected buyout offers from other companies.
“Some of these deals are ridiculously high-priced,” Kojima said in his latest edition of Brain Structure, a podcast available through Spotify. (For the record, Kojima speaks in Japanese, with an English overdose). “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 the podcast, and his guest this week was his good friend Geoff Keighley, himself the host of The Game Awards – so, apparently, Kojima led the discussion. (Disclosure: Kojima is a member of the Advisory Board of the Game Awards.)
However, Keighley quickly took on the role of interviewer, asking Kojima about recent developments in the gaming industry. “There are so many rumors about games, especially on social media, and I thought we’d talk about some of the rumors that are out there and some of the truth behind those rumours,” Keighley said.
The two then engaged in a lengthy discussion about rumor culture, entertainment products and social media. After mentioning this summer’s announcement that Kojima was working on a game for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, Keighley brought up Kojima’s already close working relationship with PlayStation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (Death stranding was, and still is, a PlayStation console exclusive), and whether he’s made commitments to one console manufacturer or the other over the years.
“I think a lot of people have a misconception about Kojima Productions,” he said. “I created this company in 2015 after leaving Konami. It was 100% out of my pocket. No funding from anyone. So, we are independent.”
Kojima acknowledged that his studio’s current, physical proximity to Sony’s global headquarters (in Shibuya, Tokyo), as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s HQ, means “people tend to think we’re part of Sony.” But as this summer’s announcement about Microsoft says, “we’re indies. We have no affiliations whatsoever, and we’re not backed by anyone. […] And every day I receive offers from all over the world to buy our studio.
“Some of these offers are ridiculously high prices, but it’s not that I want the 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 in a year with them, don’t hold your breath. “As long as I’m alive, I don’t think I’ll ever accept those offers,” Kojima said.
It is believed that Kojima’s attitude stems from when his tenure with Konami ended in 2015, when the publisher fired him and his ideas for making pachinko machines and Pro Evolution Soccer to the ground.
But Kojima also speaks as an artist (of 35 years and counting, in this medium) who understands creative capital and how much he’s earned.