I wasn't that surprised seeing the backlash to Cave Story producer Tyrone Rodriguez's comments about Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima's sense of game design. While I wouldn't go so far as to agree with Rodriguez that Kojima's games are "terrible," I do find it odd how Kojima can swing from making brilliant, smartly-designed stealth adventures (Metal Gear Solid 1 and 3) to completely jumping over whole oceans full of sharks while riding a jetski and a horse at the same time (Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4).
However, it seems that Kojima--known for thinking outside the box in terms of design and how people play games--really doesn't mind the negative press. Kojima was recently in Washington, D.C. for the Smithsonian's Art of Video Games exhibit, and treated several reporters to stories about the development of the Metal Gear series.
Destructoid's Ian Bonds asked Kojima about his obsession with breaking the fourth wall in video games, and his incredibly inventive boss fights. Through his translator, Kojima replied:
"I didn't really have a concrete idea in my mind of 'this is what a boss battle should be,' I just wanted to do something new, something exciting. I just thought 'this would be a really cool way to make a boss,' and even now that's still the way I approach the bosses.
"At the time, a lot of people had a preconceived notion that games had to exist within this 'box' in their living room; it had to be limited to the TV screen that you're looking at while you're in the room. What I thought is 'why does it have to be that way? Why can't we extend the game out through the TV screen into your actual living room, into your physical space?'"
It was really refreshing to play a game where the characters knew they were in a video game--instead of "talk to this guy to get this information," characters would say "check the back of the CD case for Meryl's Codec frequency" or read my memory card and tell me about how much I loved Castlevania and fighting games.
"It's always been my approach to look at what technology is available to me and push games as far as I can to get them out of their traditional boundaries... looking back on it, a lot of people talk about that, people look back on that with respect and people praise me for that, but at the time there were a lot of people pissed off at me for it, saying 'this isn't the way you should make a game!' and even a lot of people on my team within Konami said 'this isn't what a game should be.' But actually I really enjoyed being yelled at for that because I like doing something different, so I'm not going to change that, so I hope you look forward to more exciting things like that going forward."
In short? Kojima's always going to keep branching out and doing something different, no matter how crazy he's called for it. And here I was hoping that MGS4 and Peace Walker let him get all the crazy out of his system. What do you think? Are Kojima's fourth-wall breaking and emphasis on creative boss fights his strength, or should he conform to more tried-and-true standards of game design?