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Official UK PlayStation Magazine- (Jan'99) Kojima Interview 
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Post Official UK PlayStation Magazine- (Jan'99) Kojima Interview
Just found this. Decided to put it up on the site. It asks a lot of questions about features in MetalGear Solid that we take for granted, now, and shows what Kojima was like before he got bored with the series. I'll try and put up any other old UK Kojima Interviews if I find them.

Official UK PlayStation Magazine wrote:
With the UK release of MGS approaching PSM once more caught up with Hideo Kojima, the game's producer and all round Metal Gear mastermind...

Official UK PlayStation Magazine: Metal Gear has been a global success. Are you pleased with the way it has turned out?
Hideo Kojima: I am very happy that MGS is doing very well overseas (currently in the US only) and not only in Japan. MGS has been my major debut. Until now, all my games were for minor (cult) machines. This is my first worldwide game.

PSM: Do you have a lot of contact with game players who own the game? What do they say to you?
HK: Reactions have been so much better than I expected. I'm a little surprised because they have been too good. This game sort of picks its layers (given the theme and genre), but I have been surprised that many female gamers and young gamers have been enjoying MGS. In Japan, I have recieved quite a few responses that the polygons are rougher than those in Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII.

PSM: Any fans you'd rather not have? Any perculiar behaviour?
HK: There was this one guy who used to work in the Japanese Self Defense Army. He sent me a whole bunch of pictures of himself without a shirt posing with a model gun in his hand. These were crazy photos. In his letter he wrote "Use me as Snake!" and kept on explaining how physically fit he was. I want those "dangerous" people who are stuck to the heroism (violence) in MGS to get the anti-nuclear/anti-war message.

PSM: When you fight Psycho Mantis the screen goes black and 'Hideo' appears in the top-right corner of the screen. Is this a result of Psycho Mantis' powers? What's the thinking behind this bit as it has many players thinking that their game or TV is broken!
HK: Yes, this is Mantis' psychokinetic attack to fool the player in battle, it is more effective to attack one's mind than body. When people get fooled by Mantis' Hideo gimmick, I want the player to smile from realising he/she was fooled.

PSM: What's the fastest time you've heard MGS finished in? And what time is about average?
HK: A person in my team finished it in an hour and a half. The average is about eight to ten hours.

PSM: The game seems to be aware of the player's performance, placing rations and ammo for your pick up if you're running out. Is this just our imagination?
HK: No. The game does know whether or not the player has the items. Item locations do change accordingly.

PSM: It has been said that this is the first game that actually knows it's a video game, for example refrences to how often you've saved your game, the psycho-kinetic pad vibrating, moving the controller to Port 2 (Mantis), the threat of resuming your game from a much earlier point, the instructions on how to play the torture sequence (Ocelot) and so on. it has been a very unnerving and remarkable experience for many gamers. Have you any comments to make?
HK: It is a matter of where you set the boundries of the virtual reality world. Normal games limit the world to what takes place in the monitor. In MGS, the monitor, the game console, and the package are all part of this virtual reality world.

PSM: And yet the training mode is in Virtual Reality, as if saying that the game is real and the computer game part only reaches as far as training. Is this another example of Metal Gear's post-gaming age originality?
HK: Yes. I tried to be sarcastic in the sense that it is a game within a game. Initially, when the actual game reached GAME OVER, we wanted planned to show the words MISSION FAILED. And for the VR mode, we were going to say GAME OVER. But at the very end, we made both messages say GAME OVER.

PSM:Whose idea was it to put Meryl's frequency code on the CD case? And is this a piracy measure?
HK: It was my idea. It had nothing to do with anti-piracy. I just wanted to present a virtual plaything within the package.

PSM: What part of the game are you most proud of- which specific area and puzzle?
HK: The last Jeep battle. We spent enough time to create a racing game to do that scene.

PSM: What part caused players the most problems?
HK: Probably the battle with Mantis.

PSM: You must have watched a lot of movies given the game's fabulous cinematic feel. Any particular films you'd cite as being an influence? (we felt there was a simularity between the fight with Liquid in the Hind on top of the tower and a scene from John Woo's Face/Off)
HK: I do like John Woo very much as a director. However, it is very hard for me to give you a specific movie name. All the movies (television movies as well) I've seen since my childhood have influenced me.

PSM: The music for Metal Gear Solid is superb. Who is responsible? Was he given free reign to do as he wanted or were there very specific requirements for the job? Are you pleased with the way it turned out?
HK: We wanted something of the Hans Zimmer flavour. I am not too happy with the PlayStation console sound source.

PSM: Tell us about the 3D engine involved. Is it a completely new engine or one adapted from another game? What was the most difficult element of the game to create technically?
HK: A complete original. This was the first 3D game my team created.

PSM: Are there plans to use this engine in another game?
HK: We cannot use it as is, but we can modify it for another game.

PSM: Why can't you play from a 'Snake-eye' view. Yes, you can select first-person view at any time, but you can't move around while engaged. Why?
HK: Because I get 3D sick from Doom-like games.

PSM: Is there anything you'd like to change in Metal Gear Solid (both in terms of plot and in gameplay) now that you are aware of the game player's experience with the game?
HK: There's a bunch of change I would like to make. The demos were a little long, and so were the lines in the Codec screen.

PSM: Who are your favourite Metal Gear Solid characters? Which would you have liked to have featured a little more than they did?
HK: The Ninja.

PSM: Is the fact that the majority of the game takes place on the first CD a deliberate measure? What percentage of the game would you say is on each CD?
HK: This was because of the huge memory space (required) for the voices and the movie footage. We used a second disc because the ending voices and the movie footage took up a lot of memory space.

PSM: Are the UK and US versions 'harder' than the Japanese game? What diferences (if any) are there?
HK: The US and UK (and other international) versions have four difficulty levels- EASY, NORMAL, HARD and EXTREME. The EASY level is equivelant to the Japanese game, so the other three modes are more difficult than the Japanese version.

PSM: What ideas were you forced (by time and technical limitations) to leave out of Metal Gear Solid?
HK: A bunch. Much more real effects of the search light and infared sensors. We could not include them in the game, but they were possible technology wise. There are other things we could do, but could not include in the game.

PSM: Is there a chance these ideas may end up in a Metal Gear sequal?
HK: Yes. Things we could not do because of time, because the ideas were not finalised and because current hardware is not capable of doing them.

PSM: You waited eight years to create a sequel to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Will you wait until the next generation of hardware to create the next game?
HK: I don't know. As I said for the previous question, there are things I couldn't do with the current hardware.

PSM: What feature would you most like PlayStation 2 to posses? Or, if you already own a dev kit, which feature are you most pleased about?
HK: Smell is a factor in infiltration (in the sense that the enemy may smell an intruder). Some kind of equipment that can express smell...


I know that Official UK Magazine did a few good Kojima interviews, and I really want to look for them. In one Kojima talks about the characters and features he had to take away from MGS in great detail.

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Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:26 pm
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Second Lieutenant

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I had to laugh when Kojima thought the cutscenes and Codec conversations in MGS1 were too long. What the hell was he thinking when he wrote the story for MGS2?


Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:38 pm
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I found another from August '98. It's short, so it's not much trouble putting it up.
Official UK PlayStation Magazine wrote:
We caught up with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima at E3 and grilled him about this playable version of his soon to-be masterpiece.

Official UK PlayStation Magazine: The version of the game on show today- is this representative of the finished title?
Hideo Kojima: Yes, it is. This is the start of the game, though it may change slightly. It's already an altered version from the one we had on display at the Tokyo Game Show [a few months earlier]. We listened to what people said, and implemented many changes.

PSM: Such as?
HK: People found the game too hard. It was sometimes unclear as to where you should go and what you should do next. We have to maintain progress and enjoyment throughout the game, so we made some doorways and steps a bit more obvious.

PSM: Anything to do with the "skills" of US gamers?
HK: [Laughs] No, we can please all gamers with this plan. We haven't made the game easier, only more enjoyable.

PSM: Tell us about your team. Which games have they worked on in the past?
HK: Not many! [Laughs] I have a very yound, very inexperienced team. Many would think that this would be a disadvantage, but the opposite is true. My team have no expectations of the boundaries of what is or is not possible. I look at what they do and suggest improvements or additions. A more experienced team might say, "No, that's not possible- this is already as good as it can be", but my team will try different things and make them work! For example, the smoke effect when Snake has a cigarette. Such an effect is very demanding on the processor's power, leading to poor performances from other features. People said it couldn't be done but we insisted. "Yes, we must have smoke! It's essential!", and now we've included it.

PSM: Ah, yes, the smoking. Any thoughts on promoting smoking to younger games players?
HK: Snake does smoke, but he knows it's bad. The other characters in the game reprimand him for it from time to time. He smokes not because he wants to, but because he has to. Also, when he smokes his life meter goes down to show it is bad for him. It's not to make Snake more macho, but to show the kind of man he is. Rather than being a new man, Snake is very much in the old hero mould.

PSM: It's a very violent game too.
HK: Yes, this was necessary. The game must have lots of action- that's how it was planned. It's set in the near future, in a bad era and a bad place. They are desperate times, and they require desperate actions. Snake has an important job to do, and he understands the consequences if his mission fails. Therefore, he will use whatever means are necessary. He doesn't enjoy his work, but he does it because that is what has to be done. If someone tries to prevent him doing his job, he will deal with them, but if at all possible he will avoid direct action.

PSM: The stealth aspect of the game is very important, isn't it? Tell us about it.
HK: Snake will encounter lots of obstacles and enemies on his mission. However, in many cases he is able to slip past guards and use silence and skill to progress. At first it seems that aggression and force is the only way forward, but the game punishes and beats you if you take that line too often. This surprises people who try to play the game like just another shooting game.

PSM: Like Resident Evil, for example?
HK: [Smiles] Metal Gear Solid is different.

PSM: What part of your game are you most proud of?
HK: If I had to pick a particular part, I would pick the full-motion-animation introduction sequence. We planned to use established CGI methods, pre-rendering a sequence and other shorter scenes for use throughout the game. However, once we had the game running and working well, we began producing these animations using the game's actual graphics. I decided they looked better, and because there is no switch between the CGI and the game graphics, the FMA fits in much more smoothly.

PSM: How long does the game take to complete?
HK: I can complete it in around eight hours from start to finish. [A heated discussion between Kojima-san and other Konami folk ensues.] Of course, it will take other players much longer than this. When I play, I don't watch the movies and plot-advancing dialogues. I would say that there's around 40 hours of gameplay in MGS.

PSM: The dialogues between the characters were an unexpected bonus.
HK: Yes, they are very good. There are 20 characters in the game, and Snake regularly interacts with them via his communicator. All but four appear in the game as polygonal characters too. We'll be recording the voices of 20 English actors.

PSM: Is the game nearly finished?
HK: It's around 95 per cent finished. We are optimising and adjusting gameplay elements.

PSM: What are you doing after MGS?
HK: Begin work on the English-language versions for the US and Europe.

PSM: Yes, but after that. A holiday, perhaps?
HK: I have many ideas and many projects I want to work on. Maybe after them!


I might start looking for my old Sega Power and Mega magazines. I remember Mega often called Snatcher the best game on the Mega-CD, so I'm bound to find some coverage on it, if I look hard enough.

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Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:37 am
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87th wrote:
I might start looking for my old Sega Power and Mega magazines. I remember Mega often called Snatcher the best game on the Mega-CD, so I'm bound to find some coverage on it, if I look hard enough.


That'd be pretty interesting. I've always had a soft spot for gaming mags from the UK, most of the ones in America are just full of hype and cheat codes.


Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:55 am
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I had a quick look in my attic and couldn't find anything. There's a lot of boxes in my shed, though. I've a feeling they might be there.

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Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:57 pm
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