Hideo Kojima wants people to know that he’s a staunchly independent video game developer. That is, not only his studio “doesn’t have anything to do with anyone”, but also “every day” Death Stranding auteur declines purchase offers from other companies.
“Some of these offers are ridiculously high prices,” Kojima said on a recent episode of the Brain Structure podcast Available via Spotify. (For the record, Kojima speaks in Japanese, with an English overdub). “But that’s not what I want money for.” I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
Kojima hosts the podcast and was his guest this week good friend Geoff Keighley, himself the host of The Game Awards — so Kojima is supposedly leading the discussion. (Disclosure: Kojima is on the advisory board of The Game Awards.)
However, Keighley quickly took on the role of interviewer, asking Kojima about the latest developments in the gaming industry. “There are a lot of rumors about games, especially on social media, and I thought maybe we’d talk about some of the rumors out there and some of the truth behind those rumors,” Keighley said.
The two then had a lengthy discussion about gossip culture, entertainment products and social media. After recording this summer announcement Keighley, who said Kojima was working on a game for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, 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 it has committed to one console manufacturer or another over the years.
“I think a lot of people have a misconception about Kojima Productions,” he said. “I started this company in 2015 after leaving Konami. 100% out of pocket. No funding from anyone. Therefore, we are independent.”
Kojima admitted that his studio’s actual, physical proximity to both Sony’s world headquarters (in Shibuya, Tokyo) and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s headquarters means “people think we’re part of Sony.” But as a Microsoft announcement this summer pointed out, “we’re Indian. We have no affiliation and no one supports us. […] And every day I get offers from all over the world to buy our studio.
“Some of these offers are ridiculously high prices, but it’s not because 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, Kojima Productions is for those waiting (and playing mascot) to be the latest getting a big name in a year passed with them, don’t hold your breath. “I don’t think I’ll ever accept these offers as long as I’m alive,” Kojima said.
One stems from how Kojima’s stance ended his tenure with Konami in 2015, when the publisher threw it away and his ideas in favor of making pachinko machines and burning Pro Evolution Soccer.
But Kojima also speaks as an artist who understands creative capital and how much he’s earned (in this medium for 35 years and counting).