News: Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima insists he’s “not trying to tell a story” in his games, as interactivity and complex narrative don’t gel together well. Instead, he says, he tries to make the player feel the same emotions as a character as they exist within a world.
Coming from the man who made the Metal Gear Solid games, a sentence like “I am not trying to tell a story” seems quite a reach. But that’s exactly what Hideo Kojima has been claiming. In fact, he doesn’t think games and plot are a natural fit at all.
“It’s very difficult to implement a storyline into an interactive game,” he said. “I actually think we shouldn’t do that. I am not trying to tell a story.”
But the Metal Gear Solid games’ hours of cutscenes and twisting narratives tend to leave most people thinking the series is more about storytelling than it is interaction. So what in the good gracious is he talking about?
Speaking as part of a series of game design interviews called the Critical Path Project, Kojima described how it’s more important that a player empathises with a character in a given situation. It’s about allowing the player to feel, rather than showering them with plot points.
“You are inside a story, an environment, and acting as a certain character,” he said. “And what that character is feeling inside that environment is what I want the players to feel as they play the game. Within that environment I want the players to not only have a fun and exhilarating experience, but also think about many different things. That’s my concept.”
I think Kojima’s right that this approach can work, but I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced that his games exactly follow this technique. I’m pretty sure Metal Gear Solid 4 had a story to tell, didn’t it?