Hideo Kojima wants people to know that he is definitely an independent video game developer. This means that not only does his studio have “no connection to anyone”, but also “every day”. Death Stranding auteur rejects buyout offers from other companies.
“Some of these offers are ridiculously high prices,” Kojima said on his latest edition of Brain Structure, a podcast available through Spotify. (For the record, Kojima speaks Japanese, with an English overdub). “But it’s not like I want money. I want to do what I want to do. That’s why I created this studio.”
Kojima hosts a podcast and his guest this week was his good friend Geoff Keighley, himself the host of The Game Awards – so Kojima is seemingly leading the discussion. (Disclosure: Kojima is on The Game Awards advisory board.)
However, Keighley quickly took on the role of interviewer, asking Kojima about the latest developments in the gaming industry. “There are so many rumors about the games, especially on social media, and I thought maybe we’d talk about some of the rumors that are out there and some of the truth behind those rumors,” 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 Xbox Game Studios, Keighley recalled Kojima’s already close working relationship with PlayStation and Sony Interactive Entertainment (Death Stranding was and still is a PlayStation exclusive) and whether it has committed itself to one console manufacturer or another over the years.
“I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding 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’re independent.”
Kojima acknowledged that his studio’s actual physical proximity to Sony’s global headquarters (in Shibuya, Tokyo), as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s headquarters, meant that “people tend to think we’re part of Sony”. But as this summer’s Microsoft announcement suggests, “we’re independent. We have no ties and no one supports us. […] And every day I am approached by offers from all over the world to buy our studio.
“Some of these offers are ridiculously high prices, but it’s not like I want the money,” Kojima said. “I want to do what I want. That’s why I created this studio.”
In other words, for those expecting Kojima Productions (and mascot Ludens) to be the last big-name acquisition in a year that’s had a blast 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.
One can assume that Kojima’s attitude stems from how his tenure at Konami ended in 2015, when the publisher ditched him and his ideas in favor of making pachinko machines and burning Pro Evolution Soccer to the ground.
But Kojima also speaks as an artist (35+ years in the medium) who understands creative capital and how much he’s earned.
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