Hideo Kojima has given his keynote fireside chat on the second day of the Nordic Game Conference, talking about expectations, Scandinavia and keeping to schedules.
In a translated session, Kojima began by answering a question about the profundity of the local development scene. Asked why he thought such small populations were able to make so many great games, Kojima said that this was part of the reason he was here touring, to find out that secret.
"I visited Dice 8 years ago in Stockholm, they work in a beautiful environment, making beautiful games, worldwide titles," he explained. "in Scandinavia, you make AAA, indie, mobile. I was impressed, and I wanted to know why, that's why I'm touring. I think in 20 years from now, there's going to be even more."
He also revealed that he's partly in Europe's North West to do some technology shopping, looking for an existing engine to power the game he's making with his new firm Kojima Productions. Although he believes that it's always better to use in-house tech to create whenever possible, time constraints around his first release mean that an existing solution will make more sense this time. On the subject of his first title, Kojima was asked about its scale. Being famous for such vast, sprawling titles with long development times, was he tempted to make something short and quick to establish his new studio's reputation?
"I want to make a big game with a small team," he replied. "When I started Kojima Productions, I wanted to make a smaller game, but when I spoke to my friends around the world, they told me I couldn't because people were expecting a big game, so that's what I'm going to do. I can't say when it will be out, but it's not going to be a small game."
It's also not going to be something that he'll release before it's ready. Asked about some of his missed release dates and budget overshoots, Kojima admitted that he's prone to perfectionism.
"People seem to think I'm a perfectionist," he explained. "They're not wrong. It's about making a game you're happy with, but a game isn't finished until people play it, so you have to give it to players. They're more perfectionist than I am. It's not just me missing the schedule or spending too much money. I've only missed a deadline twice."
However, he also pointed out that the quality of a game shouldn't be judged on how long people spend playing it, but by the depth of that experience and the level of immersion experienced. In addition, players have increasingly broad tastes and methods of consumption, so developers must adapt to the ways in which people play.
"Players have a lot of choices, as a developer, you have to adapt to your customers' lifestyles, maybe that means mobile, or endless multiplayer, you can't dictate.
"However, think about movies - they take 5 years to make and you watch them in 2 hours. Games can be like that...But, TV shows might take 6 months and can be released episodically, so it lasts longer. Games can also do that. You take time to make it, and you have some control over how people consume it."