After the whole internet recently claimed that Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was dissatisfied with the oh-so-soon to be released Metal Gear Solid 4, the man himself has gone on record to shine the bright light of perspective onto what he said.
If you cast your mind back, Kojima was quoted earlier in the year saying that the team had huge ambitions for the game but, when they sat down with the Sony’s hardware, they couldn’t quite get what they initially expected out of the PS3. The big quote of the time was that MGS4 was “One Step” out of the “Ten” they hoped to make. This news was taken as meaning that Kojima was ultimately unhappy with the game.
Now Kojima has, in his podcast, made a concerted effort to put the whole affair into context, blaming cultural and linguistic differences for the miscommunication. This isn’t the first time Kojima has attempted to sort this out, in a recent interview with Spanish website Meristation he did allude to the fact that what he said may have been lost in translation.
In his most recent statement Kojima speaks of modesty and how western journalists failed to appreciate that his comment was meant to understated and slight, rather than a proclamation at the failings of Sony’s hardware.
“That’s why I interview in Japanese, and Sai (his translator) translates my side of the interviews very well into English. Because the West does not heavily carry the idea of modesty, I am being criticized in magazines and blogs. The comments derived from ‘MGS4, inside the biggest PS3 Game’ into ‘Hideo disappointed with MGS4‘. It was translated completely wrong due to cultural differences. There are several comments like the one that says ‘Hideo thinks PS3 can’t not handle the Game’ or that ‘the 50GB Blu-ray is simply not enough.”
Kojima uses an analogy of a manufacturer who says they will build a flying car, then a flying car that can achieve a mach speed, and then a flying car that can go into space. When they only produce the original flying car but can’t do the rest, that doesn’t undervalue the original idea, and the same goes for MGS4.
“The next time I interview in America, I will just say “MGS4 is the best, THE END!”. It is shameful for a Japanese man to speak so blatantly, but if I don’t, things like this can happen.”
Because of the heated rivalry between the console manufacturers, a lot of recent videogame journalism has become sensational in its interpretation. I guess we’ll never know whether it was culture, language or bloggers wanting to get the biggest scoop they could on one of the year’s (and current generation’s) most highly anticipated titles.