Yesterday, Konami and Hideo Kojima invited a VERY short list of media and guests to take a tour of their latest production house known as Kojima Productions L.A.
And it was AWESOME.
With Konami and Kojima Productions’ recent milestone of hitting the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, which has to date sold 35.4 million units worldwide (AND is pretty much the Big Daddy of the stealth action genre), it seems only fitting that Konami would open a branch of KJP stateside (the first KJP is headquartered in Japan) in order to concentrate on MGS titles like the upcoming MGS V (The Phantom Pain) and MGS: Ground Zeroes.
Why Los Angeles? Simply put, Kojima loves it here…which is why he’ll be back quite often to “provide guidance and inspiration to the employees of the Los Angeles studio.”
Kojima himself said, “As gaming takes the world stage as one of the greatest forms of entertainment, it’s only natural for us to expand our operations across the globe, and since Los Angeles is ground zero for the best studios, facilities, and world-class talent, we are leaning on of these local resources to build an incredible team to create gaming experiences that are just as compelling as any film or television show.”
President of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.’s Tomoyuki Tsuboi added, “The Los Angeles studio emphasizes Konami and Kojima Productions commitment to expanding our development footprint. The new studio will put Kojima Productions in the heart of the West, which will benefit future releases as it will introduce new talent and creativity to the development teams.”
Before we were taken on a tour of this AMAZING facility (and celebrated with a traditional sake toast), we saw a special build of MGS: Ground Zeroes created just for us (sorry, we weren’t allowed to film so I dunno if the footage of said demo will see the light of day) that featured a special red FOX badge that once Snake (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) was able to find, said, “Acquired, L.A. badge.”
Ground Zeroes marks MGS’ foray into the open world territory but Kojima informed us that while GZ is open world, it’ll be a small one while Phantom Pain’s open world map will be MASSIVE. Kojima said he realized that while he likes linear gameplay, having MGS in an open world setting would maximize player choices.
And as far as any differences between the 360/PS3 and next-gen versions, Kojima says that while the next-gen version will run at 60 fps with hi-res textures and more light/shadow, the gameplay will be the same…which is awesome for gamers (like me) who won’t feel cheated because we can’t quite afford the Xbox One or PS4 just yet.
As far as what I think of Kojima Productions’ L.A. digs (situated in the former home of Howard Hughes), as we walked into one of the conference rooms (known as the “Solid Room”), I said “I wanna f*&$in work here,” which made one of the Konami staff laugh heartily.
Then it was time for sake!
Kanpai! (Japanese for “cheers”)
And after five years in L.A. and working in video games, THIS finally happened:
Achievement Unlocked – Kojima’d!
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