Sony recently updated the PlayStation Studios banner to include Sam Bridges from Death Strandingwhich makes many people wonder about it Kojima Productions may become the next studio to become part of the PlayStation family. It seemed to be a reasonable guess that the companies have worked closely with Death Stranding released on PlayStation consoles before entering the PC. However, Hideo Kojima took to Twitter to dispel rumors and confirm that “Kojima Productions has been and will continue to be an independent studio.”
Some may be disappointed that Kojima Productions is not being acquired by Sony, but it may be better for Kojima and his studio if it remains independent. The past has shown that Kojima is one who works best when given full creative freedom. Moreover, as Kojima seeks to expand beyond gaming, it may not be the company’s best position to be a PlayStation Studio.
History of Kojima Productions
Kojima’s career in gaming began with Konami in 1986, the studio behind major franchises such as Castlevania, Contraand Pro Evolution Football. He would find recognition through Metal gear in 1987, often credited as the beginning of the stealth genre. The game focused on an operator named Solid Snake, who works for FOXHOUND infiltrating enemy camps to destroy a dangerous weapon named Metal gear. The game was followed up by Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and in 1998 the series would jump to 3D with Metal Gear Solid.
Through Metal gear series, Kojima proved capable of making games with intricate gameplay that requires strategic thinking. Furthermore, he also demonstrated his cinematic imagination by including high-quality intermediate sequences. Metal gearThe impact on games is hard to overestimate, but a tension would develop between Konami and Kojima over time.
Signs of this friction were evident early on when Kojima in 1988 was working on a game by name Snatcher. Though he intended it to be six chapters long, Konami cut it down to two. Kojima and Konami would bump heads more leading to the development of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, resulting in Kojima leaving Konami. As a result, Kojima Productions Los Angeles was renamed Konami Los Angeles Studio. Kojima’s departure drastically reduced the chances of Metal Gear Solid successors, but luckily that was not the end of the queue for Kojima.
Kojima shines as an independent creator
Kojima’s departure from Konami was devastating for him, as he said in an interview with Time magazine, there was a period when he felt lonely and alienated. However, Kojima eventually rebuilt Kojima Productions as a fully independent studio. Although the studio is not owned by Sony, several first-party PlayStation studios have been friendly with Kojima; Guerrilla Games and Kojima Productions have a particularly close relationship.
Death Stranding was the studio’s first release in 2019, and although it was backed by Sony, it demonstrated the kind of genre-defying creativity Kojima is capable of when he’s not on a leash. It was a polarizing game that some critics have described as a walking simulator, but for those who clicked with it, Death Stranding is still one of the most refreshing creative games of recent times. Death Stranding‘s themes have only found more relevance in a post-COVID world.
Being acquired by Sony may give Kojima Productions deeper pockets and more security, but it may not be the best move to guarantee creative freedom, which is something Kojima values. By remaining independent, Kojima can ensure that he is never limited by the demands of larger companies like with Konami, and he can continue to make eccentric titles.
Kojima Productions plans to expand beyond gaming
Kojima’s passion for games is undeniable, and this is made clearer by Kojima Productions’ mascot: a spacesuit-clad man named Ludens, the Latin word for play. However, Kojima also has a deep love for movies. Growing up, his family had a tradition of watching movies together, including movies made in the West. After being exposed to the world of film so much, the young Kojima decided he wanted to make films, so he started making films as a hobby.
Kojima’s first film was shot with his friend’s 8mm video camera, and they were mostly short films about zombies. Although Kojima would find his dream career in gaming, his love of film can be seen with the cinematic interludes in his games. His love for Hollywood is also demonstrated through film references in Metal gear series, and Death Strandings use of big Hollywood names, including Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen.
Now that Kojima has an independent studio, he can finally live out his dreams of being a filmmaker. In 2021, Kojima Productions expanded to include a department for film, television and music. After Death Stranding, which had a cutscene that lasted over half an hour, Kojima might be creatively satisfied if he focused his efforts on a feature film, live-action or animated. Should Kojima Productions be acquired by Sony, it could result in the studio’s horizon being limited to gaming alone. By remaining independent, Kojima Productions can expand whenever necessary to meet Kojima’s various interests.
At the moment, it looks like there is an acquisition frenzy, and after Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, it looks like nothing is allowed. Kojima Productions looks like it would suit Sony well, as Kojima has a long history with PlayStation. However, an independent Kojima Productions is perhaps the best way for fans to get the unadulterated Kojima experience.
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