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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 10:27 GMT
Games designer pushes boundaries
The game is a counter-terrorist adventure, MGS2
Metal Gear Solid 2: Admired for attention to detail
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By BBC News Online's Alfred Hermida
The name Hideo Kojima could soon be as well known as those of leading Hollywood directors like Ridley Scott or James Cameron.

This Japanese game designer is the brains behind one of the most influential games of the past few years, Metal Gear Solid, and its eagerly anticipated sequel.

With Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2), Mr Kojima has elevated the art of game design to the level of films.

When I spit it out in digital format, I'll be able to pump out something the world has not seen before

Hideo Kojima, game designer
He recently earned the acclaim of the American news magazine Newsweek, which named him as one of the top 10 most influential people of 2002.

In London for the UK launch of MGS2, Mr Kojima suppressed a wry smile when asked about the Newsweek honour.

"I don't think I was selected because of what I have accomplished so far, but of what I will be doing in the future," he said. "Up to now you have had music, film, books - all very analogue. Now, the world is going digital. I think I will be the medium.

"When I spit it out in digital format, I'll be able to pump out something the world has not seen before," he said.

Hide and seek

The 38-year-old game designer made his name with the Metal Gear Solid game for the Playstation. On its release in 1998, the action game impressed all with its innovative concept, dramatic script and detailed setting.

Hideo Kojima is a keading designer at Konami, BBC
Kojima: Leading light in game design
"I grew up in Japan, but I've been influenced by cultures from all over the world. What comes from me is global," he said.

Mr Kojima's Metal Gear Solid series of games draw their inspiration from his childhood in Kobe.

As a child, he spent hours playing the Japanese equivalent of hide and seek, flattening himself against walls and peeking around corners in much the same way as the hero of Metal Gear, Solid Snake.

Influenced by films

MGS2, a counter-terrorist adventure set in New York, took three years to complete, longer than the average Hollywood movie.

On its release in the US, it grossed 9m ($12.7m), earnings comparable to the opening weekend of Monsters Inc.

Leading character from Metal Gear Solid 2, MGS2
Much of the game looks like a film
Mr Kojima is a massive movie fan and is well known in Japan as a film critic. His interest in cinema has influenced the film-like visuals of MGS2.

"What is difficult is combining cinematic effects in the gameplay," he explains. "I don't want the cinematic effects to interrupt the gameplay.

"What I have written in the past, sketches, short films, has led to what I am doing now through the medium of video games."

Asked if he would like to move into the movie-making business, Mr Kojima is hesitant.

"I'm saving it for sometime in my life. Now I am enjoying creating games," he says. "Once I get tired of games, maybe I'll make films. But much later in life."

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty for the Playstation 2 is out in the UK on 8 March

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See also:

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14 Feb 02 | New Media
PlayStation looks to the future
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Solid 2 well in the Zone
26 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Game review: Where stealth beats strength
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