Legends on The Future: Hideo Kojima in Conversation with Mark Cerny at Brighton Develop 2016

Room 2: Keynote. Weds 13/07/16 :  9:30am

“Everything you can do with movies, you can now do with games…”

“When I think of games in my head, I smell things, I see things, more so now because of the technological advances, things get closer and closer to what I imagine them to be” – Hideo Kojima.

This was my second talk at this year’s Develop, one which came highly anticipated for most attendees including myself. Rightly so the room was packed out, press photographers ducking around like SWAT teams people with camera phones ready to record what I imagine they believed to be one of the highlights of Develop 2016.

My notes are stunted for this talk for a couple of reasons but mainly due to the Q and A between Mark Cerny (whose appearance formed an uncanny american Hideo), Hideo’s translator and of course Hideo himself. This Q and A  three-way became a somewhat awkward gilted process. The kind where someone’s always waiting awkwardly for their turn and no one seems fully satisfied.

I have no doubt of Hideo’s enigma, it’s just a shame that this style of presentation did not allow for the kind of intimate ‘conversation’ I was hoping for and resulted in a fairly disappointing and un-engaging hour.

At one point the audience were treated to almost ten minutes of rather nasally compliments exchanged between Mark and Hideo. I have no doubt this may have been very sweet and noble had the audience felt they’d been given more from Hideo at this time (bearing in mind many a holiday could have been had for the price of a Develop pass this year).

I am not sure what I wanted from Hideo, actually – no I am a bit. I wanted to know about his childhood, I wanted to hear about personal experiences that have informed the way he sees the world and develops ideas and games. I wanted to know whether he will cross over with film or any other medium anytime soon, about how he works, his processes, combatting language and conveying what he wants in the way he wants and whether he still wrote letters to the Wachowski sisters.

I wanted human condition and some kind of philosophical dialogue, as well as insight into technical processes. To hear him talk for an hour about what he wanted to talk about even if this had to be pre-recorded with subtitles – yes! That’s it! that is what I wanted.

legendsonthefuturehideokojimainconversationwithmarkcernyDespite various other reviews of this talk written by way more experienced game developers and reviewers out there who paint a rather romanticist, existential version of events inclusive of quotes I swear I didn’t hear. Maybe I am wrong about it all, Maybe I, in my inexperience, completely missed the point. Maybe all the meaty insight became lost in translation somewhere between the three of them on stage,  my own annotations and the Develop lunch buffet.

Instead, what I can tell you is that the word ‘game design’ and ‘polygon’ are the same in Japanese and that when asked – Hideo agreed that VR will change the industry a lot.