Hideo Kojima, one of the most well-renowned and respected game developers, seems to be considering "pilot episodes" for games that will come out on the next-gen consoles. In an interview with Edge, he states that this could possibly be a good way to test the waters and combat the rising development costs of games.
When originally asked if the new consoles would inadvertently lead to bigger development teams, he replied, “It’s possible to make many things more realistic, but that doesn’t mean you should. You have to prioritise, and that is what’s going to separate the teams that succeed from the teams that don’t. A very deep, 20-30 hour game might need a bigger team and take three or four years.”
Kojima continued, “[But] I think there’s a different way of tackling this problem: something similar to a TV series, where you can use pilot episodes to test the waters before you jump completely into the project… It can be distributed via download channels, so the player can try it out before production continues. Something like that wouldn’t take that long to create, maybe a year, and if it’s successful, you can continue.”
Considers '"ilot episodes" for next-gen games
At the moment, Hideo Kojima is working on the latest entry to the Metal Gear franchise—Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. Back in February, he had revealed that the game will be too controversial to release.
"Video games as a medium haven't matured very much at all in the last 25 years," said Kojima. "It's always about killing aliens and zombies. Not that I don't like those kinds of games... they are fun, but I think games have a long way to go before they can mature. Over the past 25 year (sic) I have tried to work with the Metal Gear series to introduce more mature themes, but really it hasn't gotten there yet. Compared to movies and books it still has a long way to go."
And that's exactly what Kojima says he intends to do with the next Metal Gear game. He added, "Honestly I'm going to be targeting a lot of taboos, a lot of mature themes that really are quite risky. I'm not even sure if I'm going to be able to release the game, and even if I did release the game then maybe it wouldn't sell because it's too much."
However, there's still hope as Kojima doesn't sound like he's giving up. "As a creator I want to take that risk. I'm approaching the project as a creator and prioritising creativity over sales," he said.
While the Metal Gear series is well known for taking a look at politics and war in a different light, the games have never taken themselves too seriously. This could be the first game to tackle subjects generally considered taboo by the public.
Despite the fact that the game may face some trouble because of its subject, Kojima seems to completely disregard the power of the Metal Gear brand. The name of the game alone is enough to sell more than a few million copies among fans, especially considering the protagonist is set to be the fan-favourite Big Boss.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes would be the first game in the series to be set in an open world. Previous Metal Gear games, including the spin-offs Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and the Metal Gear AC!D games, have been very linear.