Hideo Kojima On The Influences And References In Metal Gear Solid V

By Sato . April 2, 2014 . 5:31pm

Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima is known for his love of films and novels, from which he often throws various references into his games. The man recently kicked back with 4Gamer to talk about some of the influences and references behind Metal Gear Solid V.


Kojima has been quite the busy bee lately, with all the work he’s put into Metal Gear Solid V. 4Gamer expresses their concern, and asks if he’s still been able to relax and watch movies as he’s known for being fond of.


“I try to read at least two books a week,” shares Kojima. “I also watch foreign TV shows at least once a day. I’ve currently watched up until the second season of Breaking Bad. Luther is also very interesting. After having watched those shows, I really can’t go back to watching Japanese TV series.”


Due to having an interest in western movies and TV shows, Kojima feels like he has trouble talking to those around him, who don’t exactly share the same enthusiasm.


“I really don’t have much time, so I can only read about one or two books per week,” he continues. “Actually, there are some people on our staff who read about one-and-a-half books a day. You can see them reading while walking around. It’s like they use their left eye to look at their surroundings and their right eye to read.” He adds with a laugh, “And then they just go to the bookstore to buy more books.”


4Gamer notes that the Metal Gear Solid series seems to have a lot of ideas and references from various films and novels. They ask if there’s anything fans should check out before playing Metal Gear Solid V.


“There’s actually not that many [references],” Kojima replies. “Well, I did intentionally try a one-shot technique, such as the one seen in Hitchcock’s Rope* but some people who saw the film, Gravity, that depicted a similar one-shot scene, told me ‘hey, you ripped it off from there!’ You really can’t just rip things off recent movies like that,” says Kojima with a laugh.

*A 1948 thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock.


While on the subject of influences, Kojima talks about how various material is used to inspire the art and music of Metal Gear Solid V. We know that George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was one of the major influences behind the game. Then there’s also “Diamond Dogs,” a single by David Bowie, which is also the same name of the mercenary unit that was led by Big Boss.


“Yeah, yeah! I originally wanted to have the story start out with that song being sung,” exclaims Kojima with a laugh. “But I’m always being rejected by our staff members. I’m the only old man around, so most people don’t get it. Even if I offer to lend them the CD, they won’t listen to it.”


(As an aside, while 4Gamer might side with Kojima on this one, I’m not too sure how I’d feel about having a Metal Gear Solid game open with this song. Maybe if it started with Big Boss cruising down the highway on a motorcycle… maybe.)


Finally, 4Gamer asks if there are some more things from Nineteen Eighty-Four or other things as references you might find in Metal Gear Solid V.


Metal Gear Solid always had references, so you might also find stuff from Moby Dick, says Kojima. “People who know a lot about it might realize it once they play it. However, it’s not like we’re just throwing it out there in front of the screen. I think it’d be nice if it can get those who don’t understand the reference to check it out and find out for themselves.”


Photograph courtesy 4Gamer.

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  • Firion Hope

    That sounds like an interesting interview, I like some of Hideos design ideas

  • Aoshi00

    Love the MGS series and Policenaut.. I also love watching movies growing up, though I’m too lazy to read lol. it’s always nice to see Kojima tweet about the latest movies he’ seen. I hope he would have time to finish Breaking Bad, what a show! I started pretty late and finished it in 2 weeks lol, and urged everyone I know to watch. yeah, lots of US TV shows are very high quality in recent years.. It is funny most Americans diss Hollywood movies yet people from other countries love them.. I think there’s still lots of good movies.. and movies in the 80s just impressed me so much when I was growing up in HK..

    Can’t wait for Phantom Rain.. I tried hard to get into Peacewalker but still don’t like it too much compared to the rest.. hope to finish it one day..

    • z_merquise

      I wonder if Kojima already seen classic war films like Full Metal Jacket, Platoon or Apocalypse Now. I think some of the themes found in those movies can be applied to a series like Metal Gear.

      • Aoshi00

        He’s older than me, so I bet he’s seen all of the classics too :) Policenauts’ main chars were kinda like Lethal Weapon.. I wonder if Kojima has his own personal theater lol.. he also liked Pacific Rim, Drive, Gravity, etc.. I understand his feelings though. not all my friends are into movies :) People need to watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad, writing was so good and Bryan Cranston was awesome! Love it to death. He should watch the Walking Dead too :)

        Oh, in GZ, you could put on Ride of the Valkyries.. so I bet he’s seen Apocalypse Now lol.. just like the old Hitchcock movies..

        • z_merquise

          For some reason, I’m not into live-action TV series. The only American TV series I’m watching (recently) is South Park.

          I love watching movies especially the old ones though.

          • Aoshi00

            I don’t watch many TV series at all either since I don’t want to follow a show weekly.. I stopped watching anime years ago too but w/ a few exception like DB Kai, Steins;Gate, or Hunter now which I’m watching weekly. But there’s some really good shows in recent years, Break Bad and Walking Dead I just binged on them and couldn’t stop lol.. my next project is Game of Thrones.. it’s just that I heard so much about Breaking Bad I finally gave it a try on Netflix, after I finished the show I collected all the blu-rays.. yeah, old movies were great, I must’ve seen Alien, Aliens, Predator, Terminator, etc like 20 times.. just timeless classics.. new movies are good too. I watch a lot of movies :) you really should give Breaking Bad or Walking Dead a chance, they’re really unique drama and draw you in.. no wonder Kojima said he can’t go back to Jpn stuff..

  • Nice Boat Quatro

    So Big Boss will see Moby Dick as seen in that trailer. However, wasn’t it that Moby Dick represented something to the novel’s main character? Maybe that’s the point of Moby Dick

  • ZetaSiren

    Moby Dick studios was the “original” developer of the Phantom Pain. So there’s that link haha

  • “I’m the only old man around, so most people don’t get it. Even if I offer to lend them the CD, they won’t listen to it.”

    It’s only gonna get worse from here on, Kojima :(

    • fearlubu

      What the hell is a CD?

  • z_merquise

    Due to having an interest in western movies and TV shows, Kojima feels like he has trouble talking to those around him, who don’t exactly share the same enthusiasm.

    That’s too bad. I love reading American and Euro comics and I think they had some story-telling style and character archetype that I would love to see applied in anime and manga.

    I think it’s more of a cultural thing which is why Kojima’s colleagues aren’t too keen on the things Kojima like so much.

    • Shippoyasha

      To be fair, there is a pretty huge military otaku fandom in Japan that is into the stuff Kojima’s into. There’s always several anime each year that has some kind of a military theme that feels like it could be a Hollywood action story, like Jormungand. And I think Toonami is showing Black Lagoon these days.


    Oh man if it started out with Diamond Dogs playing I would lose my shit. Second favorite Bowie song. I’m not even that old, and I totally got into Bowie not that long ago, those guys need to give older music a chance!

  • Kaihedgie

    Kojima watches Breaking Bad?

    • Arz

      hell yeah he does

  • Masa

    Can’t blame him for not wanting to watch Japanese drama shows, they are pretty awful, 90% of them are romance and have no originality whatsoever.

    Best thing about Japanese TV, the gameshows and anime.

    • Minos

      The Gameshos are the worst part of Japan… they are pure evil…

      • Masa

        That’s what makes them so awesome!

    • 하세요

      I feel Korea pretty much dominates the drama industry in Asia.

      • Masa

        Korean historical dramas are awesome, just got into them last year. ;)
        Never knew they had such a great History.

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    i hate to be “that guy” but Diamond Dogs was a full-fledged album…based on 1984, actually!

  • Alex Webber

    It would be nice if he explained why he thinks its a good idea to charge $30 for a demo? Because to me that is insane.

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