Hideo Kojima Biography - Top 25 Interesting Facts

Hideo Kojima Biography
Gaming's Auteur

Hideo Kojima is one of the few video game developers who genuinely deserves the title of auteur. When a Kojima project is announced, it feels as if the entire gaming community swarms to the news. With titles as diverse as Death Stranding and Metal Gear Solid, Kojima is gaming royalty. Below are the 25 most interesting facts about gaming’s no.1 auteur. 


25) Net Worth 

Hideo Kojima has a net worth of over $30 million. To put that into perspective, that would get you 5 luxury lamborghinis. Not bad.


24) Movie Buff 

Kojima has rightfully earned the label of auteur, and is something of a film buff himself.. Some of his favourites are 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, High and Low, Mad Max 2 and Taxi Driver. 


23) Shared Birthday 

Kojima shares a birthday - August 24th - with a wealth of celebrities. Some of the biggest names are CEO of WWE Vince McMahon, actor Rupert Grint and author Jorge Luis Borges. 4 people who share a birthday and very little else.


22) Late Childhood Nights 

Kojima’s love of cinema is rooted in his childhood. Both his parents were big movie fans, and encouraged Kojima in his passion, so much so that he wasn’t even allowed to go to bed before the movie ended. 


21) Meaning Behind Death Stranding 

Upon its release, Death Stranding surprised the world. It was typical of Kojima, but by no means typical of games at large. It sees you take control of Sam, a courier who reconnects isolated colonies through a wireless communications network. Baffling at launch, Kojima has since gone on to explain that the game is about loneliness, and attempting to “cure” it. 


20) Donald Trump and Brexit Inspired Death Stranding 

That’s right. Kojima has stated that the election of Trump and Britain’s exit from Europe both inspired his 2019 game. For a dystopian piece of fiction, these seem like pretty relevant inspirations.


19) Kojima the Soothsayer 

Akin to the likes of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, Hideo Kojima has also been praised for his prophetic work. For example, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) had a storyline which dealt with post-war politics, fake news, AI generated newsfeeds and other data-related fears. Jump forward 10 years and these themes dominated - and to some extent continue to - political discourse.


His prophetic capacity was also noted in relation to Death Stranding, which dealt with the themes of disease, loneliness and political divide months before the COVID-19 pandemic.


18) Hard Start to Life 

Sadly, Kojima’s father passed away when he was just 13. He also had multiple near death experiences throughout his childhood. These sad biographical details really aid a playthrough of Death Stranding, as well as sombre moments in other Kojima projects. 


17) Cinematic Ambition 

In his youth, Kojima wanted to produce films. He worked on a zombie film for a school festival. Sadly, a lack of ambition on behalf of his friends and insufficient funds led him away from cinema.


16) Life Before Language 

When Kojima started his career in gaming, there was not yet a Japanese word for game designer. To get around this, he would simply tell people he was working for a financial firm. 


15) Anti-Social Media 

Kojima has obviously benefited greatly from advances in technology, yet he acknowledges its pernicious side. Social media, according to Kojima, reflects our age of individualism: we are all connected, but always fighting.


14) Humble Beginnings 

Kojima’s first contribution to the gaming industry was as an assistant director on Penguin Adventure. You play as a penguin searching for a golden apple to cure a princess. Although playful and light, the game had branching endings, something that would become typical in Kojima’s later work.


13) Super Mario Bros 

While studying Economics at University, Kojima invested in a Famicom. His favourite game was the classic Super Mario Bros. He has since described it as the game that changed his life. It was this game that helped him to establish a connection between film and games as creative forces.


12) Status Symbol 

Kojima’s first job in the game industry was at Konami. He chose Konami because it was the only game developer then found in the Japanese stock exchange. He hoped that since it was there, it would make his work slightly more reputable, as at the time the game industry was looked down upon. 


11) Big Bladder 

During production of Penguin Adventure, Kojima was out to impress his colleagues. So much so that he would refuse toilet breaks and often found himself dreaming about the game.


10) Literature Buff 

For an industry that is often criticised for being culturally irrelevant, it is nice to see people like Kojima fighting in our corner. As well as his love for Cinema, Kojima is also a literary man. He wrote short stories as a young man (which were in fact seismic), and has noted several parallels between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy.


9) The Great Escape 

In 1987, Kojima was asked to take over a project known as Metal Gear. The team wanted the game to have a combat focus, but struggled to make it work on the limited hardware. Pragmatically, Kojima suggested that the game might instead be focused on avoiding combat. This ingenious idea was based on The Great Escape. The game was met with much fanfare.


8) Playable Character 

In MGS: Peace Walker, Kojima is actually a recruitable character. We can again see him as an innovator, given how often we now see gamers incorporate their own image into their work.


7) Supportive Mother 

Kojima’s mother has always been one of his biggest fans. She was one of the few people to support him when he first entered the game industry. Well into her 70s, she completed Metal Gear Solid 3. 


6) Big Following 

Kojima loves film, but film loves Kojima! Back in 2016, Guillermo del Toro is on record as saying “I’ll do whatever the fuck he wants” about Kojima. Del Toro went on to work on Death Stranding.


5) Hotel Ritual 

Whenever Kojima gets into a hotel room, the first thing he will do is sit down in front of the TV. This, he claims, is to help battle and understand his loneliness.


4) Father’s Occupation 

Before his passing, Kojima’s father was a travelling salesman. Do we to some extent see him resurrected in Death Stranding?


3) Emphasis on Pacing 

Kojima wants his games to feel cinematic. As such, they follow a narrative structure which doesn’t always lend itself to gameplay. A notable example of this can be found in MGS3, which sees the character climb a ladder for 3 minutes at one point, in order to allow the player to reflect on the hour long boss battle which preceded it.


2) Military Training 

While working on the Metal Gear series, Kojima participated in real military training in order to maintain his commitment to realism. Rather you than I, Hideo.


1) 29 Years 

Kojima left Konami in 2015 after 29 years of service. His work there will go down in history. This is some feat, especially when considering he only went there because it had a place in the Japanese stock market.


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As a Philosophy graduate and published creative writer, I write about gaming from a fresh and original perspective. I like browsing bookstores and reading when I can get away from Hyrule.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: Sports
Currently Playing: Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Top 3 Favorite Games:Bioshock Infinite, Crysis 2-Maximum Edition, Grand Theft Auto V

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