Hideo Kojima Wants to Keep His New Studio Under 100 Members

Hideo Kojima Wants to Keep His New Studio Under 100 Members

kojima logo

Kojima wants to keep things small and lean for his new studio, in order to cut the bloat from games development.

In the old days, games were made by a couple of dudes working in a garage. These days, we have teams that number in the hundreds, making the credits of a video game look fairly similar to the credits of a blockbuster movie. Hideo Kojima, with his new, independent studio: Kojima Productions, wants to take things back a notch, and as such, is aiming to keep the studio under 100 employees.

"I'm aiming to keep the staff less than 100 people," Kojima said in a roundtable discussion (via GameReactor). He said that when he was working on Metal Gear Solid, the team would balloon to up to 200 members, which was just way too many to manage. "[I want] to connect to the developers directly... So it will be around 100 people, but not more."

Kojima says he can't comprehend the 1000+ member teams of Hollywood productions, and can't understand how all of the staff could possibly communicate in an effective way. He brings up the following scenario: a glass of water is found on set. Who is it for? How much water do they want? With so many people, it can be impossible to know.

Right now, the studio is working with Sony on a PS4 exclusive title, though we have no real ideas on just what it will be.

Source: GameReactor

Permalink

Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

Or it'll just be a bunch of insanely easy to program borderline text adventures pixel games with no voice actors, minimal gameplay with mawkish word-genocide story-lines that half of gamers hate, and the other half don't get but think means something.
The video game equivalent of this:

Silentpony:

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

Or it'll just be a bunch of insanely easy to program borderline text adventures pixel games with no voice actors, minimal gameplay with mawkish word-genocide story-lines that half of gamers hate, and the other half don't get but think means something.
The video game equivalent of this:

It feels like you're being needlessly hyperbolic.

On topic. This is something I've been hoping to see more of in the industry, really. Large studios with lots of backing cutting back and making smaller games with less resources. Cut out all unnecessary bloat so you don't have to sell three copies to every person in the world and their shambling undead grandmother just to turn a profit. If a guy can make a critically acclaimed game in his spare time while supporting himself working full time as an usher at a movie theater, then AAA developers can stand to stop betting it all on by the numbers, focus tested tripe and take greater leaps of faith on smaller projects.

So, does this mean he won't be making films then?

Silentpony:

Or it'll just be a bunch of insanely easy to program borderline text adventures pixel games with no voice actors, minimal gameplay with mawkish word-genocide story-lines that half of gamers hate, and the other half don't get but think means something.

Hideo Kojima producing visual novel "games"? Konami must have destroyed his talent. Poor bastard.

What I hope he does is invest heavily in procedural generation. There are sooooo many things in games these days that nobody cares about or looks at that SHOULD be done with procedural generation. I mean think about things like random piles of rocks in games, or gravel textures, or random shelves. Especially WINDOWS, nobody should have to model standard glass windows, there should be a program that designs windows, breaks them, and just spits out 30,000 different broken window models that you could pick five of the best and then plop into a level.

Easily achievable by outsourcing, like so many indie game studios do. Anonymously, mind you.

Have people already forgotten what teams of 1-5 devs have done in the past few years? Banished was made by 1 guy. Miasmata was made by 2 guys. Now, these are ridiculously small dev teams and both games could have benefited from more people. But what a couple people can do together or even one person can be amazing. Additionally look at some of the overhaul mods out there, done for free by a small group of people. I think this is a smart move by Kojima.

You can guarantee his games wont have shoehorned in features like multiplayer/singleplayer, microtransactions, crafting system, etc. But rather with a small development team you really need to cut the fat out of your games and keep the project focused. The game can't take the AAA angle of trying to be everything to everybody, yet sacrifice doing anything well. I hope this is a recipe for success for him. I wouldn't be surprised if it is, considering he is purposely doing it.

I'm pretty sure that even with a small team there can still be a ton of side features in a game that the team can outsource. I'm sure I've heard of other 'small' studios doing the same in some AAA games before.

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

Or they will be efficient and well coordinated, unlike the standard massively bloated AAA studios of today...

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

WTF? How many people do you think it takes to create a video game exactly?? Or, how lazy do you think those 100 people are? One person, alone can create a simple, playable game. 10 people is a small studio, 100 is a huge studio.

KingsGambit:

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

WTF? How many people do you think it takes to create a video game exactly?? Or, how lazy do you think those 100 people are? One person, alone can create a simple, playable game. 10 people is a small studio, 100 is a huge studio.

To be fair, games these days are pushing 300+, The Witcher 3 off the top of my head was at least 300. In average AAA teams, 100 is a moderately sized team, not huge.

That's not to say I disagree with you, 008Zulu is clearly wrong in thinking 100 people couldn't make a decent game in a decent time frame, especially as it's most likely going to be Kojimas old team who already have experience and synergy with each other. There's a LOT of bloat in production these days.

Yes, you wouldn't want your development to become as convoluted and confused as your writing, Kojima, would you? ;) *Sigh* Why do i get the sinking feeling that joke has already been done?

Well, if he can keep everyone's responsibilities organized, and maintain a schedule that keeps the publishing execs from pressuring a quick release date, I'd say a small team would be better than the bloated armies some AAA games form, only to layoff the extras a year later.

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

Ever played Banished? That was coded, drawn, debugged, tested, and post-release supported by one dude. ONE.

Small groups can do a huge amount of stuff if they're motivated right.

I look forward to the game. I want to believe MGSV was bad cause of Konami (and I suppose an oversized team) rather than Kojima losing his edge. His next game will potentially say a lot about his continued abilities, even if its a much smaller game than the usual MGS ones. I just hope there are lots of neat little secrets and stuff to find, cause Kojima was always good at that.

Good. Small teams force tighter, less bloated design. We have enough oversized messes. Small is better at this point, or at the very least a refreshing change of pace.

I'll take a risk on something developed by 100 passionate people than 300 resume-padding contractors.

Steven Bogos:
These days, we have teams that number in the hundreds, making the credits of a video game look fairly similar to the credits of a blockbuster movie.

What do you mean these days? I remmeber sitting through credits in games 10 years ago for 15 minutes wondering when they will end when movies rarely exceed 5 minutes. If anything - game credits are a bit shorter nowadays.

Steven Bogos:

Kojima says he can't comprehend the 1000+ member teams of Hollywood productions, and can't understand how all of the staff could possibly communicate in an effective way. He brings up the following scenario: a glass of water is found on set. Who is it for? How much water do they want? With so many people, it can be impossible to know.

Heres how - they dont. There is a reason there are multiple producers in a big movie production. They all are responsible for a certian part of the movie and the people bellow them dont need to communicate with eachother. The water glass example is nonsensical. Nobody cares, if the glass is unattended to the kitchen it goes.

008Zulu:
Only 100 people? Then either the team will take 5 - 10 years to develop a single title (assuming AAA level, it is Sony), or he will work them under 20 hour days.

I would not be surprised at all if it takes him at least 5 years to develop it. Especially since its going to be the first game with entirely new group of developers so they have to both create the entire world it sets place in and learn to work together. Id say 5 years is the minimum if we want high quality product. Sequels may be faster.

sonicneedslovetoo:
What I hope he does is invest heavily in procedural generation. There are sooooo many things in games these days that nobody cares about or looks at that SHOULD be done with procedural generation. I mean think about things like random piles of rocks in games, or gravel textures, or random shelves. Especially WINDOWS, nobody should have to model standard glass windows, there should be a program that designs windows, breaks them, and just spits out 30,000 different broken window models that you could pick five of the best and then plop into a level.

Oh, id love more procedural generation, but current obsession is about making it look pixel perfect rather than fun and varied. However procedural generation is coming either way. The games are getting bigger and bigger and hand-placing everything is a seriuos limitation that can be overcome with procedural generation.

Broken windows thing - Division does that. their glass breaking is simulated rather than pre-baked.

Saelune:
I look forward to the game. I want to believe MGSV was bad cause of Konami (and I suppose an oversized team) rather than Kojima losing his edge. His next game will potentially say a lot about his continued abilities, even if its a much smaller game than the usual MGS ones. I just hope there are lots of neat little secrets and stuff to find, cause Kojima was always good at that.

I agree, I really like those extras.

sonicneedslovetoo:
What I hope he does is invest heavily in procedural generation. There are sooooo many things in games these days that nobody cares about or looks at that SHOULD be done with procedural generation. I mean think about things like random piles of rocks in games, or gravel textures, or random shelves. Especially WINDOWS, nobody should have to model standard glass windows, there should be a program that designs windows, breaks them, and just spits out 30,000 different broken window models that you could pick five of the best and then plop into a level.

I'm not sure procedural generation is Kojima's thing. I mean let's face it, MGS is famous for being very detailed and focused (although MGS's writing became the opposite of it's gameplay). For the record I haven't played his other games so I'm not going to judge them.

That said, I do like procedural generation when it's done right, I just don't think it's Kojima's likely to do it (outside of little touches like broken windows like you mentioned).

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here