Hideo Kojima once envisioned a Metal Gear Solid 3 boss battle so complex and intricate that it would have taken two IRL weeks to complete it.
The story is part of the latest episode of Did You Know Gaming, a follow-up to a video full of trivia about the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Returning to narrate is the original English language voice of Solid Snake himself, David Hayter.
The story goes that, during production on Metal Gear Solid 3, Kojima had become infatuated with the works of novelist Stephen Hunter, whose books The Master Sniper and Point of Impact, were about snipers embedded in the mountains, gradually trying to pick one another off. Kojima’s idea was that Snake’s boss fight with The End would be as close to a real-life sniper fight as humanly possible, and would be played out over two real-time weeks. The player would need to use their surroundings to remain hidden and silent, look for clues in a huge area to identify where The End was hiding and, once he was located, set up the perfect shot. Again, this would play out over two actual weeks.
The crazy thing is that this boss fight actually made it to a prototype stage. It was, at one point, a real part of a playable build. However, when it came time to test the fight, no one who played through it was able to find a trace of the old man. Numerous players spent hours looking for The End and turned up nothing, effectively impeding their progress through the game. The team found the fight so infuriatingly dull that they began booing Kojima, convincing him to give up on the idea entirely.
Kojima is known for having bold and sometimes unattainable ideas, but Metal Gear Solid 3‘s two-week sniper fight proves some things really are cooler in the mind than in practice.
There are so many more incredible, Verified Kojima Moments from this episode. Here are just a few morsels:
- The Metal Gear Solid VR Missions expansion was borne out of boredom while putting the game’s European port together. With a lot of time on their hands throughout the day, the team began playing around with their own game, and before they knew it, Kojima and crew had a bank of short-run challenges they could draw from. When he finally confessed his team had been entertaining themselves for months, his unimpressed superiors asked if it were possible to turn the missions into a proper game.
- Kojima pitched a competitive multiplayer mode, a kind of 1v1 hide-and-seek game similar to what Assassin’s Creed would do in the Ezio-era. However, he’d also told Konami that Metal Gear Solid would only take a year to make, and production was in its third year by that point so it had to be thrown out.
- Kojima had originally wanted to create an enemy AI for Metal Gear Solid 2 that would get an instant read on the player. I would sus out your actions during the first few minutes of gameplay and use that information to create a player profile, including age, gender, and personal interests. The information would then be used for and against the player throughout their entire playthrough. The PS2, of course, simply did not possess the power required to realise such a grand idea. All that remains of this plan is a questionnaire that asked the player for their info. That information later appears on Raiden’s dog tags toward the end of the game, the same ones he throws away, symbolically throwing the player’s identity away as he asserts his own.
- Kojima got really into sharks during production on Metal Gear Solid 2 and pitched several ideas about Snake having to evade or fend off the creatures. One sequence would have involved Snake swimming through a flooded section of the Big Shell complex and spilling his blood to distract the sharks. Another involved a boss fight involving a great white. There are no sharks in the final game.
- For Metal Gear Solid 4, Kojima had wanted to create a ‘simulation world’, in which trees would grow to full height from saplings over time. Trees that were watered would grow. Trees that were not, would die. Kojima envisioned players growing an entire jungle they could then use in a firefight. It turned out that he’d been drawn in by the PlayStation 3’s famously bullish marketing about its cell processor and the kind of power that could be extracted from it. “We set our dreams too high because we believed it could do anything,” Kojima would later tell G4.
- Kojima took a while to warm up to the idea of Raiden as the lead in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. He’d originally wanted Grey Fox or Frank Jaeger, but pushing for that would have meant getting more involved in the production, which he did not want to do. Ultimately, Kojima came to look at it as handing game development to the generation coming up behind him. “They wanted to come up with a really cool hack-and-slash title with some katana action and Raiden in it, and I thought ‘Okay, that’s fine, I respect that.’”
Anyway, the whole 40-minute video is fantastic and you should check it out. Stick around toward the end for a look at The Wild Geese, the movie that inspired Kojima to create the Metal Gear franchise.