Hideo Kojima Is Great, But It’s Australia That Should Be Making Mad Max Games

Hideo Kojima Is Great, But It’s Australia That Should Be Making Mad Max Games

George Miller says he would like it if his friend and recent collaborator Hideo Kojima made a game based on his beloved Mad Max franchise.

George is obviously well within his right to wish for this — he knows Kojima personally, and his guest turn in Death Stranding 2 means he’s seen how Kojima operates creatively. He made the comments while promoting the new Mad Max film Furiosa at its premiere, mentioning his disappointment with the 2015 game by Avalanche Studios.

But here’s the thing — and this could be a long walk, but go with me on it — I feel, as Australians, that we should give the production of a Mad Max game a crack ourselves. God knows, we have the developer talent here at home to do it. Mad Max is a uniquely Australian thing — it’s so Australian that they keep filming new movies in the franchise here. Chris Hemsworth has dialled his ocker accent up to 11 for the new film. Fury Road sent the time-honoured Australian use of terms like ‘mediocre’, spoken to rhyme with ‘piss poor’, global. The films present a grim caricature of the country Australia would leave behind in an apocalypse — mad from the heat, still obsessed with our cars and guzzling down petrochemicals like they aren’t incredibly finite. Still trying to figure out how to build property in the desert, subservient to a small but powerful ruling class that controls our dwindling natural resources. It is also a paean to a country where hardy, adaptive people have survived against uncommonly brutal natural odds for tens of thousands of years. Somehow, it’s even more relevant today than it was when Miller made the original Mad Max in 1979.

Who better to further iterate on that kind of ironic self-assessment than us? Historically, I’ll grant you, Australia has not been particularly good at this in the past. The Millennials in the audience will remember how most of our parents reacted to the 1995 episode of The Simpsons that parodied Australian life, and that was a series of extremely soft jabs. There is a subset of Australians that do not cope well with critique of the broader national culture. We are frequently less a nation of carefree larrikins than we are easily ruffled tattletales, the sort of people who complain about being delayed by protests on the way to jobs we also loathe. It is largely an older crowd that tend to feel this way. But among younger Australians, particularly those who are busily making games in this country, there is a greater willingness to look the nation in the eye and address its character honestly and in totality. They are also capable of making a ripper video game. They do that all the time.

I think that makes us the perfect candidates to make a Mad Max game. We would effectively be making a game about ourselves.

Such a game could take on any number of forms. We could try the open world thing again and probably improve it, sure, but it’s already been done. Avalanche did their best, and that game has found latter appreciation as a cult classic.

We already have Drop Bear Bytes and Broken Roads, its Fallout-style outback RPG full of Australian character. We have studios like Paper House, creators of Paperbark, a point-and-click adventure about Australian flora and fauna, that demonstrates a clear understanding of our environment. We have studios like Fuzzy Ghost, currently hard at work on Janet DeMornay Is A Slumlord (and a witch) that aggressively lampoons the national rental crisis. Reuben Games is still working on Dead Static Drive, a driving and survival game about the desperation of keeping your car running in a post-apocalyptic world. These are just a few recent examples! We have studios working on every conceivable kind of game — RPGs, racers, shooters, resource management sims, all of which make a neat fit for Mad Max. We have the talent and wildly varied viewpoints to make a Mad Max game that both embodies that world spiritually and mechanically while, importantly, still having something to say about ourselves, the way the films always have. And they don’t have to be huge, open-world genre multihyphenates to interrogate these ideas.

If WB Games would like more Mad Max titles, then a modest proposal: find the money and let us cook.

Nothing against you, Hideo. You make a fine video game and you always have. I’d even be interested in what your version of a post-apocalyptic Australia would look like. But what I want more is for us to take the wheel on this one.

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