Hideo Kojima Q&A at USC

A special Konami event was specifically made for USC students on yesterday, October 6th, and it was a treat. The special guest would be Vice President of Konami Digital Entertainment Hideo Kojima.

Hideo Kojima came from Japan to do a Q&A session for USC students who have an interest in video game creation. The event started at 6:30pm at the George Lucas Hall, but by 5:30pm, the waiting area was packed with students trying to get in. Two classes were scheduled as many students were hoping to get in. The room was a decent size and was able to fit 200 or so people. It was so crowded that students who didn’t get seats were standing around. As it started we were informed that the Q&A with Konami has been in talks for about 3 years, and now it’s here.

The host for the event was Geoff Keighley (GameStop ads and GameTrailers TV), who has interviewed Hideo Kojima multiple times, even when he just started out after graduating USC back in 2001.

A nice little bonus.....kiddie Hideo Kojima

It started off with Geoff asking Kojima about his childhood and how he grew up. Kojima explained his parents were in the pharmaceutical industry and were always working, so he would be alone most of the time. He would always be the first at home and would be turning on all the lights and TVs. He still does that today when its quiet at his house. When watching TV he would see many shows that had many cultural influences, which helped him out with his ideas.

Kojima then talks about his high school life, when he originally wanted to make movies. He spent a lot of time making movies, showing them to his friends and classmates. He eventually charged to make back some of the money he used for production but always came out in the red, after he realized those around him weren’t as serious as he was. Kojima decided to do more writing.

College comes and Kojima is studying Economics, he has written a few scripts and no one around him had the same interests and drive, which he says he is jealous, because nowadays he see’s people joining together supporting each other.

Kojima started getting into games during the Famicom (Nintendo in America), and games like Mario, Xevious and Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken helped push him towards the gaming industry. Eventually he got a job working with a small team at Konami and the magic started happening.

Hideo Kojima talked about his work and position. He works almost 18 hours a day starting at about 6am. He has 3 jobs that include Managing Kojima production, being the VP of Konami and being his creative self to develop new projects he is working on. He works with his team and gets to know them, all including the new hires, but everyone who works with him does the regular 9-5. He says he is a guy who likes to do everything himself. It’s not possible but he still prefers that. There is one person who he has great chemistry working with, and that guy is Shuichi Kobori.Kojima’s influence on nuclear warfare comes from his parents, since they grew up during World War II he felt it was up to him to share the message and relate it, to send a message. To him, games are great to play, and companies should focus on the players more than the designer’s own creation, since the input only makes a game better.

And Geoff finally asked about Hideo Kojima’s time management with his family and work. Kojima said it was a hot button. He loves his family, but to make something of epic proportions, some things have to be neglected. He tries to balance working weekdays at the office and only devoting his weekends for his family.

To end the night, some students’ questions were picked. One question that stood out was how do amateurs get the attention of professionals? Kojima answered with mediums like YouTube. In this day and age, there almost is no more amateurs vs pros. The only difference he sees are Sponsors. Kojima wants to work with more amateurs and said one of the reasons the Fox Engine was created was to help students as well. We may see it in the hands of students maybe at UCLA?

But in Kojima’s own words, there is no such thing as impossible. Impossible means people haven’t tried it yet. Anything can be achieved with hard work. People shouldn’t try to change to the rules given to them, but instead work to change the business, like he did. Since Kojima believes he is responsible for many changes in gaming, especially in Konami, I wouldn’t disagree with him at all.

A huge surprise was shown to everyone who was at the event. It was a small showcase of the Fox Engine, no filming or pictures were allowed during this. The Fox Engine’s abilities were shown. With it, one person could make a complete stage in about 30 minutes, complete with coloring, rendering, and added effects. We got to see the 30-minute stage creation in action, but it was shortened down to 10 minutes. The engine has so much promise and makes stage design look much more simpler than anything I have seen to date.

In the end USC had a special treat for Hideo Kojima. He was honored by USC, and a special announcement was also made by Konami.

We thank Konami for allowing us to be part of such an awesome event and Hideo Kojima for being such an inspiration.

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.