The next generation of game hardware—rumored to be on the way from Microsoft and Sony—is still many months away. However, that hasn’t tempered the enthusiasm and concern among leading game developers who will be on the front lines of creating titles for consoles with innovative specifications.
One of the brightest minds in development today is Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, who expressed his own unique take on the challenges posed by the next generation of game hardware—and offered a tantalizing hint at what may drive these new machines—during our recent visit to Konami’s offices in Tokyo, Japan. In a wide-ranging interview, Kojima talked about his hopes and concerns for the next-generation consoles, as well as the frustration that new hardware poses for developers looking to expand the scope of their existing franchises.
“It’s not a platform war to me; it’s the span of time between leaps in technology,” Kojima explains. “In that sense, I think [shorter lifespans] are better. It’s not about, say, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 specifically, but rather the general tech level of a generation.”
This begins, obviously, with the first titles created for each new machine. And with a realization, according to Kojima, that the clock starts ticking immediately on the lifespan of each console.
“You make your first game with a lot of difficulty, beginning before the hardware is finalized. When you move on to the next, you’re able to achieve things you couldn’t in the first title; tech advances on the software side rather than the hardware. That usually prepares you for the next generation of hardware. For me, two or three projects per console generation is the maximum. After that, it’s time to move on.”
So, what about the next wave of platforms has Kojima concerned?
“I’m not so concerned about hardware specs right now; radical leaps in technology are difficult to deal with. I’m more concerned with aspects like cloud computing, cloud storage, and playing the same game across multiple devices,” he says, offering a tantalizing suggestion at what the new systems may demand from developers. “I think we’re going to see advances in these areas very quickly, and I’d like the standards to be established sooner rather than later.”
Could this mean that the next-gen Xbox or PlayStation will operate as streaming devices? Will publishers be required to create games that integrate with tablets and other mobile devices? You can find out more from our exclusive interview with Hideo Kojima in EGM Issue 258, on newsstands everywhere as well as on browsers, Facebook, and tablet devices next month.