The creator of Metal Gear Solid reveals why Kojima Productions is creating a new engine from scratch, and offers some advice for game makers of the future.
In 2011, Kojima Productions announced the Fox Engine, an in-house game engine project that aims to be “the best in the world”. There have been a few demos released since then, including a 10 minute video for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. But why go to the trouble of making a new engine from scratch? Japanese game director Hideo Kojima recently offered some commentary on the Fox Engine, including the rationale behind its development and some advice on developing for the future.
Kojima published his insights on his Twitter account (translated by Kotaku), where he notes that realistic rendering at multiple levels is now necessary. “The concept of the ‘Fox Engine’ is photo-realism,” he writes. “The age of fixating on pictures and sound in games is over. Now the questions are: How free is it? Does it connect to the internet and is the gameplay smooth? Even so, a certain level of realistic atmosphere is required.
“At Kojima Productions we’re aiming for a line where even simple CG models look photo-realistic when you zoom out of the game screen.”
The creator of Metal Gear Solid referred to his 1998 espionage title as an example of “looking to the future”, when the team chose to create video sequences using in-game models instead of pre-rendered graphics: a practice that has carried on to this day. “With Peace Walker, we tried a hand-held system with the age of cloud technology in mind,” he added. “People laughed at us then, too.”
Kojima concluded by saying that game makers should not be concerned with what works now, but rather focus on what will work in the future. “Businessmen in the field always think ‘What platform or career is going to succeed? With whom/where should I strengthen my ties?’ and look to the future and choose their path from there. But technology is always evolving, and it always leaves the laboratory and becomes a part of everyday life. Creators must look to that future when they create.”