The Boys from Hideo Kojima is the game I didn’t know I needed and now won’t be getting. At least, that’s the current state of affairs. At the end of June, the near-legendary games designer tweeted out that he’d been watching Amazon Prime’s The Boys, itself based on the Garth Ennis comic. He also revealed that he had watched a few episodes in the past, and at that time, he believed that the series was a little too close to a “project” he had previously been planning to create. As a result of his project’s similarity to The Boys, Hideo Kojima decided to shelve the project.
That might seem like an extreme reaction, but its premise, “A buddy (male/female) thing with a special detective squad facing off against legendary heroes behind the scenes,” isn’t a million miles away from The Boys’ own setup. And while Jeff Bezos is spending a big chunk of money turning Amazon into Weyland-Yutani, he still has more than enough to sue the pants off Hideo Kojima.
On top of that, there’s the possibility that Hideo Kojima’s lineup of “legendary heroes” would have included some obvious copies of DC and Marvel characters. Sure, it’s obvious who Queen Maeve and Homelander are copies of, but I can just picture Kojima rolling out Kark Clent and Glen Lantern. Think I’m kidding? It’s only by the sheer grace of John Carpenter that Kojima didn’t get sued for having made Metal Gear Solid protagonist Solid Snake, a dead ringer for Snake Plissken, Escape From New York and Escape From LA’s eye-patch wearing protagonist.
But something wonderful happened after Kojima’s tweet. The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke openly invited Hideo Kojima to make a The Boys game. Granted, from a legal standpoint he probably didn’t have absolute authority to make this offer, but his opinion certainly carries weight and was followed by an endorsement from Homelander actor Antony Starr. And you know what? They’re right — the sooner someone greenlights Hideo Kojima’s The Boys, the better.
Why Kojima in particular? Because, over-lengthy cutscenes aside, he’s got just the right skillset to make a The Boys game a reality. In particular, he’s got a talent for blending the absurd and the serious, delivering games that have you rolling your eyes one minute and blubbering the next.
Take Death Stranding. This is a game that encourages you to repeatedly urinate in the same spot, all in the name of making a bigger and bigger piss-shroom. You haul around a floating baby and use it to detect otherworldly entities, before zapping them with your own blood or poo. Like the very notion of superheroes, the more you think about it, the more ridiculous it sounds.
But thanks to Kojima and his team, when you pick up that controller, none of that matters. Playing Death Stranding, at some level I knew it was all ridiculous, but it didn’t stop me from becoming invested in what amounted to a hugely engaging if occasionally over-explained story.
The Boys, too, mixes the serious with the silly to glorious effect. A few minutes after season 3, episode 1’s “big scene,” you’ve got Billy Butcher bonding with his girlfriend’s son, whose father just happens to be Billy’s arch enemy. It’s this kind of shift in tone Kojima has proven adept at again and again.
Additionally, when it comes to making adventure games, Kojima has real chops. His earlier games, Snatcher and Policenauts, feature a good dose of lead-chasing, the kind of detective work that figures into The Boys. Just imagine how fulfilling it’d be, after watching a “supe” play nice on television, to nail them to the wall — literally, figuratively, or both — proving that they were the ones responsible for a string of gruesome murders. And believe me, there are plenty of superheroes to go after in the world of The Boys. The series has Butcher and co. going after Homelander and the Seven, but there’s so, so much more material in the comics. The team regularly investigates other crimes in those comics, (There’s an absolutely horrifying take on the X-Men.) so why not mine them?
However, there is one Hideo Kojima-related snag, and I’m not talking about the way he shoehorned his friends into Death Stranding. There’s no concrete evidence that Hideo Kojima is a nightmare to work with, but I get the feeling that he’s used to having complete creative control, not unlike George Lucas and Star Wars, pre-Disney takeover.
What would happen if his vision for The Boys doesn’t quite fit with Amazon’s? There’s one solution that would give Kojima the excuse to go hog-wild — let Hideo Kojima’s The Boys exist separately from either Amazon’s or Garth Ennis’s. Allow him to take inspiration from either — the comic, for example, has some utterly fantastic Rob Liefield-style characters — but let him write his own canon.
If he wants to see Billy Butcher duke it out God of War-style with a massive Giant-Man-sized foe? Go for it. How about having Hughie sneaking into Vought to spike their Compound V? Why not? Let Kojima blend the madness of Death Stranding and the political messages of Metal Gear Solid with the crime/conspiracy-busting adventures of Snatcher and Policenauts. The Metal Gear Solid series in particular is known for muddying its characters, and going by the way Amazon’s The Boys is unfolding, no one is going to come out smelling of roses.
Of course, making AAA games is more than a one-man job; Death Stranding’s team was made up of 80 people, which is still small by most standards. But under Hideo Kojima’s guidance, and provided the final encounter isn’t a two-hour cutscene, we could get a game that does The Boys justice.