EGM: So I got to play through the [MGS3 demo on the show floor] today, and there were a couple little questions I had to start off. One is when you die, it says "time paradox"...is there some larger meaning to that?
Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid 3 director: You know, MGS3 takes place in 1964, so it's the past. The narratives of MGS1 and 2 have been presented, and you can't change that anymore. But if things happen in the past that do not lead to the proper MGS1 and 2 narratives, or things that change the future, then the game ends. We call that "Game Over – Time Paradox."
For example, if Snake dies in this game, there will be no MGS1 or MGS2. That's why it's not a game over, it's a time paradox. It's wrong. When you die, it says "Snake is dead," and over the next 30 seconds, the letters change. It types out "Time Paradox." There's actually a secret to that – in the final game, there's something you can do during those 30 seconds. You can move around the camera, but there's something else you can do in those 30 seconds to undo the time paradox.
EGM: During your presentation, you said that – I don't know if you were joking or not – but you said you wanted to work in a wildlife preserve when you were younger. Is that true?
Kojima: First, I wanted to be an astronaut. My next goal was to work in a wildlife preserve and then third, a detective.
EGM: So is your love of wildlife behind Metal Gear Solid 3's jungle setting?
Kojima: I'm using the jungle not because of my love for nature – and by the way, I personally love gorillas – I selected it because in an infiltration mission, you always start out in the wilderness, and I think people love to play going up and down mountains and hills, in the natural environment. Metal Gear Solid's got that hardboiled touch in the character of Snake, and when you talk about hardboiled, you always need that element of survival. A guy struggling to live, to make it through, and that's why I use the jungle. For the survival aspect.
Mr. Mori, our military advisor, took us on an excursion, a one night trip into the mountains and woods. We've did a lot of training, where he showed us camouflage and a lot of things, and one thing we did was lie on our bellies. I'd sit there and not move at all, and you start hearing the chirping of birds, you hear the river…and when the enemy attacks you then, the nervousness and the tension you feel is different than when that happens in the city or something. That feel is very unique, and that's something I wanted to introduce in the game.
EGM: You mentioned you like gorillas, is that a hint that there will be gorillas in the game?
Kojima: No, there are no gorillas in the game. Unfortunately. [laughs]
EGM: You mentioned Mr. Mori – can you talk a bit about the new close-quarters combat? Did he come to Konami and grab guys, flip you down, knock you over?
Kojima: He's come over and demonstrated his moves to some of my staff, and sometimes it's like he tries not to do it too much [and hurt anyone], but it happens. He's also been at the motion capture sessions, and he's actually worn the suit with the ping-pong balls, and he's done some of the acting. He's done some of the moves onto other motion capture actors.
EGM: Has he ever done it to you?
Kojima: No, he's never done CQC on me. But he bullies me when we go to these training sessions, these excursions. He never gets to do these things to me in the office, so I guess he has to wait until then. [laughs]
EGM: Can you talk at all about the different environments that we'll see? I know we've seen a cave, and Snake has snow camouflage....
Kojima: We've shown a lot in our trailers and the playable demo, but there's much more, many environments we haven't shown yet. I don't want to talk about that now.
EGM: Fair enough. By the way, will that demo be released before the game like with MGS2?
Kojima: As of now, we have no plans.
EGM: Another thing from the demo, there's a section where Snake can roll a barrel down on a guard. Are there other places in the game where he can affect the environment like that?
Kojima: There are other things. As for the barrels, you can shoot them and blow them up, so that's something else you can do. There are also piercing bullets, you saw that in the trailer, where he shot through two people at once – the guy, the glass, and the other guy inside. Using that kind of bullet, you can shoot through roofs and wooden walls.
In the playable demo, when you first meet enemies, there's that one level where you see humans for the first time … if you take each enemy out one by one, when you take out the first guy, the other guy will hear the bullets. So what you want to do is get in a position to line them up, and use that kind of bullet to take them out with one shot.
EGM: I notice Snake starts the demo with his knife, and then when you get his backpack, he has all of the weapons. But Snake's always started with just a pack of cigarettes. Is this something that's just there for the demo, or is it an actual change?
Kojima: It's for the demo only. The good thing about the backpack is that you can store a lot of things in it. Until now, all you could carry around was stuff you could see in the menu window, the item window, but this time you can store probably three times as many items in the backpack. What you do is you basically pick out things you want to carry around all the time from the backpack, and things you pick out, you can select with the L and R buttons. The thing is, if you end up selecting too many heavy weapons, it's going to be heavy, so it's going to reduce your stamina quicker. That's why you might want to equip food instead, but it's really up to the player.
EGM: What can you tell us about Metal Gear Acid?
Kojima: It's a Metal Gear Solid game that's specifically for handheld system, so it will not be an action game. It's more like a command-based, turn-based game. Visually, it's going to look as good as [the other] Metal Gear games.
EGM: Are you working on that yourself?
Kojima: It's my team, but I'm the producer, not the director. The guys working on Metal Gear Acid are a young team, so it's going to be a stylish MGS, unlike my MGS games. [laughs]
Thanks to Mark MacDonald for the interview. Be sure to read the full interview in Electronic Gaming Monthly #181, for more details on Snake Eater, Metal Gear Acid, and the Metal Gear comic book!