In the latest episode of IGN Unfiltered, Geoff Keighley opened up about his famous friendship with legendary video game creator, Hideo Kojima.
Ryan McCaffrey sat down with Keighley to discuss Kojima in the latest episode of IGN Unfiltered, along with details on Keighley’s storied history with awards shows, his thoughts on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the cancellation of E3, what the 2020 Game Awards will be like, and much, much more.
When asked about how his friendship began, Keighley said, “The origin of the friendship with Kojima, I think, stems back from when I did The Final Hours of Metal Gear Solid 2, back in 2001. I went over to Tokyo. It was right after 9/11. I remember flying on a 747 and there was like no one on the plane.”
“I went over and visited him, and wrote a story about the making of that game, and we just kind of hit it off. I think he’s always… he’s been interested in Western culture, and Hollywood, and L.A., and entertainment, and I think we just have a common love of… movies, and entertainment, and talent, and we got to talking about things.
“So I did that with him and, for years, we didn’t really do a lot. Then, as [the Video Game Awards] started to become a thing, he was one of the very early supporters of doing big game announcements at VGAs. We did Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I remember, which was like… trauma, because that game leaked out of Mexico the day of the show.
“The same year we announced The Last of Us, we also did a Metal Gear Rising thing with him, so he’s just always been super supportive of my stuff… I find him to just be… you know… a really intellectual person, but deeply human and emotional in how he thinks about things. You know, we don’t really speak the same language, so it’s fascinating that we have this sort of kinship with each other.
“I’ve always been a fan of his games, and how he thinks of pushing the medium forward and respecting how much he works to publicize his games, and travel the world, and meet with fans, and understand other cultures. I think there are a lot of Japanese developers that, they don’t think about how their games will do in the West or around the world and he’s always… he’s just so curious. His eyebrows are always raised, just learning about things. I love that he hears about a new band and he gets excited about learning about them, or new pieces of culture.”
Keighley then added that he is also friends with many other developers, and that Kojima’s prominent presence on social media could be the reason their relationship gets more attention. “People know about my friendship with him because he’s so public on social media, but I have so many great friends in this business, from designers to developers to honestly, even the executives and the publicists that I’ve known for decades. So Kojima is one of my more public friends, but it doesn’t mean that I’m any less friends with Neil Druckmann at Naughty Dog or the guys at id Software, or elsewhere.”
He also addressed the question of his friendship influencing The Game Awards, reiterating that he does not take part in the vote. “Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, he’s going to throw the awards for Kojima,’ but I actually loved a lot of the games last year, and I’m friends with lots of the developers. That’s, honestly, the hardest thing for me with the awards, and that’s why I keep myself out of it. It’s tough for me, when you see people at the after-party of The Game Awards and they lost Game Of The Year, and it’s a great game, it just didn’t get selected. People in the gaming industry are naturally competitive because games are competitive, so it’s always a difficult thing.”
For more interviews with the best, brightest, most fascinating minds in the games industry, check out be sure to check out every episode of IGN Unfiltered, which includes talks with Master Chief co-creator Marcus Lehto, 343’s Bonnie Ross, Valve’s Robin Walker & Chris Remo, Respawn’s Stig Asmussen, and many, many more.