E3 2012 might not have been entirely lacking in Metal Gear but the long-hoped-for appearance of Metal Gear 5, even in the form of a teaser video, never materialised. Fortunately, we got the opportunity to sit down with the daddy of the series, Hideo Kojima, to ask about the future of Snake, his mysterious Project Ogre and when we can expect to see it in action.
Who is your favourite Metal Gear character, and why?If I have to answer that, then Snake, obviously! But in second place is Otacon. The reason why I like Otacon is that although the story of Metal Gear is based on combat and superpowered soldiers, Otacon is able to carve out a place for himself without picking up a gun. He uses his intellect to solve problems instead.
How much do you think the Metal Gear saga has influenced the games industry as a whole?First of all, Metal Gear played a role in starting the stealth genre, but I think above that it was really influential in terms of cinematic storytelling. When the first Metal Gear Solid was released there weren't really any games that told a story in that fashion, so I would say it was very influential.
You're working very closely with Fox Engine. What are the key strengths of Fox Engine and how will it allow you to change the way you create games in the future?One thing that we want to make clear is that Fox Engine is not just a graphics engine, it includes the entire toolset that we use to create games. It's a very powerful toolset and allows us to create games in more efficient ways. We can look at objects and gameplay in real time as we are developing, and it saves us spending lots of time making items that we may then decide not to use once they are ready to put in the game. Another area where Fox Engine excels is that it can be used to develop the same game on multiple platforms at once.
We were shown some very attractive images of Fox Engine, like the one of the office, which looked beyond any current console available today. What sort of projections were you basing that on, what kind of hardware, what sort of thinking?First of all, thank you for saying that it looks better than anything else, but it was actually running on current hardware - it's running on PS3, 360 and current PCs. It's not something out of reach. One thing we paid a lot of attention to is lighting effects, the way light shines through and reflects off different materials, and this is something that couldn't be done in past generations but can be done with current generation platforms. The sample that you saw is based on a meeting room that we use every day. We recreated that room in Fox Engine as a test, and put the two side by side. When we first looked at it you could tell that things were different but a lot of it was just lighting effects, so our approach was to keep on refining those effects and implementing updates until it became really hard to tell the difference between the real thing and the Fox Engine version.
While we're on the theme, would it be possible to make a game running at that resolution look that good in motion? Could you have characters in that room? Or could it only look like it does by being static?Of course, the resolution will depend on the screen you are running it on, but we're using tricks to make it look really high. For example, because we're limited by polygons, we're using some programming tricks to resolve that issue by smoothing the image out to give the impression of a higher polygon count.