Japan's hit Metal Gear could go H'wood

TOKYO — After conquering the videogame world yet again with the recent release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the game’s creator Hideo Kojima is finally thinking about invading Hollywood as well.

The first two installments of the Rambo-influenced military action game were gigantic sellers for Japan’s Konami, moving 14.63 million units worldwide (6.64 million of them Stateside) in the past six years.

Hollywood studios have been looking to pick up film rights to the testosterone-filled espionage title for some time. But Kojima, a movie buff and occasional film critic, has held off on selling film rights until now.

“Things one can express in a game are different of those in a movie,” he says. “It would have to be a very different script, almost a different story.”

The sophisticated gameplay of the Metal Game series has revolutionized the gaming world, and the third installment of the Sony PlayStation 2 title offers new 3-D twists and extra components available online.

“As a kid, I liked those adventure stories with soldiers in them,” remembers Kojima. “That’s how the first ideas for such a videogame developed.”

Born in the early 1960s, Kojima sees himself as one of “a generation that grew up on television and on many Western heroes.”

“That’s why in my games, there are no Japanese heroes. It’s all international.”

Still, Kojima is fast to point out that the difference in the approach to videogames between Japan and the West is growing.

“In Japan, players are more passive. They like to have options served to them, like in a movie. They like role-playing. In the U.S. and in Europe, players want to be proactive, in control and like to make decisions.”

Looking to the international market, Kojima plans to hire more experienced creators from across the Pacific and Europe to develop future games.

“Other people who do the same job for 18 years get bored,” says Kojima. “In my case, it’s the opposite. With each new hardware generation there are so many new possibilities and challenges.”

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