Hideo Kojima Creates Great Games (But Is Destroying Voice Acting)
There's one thing capable of bringing the ever-polarized gaming world together: the disappointment of seeing a Hollywood name take the role of a beloved, probably better, and certainly less well-off voice actor. However, the problem is worse than we could have guessed at first, and the main culprit is, sadly, the very man responsible for pushing video game voice acting to the next level in the first place: Hideo Kojima.
The creator of the legendary Metal Gear Acid series first exploded into the scene with cutscenes so expertly directed and acted that they would make a lot of Hollywood directors feel inadequate -- and some others feel way-too-inspired. That should come as no surprise, however, as Kojima originally wanted to become a filmmaker. After some unsuccessful attempts, he moved on to the next best thing: movies he could market as games. Kojima ended up kickstarting an industry of AAA games so large and cinematic that their revenue dwarfs Hollywood's and might someday dwarf porn -- the most cinematic industry of them all. But it didn't come without problems (yeah, on top of introducing games that are 70% cutscenes).
In 2014, Kojima disappointed everyone by ditching David Hayter, who'd voiced Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series for over 10 years, to replace him with Kiefer Sutherland. Inexplicably, instead of a surprisingly talkative gruff, Metal Gear Solid V's Snake is nearly a silent film character.
Jade Raymond, the original Assassin's Creed producer, used the spotlight at the game awards to throw an awesome jab at Kojima for betraying his longtime collaborator.
Kojima has since gone on to ditch already cast lesser-known actors to replace them with big stars. Death Stranding not only did that but also ditched all original character designs, favoring the copy-pasting of real actors' faces instead. While it's a practical approach that's likely to draw more attention, it might also cause the entire industry to ditch not just voice actors but also original character design.
And wait. It gets weirder. Not even the actors Kojima wants are really the actors he wants. Look at this character from Death Stranding, aptly called Samantha Strand.
Very pretty, sure, but she doesn't exist. We don't mean that in the good sense that that's an original character design, but in the sense that Lindsay Wagner, the actress modeled for that character, currently looks like.
Kojima created the character through the likely hard and bizarre work of scanning old footage of Lindsay Wagner from the '80s, presumably while she was still hot enough for him. Kojima doesn't simply want famous actors; he wants a bizarrely pristine version of them that only exists in his head. The closest Kojima comes to some redemption here is the fact that Wagner's real looks make an appearance, but only as a cameo that gets killed off by cancer after one scene. Classy.
The Hollywood invasion of Death Stranding is particularly jarring in the world it tries to portray, one constantly dealing with a weird form of rain that ages the people who come in contact with it. One would assume everyone in this world would be wearing astronaut helmets at all times, and they probably would in a game where the characters had unknown faces, but Kojima really needed you to see all the pretty faces he hired for his ensemble. The good news: he once again predicted the future.
The bad: he did so by inadvertently having his characters be both anti-maskers and climate change deniers.
Top Image: Konami