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How LEGO Helped Kojima And His Team Build Metal Gear Solid

There aren't many video game creators that have achieved an almost rockstar status. There are developers like Cory Barlog, Amy Hennig, and Joseph Staten with plenty of success, skill, and renown, sure, but they don't have the type of fanbase that Hideo Kojima does. Widely known for his mind-bending "Metal Gear Solid" series and, more recently, the avant-garde "Death Stranding," he's created titles that fans passionately latch onto. So passionately, in fact, that even Kojima's Instagram posts have the potential to drive fans wild.

Much like the wildly creative content in his games, Kojima takes a creative approach to the game development process. He's revealed some of that creative process in his collection of essays, "The Creative Gene," but he also revealed little snippets into his unique mind during a discussion that took place at the University of Southern California. It was during this conversation with gaming journalist veteran Geoff Keighly that Kojima not only opened up about himself, but the interesting connection "Metal Gear Solid" has to LEGO.

Metal Gears and Plastic Bricks

Believe it or not, Hideo Kojima didn't get his start in video games. Endgadget detailed Kojima's presentation, where he revealed to Keighly and those in attendance at USC that he actually majored in economics. He described that this desire to weave stories made him an outlier in the eyes of his fellow economy classmates. That wouldn't be the only time that his creative tendencies got him into trouble, however. 

After beginning his time as a game developer on the "Metal Gear Solid" series, and as a bona fide workaholic, Kojima's wife wasn't too pleased with how much time Kojima spent away from home. Things only got worse when Kojima's young son spent the day at Kojima's office before telling his mother that dad played with LEGOs all day. Playing with them was the wrong, but adorable, phrasing. At the time, Kojima and his team would use LEGO pieces to create and visualize plans for the levels within "Metal Gear Solid." 

A pretty creative and smart move when you think about it. Working with computers can take a great deal of time, and this was even more true back in the '90s when Kojima was working on the early "Metal Gear Solid" titles. With LEGO, the team likely was able to work more quickly and even had a template to use as a starting point when creating the in-game levels. 

With "Death Stranding: Director's Cut" in the rearview mirror, no one is sure what project Kojima and his team are working on next. Actor Mads Mikkelsen had a priceless reaction to Kojima's latest pitch, but that likely won't be the artistic developer's next game. Whatever it is he's working on, it will definitely be different from anything we can imagine.