The Metal Gear series was very nearly done and dusted as a 2D game by 1990, according to Hideo Kojima speaking at this year's Develop conference. That was until PS1 came along with its fancy polygons.
"I made Metal Gear 1 and 2, and at that point the series, for me, was complete and it was finished, and I started working on other adventure games," Kojima says. "Back then Metal Gear was always intended to be a hide and seek game," he explains. The original idea was always to have players hiding and that the viewpoint would change. However, "back then we didn’t have 3D polygons, we had to do everything in 2D. So for Metal Gear I had no choice but to use game design where you’re doing it from up above".
After 1990's Metal Gear 2 Kojima moved on, that was until he heard about some new tech on the way. "I was working on other adventure games until I heard the news that this hardware called PlayStation was going to be released. The impressive thing about that was you would be able to make real time polygons".
The ability to create games in 3D brought Kojima back to Metal Gear: "For me, Metal Gear as a series was complete, finished to me, but that point I thought I would be able do what I originally intended to do with these polygons in real time. For example, if you are hiding under a table you can change the point of view, or hiding in a locker you can let the player see how it looks from inside the locker".
And, if you're not sure how integral the original PlayStation was to giving us Metal Gear Solid then Kojima concludes with this: "You can say that thanks to PlayStation Metal Gear Solid existed at all. The role that PlayStation had was to make Metal Gear possible".
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