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Kojima dredges up P.T. memories with his game design philosophy


A tall figure stands in shadows at the end of a suburban hallways in Hideo Kojima’s P.T. Konami

Hideo Kojima took to Twitter to talk game design and how it compares to his other favorite medium, film. He chose a painfully specific example to illustrate how the two processes differ, though: a hallway.

“Let’s say we imagine a hallway the player is meant to walk down according to the game design,” Kojima wrote in the first of several tweets on the subject.

OK, let’s. Here’s a good one:

“The hallway has meaning in the plot as well as the game design,” he said. “Is the purpose to deliver the story, to practice the controls, to show the scenery or to add rhythm to the game play? A variety of possibilities exist.”

In the case of our little game of choice here, it’s all of the above. Its endlessly looping hallway is one of just a handful of rooms in the game. It creates a pervasive sense of dread, communicates the majority of the game’s short story through environmental details and creates a unique, staccato rhythm unlike that of ... well, any other game I can think of off the top of my head.

Kojima goes on to throw in other questions that a game designer needs to ask during production, like the function of doors, the presence of non-playable characters and all the other technical details that factor into the creation. Game developers make changes to all of these constantly and on a tight schedule, as opposed to filmmaking’s more linear progression from pre-production to post-production.

“Scripts and gimmicks change everyday,” he said. “This is what it means to make games.”

It’s a thoughtful analysis of all the particulars of game development, but that hallway metaphor can’t help but stick out to Kojima devotees. So, yeah, we’re all still pretty bummed out about the cancelation of Silent Hills, for which P.T. was a demo; thanks for the reminder, Kojima.

That’s not the designer’s only game with a fantastically memorable usage of a hallway, though. There’s also some sick hallways in the Metal Gear Solid series.

But forgive us all for immediately thinking P.T. when Kojima references hallways. The teaser remains the home of our favorite hallway in gaming — and its cult status as a uniquely unavailable title only elevates it as a prime example of the tricky nature of game design.

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