Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Hideo Kojima! Forget avians, jumbo jets or Krytopians in tights. The Superman of stealth is returning to a genre he helped create and popularize in a project that simultaneously lets him embrace his long standing love for movies.
Enter Physint. Announced at the most recent PlayStation State of Play, Mr Metal Gear Solid and Sony’s Hermen Hulst gave very little away about this upcoming action-espionage project. At this point, the only concrete info we have is that Kojima Productions will shift its focus to this mysterious new game once work on Death Stranding 2: On the Beach has wrapped.
That probably means this Sony exclusive is at least a couple of years away from fulltime development, with a release date unlikely to occur before the late 2020s. That would obviously be an awfully long wait, but the benefit of such a far off launch is that Physint could be a true next-gen title that may end up gracing the rumored PS6, which is currently being tipped for release at some point after 2027.
As much as I love Norman Reedus and while I sort of enjoyed the original Death Stranding’s wacky “futuristic mailman delivers parcels across a post-apocalyptic U.S. landscape” premise, I’m beyond glad Kojima-san is going back to his roots.
For my money, Metal Gear Solid is perhaps the greatest video game series of all time, so I’m hugely excited the master of virtual espionage is returning to the genre that has defined his career thus far.
Weird, preposterous, ruminative and often downright unhinged, the MGS saga was a fourth wall-breaking franchise that pushed both boundaries and buttons. If Physint is even half as imaginative as series high point Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, stealth fans are in for one hell of a treat.
“We plan to bring together cutting-edge technology and talent from around the world to create it,” said Kojima in a short presentation during the latest State of Play. “Of course, it is an interactive game, but it is also a movie at the same time, in terms of look, story, theme, cast, acting, fashion, and sound. With this title, we hope to transcend the barriers between film and video games.”
That certainly sounds ambitious, and if the end result is delivered with the panache of the presentation’s closing moment — a wild, one-take drone shot where “Physint” is boldly emblazoned in giant letters underneath a sign for Columbia Pictures at the studio’s movie lot in L.A. — Physint could be something else.
So is this mysterious stealth game going to do a “Quantum Break”? As my colleague Rory Mellon suggested to me earlier, maybe Physint will attempt to combine genres in a similar style to that of Remedy’s interesting, if not exactly stellar sci-fi shooter. An Xbox exclusive that was way ahead of its time when it was released in 2016, Quantum Break was both a bullet-stopping action-adventure — think Control but with Iceman from the X-Men movies — and a four episode live-action TV show.
Seeing as neither the game nor series were that great, it’s understandable that the concept of meshing two different mediums together in the same project hasn’t exactly caught on since.
Looking back at Kojima’s career, though, the concept 100% feels like the end goal of what the iconic developer has always wanted to create: A medium-melding piece of fiction that transcends both games and movies.
It’s no secret the MGS auteur is absolutely obsessed with the silver screen. He’s basically the Tarantino of video games — not that Snake’s clunky (if coolly delivered) dialogue can match the razor sharp scripts of a Reservoir Dogs or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Kojima may not be all that great of a writer, but his games steadfastly all have something to say. From Metal Gear Solid 2’s obsession with legacy and passing on information to the coming generations or Death Stranding themes of isolation vs human connection, Hideo regularly has deep issues he wants to broach.
A Fragile balance
Kojma-san doesn’t always have the necessary tools to do said themes justice during his signature, absurdly lengthy cutscenes. But hey, at least he’s trying to tackle interesting topics.
Perhaps that’s why his past projects have attracted actors like Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Kiefer Sutherland, Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wanger, not to mention esteemed Hollywood composer, Harry Gregson-Williams.
That last name makes me recall one of my favorite Kojima stories; one that sums up the game maker’s passion for movies perfectly. During the production of Metal Gear Solid 2, Hideo sent the composer a CD with basically all of Gregson-Williams’ past work on it. The movie musician was so impressed by the work that had gone into this ultimate fanboy mixtape, he quickly agreed to score Solid Snake’s sequel during a time when most Hollywood figures wanted nothing to do with video games.
I’ve got no idea what Physint is going to be. A PS6 game where you have to pay for a movie ticket to see the “true” ending? A project that gets a simultaneous release on console and movie theaters? Or perhaps it will simply be a really cinematic traditional video game that plucks Hollywood’s best and brightest and plonks them into the most famously cast title the medium has ever seen.
Whatever final form Physint takes, if it does end up taking advantage of Sony’s mighty movie, music and gaming divisions and melds everything together in a truly transcendent project, Hideo Kojima is the one person in his industry I’d bet the farm on to pull it off successfully.
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Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.