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'Metal Gear' creator's next move: An open-ended game

Mark Milian, CNN
"Metal Gear" creator Hideo Kojima posted this picture to Twitter of a game project in development.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Metal Gear" creator Hideo Kojima is working on a less cinematic game
  • His games are praised for being like movies but criticized for their rigidness
  • Screenshots show a war game set in a sandy, mountainous region

(CNN) -- "Metal Gear" series creator Hideo Kojima is renowned for his Hollywood-style video games, but critics say they leave little room for players to roam.

Maybe he's listening, because Kojima plans to go in a new direction with his next big project.

"The kind of game I'm making is some game that has a very wide entrance, a very open entrance," Kojima said through a translator in a phone interview with CNN last week. "Rather than making something very cinematic, [I plan to] make something very free."

Among gamers worldwide, and especially in Japan where Kojima Productions and publisher Konami are based, Kojima is treated like a rock star. Often dressed in a slick leather jacket, he gets swarmed by fans at conventions, and people pick apart his every word and tweet for clues about the next secret-agent action game in the "Metal Gear" series.

One such Twitter frenzy broke out a few days ago when Kojima posted pictures from a mysterious war game to his 131,000 followers. He wrote that the images demonstrate some of the advancements made in game-development software, made by his team, that allow for translucent clothing, realistic dust particles and other fancy effects.

The pictures are set in a sandy, mountainous region, perhaps somewhere in the Middle East, with soldiers and tanks. They do not look quite like a "Metal Gear" game, which have led many fans to speculate that this is the first peek at Kojima's next big thing.

Kojima has called his upcoming game Project Ogre. In the interview, he described it as being set in a very open world where players can wander around and explore freely. Players should still be able to find new sights and worthwhile adventures after having played the game for as many as 100 hours, he said.

By contrast, recent "Metal Gear" games have followed very linear paths, going back to the original on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987.

For example, "Metal Gear Solid 4" for the PlayStation 3 takes players from Afghanistan to Alaska in a lengthy, action-packed, professionally narrated story, but there is little room to stray from the trail. People do not quite know what to expect from "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance," next year's game, which was developed by an outside studio with less direction from Kojima.

In a recent interview with the UK's Official PlayStation Magazine, Kojima described Project Ogre's tone as "subdued," and the experience as similar on the surface but essentially different from his past projects. Project Ogre will not be completed for some time, and Kojima will continue to produce other games, he said.

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