Hideo Kojima says he almost quit Konami over the 9/11 attack and its similarity to Metal Gear Solid 2.
In our previous report regarding the nearly complete rewriting of the upcoming Death Stranding 2, we also mentioned the seemingly prophetic nature of Hideo Kojima’s gaming releases and how Metal Gear Solid 2 was so far ahead of its time in portraying how misinformation spreads online and broadcast media. But we didn’t mention that Kojima almost quit Konami, the company he worked at, due to September 11 attacks against the United States.
According to IGN, Hideo Kojima made another round of appearances regarding the seventh anniversary of Kojima Productions, a studio he founded following his breakup with Konami. Besides showing the new office space, Kojima also talked about his experiences at Konami and how he nearly quit the company once before due to the connections between Metal Gear Solid 2 and the September 11 attacks against the United States, when al-Qaeda (a now-defunct terrorist organization) crashed two hijacked commercial airliners into the Twin Towers, and the third into the Pentagon.
Kojima explained that the whole thing happened shortly right after the 9/11 attacks; Metal Gear Solid 2 contained both the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and the title was already mastered and ready for release. However, following the attack, it was evident that the game couldn’t be released without causing massive controversies or even legal action against Kojima and Konami as a whole. Nobody at the company actually knew how to deal with the situation, but Kagemasa Kozuki, the current chairman of Konami, offered some advice to Kojima.
Without any apparent solution, Kojima went to speak with Kozuki about the possibility of quitting the company, as he came up with a finished gaming title that couldn’t be released. The recuperation of spent resources would be near to impossible, and with the release date just around the corner, resigning his position at Konami seemed like the only plausible solution. However, Kozuki stated that society would have its opinion either way, and both Kojima and himself would be the “talk of the town” as the men who created and sold the game. So, ultimately, he put the final decision into Kojima’s hands.
As a result, some last-minute changes were made to the game following the 9/11 attacks in New York, where the finale of Metal Gear Solid 2 occurs. The entire destruction sequence that leveled half of Manhattan was removed, as well as all the American flags that were supposed to be on New York flagpoles. Additionally, the spelling for “Raiden” was changed from katakana to kanji form due to the former form of the name resembling “Bin Laden” in Japanese.
Metal Gear Solid 2 was eventually released on November 13, 2001, becoming one of the greatest video games of all time. It’s considered ahead of its time for dealing with themes and concepts such as post-truth politics, fake news, alternative facts, synthetic media, and echo chambers that became culturally relevant approximately a decade later. Those interested in playing Metal Gear Solid 2 would have to revisit the game on Windows PC, or Xbox, since PlayStation Plus hasn’t included it in its list of accessible games—though rumors suggest that remasters are underway.