- Ryan Payton
(hats, in tow) has left Kojima Productions. The Assistant Producer spearheaded a more Western approach to controls for Metal Gear Solid 4, making the game far more approachable and much tighter than the previous installment. He also helped warm the MGS4 team up to more Western developed games like Gears of War as well. Why did he leave and what's next? His answers after the jump.
Why did you leave Konami and Kojima Productions?
Back when I joined Kojima Productions in 2005, I hit the ground running and didn't stop until we shipped Metal Gear Solid 4. Then, for the first time in three years, I wasn't working on any games and I had a three month vacation ahead of me. I went back home to my family's place in Washington state and literally three weeks after MGS4 launched we were hit with some pretty heavy news concerning my mom.
I don't think I need to go into details, but all of this has reminded me about how important family is. So this past month I decided to leave Kojima Productions and look to continue my career working closer to my family in North America.
It's not easy leaving my other family (the MGS team), but with everybody taking time off and not having any other big projects to shift focus to, it feels like this is how it's supposed to be. It's fate.
What did you gain from the Kojima Productions experience? How did you change?
Working on MGS: Portable Ops and MGS4 has been a life changing experience. I feel so lucky to have worked with such a talented and passionate team.
As a person, I've developed a very critical eye when it comes to game development, which was no doubt inspired by my colleages. On the not-so-bright side, I've also developed that fabled Japanese work ethic. Now hearing about friends' twelve-hour work days sound like a piece of cake to me.
Any memories that standout?
Our midnight launch of MGS4 in Hollywood was something I'll never forget. There was more than 500 people lined up outside to buy the game and get our autographs. Talking to all of these passionate MGS fans really put it all into persepctive – something you can lose when you're stuck in a Tokyo office building working on the game for three years.
Is there something that you wish you could've done at Kojima Productions, but didn't?
I'm pretty satisifed with all I've accomplished at KP. I set my goals and hit almost every one. The dream has always been to get an original game concept green lit, but that'll have to wait until I find a new home. The good news is that I've got plenty of exciting ideas that I've been keeping close to my chest.
It'll be hard not being involved in MGS5, but I've got the utmost confidence that Hideo Kojima, Ken Imaizumi, and our amazing team will put together another blockbuster game. I'll be cheering from the sidelines.
Word travels fast, so I've been getting a lot of great offers lately. But the plan is to take it easy, spend time with my family, and carefully decide where I land next.
This is a big loss for Kojima and his team. And a big gain for whomever hires him! Funny, that.