Every Phantom Pain must have its Ground Zeroes, and so it is that Hideo Kojima’s podcast has a prologue.
The 97 second clip was uploaded to Spotify right after the podcast’s announcement at Gamescom Opening Night Live. It’s intended as the prelude to a regular series of talk show-style discussions about not only games, movies, and books, but also art, philosophy, and society. We’ll be lucky to hear any conversation over the rustle of bearded chins being stroked.
Fittingly for a man with famous friends from outside the gaming sphere, guests will come from a variety of backgrounds – though Geoff Keighley will reportedly appear in a recurring segment devoted to gaming and tech, like a weatherman who insists on calling oncoming cold fronts “world premieres”.
So far, so ‘two blokes with access to mics who need an elaborate pretext to chat on the phone’. But the fact that the podcast’s existence was revealed on stage at the second biggest video games trade show in the world should clue you into its level of self-importance. There are hundreds of multi-year development projects at Gamescom that could have used that minute-long slot in front of a rapt global audience.
Then there’s the podcast’s name. Missing the opportunity to call it Words and Deeds, the Death Stranding director has instead gone for Brain Structure. Do you know that if you were to unravel the human brain to its full length, it’d still be a little bit shorter than that sodding ladder in Metal Gear Solid 3?
Think Hardman. pic.twitter.com/qpThbItV2FAugust 24, 2022
All of this ego is matched and then some by #00 Prologue, a brilliantly bizarre mood-piece-slash-advert. It begins with the sound of birdsong. Then it’s joined by synths, soft piano, and a lady going ‘ooo, ooo’. If that brings back memories of stumbling down a hillside while loaded like an Amazon drone, you’re on the right track. Brain Structure’s opening theme is provided by Silent Poets – them of the excellent Death Stranding soundtrack.
The mournful atmospherics are cut short, however, by a robotically-treated voice reminiscent of – I swear to god – Gray Fox, the cyborg ninja from Metal Gear Solid. Instead of challenging Snake to a fight to the death, however, our tinny friend asks a question: where does Hideo Kojima get his ideas?
I would posit that he plucks them from the waste paper bins of school classrooms where 12-year-old boys have disposed of their doodled mechs and sword-armed samurais. But it turns out Kojima is on hand to answer, albeit via an English language translator:
“The source of my ideas comes from living every minute of every day to its fullest. Feeling as much as I can. Letting those feelings grow within myself, and putting them all out. That’s the basic structure of my creative process.”
Sir, this is a Wendy’s.
It’s back to Gray Fox to finish the sell, with a little extra reverb. Brain Structure, he tells us, will launch on September 8, with subsequent episodes released every Thursday. And if I’m honest, I’ll be listening. Because Kojima’s pomposity is equally as gripping as it is wearisome, and inextricably tied up with the allure of his games – singular, surprising, and utterly convinced of their own substance.