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Given the hubbub surrounding Hideo Kojima's "submerge" media blackout strategy, you'd naturally expect his eventual reemergence to be an event of some magnitude. After all, the revered Japanese game designer put himself and his team under a self-imposed total media blackout after E3 2001--no interviews, no news, and no updates until Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was finished.
Final Hours Teaser
But no matter how epic you might imagine Kojima's final reemergence from darkness would be, the reality is remarkably quotidian: He just walks into a small conference room in Konami's sixth-floor office in Tokyo's Ebisu district. No entourage. No fuss. In fact, he seems shy at first, constantly looking down to the floor. With an orange lanyard around his neck to hold his office security pass, he almost looks like a lost teenager desperately trying to fit in backstage at a rock show.
Chances are he's probably just weary and tired. Press interviews are surely the last thing on his mind. "This is the first English interview I've done since E3," he explains. "If I start looking at the ceiling or look away, please don't mind me--I'm probably just thinking about the game." More likely, he's thinking about how today is the day when the US version Metal Gear Solid 2 will likely be finished.
Looking around the bare gray conference room, which could easily double as an INS interrogation room, Kojima is overcome with memories of the past three years--a thousand days of trying to build a game that lives up to Metal Gear Solid, his megahit 1998 PlayStation game. "While I was submerging I would actually lock myself in this room," he says as his eyes trace the room. "I would sit here because it was the only place with no distractions--and I would just play the game, again and again."
Today, playing takes a backseat to fixing the final bugs, as the team hopes to create a final gold master DVD-ROM before the weekend begins. Kojima, who begins to cough quietly between his comments, admits that today is a day he thought would never come to pass. "This has been the toughest period in my 15 years in the video game industry," he confesses. "When I came back from E3 this year, I realized in my heart of hearts that it would be impossible to finish the game for November." He pauses and looks to the ceiling. Then he looks back. "We just had so little time and we were so desperately behind," he says.
Somehow, Kojima and his team made the impossible a possibility. For behind a game known for its Jerry Bruckheimer-esque E3 trailers seething with heroic bravado and larger-than-life action lies the remarkably human tale of what it took for one man and his team to bring Metal Gear Solid 2 to life. This Thanksgiving, the real story unravels for the first time as GameSpot goes behind the scenes to chronicle the final hours leading up to the game's completion, and yes, even the team's secret addiction to karaoke. After reading our Behind the Games story, you'll have a chance to test your knowledge of the final hours of Metal Gear Solid 2 for a chance to win one of five copies of the game autographed by Kojima himself or one of several complete Metal Gear Solid 2 action figure sets from McFarlane Toys.
Until then, make sure to watch the special one-minute video trailer, which includes never-before-seen footage of the final hours of MGS2's development and previews the story you can read only on GameSpot on November 22.