Hideo Kojima Defends Peace Walker Product Placement
The big boss himself wants to surprise players.
We're sure everyone has an opinion about all those Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker product tie-ins Konami announced earlier this week. Now here's an opinion from someone who truly counts: the big boss himself, Hideo Kojima.
A day after the Peace Walker press conference, the Metal Gear series mastermind Tweeted: "Regarding the collaborations, I have one reason for doing them. It's because I want to surprise players. If the surprise and freshness were lost, I would stop the collaborations. It's different from Hollywood-****merchandizing."
The press conference saw the announcement of around 14 tie-ups for the Japanese version of Peace Walker. Product like Doritos chips, Mountain Dew, Pepsi NEX, Uniqlo t-shirts and AXE body spray will appear in the game as recovery items. Peace Walker will, in turn, get some real world exposure. Suntory will be selling special Peace Walker-themed cans of Mountain Dew. Uniqlo will sell Peace Walker shirts and will place demo kiosks in its shops.
The biggest tie-in in terms of generating sales could be the crossover with Capcom's Monster Hunter. Kojima Productions has made a special area in Peace Walker where players will be able to hunt for a few giant beasts from that series. In Japan, Monster Hunter is easily PSP's biggest game, with the previous entry, known in America as Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, having topped the 4 million mark in shipments.
The Monster Hunter tie-in was a huge surprise, but if you were surprised by the other tie-ins, you probably weren't around for Metal Gear Solid 4. Konami staged similar promotions for that game, although often with different brand loyalties. MGS4's Solid Snake used an iPod to play back that game's BGM. Peace Walker's Naked Snake uses a Sony Walkman (actually a variety of Walkmans -- the game includes ****c devices from the 70s, fitting given the setting).
Missing from all this talk of tie-ins is mention of money exchanging hands. It's actually possible that the tie-ins are no-money deals. Separate from Metal Gear, reports have indicated that Sega receives no money for the vast number of product placements in the Yakuza series. Sega presumably sees benefit in having Yakuza posters and related goods placed in restaurants and convenience stores throughout Japan. The Yakuza game world could also see somewhat of a reality boost with real world signs and product.
Kojima's comment that Peace Walker's product placement is different from Hollywood merchandizing would suggest that, more than direct money from the product placement, Konami is hoping to get Peace Walker's name out.
At the very least, Kojima seems to have succeeded in his goal of surprising players. Unless you stumbled upon a bag of Doritos when walking around a Costa Rican jungle in the 70s.