Hideo Kojima discusses the game that gave him an ulcer
Hideo Kojima recently gave some insight into the extremely hard work that went into creating one of his earliest titles. In honor of the game’s 35th anniversary, the famous video game director posted on X about his recollections of developing the cyberpunk adventure game Snatcher – a tough experience that made him into who he is today.
Originally released on the PC-88 computer in 1988, Snatcher is a graphic adventure game heavily inspired by Blade Runner and the anime Akira. Main character Gillian Seed works for Junker, an organization tasked with hunting down rogue androids called Snatchers. Slightly different versions of the game were released in Japan on various systems; including the MSX2 in 1988, and PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Sega CD version (1994) was only released in the USA and Europe, and featured voice acting in English.
In his recent X posts, Kojima explained that the PC-88 and MSX2 versions were being made in tandem and that this was his first experience working on two different platform releases at the same time. Kojima also mentions that he was working in Kobe, which probably influenced Snatcher’s futuristic Neo Kobe setting.
Talking about the difficulties with the PC-88 version, Kojima explains how his team was a division that made games for the MSX, so they had no experience with PC-88. Adding to this, Konami had never made an adventure game before, so they had to develop their own system and programming language from scratch. His small team were responsible for all aspects of the game. Kojima added that these stressful conditions resulted in him developing a stomach ulcer, ‘like Gibson’ – a character whose body you find near the beginning of Snatcher.
After the 1988 release of Snatcher, Kojima went on to make a slew of innovative titles at Konami such as the Metal Gear Solid series (1998-2015), the Zone of the Enders games (2001-2003), and the killing-vampires-with-real-sunlight series Boktai (GBA, 2003-2006). He now heads the independent Kojima Productions, having released the highly acclaimed Death Stranding (2019), with a sequel in the works. Without his early experiences on Snatcher, these later games might never have been made.