Kojima and Nagoshi first met in approximately 1996, when Nagoshi was still a rank-and-file staffer in Sega’s arcade division. By the time Nagoshi became known for the Super Monkey Ball games, he and Kojima were regularly going on drinking runs. “Kojima had this reputation for being all angry back then,” Nagoshi says, “and I remember him being really drunk and me having to stop him. When I think back on it, I can’t help but feel so much more adult now, somehow.”

When Kojima and Nagoshi shared a hotel at E3 five years ago, “I remember [Nagoshi] saying that if Yakuza wasn’t a hit, he was quitting,” Kojima says.

The two designers are both oldsters by game-industry standards, something that becomes pretty obvious once the subject turns to the younger generation of game staff. Nagoshi sees a lot of them rely on the Internet “as if it were part of their own brain…they’re interested in a movie, so they look it up and read the entire plot online instead of watching it.” Kojima sees that attitude reflected in Japanese creators’ minds: “They think too much about their budgets and the restraints placed on them. It’s important they’re given the chance to create their work right down to the hilt; I wish they had a little more freedom.”

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