Hideo Kojima is hard at work with the reborn Kojima Productions on his latest project, Death Stranding, but the designer has evidently still found some time to watch television. HBO’s science fiction series Westworld appears to be his current obsession, and Kojima sees parallels between the show’s narrative and his own approach to game design.
Some spoilers for the early episodes of Westworld to follow!
In a post on Twitter, Kojima stated that a story given by Anthony Hopkins’ character in the second episode of Westworld is an “exact theory of [his] game design.”
The quote in question relates to the “guests” in Westworld‘s fictional theme park, who pay to live in a world surrounded by robotic “hosts” who have been programmed to never harm a human being.
“The come back because they discover something they imagine no one had ever noticed before,” Hopkins said in the episode. “Something they’ve fallen in love with. They are not looking for the story that tells them who they are. They already know who they are. They are here because they wanted a glimpse of who they could be.”
In a more on-the-nose nod to his games, Kojima also shared an image of a man riding a unicorn into battle, visible during the show’s opening credits — something we saw several times during Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Kojima likely pointed out the unicorn as a coincidental sharing of imagery rather than a deeper connection to his work.
Westworld co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan have been open about video games’ influence over the show. Nolan cited Ken Levine’s writing in the BioShock series as a particularly strong source of inspiration, with minor characters’ personalities and aspirations being fully fleshed out but rendered meaningless if the player doesn’t take the time to listen. Some narrative parallels can also be made between the BioShock series and the film Memento, which Nolan wrote with his brother Christopher — Memento did, however, predate the first BioShock by about seven years.
Westworld airs on Sundays at 9 p.m on HBO.