George Miller didn't like the 2015 Mad Max game, says he wants Hideo Kojima to make one 'but I would never ask him'

Hideo Kojima
(Image credit: The Game Awards)

Australian director George Miller has recently been on the circuit promoting Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, which releases tomorrow, and someone called Hideo Kojima has done a good job inserting himself into the story. The videogame director has a long-held obsession for Miller's works, and after attending an early screening of Furiosa delivered the extremely measured verdict that George Miller "is my God, and the saga that he tells is my Bible."

Kojima also made the effort to travel to Cannes for the film's premier, where Miller was collared by Gaming Bible and asked about his interest in making videogames based on the new film.

"Well we did have a videogame made when we did Fury Road," said Miller. "We've been asked many many times to do one. It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, it wasn't in our hands, we gave all our material to a company to do it… but I'm one of those people that i'd rather not do something unless you can do it at the highest level, or at least try to make it at the highest level."

Miller is here referencing Avalanche Studio's 2015 game Mad Max, and perhaps a little unfairly: but we'll return to that. The director goes on to talk about who he's just met on the red carpet.

"I've just been speaking to Kojima here who came all the way from Japan," says Miller. "If he would take it on… he's got so much fantastic stuff in his own head that I would never ask him. But if it was someone like that who would take it on, because I couldn't do it."

The interviewer asks Miller to make it happen, to which Miller laughs and says "alright."

The idea of Hideo Kojima making a licensed title may seem ludicrous but, if there's one series that he'd be likely to make an exception for, it's Mad Max and the chance to work directly with "my ultimate mentor" Miller. You can't overstate how much Kojima loves this guy, and it's actually one of the more charming elements of his personality: it greatly offsets the lofty auteur presence Kojima often projects, for me at least, that he's so boyishly enthusiastic about his own passions. And in fact he's already working with Miller, having cast him in Death Stranding 2.

But whether Kojima Productions is interested in a Mad Max game or not, the other element here is the rather unwarranted drive-by on 2015's Mad Max. I wouldn't say this game was a classic, exactly, but it's one of those that does what it set out to do: PCG's review summed-up by saying "the exciting and satisfying car combat goes a long way toward making up for the rest of Mad Max's shortcomings" on the way to a handsome 77 score.

The game was made by Avalanche Studios (perhaps best-known for the Just Cause games) and, following Miller's unkind words about it, the studio's founder Christofer Sundberg came out swinging in the game's defense. In one of those cosmic coincidences, Sundberg first points out that Mad Max released at a "terrible" time, by which he means it released on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This was Kojima's last Konami title, and an all-timer.

Sundberg says he tried to convince Warner Bros. to avoid this release date, but no dice. "As we were forced to release Mad Max on the same day as MGS," said Sundberg, "they blamed us for the bad sales and canceled a bunch of awesome DLC that was just sitting there waiting to be released."

As for Miller's comments that it "wasn't as good as I wanted it to be", Sundberg has some choice words:

"This is complete nonsense and just shows complete arrogance," said Sunderg. "They did everything they could to make this a complete linear game after having signed up with a developer of open-world games. I'm sure Hideo Kojima would make an awesome Mad Max game, but it would be a completely different experience."

The game as-is could be described as a small open-world, but Sundberg says it was a fight to get there against top-down mandates that it be more linear.

"After the first year of development they realized that they had forced us to make a linear experience rather than the open world game we pitched," said Sundberg. "We threw away a year of work and got to hear that 'players want autonomy in this day and age'. Well, no shit…"

Sundberg ends by returning to that release window, and defending a game he's clearly proud of: "I can fill X with true stories about the development of Mad Max. It was a hell of a great game, but released in a terrible release-window, which we could not convince the publisher to do otherwise."

Honestly: fair enough. That Mad Max game is something of a cult favorite now, and if you can pick it up at a decent price is definitely worth the time. It's certainly leagues above most movie tie-ins, and if nothing else deserves praise for making an open desert wasteland visually interesting.

As for Kojima and Mad Max…. well, it would be one hell of a team-up, but I'm just not sure how much spare time Kojima has. Among his current projects are Death Stranding 2: On The Beach, then the collaboration with Jordan Peele on OD, plus a new espionage game called Physint, and then a film adaptation of Death Stranding, plus he has to post incessantly about what he's had for dinner. If it were any other series, it would be a no. But if Kojima's ever going to allow himself a little licensed indulgence, this will be the one.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."