Hideo Kojima almost added ads to an old Nintendo DS game in an attempt to lower its retail price, but abandoned the idea after others didn’t support it.
Talking about Lunar Knights – a Nintendo DS JRPG released by Kojima Productions in 2007, and called Boktai DS in Japan – in twitter (opens in new tab), Kojima revealed his initial plans for the game. He wanted to use the top screen of the Nintendo DS not to play games, but to show ads to players.
“We set the top screen of the Boktai DS version [to] a ‘pseudo-sun’. What I wanted to do was put ‘corporate ads’ on the top screen and use the revenue from those ads to lower the price of the packaged product (almost free),” Kojima tweeted.
“I gave up because there weren’t many supporters and there were too many obstacles to overcome, but it’s not a rare project now.”
In the final version of Lunar Knights, the top screen of the Nintendo DS is used to display the game’s paraSOL climate control system. Players can see if the sun or moon is shining on the game world and if they are obscured by clouds. These weather conditions determine the energy and abilities of the game’s two main playable characters.
1/2In the end, we configured the top screen of the Boktai DS version as a “pseudo-sun”. What I wanted to do was put “corporate ads” on the top screen and use the revenue from those ads to lower the price of the packaged product (almost free).June 29, 2022
Ads are not uncommon
Kojima is no stranger to placing ads in his games. The Metal Gear Solid series has seen several instances of product placement. The CalorieMate energy supplement that restores Naked Snake’s stamina in Metal Gear Solid 3 is styled after a real Japanese energy bar, and Metal Gear Solid 4 features various Apple and Sony products.
The PSP spin-off Peace Walker included a bunch of tie-ins too, covering cans of Pepsi, packets of Doritos, and Ax deodorant. Kojima acknowledged the product placement in that game in 2010, tweet (opens in new tab): “I want to surprise users. Collaboration will stop when surprises and freshness are gone. It is different from Hollywood merchandising” (translated by Google).
Kojima is hardly the only one to advertise products in his games. Battlefield 2042 included Logitech player cards shortly after its release, Alan Wake introduced its fair share of Verizon billboards, and Mario Kart 8 added a bunch of free Mercedes-Benz cars in 2014.
The announcements proposed by Kojima in Lunar Knights, however, were markedly different. He says he wanted to include the ads to allow Konami to release the game at a much lower price. It’s a similar reason behind the screensaver-style ads for the Amazon Kindle that lower the retail cost of the e-reader.
We’ll have to see if Kojma follows the trend and includes a lot of product placement in Metal Gear Solid 6. If the game shows up, that’s it.