There are many creators that bring the world of KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS to life. 

In this fourth interview, we hear from a member of the Programming team. 


Name: Xun “Eric” Zhang
Role: System Programmer

Joined KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS mid-career. He spends his weekends watching anime and games, drawing illustrations, and doing outdoor activities such as mountain climbing.
His number of hobbies continues to increase infinitely as he discovers beyond various entertainment.


Q. What kind of work do you normally do?   

Eric:  I mainly develop the game engine and overall game support. 

To be more specific, I do a wide range of things...code optimization, memory management, job systems, save data, engine functions, middleware implementation, or investigating mysterious issues that arise, and much more. 
I don’t simply do the tasks that are assigned to me; I actively look for issues in the game, investigate it, and suggest ways to improve them.  
It’s a so-called “create-your-own-work" style. 

But oftentimes, the staff members cover for each other, so there are times when I will help my colleagues with their part and work on areas outside of my main responsibilities. 
I believe Ms. Harada spoke about save data and memory in her interview!  
(No. 02 

The moments I find most interesting in this job are when we get to test out and experiment with new technology ahead of others.  
For example, you know how DEATH STRANDING was first released on the PlayStation 4 and two years later, the DIRECTOR’S CUT for the PlayStation 5? Well, it was our team’s responsibility to be the first ones to run DEATH STRANDING on the PS5.  
I got to be a part of that. Typically, it takes 5 or 6 years for new hardware to come out, right? I got to add and verify game engine functions for that new hardware, which was quite a rare experience.


Q. What’s the atmosphere like on the teams you work with every day? 

Eric: Our job covers a wide variety of work and a lot of it is done individually and independently, but we can easily consult with one another. I don’t feel any senpai/kohai restraints in any of our teams, and our leaders are very approachable.  
There are many things you may not understand at first, but every member has a lot of experience, so they can give you accurate advice. 

I moved here from the United States and at first, I was worried about company culture and human relations. However, I felt that KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS had a rather western-style work environment, so I was able to feel comfortable and fit in right away.  

We will continue to face new challenges as we go, but with this team, I have nothing to fear. If I were to be greedy, I would say that I hope we get more and more people to join this team! 


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Q. What made you join KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS?

Eric: I was previously working for an American game company for about 6 years, but I decided to change jobs for two reasons. 

First, I wanted to make games in Japan. 
Japanese anime and games have been a part of my life since I was a student, and it was my dream to work on something I like in Japan. 
Secondly, this was around the time when information on the PS5 was starting to come out. I became interested in game engines, and I wanted to be in an environment where I could work on game engines for next-generation games. 

I had a yearning for KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS, but to be honest, I didn’t think I could get in with my skill sets. 
When I went to my former boss with my concerns, he told me, “Considering what you want to do and in thinking about your future, I think KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS is the best place for you.” 
He said, “You can learn a lot more at a studio where talented individuals gather. I have no doubt you will be able to grow there. Of course, it may be tough, but that growth is what you seek most right now.” 

His words gave me encouragement, and I decided to challenge myself at KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS. 


Q. What kind of portfolio did you hand in when you applied for the job?

*portfolio submission requirements differ by positions. 

Eric : I turned in information about past works, but besides that...I also sent a game engine I made as a hobby. 

――No one else had ever submitted an original game engine before. 

Apparently not! 
When I was handling the game engine at my previous job, I felt that my understanding of the engine was lacking. I thought that the best way to learn was by actually making one myself, so I started building it little by little on the weekends. This was 2 years prior to my interview. 

I also thought this would be a great way to showcase my deisre to work on game engines, so I decided to submit it with my portfolio. 
Additionally, I turned in a list I had made of problems I had faced and solved throughout the process. 


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Q. What do you like about KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS? 

Eric: I like that, as a programmer, I am in an environment where I can interact with the latest cutting-edge technology almost immediately. 

Since DEATH STRANDING utilises the DECIMA engine, I have the chance to exchange ideas with those developers. 
It is an opportunity for me to speak with the people who created the game engine, and I get to play with the engine itself...As a fellow engineer in this line of work, it’s the most amazing time for me.  

As for the game, I get to directly work with Hideo Kojima’s passion and bring to life ideas that no one in the world has seen before. For engineers, I think it is a really exciting environment. 

Also, this company is flexible in adapting to global circumstances and puts first priority on employees and their families, so I can work very comfortably. 


Q. Tell us about your future plans. 

Eric: I often get asked if it’s hard to work at KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS. First of all, there isn’t a workplace involved in game production that isn’t hard. 

Of course, the originality of Hideo Kojima’s ideas can lead to many difficult challenges. But we all enjoy these challenges, myself included! 

Creating a game at this studio is not easy; it’s hard. But more than anything, it’s a fun job.  
The more difficult the problem, the greater the sense of accomplishment when you solve it. I want to continue experiencing this over and over again. 


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For more insight into other creative disciplines, be sure to check out our other interviews:   


KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS respects each employee's unique work style.   

We have a returnship program as well as a remote working style that allows employees to work from home. We are always striving to meet the various working styles and needs of our employees.    

We have relocated and expanded our office this year, and we invite you to join us in creating in an environment with cutting-edge technology. As we grow our team, we have opened several new positions. We look forward to receiving your applications!   

For more information, please visit our CAREERS page on our website:  

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