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A matter of days after the release of legend David Bowie’s new album Blackstar, the world has been shocked at the news that he has passed away after an 18 month battle with cancer. It’s one of those surreal historical moments – one of those still frames in your mind that you’ll recall when people ask you where were you when David Bowie died? 

Alongside the incredible influence he’s had on music, popular culture and the like, he also had a massive influence on one of the most profound storytellers in video gaming – Hideo Kojima. The former Konami vice-president has used a variety of Bowie’s likenesses for a plethora of characters from the Metal Gear Solid universe.

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Male, female, it doesn’t matter – Bowie’s visage has served as reference for everything from a babyfaced Ocelot to the red lochs of the Colonel’s daughter; Meryl Silverburgh.

there can be no doubt that the eccentricities of the Starman have served as Kojima’s muse time and again

The work of Masayoshi Sukita is also cited as a guide for the flared and aggressive stance of the Metal Gear. It’s a little far-fetched, but the similarities are striking.

I’m almost certain a few of these are coincidental but, regardless of cynicism, there can be no doubt that the eccentricities of the Starman have served as Kojima’s muse time and again.

Although the famed Japanese producer has come under fire for the events that led to his separation from Konami after almost 3 decades, I’m glad that he found such a powerful and evocative style icon like Bowie to draw from. The distinctive theatrical, flamboyant style of David Bowie – glam rock quiffs and stark androgyny  – is echoed throughout the series, and Kojima’s constant drive to push the boundaries of storytelling in his games runs parallel to the many boundaries that Bowie knocked down with one swing of the backcombed-barnet.

I was at work when my dad texted me to tell me that David Bowie had died. But, much like many men of his stature and credit who have passed before him, he’s left an expansive, glittering legacy in his wake.

 

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