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‘No pressure, great anticipation’: Hideo Kojima talks about genre-bending Death Stranding

With only a month left before the release of Kojima Production’s first independent PS4 title Death Stranding, the game has already gone gold. Therefore, its designer, the legendary Hideo Kojima, had the time to fly to Moscow and present it to the fans at the Igromir 2019 gaming convention. TASS managed to snatch Kojima for a few minutes to talk about the game
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There is just a month left before the release of Death Stranding. You had a chance to relax a bit in Moscow. How do you feel?

— Indeed. I had a chance to see Moscow, to go down into the Moscow metro, visit the Bunker42 museum. It made a deep impression on me. However, we are still promoting the game. We prepare trailers before launch, give interviews, there is still a lot of work to do. And despite the fact that we have really finished production, now it’s the release time - the game is out within a month, it will reach players, they will see it for themselves. I am not feeling pressure, just great anticipation.

What values does the game promote, what themes are at the core of the story?

— You need to understand that this is a game about connection, and it is this connection between people that determines the emotional setting of the whole game. Someone will have a positive setting, where there will be friendship, happiness, and love. Someone will have a negative setting. The theme of life and death is explored through the exact same connections. Characters in the game have their own personality and emotional background. For example, the protagonist Sam is a person who has difficulty interacting with other people. He has personal trauma and this trauma determines his pattern of behavior and relationships with others. Progressing along the main story, you can also participate in each character’s individual story. There are many more themes, and more connections the connection between life and death, love and friendship, parents and children.

You talk a lot about Death Stranding as a completely new game genre. Can you tell us why? What is unique about the system of interaction with other players?

— It feels strange for me to say that we have created a game in a new genre. But this is really a game in which we give players the opportunity to connect people, locations. The essence of the game is that players connect one location with another and thus form a certain path. This path can be traveled in various ways it is an open world and each player is free to choose the way he will go through it. This is essentially a single player game. At some point, however, you realize that the connections you make in the game are the same connections that other players build. Their traces are present in the game, and you begin to see it. When you walk you leave traces - someone else can see your footprints, and you can see another player who passed here. So you do not see each other, but you know that there are other players who are taking the same path in the game.

If the genre is revolutionary, do you believe that in the future other developers will want to make games that use your formula?

— Honestly, I don’t know. But it could be just like with stealth games, which later also gained great popularity, and many developers began making them. So it would depend on how successful this game will be.

Despite several trailers, over an hour of gameplay, most players still do not understand the plot. What is minimum percentage of game completion is required to understand what is happening, and how much do 100% change this perception compared to, say, 95%?

— If I say how much of the game you need to complete, it will be no longer interesting. The game will become more and more engaging, and gradually the whole story will be revealed. You have to play it – it should be part of the process, part of enjoying the game. If I had to say – probably after completing a third of the game, you will more or less understand what is happening. And of course, the trailers that we have released are scenes from the game. Perhaps, if you put them in the correct chronological order, it will be clear what is happening in the game.


Interviewed by Dmitry Medvedenko, TASS Head of English News