Hideo Kojima talks about his new game, Death Stranding

Acidic rain pouring from the sky scares Sam Porter Bridges, who needs to find shelter, and America is simply doomed without his packages.

Who is Sam?

Sam, played by The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, is on a long and intriguing quest to deliver messages and connect the world.

The main theme of Death Stranding, game designer Hideo Kojima’s latest work,  is connection: “The era of today is about individualism,” Hideo Said.

He furthermore elaborated his premise: “We may be connected through the internet more than ever, but what’s happening is that people are attacking each other because we’re so connected.”

About the game studio

Kojima Productions, the studio where Death Stranding was created is located in Tokyo, at the end of a corridor crowded by fluorescent white light. After switching the light on, the array of lights turn on one by one, just like a movie set.

Inside the studio there are more than 100 employees quietly working on their tasks, carefully checking if everything in the game is working as intended. The atmosphere feels calm, but as release day is just around the corner, you can tell how busy everybody is.

 

The message of the game

One of the most obvious facts regarding the game is that the creator wants it to express a message about modern society.

“President Trump right now is building a wall,” said Kojima.

“Then you have Brexit, where the UK is trying to leave the EU, and it feels like there are lots of walls and people thinking only about themselves in the world.”

In order to furthermore accentuate the idea that society and communication are absolutely essential in the game, players are using bridges to represent a means of connection.

The developer’s social ideal

Kojima deeply wants to stress that the game’s message isn’t targeted at a particular country or community. He believes that bringing people back together is a universal theme: “When we’re connected we have a responsibility over each other. But social media doesn’t seem to have that responsibility, for example.

He says that caring for each other makes people feel good and it has always been that way. Kojima says he’s “very prone to loneliness” and believes that there are lots of similar people all around the world, especially gamers, therefore remembering the heartwarming feeling that people get when they care for each other is imperative:

“So when those people play this game they realize people like them exist all over the world. Knowing that even though I’m lonely, there are other people like me makes them feel at ease. That’s what I would like for them to feel when playing the game.”

Unfortunately, connecting gamers is not an easy job because gaming communities were crowded by toxic behaviour because of some malevolent players for a while. Kojima wants to change this by only allowing positive behaviour, like giving thumbs up or likes, so there’s no way to interact negatively.

The gameplay

The game can’t really be placed in one of the “classical” genres we’re used to: It combines travel, adventure and role-play while also featuring plenty of carefully edited cut-scenes to progress the story.

It’s bundled with moments of intense drama which keeps players on the edge of their seats while also getting them engaged into a huge online environment.

However, delivering messages over rough terrain might feel a bit repetitive after some time and even frustrating for those who seek fast paced action.

Nevertheless, the investment of patience and time is extremely rewarding for gamers who choose to go through it. 

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