Today, we take a good look at what we know about Kojima Productions’ new Death Stranding. Hideo Kojima founded a production studio called “Kojima Productions,” while Konami shuttered a few divisions that would relieve Hideo Kojima of his managerial and/or administrative duties in 2005.
Kojima explained his idea or role with Kojima Productions back when he formed the company…
To elaborate a little bit more, I am now in a position within Konami as one of the members of the board, and it’s true that I do have a responsibility, and also respect, within the company. However, when I say as a creator, “I want to create this new game”, it’s still the same as twenty years ago! People still ask, “will that sell, will that be good?” Nobody really understands whether it would be an instant hit or whatever. I’m not just talking about the top executives, but even the development staff! But that is my challenge, actually. That’s what’s interesting. They do not understand what they cannot see instantly, so they can’t say “that’s a great idea” straight away. That’s my challenge, and my satisfaction when I present to them, saying I want to create this new thing. And if I get more ‘boos’ about it – if they say, “No! We don’t know what you’re talking about!” then this is actually the fun part.
Kojima Productions went on to completing Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection (which is a collection of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, Peace Walker), Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (which itself is a sort-of a remake of MGS3), and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which is a prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
At this point already, there has already been in-fighting between Hideo Kojima, and Konami. Things came to a head as Mr. Kojima was about 80-90 percent complete with The Phantom Pain. You can see it as you play and complete MGSV: The Phantom Pain. Chapter 3 was cut from the game, and a lot of players were frustrated. [Backstory available here.]
As Kojima made the game gold, ready to be released (Dumb idea, Konami! Dumb, boneheaded move.), Konami forced Kojima to sign a contract saying he can’t this, and that about MGSV’s development or accept awards, etc. I don’t know the full story about that very contract, I can only speak to what was already publicly known about Konami vs Kojima.
Konami claims that MGSV cost a lot of money to make, and Kojima felt that he wasn’t complete with MGSV.
On December 16, 2015 – during a joint announcement between Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), and Hideo Kojima – both parties announced that Kojima was working on a new game…
….That would eventually be known as Death Stranding….
It was revealed at E32016. We didn’t know much about Death Stranding other than that the game was going to have Norman Reedus, and the premise of the game is about connecting with everything around you in the world of Death Stranding. Concept art had or has some clues as to what this connectivity entails.
At The Game Awards 2016, that same year – a new trailer broke out. This time, we learn Guillermo del Toro, Mads Mikkelsen would appear in the game.
The following year, at TGA 2017, another trailer dropped. This time, we learn a few gameplay tidbits: You must be stealthy, as in no sounds, no shouting, no shooting. Unless warranted. If you fail or die, you go underwater, which is the afterlife in the game. The water scene is your “Game Over” screen of sorts.
At E32018, it was revealed that Lindsay Wagner, and Léa Seydoux would star in Death Stranding. The marketing messaging in the trailer talks about life, death, spirits, and the afterlife…
- “Give me your hand in life.”
- “Give me your hand in death.”
- “Give me your hand in flesh.”
- “Give me your hand in spirit.”
At TGS 2018, there was a short trailer for Death Stranding, and it showed off a new character being voiced by Troy Baker.
What is Death Stranding? It is Hideo Kojima’s next project. Death Stranding is an open world title with stealth action mixed in. It’s a multiplayer game, too, as the game deals with death, spirits, the afterlife, and links. The main character, and who you control is a man named Sam Bridges. You work for a mysterious organization (possibly “Porter”), and you deliver some sort of parcel to another place, or location.
In most trailers, you’re carrying some kind of container, item, or person. In the majority of the trailers, you’re seen to be carrying a baby or a baby capsule. A few times, you are even “pregnant.” Much is unknown about the story, we can only go by what we see. The game looks to have some really mind-bending visuals – at one point you meet a council of parasites. You also meet what seems like a final boss of some sort – a large being. Furthermore, you’re dealing with a spirit that lurks in the background for most of the trailers. Who is this spirit, what significance does it have with the babies, and/or Sam? What is the story telling us…?
How is Death Stranding being built? Hideo Kojima spent a majority of his 10 days with Mark Cerny in 2016 looking for a new game engine. Studios visited include Crytek, Quantic Dream, Sucker Punch, Media Molecule, and D.I.C.E. They ended up with Guerrilla Games, and opted to use their game engine – DECIMA. Guerrilla Games first DECIMA game was Killzone Shadow Fall, the second game to use the engine was Horizon Zero Dawn, the third game to use it was Until Dawn, the fourth one was Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League used it, and now Death Stranding is using it. Shadow Fall was a PS4 launch title, and Horizon was one the best selling PlayStation 4 games of 2017, selling over 10 Million copies.
When is Death Stranding being released? Kojima said the game would release before the 2020 Summer Olympics, but in recent times (March 6, 2019, actually.), he said that Death Stranding is running behind schedule. He said the game would be out before the end of 2019. Before getting excited or hyped, though – I would say keep that excitement or expectation low, because according to Kojima, he continues to make adjustments to games he makes on a daily basis. This is the case with Metal Gear, it’s the case now with Death Stranding. He also mentioned that the game is different than when development started on the new game.
On April 26, 2019 – at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Kojima spoke about a few gameplay details. The first one is about a camera. You can control a camera in Death Stranding. As I explained earlier, the game is an open world game, with a multiplayer component. Kojima further explained “There are so many things happening in the real world – in America, in Europe – everything is actually connected by the internet, but in a way we’re not connected in the real world these days.” One of the concepts for the game is connections. He expanded on how new the game is… “The player will have to reconnect the world in the game. You’re very alone, there’s solitude, but you’re trying to connect. The story and the gameplay, the key word is ‘connection.’ There are so many things in-between, of course, but the key is connection.”
In typical Kojima style, he jokingly said… “I also threw in a really new idea. You’re connecting the game, and everyone is playing it together, and you’ll be connected, everyone will be connected together as well. I can’t say anything because Sony will be very unhappy. I don’t want to be disconnected from Sony.” That last part is a little cheeky, even for Kojima.
According to Kojima, the story is a metaphor. Norman Reedus isn’t just lending his likness, his acting, or voices, he’s also collaborating with Hideo for Death Stranding. Kojima even refers Reedus as a muse. Kojima says that Reedus gives Kojima a lot of ideas. Kojima says working with Reedus is stimulaing and gives him ideas… “Doing this with Hollywood actors, this was the first time for me, and it was so stimulating for me. I had a lot of ideas flooding out.”
Death Stranding is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4, and PC. Death Stranding does not have a firm release date, but is tentatively penciled for 2019.