Hideo Kojima has been snapped up for the last two weeks: he has been showing his game features at the Tokyo Game Show, and he also has time to distribute interviews. We just took his conversation with a Game Informer journalist and translated it for you. In an interview, Hideo Kojima spoke about things that have so far remained unclear to us.
Of all the Death Stranding features you showed at TGS, which one do you want to talk about the most?
Hideo Kojima, Game Designer: Usually playing a game is a pretty lonely experience. After all, you are left alone, even if you play online. A lot of people play sitting on the couch and think, "Damn, I'm lonely, and it must be strange to play alone." And you do it over and over. In the game you only travel with BB and feel the same loneliness. Norman Reedus also realized this - his character fights alone. At one point you realize that there are probably many people like you. It's like a movie theater session with 100 or 200 people watching a movie together.
And now, playing in a lonely room, you discover a whole world of players just like you. I am very glad that many people understood this message, I think this is the most successful part of the demonstration. Of course, you can't see their faces, but you do have footprints left by them in the game.
Players get extra feedback from likes, but what exactly do they give?
I had arguments with the studio staff on this topic. In games, you always get money or fame. For your actions, you get something - this is today's gaming realities. Colleagues told me, “Hey Hideo, few people will understand this. Maybe the Japanese will be able to, but most people will not. " To which I replied, "That's why I want people to do it in the game." They told me that we are obliged to give people points or praise in return, as in any other game. In my opinion, giving likes to someone is sharing a piece of love.
Of course, you can see how many likes you got and this is your little reward. When you use an item left by another player, a like is automatically sent to him. But you can also send him another one as a tip. It's such a Japanese admixture. We don't have a tip as you will get good service in Japan anyway. In America, on the contrary, you are served well to get a tip.
What I didn't want to do was insert dislikes. For me, dislikes are like a stick in the wheels - a direct attack. I didn't want the game to have such a negative. Therefore, we just made it so that objects that have few likes can disappear, those that have a lot - will be in the game for a long time.
So the idea is to give players the ability to “like” each other in order to make the world as useful as possible?
Yes, because the game world is dark and very mundane. The worst-case scenario is to be left alone with a harsh storyline. So, since I had the opportunity to make it more positive, why not?
We've seen a lot of weird trailers over the years. The final game looks like a project with an ambiguous storytelling - will it be something like a new Twin Peaks?
I have not lied and am creating the story as it is. I just put parts of it between the gameplay in the trailers. If you play from start to finish, you will fully understand the whole point. All side quests and little stories too. However, I'm a huge fan of David Lynch films, so yes [it looks like yes means there is plenty of surrealism in the game — WorldOfTopics].
Sam has a lot to control - his health, his equipment, etc. Many people come to the game to avoid such responsibilities. How do you approach incorporating day-to-day tasks into the game so they don't look like a chore?
Previously, in design, we had to create our own rules, because we could not introduce realism, right? In our daily life there are so many mechanisms that need to be observed, as you said, the balance between our actions, their organization and life. Therefore, we created our own rules in game design, less realistic, because for realism we simply did not have the technology. For example, one hit takes so much health. But in Death Stranding, I wanted to add the real essence of life.
For example, in another game, you can wear as many items as you like. Even in my past games it was like that. Now everything is different, because the game is more like life. But on the other hand, you can, as in real life, go wherever you want, because this is "Open World". Prior to that, in all the "open worlds" there were restrictions, they say, the developers have created textures, beyond which we cannot get. But with us everything is different and if you see something, then you can go there. Walking around this world is really fun, and I learned this by watching people play on test cases.
And now everyone will say: "This is a walking simulator!".
This is the same situation when I released the first stealth game. If 100 people who have played it say that it's fun, for me this is a reason to conclude that this is true and a new genre has emerged. But just like with stealth for the first time - there are those who will not understand it. Real estimates will take time.
Let's say the players finished the playthrough and see the credits, what should they be thinking at this moment?
I leave it to the players to decide. However, they will understand everything only if they go through the game to the end. And I really want it.
Not the best example, but in Japan many climb Mount Fuji to see the sunrise. Not everyone can rise, because it is difficult - they return. But those who can meet the dawn with tears in their eyes. So it is with our game. Those who don't make it to the end are unlikely to be moved.
How does the concept of a chiral network differ from our modern way of communication?
It's like the "theory of letters." When many centuries ago a husband sent his wife a message from the battlefield: “I don’t know if I’m going to die,” it came to her a few months later and she had to think, is he still alive or not?
Now everyone communicates in real time, and does not think. I wanted to get people to go back to that time in the context of the Internet. For example, someone left a cup in Death Stranding, and you found it, and you think: “why did the person put it here? Does she mean something or was he just dropping the load? " But you think this is the "theory of letters." In the 19th and 20th century, people had to think of others in communication. Now if I see a cup on the table, I can call a friend and find out whether it is for me or not. You can't do that in Death Stranding.
And now, when you leave this cup, you will think, what will it say for others? I believe people will reflect on this.
In the context of the game, you come to the preppers [as in America they call people who are preparing for the end of the world and, for example, building bunkers; also in the game will be called the surviving people whom Sam connects to the chiral network - WorldOfTopics], connect them to the chiral network and this is how to establish the best Internet connection for a person?
You unite people for the sake of bridges, unite east and west, connecting them to the UGA - the United Cities of America, this is what they want from you. When you are connected to it, you get SGA services, but in return they have information about you 24/7, just like in 1984. And that is why many people refuse to connect to it, they say: "we are not going to connect to the chiral network, because we do not want a repetition of the events of the past." This is such a metaphor for Trump and the EU. However, if you really get close, they will say, “Ok, I'll connect.”
Some prepers may contract with Bridges. There is a connection, but they cannot use any advantages, for example, chiral printers. But all this will become available if they join the SGA. Therefore, your task is to literally unite America - but I am not saying whether this is right or not.
At the briefing, we heard a lot about divided people, and this echoes what we have today. Is this an intentional metaphor?
Yes, this is a metaphor about America. However, I did not divide the map geographically. So, it can look like Japan if you outline its borders. I want people to think not "America" but "We are all." In addition, Sam does not act out of good intentions, but out of personal. He wants to save Amelie. He brings cities together because he must, not because he wants to, and many people will share his feelings. Sam will constantly repeat: "Why am I doing all this?" I'm sure the players will share this and say: "And really, why am I doing this, is it so difficult and so lonely ?!" But as long as you keep connecting people, drama appears, the script starts to work, creating a storyline. And you feel you are carried away. But I am not saying whether this is positive or negative for travel.
The path of the game is close to completion, what can you say now about its difference between the current form and how it was introduced a few years ago?
As for the concept, it hasn't changed from the very beginning, as for the vision, I think I could have implemented it better on the Playstation 6 [the 5th hasn't come out yet, and the genius already foresees the announcement of the 6th! - WorldOfTopics]. But it's all about graphics.
Many did not support my initial concept and I am glad that there were those who nevertheless decided. Many studio staff really like the game and now it's the turn for users.
The initial steps are always the hardest. Your first enemies are your colleagues. "A game where you drag things, connect people and put likes - what's so interesting about that?" This is the first reaction. But over time, they understand. Many did not understand for a long time and thought that I was crazy. But they did. Even when I called Reedus and Mikkelsen they had no idea what I wanted to do.
And there were those who immediately grasped the essence of Death Stranding, without much thought?
Yes, there were a couple of people. For example, director George Miller - he is my mentor and god. In 2017, I went to Australia with only one trailer and explained everything to him in words. He began to draw a diagram in his head and said: “You are definitely right, in every sense. Mathematically, psychologically, physically and philosophically! " I was so glad to hear this that I wanted to write it down and send it to all my staff.
For this reason, I love interacting with directors, musicians and creators. As a rule, they are on the same wavelength with me more than people from the gaming industry.
The Topic of Article: Walking Simulator, Likes and New Twin Peaks - Hideo Kojima on Death Stranding for Game Informer.