In the days leading up to the release of Death Stranding, about 150 friends, stars, colleagues, and Sony executives gathered for a red carpet meeting to see creator Hideo Kojima.
Norman Reedus, who played Sam in the game, walks past a wall of 56 black and white photographs of the game designer with celebrities. He dips his hands in black paint and leaves a handprint on the white wall next to the prints of Lindsay Wagner and Tommy Earl Jenkins. Standing next to a photograph of Robert De Niro and Kojima, Tribeca Enterprise co-founder Jane Rosenthal recalls how he told her how much he was influenced by Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver, principally the main character Travis Bickle.
She calls Kojima "the main writer-writer in modern media." Reedus calls him a genius.
"The freedom, optimism and energy during the creation of Death Stranding even helped me bring fresh ideas for The Walking Dead," says the actor.
Helen Mirren is sitting at the bar, she's here because her stepson worked on Death Stranding.
All of these people are fascinated by 56-year-old Kojima, who looks like a young guy with his Harry Potter glasses. After his acceptance speech, he shared a story about the Incan Quipo necklace he gave to Wagner and how it relates to the game. The journalist Vulture, who attended the event, tells about all this.
Kojima walks dexterously, easily and quickly, smiling and laughing, delighted with conversations with his friends, actors and colleagues. Kojima is a great conversationalist on many topics, from film [at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival he invited other game developers to watch two films a day] to the scientific theories of chirality that underlie Death Stranding's plot.
Known for the Metal Gear franchise, Kojima has become one of the most outstanding game designers in his 29 years at Konami; nearly two dozen Metal Gear games have sold over 50 million copies. The father of the series, who lives in Tokyo with his wife and children, quietly but fervently preached the Death Stranding gospel for three years.
Kojima said, “I knew what the players wanted. Great gameplay, cool visuals, and something that would impress even moviegoers. ”
After a public scandal with Konami, with a flap on his shoulder, he left the studio in October 2015. Konami removed his name from the Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain cover he created. The dismissal angered fans, and made Kojima think he was leaving the industry.
He entered into a deal with Sony in December 2015. This involved starting an independent studio and laying the groundwork for what would become Death Stranding. This game is the most significant PlayStation exclusive in 2019. The stakes are also high for both Sony, which has gone through the restructuring, and Kojima, who is looking to establish himself separately from Konami. He and Sony created a marketing plan veiled in secrecy. Most of the PR consisted of vague teasers and trailers that Hideo himself edited.
Death Stranding unfolds in a fluid and surreal manner like The Leftovers, Twin Peaks and Lost. The morning after the gallery party, Kojima and I returned there to talk about the game. “I wanted to start very slowly to make the world look beautiful, but you felt strange,” he says. "There is clearly something wrong with him."
“I wanted the player to become Sam, but gradually. He doesn't know how to control himself from the beginning. " This is putting it mildly, since this undertaking is completely Sisyphean. Like Sam, players conquer jagged mountains, slide off them in the pouring rain and fall, damaging cargo, which is the key to restoring communication between isolated cities.
"You do this until you get it right," says Kojima, "like a child learning to walk." This acclimatization takes place against a background that is often eerie and sometimes downright scary. In Death Stranding, handprints appear out of nowhere. The rain burns your skin like acid. You must hold your breath, otherwise invisible ghosts can kill you. The game is all-round unsettling.
Some of the themes in the game are drawn from the childish dull depression that he felt. “I felt lonely when I talked to my friends because they did not understand me. I had so many friends at school, but I was alone. I didn't tell anyone, but I thought I was sick.
He decided to hide behind the image of the soul of the company, but even as a popular student, he felt isolated from everyone. Then Hideo watched the movie Taxi Driver.
“Travis [Bickle] was just like me. I, Japanese, thought that every American guy never even felt lonely. And it amazed me. I was surprised, still lonely, but I felt relieved. " Kojima wanted to convey this sense of isolation to the players.
“This is why I added asymmetric multiplayer to make people feel that they are not really alone. You see footprints of other people and think that you are not the only one here, ”he says.
The highlights in the game are also associated with childhood, for example, the giant monster from the ocean.
Kojima recalls: “At two years old, my father took me to the ocean on a boat. It was so scary. I sometimes swim in it, but at the same time I am very scared by these big waves and ocean animals. ”
Hideo's father died when he was 13 years old. His mother began to raise him. Kojima began to feel that he should always protect her from bad things. And in the end, when he opened Kojima Production and started developing Death Stranding, he hid it from her [apparently fearing that the project would not work out or would be unsuccessful - WorldOfTopics]. “I thought I’ll tell her as soon as I’m successful.” he says.
“I didn't want her to worry. But she died during development. Ghosts in the game, maybe my parents are looking at me. I wanted to insert into the game a metaphor that we always remain connected within ourselves with those who die. " Kojima regrets not telling his mother about the game.
While most of the stories in Death Stranding have, as Kojima points out, a “happy ending,” the heartbreaking story of Sam Porter Bridges is about how much we're willing to pay to survive. This is a topic familiar to Kojima, whose long career has been attributed to his ability to create deeper, more resonant projects in a changing industry that is currently focused on donation and mobile games.
From Metal Gear to Death Stranding, Kojima's DNA includes confrontation with worry and suffering, without any hope for the future. Death, family, communication and connections with life and death are the main themes in the game. And so, four years after he wondered if his departure from Konami would be the end of his career, about 150 people lined up outside the gallery waiting for a selfie.
After Kojima talks about his mother, we move on to Reedus. Kojima says he would like to continue working with the actor, possibly on a sequel to Death Stranding - even though he would have created something from scratch.
During the time they worked, the two became close friends. Kojima recalls being invited to dinner at Reedus's house. While eating, Reedus' cat entered the room, stopped and vomited. Kojima pauses to remember that moment, then smiles broadly and laughs for the first time that day, saying:
"It was a very funny cat."
The Topic of Article: The roots of inspiration or what influenced the creation of Death Stranding?.