Death Stranding will make you cry, Hideo Kojima tells Tribeca 2019
If Death Stranding does its job, you might weep while playing it.
Developer Hideo Kojima elaborated on his upcoming PlayStation game’s theme and its development Thursday during the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, in a wide ranging conversation with starring actor Norman Reedus and game journalist Geoff Keighley.
No new gameplay footage or images were provided — Kojima hinted that’s possibly coming next month — but he did tell audiences that the open world action game is designed to bring out all kinds of emotions from a player.
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“I think people will cry, yeah,” Kojima told the crowd, noting that players will make decisions in the story that are intended to get them emotionally attached. But he also noted plans to stir emotions other than despair, alluding to for example seeking one’s own relationship when seeing a romantic couple in public.
“When you actually go out with someone, sometimes you have a great time but maybe [decide] actually I want to go and stay at home,” Kojima said to his audience’s amusement.
Without revealing plot elements, Kojima noted that the game depicts a very honest portrayal of Reedus in order to help bring out that emotion, updating the game to reflect the actor’s tattoos in real life.
“I really want to replicate his whole life in the game,” Kojima said, joking that if Reedus gets more tattoos that they might be included as downloadable content. The game director said that Reedus’ character of Sam is also intended to be an amalgamation of several of the actor’s famous roles, including Murphy from The Boondock Saints, Daryl from The Walking Dead and the actor himself on AMC’s Ride with Norman Reedus.
“It’s not a turn left, turn right [game], it’s emotion. You get invested. I think that’s why there’s such an honest depiction of me in the game,” Reedus said.
Kojima also spent a lot of time elaborating on the open world nature of the game, which sounds somewhat similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the Grand Theft Auto series in terms of how a player can go anywhere, but must go to certain locations in order to progress in the story.
“I want the player to play freely but at the same time there’s more dramatic storytelling … It’s really difficult but I’m trying really hard to do both,” Kojima said.
The game’s fuller theme has been shrouded in secrecy, with Kojima elaborating that a feeling of connection will be a big part of the story.
“There’s so many things happening in the real world, America and Europe, everything is actually connected by internet. I’m kind of putting that metaphor in the game. So the player will have to reconnect the world in the game. You are very alone and solitude feeling as well but trying to get connected,” Kojima said.
The director also noted that the game will produce some type of feeling that multiple people are playing together, but did not elaborate further as he didn’t want to become “disconnected to Sony.”
“In Death Stranding I do have a little secret that you get tied into and you have to make a decision,” Kojima said.
Reedus also praised the performances of costars Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux, noting that the former gives an “intense” performance while the latter gives “hope” in her depiction.
“In this open format you can go in any direction and do all these different things. It’s a 360 of possibility. You get emotionally involved in so many different ways,” Reedus said.
And some meta-zaniness is to be expected in true Kojima-fashion as seen in the Metal Gear Solid series. Kojima teased that players can take Reedus’ Sam to a location where the player would strictly control the camera and watch as Reedus reacts, possibly giving a knowing wink back.
Reedus also went into the motion capture and body scanning process for the game, which has been ongoing ever since the first E3 2016 trailer revealed a nearly naked Reedus and an attached baby.
“First I get there and there’s a skintight blue Lycra bodysuit. Never done that before. Put all these velcro balls on me and I’m sticky… a zillion little dots on me… and I pick up a plastic baby and I’m crying and it’s gone,” Reedus said regarding the creative process for that trailer. Just the body scanning alone took two days.
Kojima said since then, many more scenes have been created, with Reedus doing motion capture for sequences that even included a simple hike.
The talk also stretched into how the director and Reedus met through Guillermo del Toro at Comic-Con. Originally Reedus showed up in P.T., the terrifying 2014 playable teaser for the game was intended to become the next chapter in the Silent Hill franchise, but Kojima’s sudden departure from Konami in 2015 changed that.
“Unfortunately we could’t get P.T. out. I’m really sorry about that. And Norman was really concerned about that. I always thought if I go independent and make a new game I’m going to have Norman and I’m going to have every aspect of Norman in my main character,” Kojima said.
Kojima has said since moving to development of Death Stranding with the actor, Reedus has remained a collaborative partner through the process.
“When Norman gets an idea I give an idea back and it’s real fun. He does a lot of ad libs as well and I thought that was great,” Kojima said.
Death Stranding does not currently have a release date, but is expected to eventually come to the PlayStation 4.
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