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Hideo Kojima interview on Death Stranding and the new Kojima Productions

Spring Drive

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I didn't see a thread about it - lock if old, of course

The newly formed Kojima Productions' first game, Death Stranding, debuted at Sony's E3 press conference a few days ago, and teased a concept that no one can quite figure out. Is it science fiction? Horror? Is it about life or death? It's a mystery that will likely leave us stumped for a while, as Hideo Kojima, the founder of the company and writer and director of the game, revealed in an interview with me earlier today that it's early in development.

Kojima also talked at length about the inspiration behind Death Stranding and Kojima Productions' current push to staff up.

I've had a lot of fun following you on Twitter the last couple of months. It seems like you're having the time of your life with your new company. How is life as an independent game developer treating you?

It hasn't changed that much over the last few years. I haven't been stuck in meetings anymore, and there's a lot of freedom, but for these past few years I've been making games, it's very much the same. Because of that, I have no fears. The one thing that is dangerous of going independent is that I don't get to deal with that many people anymore. That could limit my vision, so I'm trying to read as much as possible, and watch as many movies as possible, and try to go to different places.

One of the most interesting parts of you signing with Sony was watching you travel with Mark Cerny to different Sony development studios. What was the purpose of these visits? Were you getting to know Sony's culture, or were you perhaps looking at tech that would be available for development?

In December we announced our studio, and announced we were working with Sony for our first title. At that point, I already had a vision in mind, and I had to try to figure out how I would make it. In that regard, I was in search of an engine, and what tools would I use, and what services would be available to make it. The problem with that wasn't only the technology, but I had to find facilities, and put together a team. I was also studying what kind of environment [Sony] had, and what would be the best one for my team.

Where is the new Kojima Productions based, and how staffed up is your development team at this point?

While we finally settle into what will be our offices, we'll be in Tokyo and not America. In December, our staff was only four people, including myself. We arranged some temporary offices and had desks, chairs, my own computer, and that was it. From December we made the announcement, and we had a lot of people fortunately apply to work with us, and it's been a lot of interviews lately, but we were fortunate enough to make different tests for the game. For our teaser, we shot with Norman [Reedus] at the end of March, and in two months we were able to develop this. Now that this is announced, I hope and suspect more people will apply, and we'll turn it into something cool.

After the Sony press conference, we were discussing Death Stranding for hours and theorizing what it could be. Can you go into the inspiration behind the game?

There is this author that I'm a huge fan of named Kōbō Abe. One of his stories is called The Box Man. He wrote a short novel called Rope. I don't know if it has been translated to English. In this story, he states that the first tool mankind invented was the stick. The stick was invented to keep away bad and unpleasant things as a weapon. And the next thing mankind invented was the rope. Unlike the stick, the rope had [potential] to tie things close to you together.

Games nowadays are based mainly on sticks. You communicate and interact based on sticks punching or shooting or being used as weapons. Through cooperative and multiplayer you connect with other players through sticks. Now, in this game, you will be able to use sticks, but I also want people to use ropes to connect somehow. In the teaser, you can see crabs, whales, dolphins, handcuffs, and a baby with an umbilical cord. Those are connections. Connection is the theme of the whole game. The word "stranding" is a theme of the game. The name Death Stranding plays off key themes in the game.

How did you and Norman Reedus connect initially and for this project?

I wanted to work with him, and have been a fan of The Walking Dead. Going back to PT, I wanted to work with him on that. I tried to go to him directly. I don't like going through agencies. In this case, my friend Guillermo del Toro was also close with Norman, so he gave me his contact info and I got in touch with him. We just started work on PT and then he was sad about it [getting canceled] and the difficult circumstances back then, so we kept in touch. I talked to him again in February, and we made the decision to work together again. Toward the end of March we shot what we needed for this [trailer].

PT was being made with Reedus and del Toro. Were you considering reuniting the entire team and bringing del Toro on board?


I'm not working with Guillermo on this project, but we've always wanted to do something together. I don't know if that's going to be a game or a movie or a television show or a comic book, but we want to work together. With Guillermo, I discussed [Death Stranding] before signing with Sony, and said "I'm thinking of this project and working with Norman again" and he was happy, and thought it was a good idea.

Where are you guys at with Death Stranding? Is it still in the conceptual stage or are you in active development?

We're weighing our options for the engine. We are down to two candidates. One of the options was used to create this [trailer]. Because it's a new game, we want to do many tests first. As far as the imagery and the concept of what the world will look like, it's already settled. In between all of this, I'm trying to make the story and the characters and how it all comes together. We should settle on the engine soon, and at that point we'll move from tests to full development.
http://www.gameinformer.com/themes/blogs/generic/post.aspx?WeblogApp=features&y=2016&m=06&d=15&WeblogPostName=an-interview-with-hideo-kojima&GroupKeys=&utm_content=buffer3e77b
 

CHC

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Through cooperative and multiplayer you connect with other players through sticks. Now, in this game, you will be able to use sticks, but I also want people to use ropes to connect somehow. In the teaser, you can see crabs, whales, dolphins, handcuffs, and a baby with an umbilical cord. Those are connections. Connection is the theme of the whole game. The word "stranding" is a theme of the game. The name Death Stranding plays off key themes in the game.
Unconstrained by Konami, he's gone full Hideo here. This is madness, I only have about ~40% of an idea what the hell he's talking about, but I'm into it.

Also nice to have a clarification on what that "in-engine" thing actually means. Down to two candidates, wonder what they are?

So excited for this game!
 

Obliterator

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Reading this it sounds like the theme is "Death brings us together / unites us" which is kinda true and kinda disturbing.

At least that's how I'm interpreting it
 

Hedge

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So this looks very far off, indeed. But I'm excited to try my first Kojima game!
 

Wishmaster92

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Hmm anybody wanna take a guess what the two engines are?
Apparently it's not UE4 according to a B3D post. My guess would be a special first party in-house engine, remember Mark Cerny is also on board. The trailer showed taa ghosting too. I don't think it's cryengine either.
 

GhostTrick

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Will this game be exclusive to PS4 or will it also make its way to PC and other consoles?

Coming to PC later. Which is why I'm a bit doubtful about 1st party engine. Unless some of them supports PC, like Guerilla's engine.


I'd be extremely shocked if it came to PC. Quantic Dream likes to focus on only one platform and their titles are published by Sony, so...

Wrong thread ? :p
 

karasu

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I love the way he thinks. The way he says that because he deals with less people now his vision may be limited. That's just really self-aware.
 

Callibretto

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It's always fascinating to read about Kojima's inspiration, it's never so simple.
yeah, it's really fun to see what inspired him etc. if he ever make a book about his approach to game design, things that inspired or shaped him over the years, I'll totally buy it.
 

Ermac

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Hmm, I can't seem to find anything online about the short novel "Rope" by Abe that he mentions. Is it called something else in English?
 

MilkBeard

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With Cerny on board for development, it's most likely using some Sony developed engine.

Well, no wonder, because they put that thing together quickly and with high quality.
 
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Come to think of it, I wonder if Phantom Pain and the whole identity switcheroo wasn't inspired by Abe's 'Face of Another'?
 
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Where are you guys at with Death Stranding? Is it still in the conceptual stage or are you in active development?

We're weighing our options for the engine. We are down to two candidates. One of the options was used to create this [trailer]. Because it's a new game, we want to do many tests first. As far as the imagery and the concept of what the world will look like, it's already settled. In between all of this, I'm trying to make the story and the characters and how it all comes together. We should settle on the engine soon, and at that point we'll move from tests to full development.
This clears up both how he said it was real time at the Sony conference and in another interview he stated he hadn't decided on an engine yet.

So the teaser was kind of a test run for one of the possible game engines....goddamn! :O
 

Zukkoyaki

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Nice to know that he had way more of a concrete idea than he let on. It was starting to seem like they hadn't actually started on anything yet.
 

F4r0_Atak

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Will this game be exclusive to PS4 or will it also make its way to PC and other consoles?
Since the game is published by Playstation/SIE, this game will be console exclusive to PS4 (with a PC released also planned). Don't expect this game to make it to the other consoles.

Source: Gameindustrie.biz

"PlayStation's history is one of game innovation and great new franchises," said SCE president Andrew House in a statement. "Hideo Kojima has been a huge part of that history, and we are therefore delighted that he has chosen to bring his brand new project to life in partnership with PlayStation."

"I will be taking on a new challenge by establishing my own independent studio, and I am thrilled to be able to embark on this journey with PlayStation, who I have continued to work with all these past years," Kojima said. "I cannot wait to deliver, with PlayStation, a game that will become a compelling franchise."
Also based on that article, I am under the impression that if it it becomes a franchise it will be console-exclusive too to Playstation (with a possible PC release along side).
 

Lion Heart

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This probably set a record for earliest reveal relative to development, ever! If they can get it out by 2019 that would be sweet, technically the same as MGSV.
 

dmshaposv

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CryEngine and Unreal. There's nothing else.

lolunity
I doubt it was CryEngine. It looked like one of the engines Sony first-party games are using, and Cerny being tech producer kinda alludes to that.

I am sure that Kojima's second option is 100% UE4 tho. It is the most ubiquitous third party engine with the most flexible tools.
 

eyeball_kid

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Whatever engine he used, it's incredibly impressive that the trailer was rendered on the stock PS4. It's also surprising how fast Kojima works. Of course, he must have quite a stockpile of ideas at this point.
 

dragonbane

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Well I doubt they can start full production before 2017 then, so this is 2018 at the earliest provided this game is small in scope. Otherwise definitely 2019 lol
 

Cwarrior

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Kojima said he wanted to get a new title out as fast as possible for the fans, though
he said his making a triple game cause it's what people expect of him..

big budget games take a few years to make.

Normally a game is announced once it's in at least 1 or 2 year full development, but this was announced super early,
 

TheRed

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It was pretty impressive how they were able to achieve the look they had going in FOX engine so fast, it was like they hadn't missed a step. Really excited to see what the actual game becomes.
 

Roldan

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I don't get entirely the sticks and ropes part... But that's Kojima, he's always being too
nonsense
abstract when expressing his ideas. lol

But I'm happy to see how fast things are moving. I bet the game will come out at 2019, and considering they still have to put a team together, test engines and only then start development, 2019 isn't exactly a lot of time.
 

Dream_Journey

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This will be the hard to waitting but what can we do...

Also thanks to Kojima letting me know new awesome composer.
 

eyeball_kid

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I don't get entirely the sticks and ropes part... But that's Kojima, he's always being too
nonsense
abstract when expressing his ideas. lol

But I'm happy to see how fast things are moving. I bet the game will come out at 2019, and considering they still have to put a team together, test engines and only then start development, 2019 isn't exactly a lot of time.
I think he was basically trying to say that too much of modern games is developed around the idea of committing acts of virtual violence on each other (the sticks), instead of using games as a way of bringing people together (the ropes). Or maybe he just wants to make a game about shibari (Japanese rope bondage), I don't know.
 

TatteredHat

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Lol, Hideo's true form is being unleashed here.

I am happy to wait, Kojima, just please deliver a game with a completed story.
 

F4r0_Atak

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he said his making a triple game cause it's what people expect of him..

big budget games take a few years to make.

Normally a game is announced once it's in at least 1 or 2 year full development, but this was announced super early,
It's Kojima. He is also the one who said that he wouldn't attend Sony E3 press conference because he had nothing to show. Don't believe his lies... :p

It was pretty impressive how they were able to achieve the look they had going in FOX engine so fast, it was like they hadn't missed a step. Really excited to see what the actual game becomes.
Remember that Hideo Kojima was a programmer when he started in this industry, that and he also helped create the FOX Engine with Julien Merceron. He knows it very well...

Found the old thread talking about it...

Merceron didn’t really know what to expect from Hideo Kojima, as he knew him just as a friend. Since he did a lot of public relations and marketing, Merceron thought that maybe he was like a figurehead, with a lot of underlings doing everything from him, like game design and narrative design.

When they started to work together, Merceron was absolutely amazed. Kojima-san takes care of everything himself. He does marketing, Creativity on P.T “from A to Z,” the same with Metal Gear, he worked on the game design and on the story. Something not many knoz is that after Metal Gear Solid 4 was finished and work on Fox Engine started Kojima-san was among those who designed the technology. He’s a true technology enthusiast, and he wanted an engine that could represent him and that allowed him to deliver the experiences he aspired to create.

At first Merceron thought he would have to talk to Kojima-san in very simple terms, but that wasn’t the case at all. Kojima-san was beyond his expectations in everything: in the ideas he had, in his passion for his work, in his knowledge of technology, and even more so in his mastery of his vision. According to Merceron, he has never met anyone else who knows exactly how his game is going to look like before even seeing it.
 

Mr.Monitor

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Kobo Abe? Kojima has great taste, as always. I really recommend his novels, The Box Man is a personal favorite of mine.