E3 2016 interviews: Kojima talks about Death Stranding, its themes and the studio’s goals

During a full day of media interviews at E3 2016, Hideo Kojima talked about his studio and his plans for its first title, Death Stranding.


Speaking to IGN, Kojima said he wanted his new game to be something different just like the first Metal Gear was back in the day: “Metal Gear was an action game. But it was an action game where you happened to be hiding. There was no genre for that back then, and now it’s classified as a stealth game. In that regard, Death Stranding will also be an action game, but I want to make something new, something different.”

Kojima explained that one of the key things in the trailer is ‘the idea of life and death being connected to each other’. “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.” he told Game Informer.


His personal assistant Ayako Terashima elaborated on Twitter (translating from interviews held with Japanese outlets):

“The phenomenon that groups of Whales/Dolphins being beached is called mass stranding. It says LIVE STRANDING if they are beached alive whereas it calls DEATH STRANDING when they are dead. In this title’s case, it means SOMETHING has been stranded from SOME WORLD.”

“However, “strand” has other meaning, it’s “thread” in psychological terminology. The process of adapting one’s characteristics/sociality is represented as the process of twisting thinner thread becoming thicker rope. It can also mean chain or bonds. The title of this game has those 2 meanings, stranded and rope.”

Kojima talked about this ‘rope’ idea some more in the various interviews.

“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.” he told Game Informer. “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 has the potential to tie things together instead of keeping them away. In this way, this tool is used to secure things that are important to you.

"The short story "NAWA: The Rope" is included in AN IRRELEVANT DEATH THE CLIFF OF TIME." - Hideo Kojima
“The short story “NAWA: The Rope” is included in AN IRRELEVANT DEATH THE CLIFF OF TIME.” – Hideo Kojima

“Games nowadays are based mainly on sticks.” Kojima said to Game Informer. “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.”

He told Digital Spy: “I want the story and the world and the gameplay, as well as the characters in the game and the the player – the life and death elements – all to be tied together. That’s the strong theme that is in this stranding concept.”

The umbilical-like cords hanging from the titles reflect this theme as well.


The song used for the trailer, I’ll Keep Coming, is also a reference to the waves, that keep coming and coming infinitely. Kojima added: “I’ll also keep coming myself, my games, and what I want to do. And I want you to enjoy this, along with the players.”

The studio still has to make a final decision on the game engine they’re going to use for this game. The teaser was made in one engine and represents the kind of visuals Kojima wants to achieve, while another one is used to test game mechanics. Once they’ve made the final decision, they will shift to full development. “As far as the imagery and the concept of what the world will look like, it’s already settled.”

When the studio was created in December of 2015, it consisted of only four people (Kojima, Terashima, Imaizumi, Shinkawa – probably) in a temporary office, each having just a desk with a computer. But things have been moving forward since then. Kojima has gone through a lot of applications from people in the last few months, and he’s hoping some more will apply now that they’ve put out this teaser. “Now we have our own facilities, a location and we finally have enough manpower enough to put out the teaser and do these experiments, these tests I want to do.”

Kojima also said that he isn’t planning to create a huge Western studio like they did for Kojima Productions in 2013, when it opened another branch in Los Angeles. “We want to put out something as handmade as possible. We’re not thinking about [product] lines so much; I’m thinking about our team. I’m not thinking about doing a huge Western studio.”

The Death Stranding teaser has left many people confused as it brings up more questions than answers, while being filled with hints and references for the users to find. This is something Kojima enjoys doing.

“I want to continue this back and forth for the users.” he told Polygon. “I enjoy putting out these teasers and bits of information here and there, even before the game is released, and have [fans] imagining things and enjoying this process. I believe that the game medium is something that allows this to happen. These gimmicks are intentional and I enjoy this.”


Update: the official Kojima Productions Twitter account provided us with a ‘recap’ of the interviews:

In our teaser we featured both the “connecting strands” of handcuffs/umbilical cords and also stranding of whales. Of course, there are also other hints in there. The “dog tags” being one of these. Our game is still far from being released but the “game” has already begun. What are you able to spot?
In the short time after starting KojiPro, we’ve been able to find people, build an environment to work, looked into tech, started up a project and finish this teaser. After making games for 30 years, I’m not worried at all. And to back us up we’ve had both Mark (Cerny), Kyle (Cooper) and the people of Sony’s “strand”.
Of course, a “strand” also connects us to Norman Reedus. Thanks to this, we were able to finish this teaser in just 2.5 months. He was kind enough to help us out and be part of this strenuous process.
From the days of coin operated games have had a continue option of you were to fail at your mission. Failing would mean the death of your game character. In making a game, both in story and in game system you depict death. However, “death” is about to have a new meaning.
Still, the main parts of playing will not change. Comparing it to driving; driving a car you’re familiar with will have the same familiar feeling when accelerating or braking. It’s when driving this “familiar” car without stress for a while that you’ll first notice the difference. That’s the kind of game it needs to be.
Kōbō Abe, one of my favorite writers, wrote a novella called Rope which I read in high school. This book talks about the first inventions of the human race; the “stick” and the “rope”.
The stick helped man to keep distance from threats. The stick helped ape evolve into man. On the other hand, the rope helps us capture and bind important things to us. Most online games will have you fight with a “stick”, this might also be said about social networks.
Stick and Rope are two very important keywords. You will be using the “stick” in our new game but that is not all; how will you be able to use the rope to connect people worldwide? Will you be able to use both tools? The game will have you playing with tools and think about these points.
With technology advancing as far as it has; dividing games into genres like “Action” or “RPG” doesn’t sound too forward thinking but, DEATH STRANDING should be a new “genre”.

Source: Game Informer, IGN, Polygon, 2, Ayako Twitter, Digital Spy, Kojima Productions Twitter

  • Full Options
    • MrVux007

      I will admit when i seen that robot i was bit sad,cuz i thought it would suck compared to R2D2.
      But i was sooo wrong. :_)

      • Full Options

        Yeah, I was not sure too, hehe but BB8 is awesome. Plus knowing it’s a real robot is just so fun… I remember him following the cast on premiere… hehe

  • Some Journalists are just stupid. Seriously.


    This one is saying that it is an action game similar to Metal Gear Solid, but Kojima have not said that at all. He said that it will be something new and different. Maybe the end result will be something like Metal Gear, yes… but journalism…

    • It looks like they kind of misunderstood. He’s saying it will be different within the action genre like Metal Gear was different.

      • Exactly. Now these ***** are saying: http://www.vg247.com/2016/06/16/death-stranding-is-a-metal-gear-solid-type-action-game/

        “If you were hoping for a spoopy Silent Hills stand-in, you’ll be disappointed.”

        Basically, you’ll be disappointed for no real reason.

        this is insane journalism. He never said that this game will be a Metal Gear title.

        • Gatsu

          Yeah this is annoying when they don’t think what they write. Silent Hills never released so it won’t be like it and no Del Toro involved anyway.

          But I’m sure it will have some horror moments too.

    • JJBYACHFullOptions2FucKonami

      There is no such thing as video game journalism (in the mainstream circle, Jim Sterling and SuperbunnyHop have done some really interesting and informative factually backed reports). But I still don’t think making an article on when Battlefield 1 releases is in any comparison to an article about the war in Syria or something.

      Reporting is looking at information and painting a narrative/alternative world view/argument that said info suggests by its own merits, it’s not just regurgitating already known information/easily accessible information. If you are going to re-upload information, at least collate it and keep it as objective as possible. And even then they still screwed up and took Kojima’s words out of context.

      Nyxus does a far better job at researching and transmuting information objectively, and I think it’s safe to assume this isn’t even his full time job – a far better “video game journalist” than Kotaku or Digital Spy.

  • Full Options

    A little anecdotal, but it is also the first time we see the new KojiPro logo in its animated flavor… ;D

  • Full Options

    A little anecdotal but the first time we also watched KojiPro logo in its animated flavor… ;D


    • and it’s great. Not only that, but the way the track is playing in it’s mechanical way sounds fantastic.

      • Full Options

        Ya the sound top-rocks as well ! Again, also that walking on stage… So EPIC !

    • Yeah, looks awesome. That’s probably what we’re going to see when we start up the game.

      • Full Options

        ” – press start button – “… aaaaarghhhhhh ! Can’t wait ;D

  • MrVux007

    “The song used for the trailer, I’ll Keep Coming, is also a reference to the waves, that keep coming and coming infinitely. Kojima added: “I’ll also keep coming myself, my games, and what I want to do. And I want you to enjoy this, along with the players.””

    This part cant be taken out of context in many ways 😉 http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/2013/04/aww-yea.gif

    • Leguywhodrownedquiet

      There was a hoax that the foam in whaves is wale cum.:)

  • Gatsu

    “I want to continue this back and forth for the users.” he told Polygon.
    “I enjoy putting out these teasers and bits of information here and
    there, even before the game is released, and have [fans] imagining
    things and enjoying this process. I believe that the game medium is
    something that allows this to happen. These gimmicks are intentional and
    I enjoy this.”

    Ohhh I enjoy them too Kojima-sama! Can’t wait to see what the game story is about and how it’s played <3.

  • The new KojiPro website looks cool

    • Full Options

      Yes, top-notch web design, like really, very impressive (me being a Koji-fan apart), extremely responsive and artistic at the same time. The new Mother Base ! It was updated short after the trailer presentation or something.

  • Danny Patten

    So I was wondering something, would you guys be interested in our very own Discord server?
    I don’t want to take away anything from this site but it could give us a room to get together and game together or just fan girl?
    Just a thought.

    • What is a Discord server exactly?

      • Danny Patten

        Where have you lived the past few months 😀
        Well, Discord is THE new chat app.
        It combines Teamspeak with Skype and makes that even better.
        Once you go Discord, you won’t go back.
        And to show you that they’re a pretty fun company:

        And EVERY major OS supports it.
        Like Android, iOS, Windows and Mac. Linux is still in development.

        • Discord is great! I have been using it for at least 3 months now and I love it.

        • Ah okay, well if you feel it’s a good idea go ahead! Just don’t kill the community on here. 😛

          • Danny Patten

            Well, kill might have been a strong word but I’ve seen those groups, not necessarily Discord, have a bad influence on the communities of Forums or Blogs like this one.

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    • Gatsu

      Lmao ;D…

      • Full Options

        xD Nice new avatar of yours ! ;D

        • Gatsu

          Thanks, yeah I had to jump fully into the hype train. KojiPro 4ever.

    • Need to fulton them FAST… Their stats are OK though. Verry creative btw, Kojima will retweet this for sure.

      • Full Options

        Ok then, they’ll be fultoned or they’ll die !

      • Raymondius

        If only I had the good ol’ Carl Gustav Fulton…

    • JJBYACHFullOptions2FucKonami


      • Full Options

        Thx !

    • Mr.Pony
    • Venom_Sina

      Hey Kaveh.Nice one.You’re pretty good 😀

      • Full Options

        Merci Sina-jan
        IR : Rehjalat mikesham, vart nadarim, zoom nakonin jan e man ! 😀
        EN : I am ashamed, never have time, don’t zoom, please ! 😀
        FR : J’ai honte, pas assez de temps, ne zoomez pas SVP ! 😀

    • Lol.

  • PrinceHeir

    This is some goof stuff 🙂

  • Danny Patten

    Since we have a theme with Black Holes and space,
    This is the sound 2 Black Holes make when they join:

    • Leguywhodrownedquiet


  • RJRO

    I read on Kojima twitter there is something about Death Stranding being a new genre game.

    Im not surprised at all. Kojima created Stealth games so making a new genre is probably nothing hard for Him in this year were all those cool games exist.
    Looking at this trailer I kinda cant imagine what we will really do in this game.
    Will we play in that land were everything dies or it will be something different.
    We have to wait.

    • Yeah, the translation by the KojiPro Twitter has been added to the bottom of the article.

      • ADAMJENSEN13

        Nice! Thanks for adding it! Or it was before I added my post? Ah, never mind 🙂 Thanks anyway.

        • After probably.

          • ADAMJENSEN13

            So I was first! Aha! 🙂

  • Kojima visited the BEST studio in the World. WITH JEFF KAPLAN. the creator of Overwatch and World Of Warcraft quest system.
    this deserves additional news thread easy!


    • Full Options

      This always mutual respect between any studio and him is just so backing us up every time. Spot on the idea we have about those fellows. They know their jobs and are ALL fans of his work. A game dev not fan of him needs heavy intensive psychiatric care (ok, my take).

  • MrVux007

    Well i watched all the conferences from E3 now (since i couldn’t watch them all cuz of bad net at the time)….and im 100% sure now,SONY killed it this year.
    This,pretty much sums up how i felt during the show. https://media.giphy.com/media/l46CemVEjQThGy5jy/giphy.gif

    • JJBYACHFullOptions2FucKonami

      I thought this E3 was rather disappointing… Until the Sony press conference – my jaw hit the floor so many times.

    • Full Options

      This time the PlayStation is kind of a real PC (HW-wise), Mark knew what was not that wrong but heavily penalizing the studios. Kutaragi-Sensei was right to aim at such exotic beasts, E-Motion Engine was a real nightmare too before CellBE. But all those plats contributed to train the next generations of great developers by keeping them close to the real challenges. Mark’s architecture is real (and well deserved) oxygen though. 😀

    • I don’t think there is a real reason to talk about E3. Sony did not win this E3. they were the only one who existed there to be honest, because everyone were so bad compared to them…

      Sony did so much… I was blown away. they even skipped for some 1st party titles to promote everything for hardcore gamers. Everything was just for us.

      • MrVux007

        they should have tagged EA conference as #SportsSportsSports…..
        that was the most boring and disappointing conference…

        • Full Options

          IT’S IN THE GAME… GOD, Mark’s Marble Madness was developed by Atari, but brought by EA on our home gears… 😀 I mean when I think about EA, I think about Marble Madness, or the 3DO version of “Need for speed” !? hehe…

  • “In making a game, both in story and in game system you depict death. However, “death” is about to have a new meaning.”

    Sounds intriguing.

    • Full Options

      Him playing with such themes is just a so comfortable feeling… 😀

  • JJBYACHFullOptions2FucKonami
    • Full Options

      Sorry, I am gonna comment in french :
      Ca c’est ENORME !
      Who’s diamond is she ? Awesome !

      • Leguywhodrownedquiet

        Eh photoshop?

  • Danny Patten

    My god…cringe with me guys

    • Gatsu

      Hahahahahahaaaaaaa omg, yeah this was golden comedy.

    • Leguywhodrownedquiet

      Didn’t watch the whole vid but I hope they make a vid out of that snoop dogg bf1 interview

  • Pingback: Kojima on Death Stranding teaser: ‘what you see will be in the game’ – Metal Gear Informer()

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