At the Rooster Teeth Expo 2017 in Sydney, Kojima was interviewed by Greg Miller about his career and his current project, Death Stranding.
When Kojima went independent after parting ways with Konami, there were many offers from different fields, but in the end he went with PlayStation. “I chose a place that we have respect for each other, and we have a relationship with each other.” He continued: “I worked together with Sony for over 20 years, I know all the people from the top down, even people in their subsidiaries, advertising groups. […] I thought that if I teamed up with Sony there would be little chance that we could fail. That’s why I chose work with them.” Kojima added: “It was important for me that I was allowed to be very creative, and you know, again, working with people who I have a very trusting relationship which is key to letting me be creative, and I could say that it was without a doubt the correct choice to work with them.” PlayStation has been giving the studio a lot of freedom, Kojima explains. “They give me a 100% creative freedom to do what I need to do. They’ll be in charge of the large-scale promotional activities for the title, but I also like to be involved in that, and so they’ve been kind enough to work together in that. We discuss the best way to promote the title together.” Kojima feels Sony is the right choice as they are a company who dares to takes risks. “Last year we showed the promotion trailer with Norman Reedus naked, I think if it was a normal… any other company, they’d probably be against that. So in the trailer, basically, we have naked Norman Reedus lying on the ground, and then he’s holding a baby, and then the baby suddenly disappears, and it’s like ‘what is this game?’.” Kojima feels that the average company would be somewhat reserved in funding an outlandish concept like that, but Sony trusted them and allowed them the freedom to create this. “So that’s just an example of the kind of trust we have together.”
“[Sony] will be in charge of the large-scale promotional activities for the title, but I also like to be involved in that, and so they’ve been kind enough to work together in that.”
Kojima describes Death Stranding as an open world game with a large degree of freedom. “You can do almost whatever you want within that world.” he said. The game is about connections (‘ropes’) but there are also weapons (‘sticks’) that the player can use (Kojima mentioned a gun). There are also clues in the trailers that people haven’t found yet.
In terms of how far development is, Kojima said they had to adjust the Decima engine to fit the tone he was going for and to make it stand apart from Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn. “At this point the game is moving on the Decima engine, it is open world, you can see very far into the distance, and we’re working on the game logic as well.” He added: “We’re also doing the various tests of the different systems within the game, the game systems, and we’ve generally worked out the framework for the game. So this year is all about creating the game to go around that framework.” Jokingly, he told Greg: “If you come to Tokyo I could show you.”
“At this point the game is moving on the Decima engine, it is open world, you can see very far into the distance, and we’re working on the game logic as well.”
To those who are worried that Kojima will keep pushing back the release date of the game because he is a perfectionist, Kojima noted that most of his games are released on schedule, as he is not only the director of the game but also the producer. “The schedule is a positive pressure for me.” Showing the game in advance at various promotional events also helps him keep the end goal in sight. “We know where the end is, and we have a schedule and a plan to meet than end goal. […] We can’t run away, we can never stop, we need to complete it on time.”
Asked whether he plans to make a sequel to Death Stranding, Kojima responded: “If everyone likes Death Stranding and it’s popular and everyone wants a sequel, I’ll think about making a sequel at that time.” But while working on a game, he is always fully focused on that project and putting everything in there, and he isn’t thinking about sequels yet. He also feels that a sequel should bring sufficient change to the series. “So for the successor to a very successful game, if you made one that’s exactly like the first one, you might satisfy 100% of the audience, but there’s no progress being made there, and there is actually no progress for the audience as well. So when you create something that is different as a follow-up, you might lose half of your fans. Half of them will like it, half of them will not of you make something that’s kind of controversial. But in addition to that you might gain, for example, you lose half, you gain another 50% from a new audience outside of that. So if I had a choice between satisfying 100% of the fans and having no progress, or changing things and incorporating a new fanbase, that’s what I would choose.”
Kojima strongly believes in the possibilities of the medium. “Games have the power to surpass movies and novels in their dramatic representation. I like to incorporate the new technology in order to push the envelope, to get new types of emotions from the people who are playing the games.”
“We know where the end is, and we have a schedule and a plan to meet than end goal.”
To watch the full interview, follow this link to the recording of the Twitch stream (Kojima’s interview starts at 4:27:25).
Source: Rooster Teeth Twitch