Mads Mikkelsen says his character in Death Stranding is not a villain

During a stage appearance at Comic Con 2017 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mads Mikkelsen was asked about his role as the villain in Kojima’s upcoming game Death Stranding. Surprisingly, Mikkelsen first wanted to make clear that he does not consider his character a villain.

“I’m not a villain, I’m a character in there, that you can kind of decide what he is.” he responded. “But he is not a villain in that sense.”

Kojima has stated that Mads’ character will be the antagonist while the main character played by Norman Reedus will be the protagonist, but this suggests that like previous Kojima games, Death Stranding will also feature characters that aren’t necessarily good or bad, or ‘hero’ and ‘villain’.

Source: DoubleGs Youtube, via

  • MrVux007

    Kojima’s troll training prepared me for this,so…

  • MrVux007

    For those who are interested,review embargo for Horizon:Zero Dawn is lifting tomorrow,so be sure to check them out.Interestingly enough,they compared the game with The Last Of Us,when it comes to survival elements of the game as well as crafting.
    Don’t know about you guys,but if this is true,i will have a blast with this game.


  • LeGuyWhoDownedQuiet

    Not a surprise as Kojima called his character a “rival” of Reedus’ charactee a few days after TGA which debunked the fact that he is a villain or nazi or whatever..

    • Well, usually the rival of the protagonist is also the villain in a game. So this means Mads is not necessarily an evil character.

      • LeGuyWhoDownedQuiet

        Rival could mean like
        Old friends

        Or of the same profession who have some kind of competition
        A violent one
        But they could be morally identical
        E.G Bounty Hunter Cad Bane steals his rival Jango Fett’s bounty which leads to huge chase causing the latter’s starship to crash
        Ok I think that was a bit far fetched but I hope you get my point

        • Yes but a rival can also be a villain. One doesn’t exclude the other. During the PSX panel discussion Kojima (or actually Mendoza, because he was translating) also referred to Mads as ‘antagonist’ and ‘enemy’, which sounds a bit more like a villain.

  • Full Options

    Mmmmh… That’s a serious bomb Mads dropped here… 😀
    I am more and more convinced that Mads is just only possessed by the program booted in the black goo, like any other possible human enslaved by it. In such case, he would not be neither good or bad.

  • He dropped a huge bomb here. “Slam”.
    That is interesting. But remember Kojima said that we do something with Mads character?

    • Full Options

      Perhaps in the story, we’ll have to control many characters with their own interests overlapping other’s story-lines, so the gameplay becomes also tricky in the sense that you have to balance how deep you support one over another.
      All of them with hereby possible respective good and bad motivations ??
      Ahhh… Speculations… This guy will probably drive me nuts way before the release… xD

      • Mr.Pony

        Multiple characters would be cool, playing as Mads and Reedus. By what Mads is saying I think its a The Boss/Big Boss kind of situation, as in depending on how you look at the context he might be an evil character, or just someone working for the greater good by doing bad deeds.

        • Full Options

          The Boss/Big Boss kind of situation

          Yeah, exactly this feeling for sure, with perhaps this time experiencing such duality in the same game..

          And for extreme theories, I am wondering after this nuke disarmament 4th wall breaking, like telling us “only you all together can solve this”, if he won’t make in this next game our own morality at the center of the solution to beat it..

          Seeing this context of dark future with death strandings everywhere, the goal could very be to not let that happen either in this game nor in real life (4th wall).
          Simply warning us that in his game we may be able to travel back in time and undo our errors, whereas we won’t have such chance in real life..

          Who knows what this Dude is up to !!! 😀

      • Johnno

        I doubt it. More likely Kojima will want to keep his one perspective/one dynamic camera technique from MGSV. But given his theme of connections we may have to connect with Mads in some way and control the bodies of others.

        I figure, both Norman and Del Toro are escaped prisoners (glowing handcuffs), and Mads could be the bounty hunter/security that’s after them. He’s the hound that hunts the fox.

        • Full Options

          I doubt it. More likely Kojima will want to keep his one perspective/one dynamic camera technique from MGSV.

          I guess that’s not entirely incompatible, remember in MGS2, even if Snake and Raiden controls were not really overlapping, we had to control two different characters as main protagonists in the same game (tanker / platforms). I was wondering if he would not push the idea further by shifting the 3rd person character several times… For example like Norman->Guillermo->Mads->Guillermo->XX->YY->Norman…
          Just like if in MGS2, he had gave us Iroquois’s control several times somewhere inside the Raiden’s playthrough…

          I think Mads does not really look master of his movements, but more used as an avatar by the system software loaded in this dark liquid matter…

          • Johnno

            With the concept of ropes and puppeteering other things in the world, we could encounter a scenario where Reedus manages to overcome and control Mads. Or in other ways hijack their sight etc. This theme of connections I feel is why he will focus on one character trying to reach out and understand others. So in that sense, Mads and other characters may become playable, but as a connected/controller via Reedus. What I feel is that Kojima would want the game’s story to unveil from one perspective with aids mystery. Plus taking into account the Open World nature of the game, unless he’s taking the GTAV route, it’d be simpler to have one character as the main protagonist and we unfold the story through that perspective. Just my guess though…

          • Full Options

            Great guess though.. I also feel we could have Reedus as the main “interface” to other entities, but still have some small doubts about which character will have or simply think he has the control over the other ones during the overall playthrough..
            This, specially if they connect through this black liquid, that may perhaps act as some kind of matrix, possibly corrupting all the character’s spirit… Kind of FoxDie-like sensation or something..

            We definitely need a little more gameplay hints from Boss to have a better picture.
            At this step, anything is virtually possible with HK !
            Yet so excited !! ;D

          • Johnno

            I think there may be a portion of ‘Real Time Strategy’ to it.

            Say you link up to a group of 4 other soldiers (like Mads does), you can give them commands of searching, or attacking as a unit.

            Think of it as an evolution of MGSV’s Buddy System, where instead of giving commands to only one buddy. You can link up to several and issue commands. MGSV was probably restrained by the PS3/360. But on PS4, a more elaborate/expansive Buddy System might be at play where Norman has control of up to a certain number of objects/robots/NPCs etc.

            It was probably something he was thinking of with regards to Big Boss commanding an army/unit in the field.

            I’m guessing our first demo will see Norman utilizing this to use an element of strategy on the battlefield.

          • Full Options

            Could do, but I am not sure that Kojima wants to ex-center the 3rd person stealth gameplay that far, and to the point he may risk to overwhelm a range of players with more strategic responsibilities. Or at least, he should make all this highly ergonomic, as always..
            When I remember his attempt to explain how he got first attracted by stealth, describing hide-and-seek games when he was at school…
            I believe it may stay fairly his main pattern, since all his games heavily gravitate around such type of experiences.

            I mean if he does what you describe, I believe he won’t make the use of every strategy too mandatory (as usually in his games) in order to let the gamer experience this simulation with as much freedom as possible like in TPP.

            I think such more complex buddy system could have been developed on PS3 as well, because I believe it should not technically involve much more horse-power for the hardware.
            I mean that even if you had 4 buddies on the map, the heaviest task is to render what they see as if you were at their own place. Since you need to consult / manage like that one buddy at a time, all this leave you only with the subsequent AI events happening for other buddies.
            Of course there is a processing charge, but I believe the PS3 hardware could have afford few more buddies, the way you described their use.
            On the other hand and in terms of gameplay development resources, to ensure players to properly entertain themselves with such features, that’s an entirely different story..

            We know we’ll have at least a new trailer at E3, according to latest leaks, but we really need a bit of gameplay asap, to at least attenuate this heavy torture ! ;D

          • Johnno

            Kojima said that while it will be at its core a third person action game, that as we play we will discover that the gameplay will change… “In this game the player will be controlling Norman but by playing it they will find something different, something that won’t fit in established terms.”” He wants to define a new genre like how he did for the stealth genre through the mechanic of hiding.

            Kojima is known to build upon his earlier body of work so I feel that with his mentions to ‘go beyond the traditional definition of “action” and “RPG” found in similar games’, and the clues of Mads connecting with soldiers and everything in the world having strands… I figure the connection/control mechanic is definitely where he’s going.

            So it would either be an element of RTS, or a more action form of RPG/Buddy System (think of an RPG party), or both in conjunction depending on function.

            So it will still be a 3rd person game, but you can still have RTS/Party RPG elements in it without requiring you to switch from 3rd person unless you opt to.

            So I could see a demo where Reedus can connect to and control soldiers/tanks/airplanes and possibly any animals and mechs we haven’t seen. This is where I tihnk the ‘something different’ will come from than what action 3rd person games normally do, though arguably Mass Effect and a few other titles have used similar team tactics.

            But with Death Stranding, there is no established ‘team.’ You are a lone wolf and use whatever it available around you as a sandbox/puzzle to achieve objectives. Often by choosing multiple objects/NPCs/enemies on the map by linking their relationships through some sort of chain to give them the right motivation and make stuff happen. It also allows for Kojima’s signature playground of experimentation, playing around and moments of comedy.

            Think of the MGSV demos where we are walked through multiple different ways of approaching the same objective. I feel with this connection mechanic Kojima will build upon the openness he achieved in MGSV.

            So I figure that Gamescom and E3 this year will have new trailers, but our first demo will arrive at best by TGS with Kojima’s style of having multiple segments throughout the days and having a different demo available.

          • Full Options

            I think we are pretty much truly on the same wavelength regarding Kojima’s will to experiment. I also believe he is still in love with his childhood’s “arcade” sensations, which makes all his games so good..
            If he decide to increase the level of strategy, I am sure he’ll do it on the most comfortable manner.

            I think like you that he is going to propose another gaming vision, and what’s cool is that all fans will be satisfied despite his recent fears to loose some. He is so fantastic that sometimes it seems he don’t realize it himself (and some may think I am too addicted, but I truly assume). xD

            Japan vintage game-devs had always this culture of gaming comfort and stability.

            For sure it is a safe bet to expect a drastic gameplay innovation, because it seems quite orgasmic for him and all of us.
            With MGSV, even from before GZ, we were all sure we would get more than what we were expecting.
            He definitely share a rope with our vision of gameplay. ;D

            I hope you are right regarding next TGS, but waiting for GDC 2018 won’t be that torturing (at least for me). ;D

        • JJBYACHFullOptions2KojiBoi

          I’m 100% sure he’s not using the Alfonso/Inarritu tracking shot cinematography for this one. It worked for MGSV but everything we’ve seen and been told tells us it won’t be used (at least not predominately) in DS.

          All of the footage we’ve seen so far have had jump cuts. Based on the tone of DS and the imagery of DS he seems to be going for a more Nicholas Winding Refn/David Fincher style of clean cut, surreal and atmospheric visuals. Which works far better for this kind of story.

          • Johnno

            Well we’ve only seen conceptual thematic trailers which are likely not in the final game and specifically edited and cut to the music track. So it’s not really indicative of what style Kojima will use. I feel he’ll keep Reedus as the main character and let the story unfold from his vantage point.

          • JJBYACHFullOptions2KojiBoi

            Well, in a Eurogamer interview shortly after e3 Kojima said that the teaser is representative of the final game. His exact words were “what you see will be in the game”.


          • Johnno

            See the context of the Eurogamer interview. Kojima was referring to the ‘real time’ graphics, which is what the final game will represent. Not the cutscene itself.

            “One thing I really want to tell people is the teaser is running in real-time,” he says with tangible pride. “We made it in two and half months – and generally teasers are not made by the development team. A lot of trailers are outsourced – that happens pretty often – but we don’t like to do that. We made this teaser ourselves, so people can trust us.”

            How representative is it of the final game?

            “It is representative. What you see will be in the game.”

    • Batzi

      Yes indeed he did! Who are The Patriots?

  • Lex Radu

    Sooooooo is it gonna be like Quantum Break, where you play as Jack Joyce (this case Norman’s character) and take the major decisions between chapters as the villain Paul Serene (this case Mads)

    • Lex Radu

      PS: Off-Topic Question:

      Who else think that Remedy trying to make a “The Flash” Game with Quantum Break, but didn’t have the rights?

  • Alex

    I think we know by now that Kojima makes protagonists and antagonists, not clear cut heroes and villains. Still, cool to see the clear distinction being made.

  • Johnno

    An antagonist to the main character doesn’t necessary make one the evil villain. They could just be competitors for the same thing, or Mads might have good intentions for which Norman becomes an obstacle. Kojima also referred to him as a rival. This is a popular connotation in manga and anime. Think of Lupin III and Inspector Zenigata. Or Goku and Vegeta during the Freiza arc. Or My Hero Academia’s Midoriya and Bakugo.

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  • So it looks like the Decima Engine is quite a competent engine, judging from Eurogamer’s report on Horizon Zero Dawn.

    They will also be looking at the engine in more detail later, they said.

    • Full Options

      Judging by Boss himself as well… 😛
      Can’t wait to see what KP pulls out of it !

    • JJBYACHFullOptions2KojiBoi

      My only concern after seeing the VGA trailer was that I was unsure a game with such high graphical fidelity could run at an acceptable frame-rate without a downgrade. Seeing the frame-rate tests in Horizon has put this concern to ease. I’m pretty sure DS won’t have an open world the size of Horizon’s map so that leaves even more head-room to crank up the graphics. No wonder Kojima picked their engine 😛

      • Full Options

        If the open-world mechanism is optimally implemented like it was for MGSV, and apparently in Horizon, the maps will be sized upon artistic decisions rather than tech constraints.

        I also mean that a smaller world does not necessarily free more processing budget in such mechanisms, and chances are high that the roof-top of maximum geometry be the same for a given sector, whatever the size of the map in both DS and Horizon.
        You are streaming a portion of the whole map in both DS and Horizon, so the maximum possible amount of geometry in a sector of DS should be close to the maximum for Horizon’s sectors, unless KP find even more advanced hacks & tricks in between (which is far from being impossible).

        But nevertheless, I think HK wants something huge to visit, if I remember well what he said ! ;D
        We’ll see !

    • In the hands of Guerrilla Games it is very competent. We don’t know how much it will be good in the hands of KojiPro.
      It’s not a huge surprise that the game looks artistically and graphically amazing if not the best one this year.

      • Full Options

        Is it me or they published it vsync’d at only 30 fps even on the pro ?? :/
        But the game look so dense, that I would understand the decision..

        If so, then I hope they’ll pull Decima to 60 without loosing too much…

        Edit : Perhaps 30 on pro because running at 4K or a little lower… The youtube vid is at 1080p… Did they precised the res somewhere ?

        • they said that PS4 Pro will get a boost feature with a patch that will make performance much better for Horizon:ZD.
          the game looks great even in 30 fps. I believe Death Stranding will be in 30 fps too but with great visuals overall.

          • Kojima isn’t going to make the game ‘smooth like a butter’?

          • He likes his games to have the top tier tech in them. I’m not sure that it will be in 60 frames per second. It will be in 30 fps but beautiful. Much better looking than Horizon, but you can already look at the Mads details for that.

            It depends if developing for that engine won’t be a problem for KojiPro.

          • Full Options

            It will be in 30 fps but beautiful.

            At least.
            I think they can reach 4K-60 by other KP-techniques aside simply improving the rendering pipeline :
            Remember how rock-solid was the 1080p-60 of MGSV.
            That proved once more that frame rate is essential for this studio. To me, they are yet working on a lower poly budget for the sake of keeping all below 16ms (1080p and 4K as well).
            I think they used the same strategy for MGSV, because we clearly see that every single triangle is considered, hence letting MGSV reach 4K-60 on recent GPUs.

            Of course 4K-60 should let draw way less triangles nowadays, but they also already shown us many times that they don’t need that much polys to do their magic in the past.
            They’ll grab all the flops they can by any means as usual.

            After MGSV, I believe that below 60 is not negotiable with Boss, whatever the res. Let’s hope they’ll encounter as less as possible caveats in this challenge..

          • MGSV was 60 frames per second because some of the stuff they had for the game was from the old era of consoles. It was a PS3/PS4 project in mind.

            If you are going to make a proper PS4 game like Uncharted 4 which they said at the start that it will be at 60 fps… And in the end hardware was the issue. Not sure they can do a 60 fps game with current graphics they have.

            Kojima mostly do games with 30 fps like MGS4, MGS3.

          • Full Options

            MGSV was 60 frames per second because some of the stuff they had for the game was from the old era of consoles. It was a PS3/PS4 project in mind.

            Touché, I forgot this heavy point. Although you now what I mean regarding the frame rate philosophy of KP..
            They even praize it without taboo in some awesome MGS1 documentaries, if I remember…

            Kojima mostly do games with 30 fps like MGS4, MGS3.

            Higher with such res was simply unimaginable at this time as well.
            Trust me they have time. Perhaps you are right and they won’t make it, after all it is really hard today.
            We’ll have better clue on this matter probably sometime next year… Fingers crossed…

          • Full Options

            Does butter for him means as smooth as sour cream for us ?

          • Full Options

            In two years, I believe they can pull it to 60.. This remembers me SCEA giving courses at scedev to raise Unreal to 720p-60 in the middle of the PS3 life-time…
            I am sure they’ll solve tons of perf-hits in between.

        • 1080p / 30 FPS on regular PS4 and 4K checkerboard / 30 FPS on PS4 Pro. They also said they are still working on a patch that focuses on performance.

          • Full Options

            Hmmm, I see… So it should yet perform quite comfortably on pro at 1080p… I am pretty sure that in 2 years, the rendering performance will have drastically improved.

      • Full Options

        It will be “KP+Guerrilla competent”.. 😀

  • FoxTamerMGO

    Shades of ocelot <3

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