Kojima talks about Death Stranding and its gameplay at E3

The new Death Stranding trailer was unveiled during this year’s E3, and Kojima has been giving interviews, as well as writing a blogpost on the official PlayStation Blog. Here are some new details. 

Kojima once again confirmed that all scenes seen in the trailers released so far are directly from the game. This also goes for the gameplay seen in the new trailer, although in some spots the camera angle was altered). ‘The first half and the last sequence in particular are most representative of the actual gameplay,’ Kojima added. He also stated that there are some hidden clues in the trailer that he wants the viewers to try to find. He provided some details about Sam as a character: ‘Some might have already picked up on this, but Sam is unlike any other hero you may have seen in games before. A typical hero is usually some sort of elite or someone with a military background. Sam is not. He is a working man of sorts — a hands-on professional. Someone with a skillset akin to a blue-collar worker. This is something you’ll intuitively understand once you play the game and control Sam. Herein lies our challenge, to create both a new form of gameplay and a hero that has never been done before.’

Two new female characters have been revealed in the trailer, played by Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner (whose younger self has been recreated in the game). Kojima also said that there are other cast members who are yet to be revealed.

Kojima also commented on the song featured in the trailer, Asylums for the Feeling by the Silent Poets. He found out about them through the catering staff during the performance capture sessions in Japan. One of them turned out to be a veteran musician who was just about to release a new album. When Kojima listened to the sample he was given, an image of Sam walking in the wilderness popped into his head, so he decided to use their music for the trailer.

Kojima ended the blog with these words: ‘This game is being woven together through numerous strands and human connections, including strands with you: the fans. The picture that forms on this tapestry is already beautifully drawn in my mind, and is right now, being woven together with the utmost care. It is sure to form an image unlike any seen before. I hope that the strand with you will be a special one.’

Right after the PlayStation Showcase, Hideo Kojima was interviewed by Geoff Keighley, together with  Lindsay Wagner. First, Keighley asked about his decision to cast Lindsay for his new game. According to Kojima, that choice was made early on, pretty much after he decided to use Norman Reedus for the main role. As a teenager, Kojima fell in love with her character in The Bionic Woman. ‘The one thing that was so special about the Bionic Woman was that she’s a cyborg, she has special abilities, but she never uses violence. […] So she never uses her special powers to inflict pain and to hurt people, she always tries to resolves any conflicts with her unique kind of strength.’ According to Lindsay, had the game simply been about the typical good guy versus bad guy, who wins because he is more powerful, she would not have been interested. Knowing this, Kojima was actually very nervous when approaching her. ‘So when first meeting her I explained to her that this game was not about just combat and punching each other, but about having the concept of a rope, and through this concept bringing everyone together.’ He actually talked for 3,5 hours explaining the whole concept to her. 

A bit later into the interview, Keighley inquired to her character’s name, but Kojima did not want to give that detail away just yet.

The interview then shifted to the gameplay shown in the trailer. Keighley asked if there are other playable characters besides Sam, but Kojima responded that you will only play as Norman’s character. The trailer did not show any combat, but when asked about that, Kojima said there will of course be enemies in the game. ‘It is possible to power your way through it, but also the game offers you lot of alternative ways to go around it.’ The goal of the game however won’t be to fight and defeat enemies, but to ‘reconnect the world’. But it is possible to shoot, although according to Kojima, through playing the game players will realize that it is not the ideal option. Keighley also asked about Mads Mikkelsen’s recent comments that the game will be about global player collaboration, but Kojima didn’t want to elaborate on this, save for saying that Mads isn’t wrong.

On June 12th, Metal Gear Solid movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts interviewed both Hideo Kojima and Yoji Shinkawa, and some Death Stranding details came up during the conversation.

Working with real-life actors brings another dimension to the development as they can help create the characters together with Kojima. Being a perfectionist, if one of the actors comes with an idea that will make the game better, Kojima will incorporate it into the game. He wants to create the characters together with the actors. The character of Sam has changed from what Kojima had initially conceived as a result of Norman’s input. Kojima also mentioned that Mads Mikkelsen always has a lot of input, which makes shooting very interesting.

When talking about something Shinkawa and him struggled with, Kojima mentioned that designing Norman’s suit was very difficult. He wanted something that was unlike a hero, something blue-collar. First it was more like the Skull Suit Raiden is wearing in MGS2, but that didn’t feel natural for the world of the game.

In many games characters have extraordinary abilities (Mario’s high jump for example) giving catharsis to the player, but for Death Stranding Kojima wanted to go in the opposite direction, so Norman can trip over stones, he has to keep his balance when walking (during a later interview, Kojima confirmed that keeping your balance is one of the gameplay mechanics, but he couldn’t go into much detail about this), he can get washed away by the river (some of these things can be seen in the latest trailer).

Kojima was also interviewed by website Hollywood Reporter, where he was asked about his use of big-name actors and wether their busy schedules would pose a challenge. Kojima answered that this is not a factor he considered. He explained: ‘For me, it’s a project where I’m putting my life into it. This could be the last game I ever make, which is a concept I take into every game that I make.’

Source: PlayStation Blog, Youtube Live @ E3E3 Coliseum: Hideo Kojima in Conversation with Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Hollywood Reporter, Death Stranding Interview with Hideo Kojima and Hermen Hulst

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