Kojima talks about Death Stranding, hints at character customization

On April 29th, Hideo Kojima held a keynote at the Tribeca Games Festival in New York. Answering some questions by Geoff Keighley, he shed some light on his current production Death Stranding.

Responding to the question of why he chose to work with real actors for this game, he said: “I wanted something more lively, something where the actors go on stage and do something I didn’t even imagine. I wanted to have that more lively feeling, that makes it better. So that’s why I started working with these movie actors.”

Kojima feels that the things that aren’t planned, or that happen in the moment, can add something to the project, and if it’s completely computer generated you have control over every element, eliminating the possibility of improvisation or unplanned things.

“In a way, if it’s 100% computer graphics then we can do completely what I imagined. But that’s not what I want necessarily. By bringing in actors they do things that I don’t imagine, and that alone makes the project bigger. There’s happenings on stage, different things that happen. This is what I want and that’s what makes them better.”

When visiting the Kojima Productions studio, Mads Mikkelsen said something similar during the sixth HideoTube episode. Mads deviated from Kojima’s instructions but Kojima was so pleased with the result he ended up going with Mads’ version.

When talking about Norman Reedus, Kojima said he very consciously introduced us to Reedus’ character the way he did: completely naked. It sounds like Death Stranding will feature some kind of customization for the character later into the game.

“For the teaser where you see Norman naked, that’s something that I very specifically had in mind that I wanted people to see first. A naked Norman, and then from there you’ll be able to see him in different costumes, different hairstyles, different equipment. And that’s as much as I should say today.”

As to where they are with the project right now, Kojima was very careful and did not want to say much. “It’s moving on PS4.” he said, smiling. He added that they are currently doing tests for the characters, game systems and environments. “So far it’s going pretty well.”

To clarify, Kojima used an allegory of the character going into an Italian restaurant. Who he’ll meet there, what he’ll be eating, those details have all been decided. What they’re working on now are things like: what kind of tables will be there, what will be the specific dialogues, what will be the specific menu of the restaurant. That are the kind of details they’re currently working on.

“One thing that I love is that we do these video storyboards before doing the pre-visualizations where people in the studio do these performances, and based on that we do the pre-visualizations. I don’t show that to anyone – well, to Norman maybe, but that’s about it – but, yeah, I like this part where people are performing.” Kojima added, laughing, that everyone at the studio is bad at performing and just mumbles the lines.

During the keynote Kojima also talked about VR, his favorite movies and actors, and the fact that he would watch Taxi Driver nearly every day and re-enact the famous ‘you’re talking to me’ scene. You can watch the full video here.

Source: Tribeca Games Festival Keynote

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