Kojima explains why he wants to make something that’s not easy to digest

During his Death Stranding world tour, Kojima was interviewed at a BAFTA panel in London together with filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who appears in the game as Heartman.

Kojima was asked about the complexity of his multilayered stories. He explained why he makes his games this way.

“I think simplicity is good, but it gets consumed very quickly. It’s like food: anything that’s really digestible, it just goes out. […] And it doesn’t remain in the body. But something that’s awkward, that is not really digestible, it remains in your body. And you don’t know what it is. And human has this intellectual feeling that kind of lingers: what is this? Like for instance a movie, if that lingers in you, you watch it again over and over, or you talk with your friends about them, what was that about? Or maybe take time to rewatch again, or rethink of it again. And you kind of start to understand the real meaning. And it begins to be a real body, your blood and meat. And it remains in your body fluid, and not just comes out. And I want to create that kind of thing.”

“I grew up watching movies or things like that, so I just do that in games. Everyone says it’s complicated, but I think everyone should just keep it and maybe nourish it for five or ten years, and maybe they will start to understand. And I really want to create those kind of things.”

He added: “I think stimulation is needed to grow. You kind of find out things you don’t know, that’s why you grow. So anything you know, or anything [that’s] easy to eat, you won’t grow. Or your brain won’t grow. It won’t be an experience. So sometimes I want people to kind of eat something that is not really easy to digest. […] But I really want to make that thing delicious, mind you.”

During the talk, an expanded version of the George Miller video was also played, where he talked about the importance of creative courage. Picking up on this, the interviewer asked Kojima about the risks involved with this approach. When making something that pushes boundaries, sometimes not everybody is going to like it. How does that risk make him feel when making a new project?

Kojima said that it was a little different from before, when he worked at Konami, because this time he has his own studio, and this means he can’t fail. So this means there was a bit more pressure this time, because he has to keep the studio going. “But it doesn’t really change what I create. I’ll just be a little bit cautious.” Kojima said he had to balance his left and right brain, referring to the creative and the analytical aspects of the process. “But maybe what you see, the finished product, may not be so different from my past product.”

Has the business side compromised the vision a little bit?

“Yeah, I compromise a lot, every time. Like scheduling, or you know, when I have to finish the game. Especially the game, I have to battle with the memory size, and every day there’s these small problems popping up, so I have to really decide on the spot every day. Nicolas also said, we both have to kind of produce but also start with the concept.” Kojima explained why it’s important to him to not only direct, but also produce his games. “If you want to do something you want to do, you have to have the money, and you have to have the understanding about money, and also know about people, and I think that’s really important. And if you have that, you could change the concept, or… you know, it’s a freedom that you have.”

During the talk, a new cameo for the game was also revealed, movie writer and director Edgar Wright will play a small role in the game as Head of Distribution Thomas Southerland.

Kojima also said that while Death Stranding is only just finished, he’s already thinking about future projects, as that is a natural thing for him to do.

“Death Stranding will be released next week, but I’m already thinking about [the] next project, and the next next project. And I’m trying to prepare things. But it’s a natural thing for me. It’s like having breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s like a loop. It’s nothing special to me. […] I’m still, you know, physically fit to do it.”

You can watch the entire conversation with Hideo Kojima and Nicolas Winding Refn below.

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