Hideo Kojima talks about working on Death Stranding as an example of one of the opening scenes

Adventure game Death stranding debuted almost two months ago. The first project of the studio Kojima productions as an independent team, confidently occupies positions in various lists of the best games of the year, while Hideo Kojima continues to gradually share more and more details of the development process. So, in a recent video clip of the portal Gamespot legendary game designer along with no less legendary illustrator Youji shinkawa talked about the creation of one of the opening scenes of Death Stranding, trying on its example to explain many of the conceptual and thematic ideas that formed the basis of the whole game.

  • At the very beginning of the video, Hideo Kojima draws the attention of viewers to the little Easter egg. One of the entities that emerges from black tar during an unsuccessful transportation of the deceased is Kojima himself, who can be recognized by the frame of his glasses.
  • Another of the things that the authors wanted to draw the attention of users to is the mysterious rain, “time-fall”, which, when in contact with a living organism, significantly ages it. In the scene, this is achieved through several separate episodes at once. First, the camera focuses the earth, showing plants that fade and reborn again, and later we can observe the terrible effect that rain has on contact with unprotected human skin. As it turned out, in many ways this timeframe effect was inspired by the film “Hell rain“1975 release, filmed by the director Robert Fuestwho scared Kojima so much that he could hardly watch him.
  • Crabs and other elements of marine life is one of the most striking and recognizable images of Death Stranding. It is crabs that can be observed in the very first teaser of the game, where we are shown a mysterious beach. As it turned out, Kojima Productions has an interesting story connected with the creation of the crab model. At first, the developers tried to reliably depict the crab on their own, without resorting to a “living” model. However, the final result was not very convincing, the computer crab turned out to be too symmetrical, which is why they eventually abandoned it. But this did not stop Kojima and his team, and then a real crab was brought into the studio, which was later digitized using appropriate equipment. And it was this instance that gave its “appearance” to all other game crabs. Shinkawa and Kojima admit that after the crab finished with his acting, he was given a real funeral with all the honors.
  • In accordance with the name “Death Stranding” (the adjective “Stranded” in English describe the fish that was washed ashore), many scenes show Sam as if he himself was washed by the waves on the coastline. For this, the virtual operator takes plans at his feet, smoothly moving to the face, after which the world surrounding the hero becomes obvious not only to Sam himself, but also to the player.
  • According to Yoji Shinkawa, compared to his previous work (including the Metal Gear Solid series), the creative process when creating Death Stranding was noticeably different. Together with Kojima, they created a completely new world with new heroes, and the art department was not able to refer to anything else. At the same time, the authors immediately wanted to present their project as something mysterious that would interest and captivate players from the first frame, even if conceptually the game was still in the process of being actively created.
  • The scene that Shinkawa and Kojima make out as part of the GameSpot video performs several functions at once. For a short time, the authors tried not only to endow the episode with high dynamics, but also to tell in sufficient detail about certain aspects of the world’s device and even game mechanics. So, soon after the start of the game, attentive users can understand how devastating the consequences of human death are in Death Stranding, get acquainted with the Chiral crystals and notice that Sam’s blood has some special, mysterious properties that frighten off creatures from the “other side” .
  • The setting of Death Stranding follows several canons at once. At first it may seem that the game is a mixture of horror, fantasy and spiritualism. But at some point, science fiction elements begin to prevail. In some respects, technologies allow you to “solve” the secrets of the game world, which makes it more understandable and accessible for players. It is noteworthy, however, that in the early stages of creation, Death Stranding placed even more emphasis on sci-fi elements, but Yoji Shinkawa felt that an overly fantastic game would not resonate so much with users, so the individual elements of the setting became more understandable and down to earth. Like, for example, Sam’s costumes, which can easily be mistaken for workwear that many of us often encounter in everyday life. The same approach applies to the weapons available in the game, which was created in such a way that it looked as less “militaristic” as possible, primarily due to the bright colors that are often associated with various technical tools.
  • Kojima jokingly admits that the Death Standing setting is also dictated by the fact that he himself is very afraid of traditional horror elements, so he would not work on a game where you need to go around a gloomy castle and drive away evil forces using the cross and holy water. Kojima later recalled that while working on P.T. he was so much afraid of his own game that his colleagues often made fun of him due to the fact that the game designer could not normally test his own developments.
  • Returning to the scene under discussion, Shinkawa and Kojima explained in more detail about the Odradek scanner. Having seen how the amazing device works in the cutscene, the players develop a clear idea in advance of how to deal with it when passing through. It’s funny that when creating Odradek, the main illustrator and development director of Death Stranding often argued, offering each other interesting ideas. Kojima sought to make the scanner as lively as possible, giving him the ability to portray various characters, while Yoji Shinkawa echoed in response: “Please think about our programmers.”
  • Another striking artistic image of Death Stranding is palmprints that remain on the ground when creatures “from that side” get too close. They should not be ideally in the game, since Sam, the rest of the characters and the mysterious “Creatures” exist in different realities, but the authors wanted to indicate their presence in the world in an interesting way, and this is how the idea with handprints was born.
  • Kojima talks a lot about the game camera and its role in creating the right accents and moods. There are many examples in Death Stranding when cutscenes smoothly transition into the gameplay, but the “virtual operator” inextricably holds the entire episode, only periodically changing the plan. This was done so that the player never felt “offside”, having a sense of constant control over what was happening. Kojima also explained a large number of close-ups in the game, especially the focus on the faces of the main characters. As it turned out, the developer really wanted to depict the smallest details of the facial expressions of the actors involved in the project, allowing them to convey the most subtle and hardly noticeable emotions, which greatly contributes to the mood of many scenes.
  • The theme of the deep, uncharted ocean is also tightly connected with the central ideas of Death Stranding, explains Kojima. The ocean is home to countless living organisms, yet it seems incredibly cold, alien and scary. But returning the player there again and again, the game designer hopes that irrational fear will disappear and gamers will otherwise be able to look at the immense waters.
  • The same goes for B.T. (Creatures) that exist in their own separate world and cannot directly intersect with people. But despite this, you always feel their presence. Kojima hopes that, like in the game, people who die are still with us, even though we cannot contact them directly.
  • The design of the creepy gigantic figure, which could also be seen in the trailers, came to the authors by accident. According to the initial idea, the “threads” should have gone from the shoulders to the sky, but due to a rendering error they were displayed in place of the brushes. Kojima and Shinkawa liked this visual image so much that in the end it became the ultimate version of the monster.
  • Towards the end, Kojima again expressed the hope that, during and after passing Death Stranding, players will be able to think about their relationships with a variety of people from their environment, perhaps re-evaluate them and look at the world with new eyes.

In the summer of 2023, Death Stranding will be released on PC.. Read our review here..

Read also: American Amazon named the best-selling gaming products for 2019.

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