During the latest episode of the videocast Hideo Tube, Legendary Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima explained how the teaser for Death Stranding showcased at E3 was created, and how Sony and Kojima Productions managed to avoid leaks.
In February Kojima-san met Norman Reedus, and asked him to work with him. By the end of march, performance capture was done.
The team had to capture many elements, including some shots outside of the studio to get samples of how skin behaves under natural light, or how the skin reddens in certain areas of the face when making certain expressions. The 3D capture alone took a day and a half.
A virtual camera was also used, allowing to capture camera movements after the performance capture session has been recorded. It’s an actual physical camera-like object that you can carry and use to shoot like it was a real one. It also includes common features like zoom. When you look through the objective, you see the CGI rendered in real time.
The team aimed to have a photorealistic rendition of Norman Reedus, including elements like nose hair.
Initially the crabs in the teasers were manually designed, but they looked fake, so Kojima Productions ended up 3D scanning real ones. The sky and the sand were also captured from real assets, but it couldn’t be done (for obvious reasons) with the dolphins and the whales.
Since it takes about a month for the performance capture data to be delivered, the team had about two months to finish the teaser in time for the E3 screening.
As usual, Kojima-san directed or supervised everything himself, including the logo by Kyle Cooper.
The song “I’ll Keep Coming“by Low Roar was discovered almost by chance during a trip in Iceland, and Kojima-san always wanted to use it for something. The band wasn’t told that their song was going to be included in a game by Hideo Kojima, but just that it would appear in a title by Sony.
To avoid leaks, only five people at Sony actually knew before the announcement that Death Stranding would be revealed. As E3 drew close, many games were leaked one by one, and Kojima-san was so nervous that he could barely sleep.
In order to make sure the surprise would not be spoiled, he didn’t publicly announce that he would go to E3, nor he tweeted about his departure as he usually does. When fans recognized him in Los Angels and asked for pictures, he had to decline to avoid them being published on Social Media.
Unfortunately the host of the party of a movie screening actually tweeted about Kojima-san’s presence, but luckily people did not pick that up.
In order to do the rehearsal for the conference, Kojima-san had to sneak in from the back door, and during the conference itself he could not go into the theater, so he had to wait backstage for the whole time. He even had to use a separate toilet to avoid being spotted.
That said, he did have an interview with Geoff Keighley the day before the show, and he was actually wearing a shirt with “DS” on it, but no one had any clue about it. People didn’t expect Kojima-san to present his game so early, so they didn’t make a connection between the interview and the conference.
Incidentally, we also hear that from now on the team is going to start full production of the game, and Kojima-san promised to share all the news he can as things progress.