Death Stranding's Full-Scale Japanese Dubbing Has Begun, and You'll Wish You Were There

Hideo Kojima tweeted photos of himself working with Death Stranding's Japanese voice actors. Some of them shared their impressions on the footage they saw.

December 19, 2018

Hideo Kojima tweeted photos of himself and the Japanese voice actors and actresses for Death Stranding, reporting that the game’s Japanese dubbing has entered full-scale production. Most notably, the photos show the delicious food they’re being served and the overall cozy atmosphere of the recording studio they’re using. I wish I was there too.

Japanese voices in games are usually recorded very early in production. When the voice actors record, the game’s graphical assets are far from being completed and they don’t have a concrete look at what they’re voicing. Most of the time, voice actors do not even get information on anything but their own character(s), and they often share funny anecdotes related to that on radio shows. For example, that was the case for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Yuuichi Nakamura, who voiced Metsu (Malos in English) once said on Star Ocean Anamnesis‘ radio show that when recording for Xenoblade 2, he only had the game’s script and an early draft of Metsu’s design. He didn’t know the other characters’ appearances, voices or genders. While the script included their lines as well, this was hard to guess, especially for those who have neither a feminine or masculine way of speech, like Shin (Jin in English). It makes you appreciate all the more their work when you realize they manage to do such amazing performances with so little information. (I’m purposely taking Yuuichi Nakamura as an example because I’m betting he will voice a character in Death Stranding).


Another concrete example is the PS4 version of Dragon Quest XI. As voice-overs are recorded very early in development, the game does not feature Japanese voices because Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii didn’t want to set the script in stone so early, as he wanted to be able to polish it until the last minute.

However, all of the above does not necessarily apply to Death Stranding, and the game is an exception. Despite being made by a Japanese studio, Kojima Productions, the game was initially dubbed in English as all the characters revealed so far were acted by non-Japanese actors.

Usually, Japanese games development studios will book whole days from a voice actor’s schedule, and all of the recordings are over only after a few days. Voice actors on games like the Super Robot Wars series, which aren’t fully voiced, but still feature a great number of voice clips, usually finish all their lines in one or two days. But as we don’t know how chatty Death Stranding will turn out, making an estimate on how long will it take to dub everything in Japanese is quite hard at this point. Lastly, except for a few sessions, Japanese voice actors usually do not record all together, as their schedules are all different.

The tweet from Kojima-san is included below. He wrote he’s having constant goosebumps from working with such awesome people. The first photo shows him together with Mizuki Nana (Léa Seydoux) and Kenjiro Tsuda (Sam Bridges/Norman Reedus). The second photo also features Nana Mizuki, together with Kojima-san’s personal assistant Ayako-san, and Kojima Production’s Head of Marketing & Communications Aki Saito. Sadly, I’m not sure who the person with the cap is, and the tweets do not precise it. Oh, and don’t bother trying to scrutinize the scene shown in the third photo, it’s from the E3 2018 trailer.


Kenjiro Tsuda tweeted his own photo as well, saying he really likes his Death Stranding shirt and how they’re having a lot of fun.

Tsuda-san also wrote how Kojima-san showed them some private footage, all while saying it’s far from being completed and how embarrassed he was about it, even though it looked really beautiful. Meaning it’ll look even more amazing in the final build of the game and it’s fine to get even more hyped.

Ayako-san tweeted a photo as well, saying Tsuda-san performance is so amazing it’s like Norman Reedus transformed into a Japanese person, and that Mizuki-san’s acting as Léa Seydoux is great as well.

Lastly, Kojima Production’s head of communications Aki Saito tweeted some quick Japanese lessons for us, on food impressions and on how to hire someone.

You can read more about Death Stranding and its Japanese voice actors and actresses with our summary of the Death Stranding Tokyo Game Show 2018 stage event.

God of War‘s Cory Barlog also recently revealed he saw some private footage of the game.

Death Stranding will launch for PS4 at some point in the future. Hideo Kojima hinted multiple times in the past he’s planning to launch the game in 2019, the same year the anime movie Akira takes places in.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

Read more of Iyane's articles

Got a tip?

Let us know