During a keynote at Tribeca Games Festival, Hideo Kojima gave an update on his upcoming PS4 game Death Stranding.
Kojima-san explained that he was thinking of Norman Reedus specifically for the role when he created the protagonist of Death Stranding (funnily, he mentioned that he was about to slip and reveal the name of the character, but he didn’t).
He also teased that in the original trailer we saw Reedus’ character naked because he specifically wanted people to see a naked Norman Reedus at first, and from there we’ll then we able to see him in different costumes, with different hairstyles and equipment.
He also mentioned that he started to work with movie actors because working only with artificial CG isn’t that fun. He wants something more lively.
Working with traditional CG and animation creates predictable results that perfectly reproduce what Kojima-san imagined, but that’s not what he necessarily wants. Involving real actors results in them doing unpredictable things that he himself didn’t imagine, expanding the project beyond the original intent.
Asked on the status of the development of Death Stranding, Kojima-san responded that the game is “moving on PS4.” The general plan for the project and the plot are in place, and the team is working with the Decima Engine, and doing different tests for game systems, characters and environments. So far “it’s going pretty well.”
[Editor’s note: when Kojima-san mentioned that the game is “moving on PS4,” he used the verb “ugoku,” which is the usual expression used in Japanese development to say that a game or parts of it actually work and run on a platform. The interpreter translated it literally]
He also brought up a metaphor to explain how things are going.
“Let’s say that Norman’s character is walking in New York (and the game is not set in New York, this is just an example), we’re trying to see if what we can depict with Decima Engine actually looks like New York, if it scales correctly and feels good there. Let’s say the character goes in an Italian restaurant, who the character meets going into the restaurant, what he will be eating, all those details are decided.
What we’re working right now on is what kind of tables will be there, the specific dialog, what is gonna be the menu of this restaurant… Those things are the things that we’re tuning right now.”
Kojima-san also talked about the creative process on the game, mentioning that while the overall story does not change, details definitely need to be adjusted as development progresses.
The team is doing the whole process internally, so when Kojima-san devises a character, he goes to Yoji Shinkawa who prepares a design, that gets passed on to 3D designers to create the models. If something doesn’t work, they immediately go back to Shinjawa-san, so things are constantly changing.
Interestingly, Kojima-san also explained that Solid Snake’s bandana in Metal Gear Solid was inspired by Robert De Niro in the 1978 movie The Deer Hunter.