During a livestreamed interview from San Diego Comic Con, legendary Metal Gear Solid Dreator Hideo Kojima showcased the first prototypes by Yoji Shinkawa of Kojima productions mascot character Ludens.
Below you can see the evolution from the first prototypes to the finished character.
The process took about two months, and Kojima-san also mentioned that Norman Reedus asked him whether this is the suit he’d wear on Death Stranding, but this is not the case. It’s just the mascot for the company.
The drawing below on the left was the very first created by Yoji Shinkawa, but looked too battle-oriented. The one on the right looked too much like a robot, while Kojima-san wanted it to be clear that the suit had a human inside.
The drawing below on the left looked too much like a straight-up space suit, while Kojima-san really liked the helmet in the one on the right, as it looked like the right mix between a space suit and a medieval helmet, and the addition of the backpack made it look closer to what he wanted.
Below is the evolution of the logo. Kojima-san is aware that it might not be very appropriate for a company logo, but he wanted it to look cool.
Below is the final logo.
Below you can see the final character. The orange parts are parts that are intended to feel like working machinery. The concept was about play and fun, so the sword wasn’t appropriate to it.
Here you can see what is inside the helmet. It’s not a robot, but an actual person. The skull is equivalent to the armor pieces covering the face in a medieval or samurai helmet.
The backpack can be seen below.
The final character modeled in 3D, can be seen below. When the character was first created there were only four people in the studio, so there was no one that could actually model it in 3D. They went to a very famous CGI company in Japan to have it done.
Yet, the result wasn’t what Kojima-san wanted, so they ended up scrapping it. A young modeler that worked on the movie Gamera joined the team, and he created the model that you can see today.
Incidentally, Kojima-san’s face was originally used for the character, using the 3D data captured at Sony’s studio in San Diego with Mark Cerny. Kojima-san felt that it was creepy so it has been modified a little bit.