After auteur video game developer Hideo Kojima left Konami in 2015, many wondered what his next move would be. Go small and develop an indie game? Get out of the industry entirely? In the end, it seems Kojima may be making his biggest game yet. Kojima debuted his next project, Death Stranding, at E3 2016. The odd title was revealed in an equally bizarre trailer.
Since that announcement, Kojima and his team have teased various details about the game, but it remains largely an enigma. Here is what we know so far about Death Stranding, and where the game might be heading.
What will the gameplay be like?
In an interview with the official PlayStation Blog in February, Kojima shed some light on what the gameplay will entail. He confirmed rumors that it would be an open-world game, saying “I can’t really speak on that right now but in a word, it’s an action game — an open world game, with a lot of freedom.”
When asked about his repeated references to “strands,” he elaborated, saying that they will be an important and distinguishing part of the game. “In action games, generally, the player has a gun and plays against enemies in a single player environment — or they take it online and play against other players in a competitive environment. They join in together with guns — it’s almost always with guns — to take down a stronger opponent. In this game you can do that but I wanted to go a little deeper beyond that with something that doesn’t focus on a weapon like a gun, and that’s what has a connection to the strand concept,” he said.
Kojima also discussed the engine his studio is using, describing how he came to use the same engine that studio Guerilla Games used for Horizon: Zero Dawn. After praising the studio for its artistry, he said “Usually when you go to use, buy, or borrow an engine, someone will say, ‘Lend us your name,’ or of course ask for payment. We had no contract with Guerrilla Games, but when we met them, they suddenly gave us a box — a very pretty box. When we opened the box, there was a USB dongle inside that had the source code for the engine. They simply said, ‘Mr. Kojima, please use this engine,’ and we thought these people are incredible.”
Kojima added that since receiving the source code, Guerilla Games and Kojima Productions have each added their own twists to the engine, sharing the code back and forth.
The game’s underlying engine is only part of the equation, though.
In the past, when referring to Death Stranding‘s gameplay, Kojima mentioned Rope, a novella by the Japanese author Kobo Abe. In the story, Abe said the first tools mankind learned to use were sticks and ropes; sticks could be used to keep threats at a distance, while ropes could secure the things people cherish. While its historical accuracy may be dubious, it is a lovely fable, the concept seems to be a huge influence on Death Stranding. Kojima states that most games arm players with sticks, allowing them to fight enemies and other players, but that he wants his new game to involve ropes, bringing players together somehow.
He added that the game will still arm players with “sticks,” so player will have to consider when to use a stick, pushing people away, and when to use a rope to connect people.
So what can we expect from the gameplay? Not much. Death Stranding will ostensibly be an open-world action game, it will involve combat, and it will give players the opportunity to connect in some way.
More recently, the company clarified that, while the game will allow for cooperative play, players can complete it entirely through single-player if they wish.
So far, no gameplay footage has been shown, so all we have to go on is what Kojima and the studio have said. At a Sony press conference in September, Kojima reiterated his ideas about ropes and sticks, and also confirmed that Death Stranding will take advantage of the 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) capabilities offered by the PlayStation 4 Pro.