With Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima wants to fight hatred on social media: "It's time to reconnect"


IS, to do so, a video game is also fine. Because there are books, movies, music albums, graphic novels that, at a certain point, break into the market with the force of a hurricane. They are divisive, sometimes disruptive, always difficult to accept, like all strong works of art, those that the Americans call "game changer": a product that literally changes the rules of the market and, why not, when it comes to creativity, the artistic coordinates of a sector.

It is too early to say, but Death Stranding has all it takes to be it. Our review has tried to highlight what these characteristics are, but only the public will establish it. A public that for months has been preparing for the launch of the game for PS4, transforming Death Stranding, even before its release, into a social phenomenon.

Merit, or fault, of its creator, Hideo Kojima, considered, rightly or wrongly, a sort of Steven Spielberg of video games, also due to its strong connection with Hollywood. Intimate friend of Guillermo del Toro, who also appears as an actor in the game, since the days of his luckiest series, Metal Gear, offers a unique combination of cinema and video games, both from an aesthetic point of view and from a conceptual point of view.

Tgcom24 met him during the presentation of Death Stranding, in New York where there were also other stars that appear in the game, from Norman Reedus to Troy Baker, from Tommie Earl Jenkins to Lindsay Wagner, mythical bionic woman of the seventies serial.

 Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima

In Death Stranding important issues such as life, death, life after death appear but I also believe in a strong social message: live as a community, not as individuals. What did he want to show through this work?

I've always had the feeling of being alone, maybe sometimes because you feel you live in a horrible place and you experience this kind of loneliness. And you understand that it is probably a feeling shared by many people around the world. I think these people have a tendency to play a lot and when you play alone, you feel lonely.

Surely in Death Stranding the story and your character carry on the solitary mission of connecting the world, but at some point you will experience the feeling of not being alone anymore, because like you there are many other people who are playing the same way . And then in the morning, when you wake up, you will feel a little relief because you have discovered that there are many people like you around who are doing the same things and you will feel a positive feeling.

I hope these players can somehow wake up more kindly, better people. This is the key message that Death Stranding wants to bring: be more kind.

 Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima

Does Death Stranding have an environmental message? Because in the game it seems that one of the key concepts is the tendency of man to self-destruction.

I wouldn't talk so much about self-destruction, more than anything else it's an evolutionary process. The man is an animal and differentiated from the others when he started walking on two legs. At that point he had his hands free and could use them. First he created a stick he used to ward off dangers. Then he created the rope that was used to collect and tie things together. And so he had the stick and the rope and with those he created the beginning of civilization as we know it. Nowadays, we have a rope that is the Internet that connects everyone with a series of nodes and should make everyone happy and instead what happens is that the man continues to use the stick to fight online, on social media.

So in Death Stranding I thought of creating something totally different that had at the center the concept of the rope. The hands in the game are a kind of icon. When you open them and unite them, you have a grasp, a sort of communication while if you close them, you have a punch and with the same hand you can use violence. And then the hand becomes a metaphor: it is both rope and a stick, but even the thumb can be up or down and so in Death Stranding the hands are the real means of communication.

 Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima

Is it a kind of online hate game?

More than a warning, it is a game that would like to rethink how to behave online

Video games are by their nature interactive, has interactivity been a limit or an opportunity in Death Stranding?

It is a game about connecting the points, from A to B. Where are these points to be connected, cannot be changed, is part of the flow of history. But between one point and another, there are endless possibilities. I believe this is the concept of "open world", of an open world. It's up to you to decide whether to avoid the bad guys, if crossing and where a river comes from, how you get from point a to point b makes it completely an open world game, you are completely free but you can't change what will happen at the narrative level. I tried to create a balance between a strong script, a compelling story and the freedom to move forward in the way one prefers.

I'll give you an example: you decided to go from London to Paris and then to Milan. This is what you have decided will happen, but as you will go from one city to another, you will decide: you can take the car, the plane, walk, it's your choice. The goal is always the same, the journey changes.

 Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima

He has always had a strong cinematographic imprint, which are his favorite directors and if there are any, as sources of inspiration among Italians.

I have always had an unbridled passion for cinema, I have seen thousands of films that have become part of me, like a kind of positive energy to the point that I could not say which directors or films have marked me the most. But if I have to find an Italian, I can say that Dario Argento has certainly changed my life.

As a Japanese, it may seem strange, but I saw tons of Italian films, from Fellini to De Sica to Spaghetti Westerns, as I read many Italian books that influenced me. But Dario Argento is the one that most marked me, I'm a big fan of him. My parents didn't want me to watch his films because they were too scary but I didn't care, I watched them anyway.

Why is there an authorial school in Japan and is there not in Europe or in the USA? In the sense: if we think of a Japanese video game it is often the game of Hideo Kojima, Yoko Taro, Ueda, Sakaguchi, while if we think of a Western, it is easier than Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision.

You are right, it is true but also in Japan things are rapidly changing and the face of the author is seen less and less because we tend to create video games in the western way. A bit like what happens in the world of cinema where the director leaves his artistic imprint on the film less and less.

It's a bit of a challenge between independents and blockbusters, I want to be in the middle and take the positive things of both these worlds. It happens that some very authorial games are sold maybe only in Japan and leave with a low budget. But when they try to propose themselves abroad, to become international products, they lose their soul a little from the creative director, his imprint slowly disappears. The larger the project becomes, the more the creative face disappears, it also applies to Western games.

 Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima

About the West, the first reviews are positive. Are you satisfied with the reception of Death Stranding by critics?

I must say that the game received rave reviews, especially in Europe and Japan. Here in the United States, however, we have had stronger criticisms. Perhaps it is a difficult game to understand for a certain type of critic and audience. Americans are great fans of first-person shooters and Death Stranding is not, it flies higher.

I always try to create new things and disputes and discussions are fine, but it must be said that the Italians or the French have a different artistic sensibility that allows them to appreciate this kind of very original products, they are not in video games but also in the cinema.

She left a large Japanese company to found an independent studio with which she created Death Stranding. Is it more freedom or are the responsibilities greater? What do you think of the new consoles and the possibilities they offer?

Something has changed lately, even in video games. The biggest challenge for me in having a studio of mine was to have to take care of my employees too: what I create directly affects their lives, I have the responsibility of different people and this has changed my way of thinking and evaluating things and time at my disposal. I will continue to create great games, but in the next five years streaming will always have more importance and there will also be space for smaller projects that are part of the visual arts and the digital world, perhaps in other forms.

I am certainly interested in this type of activity and have received many offers of this kind, but above all I want to concentrate on continuing to create games that have something different. For me it is important to always invent something new, original. I believe this is my contribution and my place in the world.

Come to IGN Italia for more news and videos about this game!

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