Earlier this week, Death Stranding was unveiled to the world. It’ll be Hideo Kojima’s first game since Metal Gear Solid V; and the creative freedom afforded to him by Sony is sure to make it one of his most grand endeavors yet.
Under his supervision and direction, Kojima Productions is hard at work on the mysterious new IP. Kojima had a fair bit to say in a recent GameSpot interview, regarding Death Stranding, Norman Reedus, and the ever so chilling Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
In the interview, Kojima talks about the similarities between his cancelled Silent Hills game and Resident Evil 7, how the gaming industry regards him and his thoughts on that, and his relationship with The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus. It’s an interesting conversation and well worth a read. Check it out below.
GameSpot: How does it feel to be back at E3?
Kojima: It’s been two years since the last time I was here, but it definitely feels like it’s been ten years. E3 is a location where there are a lot of players and a lot of creators, so it’s a special time and I feel good being back, being able to feel that sensation. Last year, because of different circumstances, I wasn’t able to come. I’m also getting old and my family has been telling me to retire and do what I want. In the end, I want to make games, I want to make something fun. I like to share that with players. After all of that, I’m able to come back here, and being out there with everyone, I feel like I made the right choice.
It’s touching to note just how passionate Kojima seems about the gaming industry – referring to being with the people at E3 as a “sensation” and telling us about how he refuses to retire because he’d rather create games. Thank god for that, too, because I don’t think any of us are quite ready for him to leave just yet.
GameSpot: Why is Norman Reedus a good fit for your games?
Kojima: I’m a fan of The Walking Dead and The Boondocks Saints. When I met him–he’s a fantastic guy and a very nice person–I began to think how I could bring new things out of him, and that made me want to work with him. I asked Guillermo Del Toro to give me his phone number a few years ago. Making a movie or a game is a very long process; you can only get through it if you’re working with people you know and trust.
It seems trust is far more than simply five letters strung together for Kojima – rather, it’s an important part of his career and passion. Only earlier this week, Kojima revealed that his exclusivity deal with Sony was a direct result of the trust he felt between them. Perhaps it’s one of the key factors pertaining to his relationship with Reedus, too.
GameSpot: You’re known as a game designer, but you’re also known for your love of film. You’ve worked with Norman for a while now; how are you two marrying your individual expertise for Death Stranding? Does it almost feel like you’re making a movie?
Kojima: I talk with Norman and I explain what I want his character to do, then he acts it out. I don’t think the process of making a game or making a film is very different. When it comes down to the cutscenes, we are working with performance capture, which is the same process that’s used in movies. Since I went independent, I’ve received many offers to make a movie, but I’m avoiding that temptation and focusing on games for now.
Offers to make a movie, you say? Hideo Kojima – game developer turned movie director. It makes sense too, seeing as he actually had a keen interest in movie directing from a young age before ultimately deciding to make an entrance into the gaming industry instead. Whilst the prospect of Kojima giving up game development is a sad one, there’s nothing to stop his movies from being absolutely groundbreaking should he make that decision. Most of his games are, after all.
GameSpot: Does Norman collaborate with you during the process of defining themes or his character?
Kojima: So far, we’ve only created the teaser, but yeah, when Norman has any ideas, I try to implement them. I enjoy going back and forth with actors. A lot of people think of me as this guy that only comes and gives orders, and doesn’t take second opinions, but that’s not the case. Whenever an actor has an opinion or suggestion, I try to take in as much as possible and create together.
Taking into account the reputation he has in terms of his creative talent, it’s good to see that he doesn’t let it go to his head. A far less well minded person would probably let others’ ideas in one ear and out the other. Regarding those those sort of thoughts exactly, he had the following to say:
GameSpot: Why do you think people have those ideas about you?
Kojima: I want to make everything perfect, but if you try to do that it’s impossible to make something creative. I have many people working for me, and ideally, I would want to do everything myself, but there’s no way to do that. When you take in talent from other people, something different comes into play, because people lead different lives than me, their abilities enrich my work; they make them better. It’s the same thing with Norman. If he has something different that I can incorporate into the project, then that makes the project better. It would be a waste to ignore that. As to why people think I’m a perfectionist, I do put a lot of detail into my games, so maybe the misunderstanding comes from there. I want everything to be high-quality, so when people see that, they might assume that I’m this way with actors.
There isn’t much to say to expand upon that, in all honesty. Most surprising is the fact that he’s essentially saying in order to be creative, something can’t be perfect; and in order to be perfect, something can’t be as creative. Coming from someone else, I’d probably not really look too much into those words, but it’s not coming from someone else.
GameSpot: When I saw the reveal of Resident Evil 7, it looked very similar to P.T.. What was your reaction to that trailer?
Kojima: I guess there’s some influence there, even in the format of having a demo teaser. I haven’t played it yet but I would like to try it.
If you think about “I’ll keep coming” (the tagline from the recent teaser image from Kojima Productions)–I came back, Kojima Productions came back, I feel like some of the projects came back too.
We’re glad to hear it.