Metal Gear and Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima has been rethinking his creative process in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the developer said during Thursday’s Summer of Games event.
In an interview with Geoff Keighley, Kojima touched on how his usual process for coming up with a video game idea — namely, trying to predict what the far-off future will look like and wrapping it in the context of entertainment — doesn’t feel quite right since the world went into lockdown.
“In the past, about creating things, I was always thinking about what could happen in society in 5, 10, or 20 years,” Kojima said. “It was like predicting the future and adding the entertainment essence. And that’s how I always created. But this time, [the pandemic] came much too soon. The reality came much too soon, especially on Death Stranding. So I’ve changed how I think and create now.”
One can’t blame Kojima for making the comparison. Death Stranding, which was released in November 2019, is set in a post-apocalyptic America in which remaining survivors either live in walled-off cities or hunker down in isolated homesteads.
The main character Sam Bridges (played by Norman Reedus) works as a courier, crossing vast swaths of land to deliver packages. Less than six months later, COVID-19 would force countless people to take shelter in their homes and avoid in-person interaction with others.
Kojima’s past work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise has been lauded for their depiction of the increasing robotization and corporatization of military warfare, among other themes.
“But since the era is catching up so quickly, it’s not really just fiction anymore,” Kojima said. “So I’ve been re-thinking my creative process. I guess all creators are thinking the same way. It’s almost similar to what happened after 9/11, considering which direction we should go as entertainment. I think that this is a big assignment for us.”
When asked about his next project, Kojima declined to offer details, but said “it won’t be like the past, it won’t be one step at a time.”
Kojima did however announce Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, coming to PS5, though a release date has not been revealed. Fans got to see a brief teaser trailer of Norman Reedus’ character climbing in and out of a cardboard box Metal Gear Solid-style, but as for what’s different in the Director’s Cut, we’ll have to wait until Kojima’s full reveal of the game, which he says is “weeks away.”
Don’t forget to check out everything else shown at Geoff Keighley’s Summer of Games kickoff event, including a gameplay reveal for Elden Ring and more.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/MEME for IGN.