Hideo Kojima was trotted out by Sony again, this time at the Tokyo Game Show. His purpose again was to talk about his upcoming game Death Stranding, which we all know is at least a year away and maybe two. We know this because history backs the argument. His appearance at this past June’s E3 was mostly superfluous, but did have a justifiable purpose: Kojima Productions is in full swing and are working on a new game. The trailer was the stuff of intriguing mystery, art house dreck, or utter nonsense depending on whom you asked. Regardless of what you ultimately thought of it though, his appearance had a purpose. His “showing” at TGS is another story however and speaks to the purported notion that Kojima is a figurehead and emotional response device for Sony right now as much as he is a game developer. Maybe even more the former.
Kojima claims that he wants Death Stranding to be an open world action game where players are connected. He also says that most online games feature combat, but that he wants his game to also have “ropes” to connect players to each other. He specifies that he wants it to be so that “people get connected with different elements, not just clubs.”
So basically an online game where people are connected to each other, of which hundreds exist currently. However it’s couched and whatever impromptu buzz words are used, this is essentially a non-statement.
He then proceeded to read lines from a book he likes (no really) and then said that the game will support the PS4 Pro’s capabilities. That’s nice to know considering there weren’t even any new screens or footage shown from Death Stranding, presumably because the game is only in its conceptual stages, and the PS4 Pro will be released just two months from now.
So in summary we were given the most vague, generic explanation possible of what the game will be, had a book read to us, and then were given information we already rightly assumed.
I try to put up a disclaimer any time I discuss Kojima: I like his games for the most part. While I think any out-of-the-box thinking he does results in about a 50/50 ratio of success, I still think he’s an overall good developer. I don’t write articles like this because I have a vendetta against him, but it bears pointing out that in his two appearances since Konami jettisoned him we have gotten a completely ambiguous game trailer that appears conceptual in nature and……well nothing.
We have virtually zero indication of anything Kojima Productions is doing right now, and nevertheless the buzz is deafening. For what exactly? Kojima says he’ll be talking more about Death Stranding on September 18th at another TGS conference. Are we going to get more cheeky drawings that have nothing to do with his current project? More faux high brow commentary about sticks and ropes? What new information could possibly wow us five days from now, when his appearance today yielded absolutely nothing of consequence?
As it stands, Kojima currently serves solely as a redundant symbol of Sony’s relationship with his studio (which we knew about literally 9 months ago by the way). That’s a smart move for Sony, don’t get me wrong. If you have an exclusive deal with a dev who has rockstar-like status in the gaming community, get him in front of people.
My thing is are we really that ravenously eager to see one single developer simply stand on a stage and ramble? When they have nothing to really say in the first place? I want to see Kojima’s work as much as any other developer and more than the majority. I’m not going to stop and stare any time he peeks his head out for Sony’s benefit though. There are too many other creative developers out there who warrant their own share of attention, and they have games to show you right now.