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Kojima details the subtly social gameplay of  Death Stranding

Kojima details the subtly social gameplay of Death Stranding

September 16, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

“At a certain point, you realize, ‘There is someone really similar to me who felt this loneliness,’ because you see it when you’re indirectly connecting. Like in a movie theater – there are maybe 200 or 300 people watching a movie together.”

- Single player games can be isolating, and Hideo Kojima wants to address that in Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is, at his own admission, a tough game to explain. 

A recent Game Informer chat with Kojima gives the Metal Gear Solid creator a space to talk through some of the game’s more abstract decisions, and explore how the isolation of an open world opened the door for the unique social features of what Kojima calls the strand game genre.

Early on, he notes that Death Stranding comes off as a lonely game at first brush, but that subtle social features are built into the game to combat that loneliness without players ever actually encountering another player.

“Of course, you can’t see other people’s faces, but you can see the tracks and traces, so you can feel or think about the other people,” explains Kojima. Part of this system, he tells Game Informer, emulates how people communicated across distances before instantaneous tools like phones came into existence. It's his hope that this kind of system encourages thoughtful interactions, without players ever really directly interacting with one another.

It’s a similar concept to the one powering a “like” system built into the game that allows players to give small, positive interactions to objects other players have left behind in Death Stranding’s open world. There’s no actual value to likes, and their impact on gameplay is ultimately very small, but the idea that like are a gesture with no rewards for giving or receiving is the point.

“The world setting is the dark and lowest world you can think of,” explains Kojima. “Your solitude, you’re alone – the storyline itself is a worst-case scenario. So why don’t I put in a system where it’s really more positive than negative?”

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