Hideo Kojima Says ‘Death Stranding’ Is About Trump And Brexit
While on the surface Kojima Productions' Death Stranding may appear to be a game where you play a futuristic postman, it has an underlying message that is a response to our contemporary politics. That's what the game's director, writer, co-producer, designer and (presumably) melodies-whistler Hideo Kojima has said in an interview with BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat.
In Death Stranding, humanity has become disconnected and isolated in response to a series of changes to the world. A mysterious phenomenon called Timefall, a kind of rain that ages anything it touches, makes it dangerous to go outside, pushing people to live in underground shelters. Then there are the BTs, ghostly figures that will kill any travellers they can grab. And, on top of all that, are voidouts - any body that isn't promptly incinerated after death is liable to explode, taking out anyone caught in the blast.
It's on you, playing a character called Sam Porter Bridges, to deliver needed packages between camps, but also to connect settlements to a single high-speed network, to allow people to communicate with one another. You can learn more about the game in our review.
The meaning behind all these systems, Kojima says, is connection. "We may be connected through the internet more than ever, but what's happening is that people are attacking each other because we're so connected," Kojima told the BBC. "President Trump right now is building a wall. Then you have Brexit, where the UK is trying to leave, there are lots of walls and people thinking only about themselves in the world. In Death Stranding we're using bridges to represent connection - there are options to use them or break them. It's all about making people think about the meaning of connection."
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While in the world of Death Stranding, you're able to place structures that make your journey across the world easier - bridges that cross rivers, Timefall shelters where you can sit out the storms, roads that carve through the unwelcome terrain. These structures can appear in other players' games, and their structures in yours, letting players indirectly help each other.
"When we're connected we have a responsibility over each other, social media doesn't seem to have that responsibility for example," Kojima continued. "Caring for each other is what makes people feel good. We've always been like that in the past, I want people to remember that and feel it in my game."
Kojima was talking to the BBC as part of a documentary called Death Stranding: Inside Kojima Productions which went up on iPlayer and YouTube this morning. It covers the final days of getting Death Stranding ready for release, and is sure to be full of interesting nuggets of info.
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Kojima's latest game is political. After all, the Metal Gear Solid games were always known to be explicitly about nuclear war and the impact of a privatised military. That series' fifth game, The Phantom Pain, was particularly interesting that regard, as one of its biggest focuses was language's ability to colonise - with the English language changing every country it spread to.
Featured Image Credit: Kojima Productios