Kojima based a lot of the game’s premise on his own struggles.
Death Stranding is a strange game on a lot of levels. Not only because of its bizarre story with plenty of twists and turns, but also how it is a game filled with interaction through likes and structures, but one that feels almost unbearably lonely at times. It’s part of the game’s atmosphere for sure, and one that’s personal for the game’s Creator and Director, Hideo Kojima.
In an interview with French site, Telerama, Kojima talked about various aspects of both the game as well as his life. The loneliness of Death Stranding was informed by Kojima’s own struggles with depression and loneliness and the inability at times to relate to the people around him as a younger person.
“Death Stranding features a delivery boy in a post-apocalyptic future. He must venture into desolation alone and reconnect a totally fractured society. But, as we progress in Death Stranding, we notice that there are actually several thousand of us playing the same game, through the structures and objects that we have all built and that remain in a common environment. You don’t see the faces or avatars of other players, but what they leave in this universe is intended to provide cohesion, a sense of calm in the face of the harshness of the Death Stranding world.
As a child, I felt – and still do feel a little today – loneliness and I struggled to express it to my friends. It was something that was not said, and I don’t think they would have really understood it. I felt like a weird person, a little like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. I identified myself in what the off-axis person in Scorsese’s film felt, and the fact that a guy in New York could be suffocated by the feelings I was experiencing myself helped me a lot. I realized that I was not sick, just linked to others through a kind of melancholic connection specific to the human condition.”
Kojima has always been something of an auteur, with his vision obviously coming through in just about anything he does. While the Metal Gear Solid series flirted with detachment, nothing quite got to that in the same way Death Stranding does. The game has resonated with some people, as evident by the nominations it garnered at The Game Awards this year, so maybe that’s something all its own.