Kojima Productions and Sony announced Death Stranding 2 at The Game Awards earlier this month, and while not a great many details were revealed on the game, Hideo Kojima did reveal on stage that he ended up rewriting the game’s story from top to bottom because of the pandemic.
The original Death Stranding, of course, turned out to be an eerily accurate take on the state of the world over the last couple of years, what with its focus on themes such as isolation and the importance of human connections- so what exactly was it about the story he had original planned for the sequel that he felt no longer made sense in a post-pandemic world?
Speaking to IGN in a recent interview, Kojima spoke about the same, and explained that he felt “a story written before that experience just wouldn’t resonate with [fans] in the same way.”
“It was the same with 9/11 [and Metal Gear Solid 2],” he said. “Fiction changes when something that big happens. When something takes place that nobody thought was possible, works of fiction written before it become less effective as entertainment.
“That’s why I completely rewrote DS2 from its themes up as well. You can’t pretend that something this big never happened. While the games themselves are based on characters who are not bound by our reality, the players themselves have gone through the pandemic, and a story written before that experience just wouldn’t resonate with them in the same way, whether it was a fantasy story or a sci-fi one.”
So what direction is the sequel’s story going to take? Precise details on the same are obviously scant, but Kojima says that significant changes in interaction and communication that the pandemic brought about have impacted the narrative he now has planned for Death Stranding 2.
“Death Stranding was a story of connecting two distant places, A and B. Like the internet, right? I could have a video call with America, and our two points would connect for that period only,” he said. “That isn’t something negative on its own, but the truth is that humans aren’t stationary animals. We move, and in that process we meet unexpected people, see new things, or even fall over at times. I think that what causes us to evolve as humans is the accumulation of these kinds of unpredictable, happenstance experiences. That’s why I think it’s a little misguided to haphazardly rush into the metaverse or Doraemon’s Anywhere Door just because Covid happened.
“Creating connections was the right thing to do in Death Stranding, and there are a lot of isolated people who were able to survive because of connections once the pandemic really happened. I just wonder if we should be doing that via the internet alone.”
Kojima’s knack for telling stories that have added weight owing to the connection they share with real world issues and topics has consistently been one of the defining traits of his games, so it’s exciting to think what tale he’ll end up spinning with Death Stranding 2.
Recently, he also said that thanks to improvements in technology and the things they have enabled, Death Stranding 2 isn’t going to be “just a regular sequel”– though of course, it’ll likely be a while before we get concrete details on that front.
Meanwhile, a Death Stranding movie is also in the works, and Kojima says it will take “a direction that nobody has tried before” with film adaptations of video games.