There were some headlines passed around recently that almost everyone involved in Death Stranding, from Guillermo del Toro, to the actors involved, down to the development team themselves, do not know what Hideo Kojima is trying to do with the game from a narrative point of view. This was followed up with comments in the vein of “who cares if it’s unconventional, it’s Kojima unchained, getting to do whatever weird things he wants, and we should encourage more weird/off-beat creations in gaming!”.
I’m not feeling it. What we’ve seen is visually interesting and certainly has potential. But I don’t understand the notion that Hideo Kojima has somehow been restrained creatively these last couple decades. Yes, he’s been saddled with the same franchise for years on end, but he’s gotten to do incredibly strange things with each entry that most other big-budget projects largely wouldn’t.
Also his creative output is, uh, kinda fucking creepy? I’m not going to link to S.R. Holiwell’s really excellent essay “Kojima Women” since she took it down and clearly doesn’t want the negative attention that critiquing a cult favorite like Kojima involves. But I would still recommend looking it up though, it’s a deep dive into his early work in how it both objectifies women while also associating femininity with weakness and fragility.
This is still the case to this day, where everything involving Paz and The Quiet both Metal Gear Solid V games is simultaneously very disturbing and borderline fetishistic.
I don’t understand the huge collective enthusiasm for someone who has proven themselves to be creatively irresponsible in their handling of heavier themes, getting a near unlimited budget to go and create a game that’s going to be playing directly against his weaknesses in not knowing how to handle those heavy themes.
It’s not a “we still don’t have a release date or know what the gameplay is!” complaint, I don’t care what either of those are. What I care about is, why cheer on a dude–who has already had a long career of big projects, and has very questionable cultural views–getting an immense amount of funding to create what could turn out to be an incomprehensible mess which ends up cratering an entire studio of people in the same vein as Ion Storm with Daikatana?