Kojima Blames 'Tougher Critiques' of 'Death Stranding' on American Love of Shooters

Death Stranding is out and the reviews are mostly positive. Some critics, including VICE’s own Rob Zacny, praised the game’s innovation and commitment to walking slowly across America. Others claim Death Stranding is a pretentious and boring mess. Creator Hideo Kojima believes some of the criticisms come down to Americans' love of first person shooters.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a35p7k/kojima-blames-tougher-critiques-of-death-stranding-on-american-love-of-shooters

Setting aside what anyone thinks of Death Stranding I don’t think Kojima is wrong in that your average American gamer is probably more interested in FPS games. Not much you can really do to change personal preference other than give people more options to pick from and hope they give different things a chance.


If it was a shooter with sick combat that would at least be enough to compensate somewhat for the horrible writing that I’m clearly just not artistic enough to appreciate.


My dude, your game is ABOUT America, and you’re saying we don’t understand your very basic ass message of “Americans need to come together?”

Fuck off.


The main critiques I’ve been hearing from the reviewer circles (mainly Giant Bomb) is that it’s just nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is.

And where the MGS games could lean on being mostly grounded spy thrillers with occasional indulgences into subversive storytelling ideas, Death Stranding is selling itself entirely on the novelty of being an avant garde abstract art piece. Subversion is not a substitution for subtlety in storytelling.

The core gameplay loop actually sounds great to me, I just wish it was in a game not directed by The Chaos Boomer. Especially with one of the recently-uncovered text logs creating a tenuous, asinine connection between non-sexual queer identities and modern society’s tendency towards isolationism.


He thinks he’s Ingmar Bergman when he’s really Quentin Tarantino.

Tarantino at least understands that his film sources are exploitation films of varying kinds and makes his films accordingly. He’s more self aware than Kojima lol.


I meant sort of how Tarantino steals everything from other films instead of making his own thing.

At least you’re right about QT being self aware about it.


I feel like the desire to be respected as an auteur with a unique vision and the desire for universal acclaim are always linked despite being counterproductive. If you get to make your bizarre walking simulator about capital-a America exactly as weird and personal as you want then you surely can’t expect everyone to like it.


A few years ago, maybe, but the American market has changed dramatically since. A lot of games that sell big numbers here are stuff like Monster hunter and other Japanese IPs.

It can be argued the bigger issue is that the game Kojima made isn’t clever enough to really appeal to outside the mainstream critics, but also too unconventional for mainstream reviewers to really click with it too well. The issue is not that it’s not an FPS, but that it’s not really like other big budget games. Its different mechanics with different thematic goals would clash more with a consumer driven review culture, where player enjoyment is usually paramount.

Europe and Japanese review circles are more used to mainstream experimentation and have a different way of approaching games like this. Still, even then, this is averaging above 80 in the US, and there’s just more US reviews in general, which probably shift the aggregate down with a wider selection of voices.


Hell, Minecraft was the biggest game ever before battle royal trends came along.

Americans can do anti-shooters.

It can even be argued that Death Stranding is a response to the Minecraft generation.

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Good Lord, I hope he makes a movie.

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Workshopping a take that Kojima is like Slavoj Zizek in that he’s an idiot reactionary who occasionally lucks into a prescient take that sustains his reputation beyond where it deserves to be. Will keep working at this.

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The best(?) outcome would be that he actually does get to helm a film project, and learns the hard way that producing a movie is an entirely different beast than a game, where you can’t as easily get away with having a loose tonality that’s endemic to the games he’s directed.

Related to this, I found out recently that Kojima had been trying to get David Hayter replaced ever since MGS3, which is at once extremely callous considering the sacrifices Hayter made to get as much of MGS1’s cast back together for Twin Snakes, and also speaks to Kojima failing to recognize how instrumental Hayter’s performance was in tying together the series’ trademark blend of high camp and genuine attempts at societal commentary.


Content warning: sexual violence.

So says the man who still thinks highly of the vagina bomb scene in Ground Zeroes. During the last two Tokyo Game Shows, that gross shit came up twice during Death Stranding Japanese voice cast meet up. Both times, that scene was considered intensely dramatic rather than a mistake. Fuck you, Kojima.


I will never be ashamed of my words and deeds, nerd.


I’m gonna say it… Kojima is acting like a hack here.


One part of this is understanding the image of America that the rest of the world has (violent dumdumbs) and another part is how Kojima’s quotes are often taken way too seriously (regardless of correct translation) when he is well known to joke around a lot. Also not sure why we want creative people to submit to poor reviews necessarily. Why wouldn’t they push back when something they created and probably loves and cares about a lot is criticised? Even if they are right or wrong it’s entertaining. I don’t know, I don’t think I understand the controversy here if there is one.


Harsh take: Kojima must’ve been a contortionist in a past life to be able to stick his head so far up his own butt like that.

There’s various things I have issue with here. First is the unprompted factoid that the game was reviewed significantly lower in the US than in Europe or Japan; it wasn’t. I have seen a lot of people piling on IGN and Giant Bomb for their reviews, but they are the exception to the rule. Funnily enough, IGN’s review was written by an Australian, so I wonder how that fits in with Kojima’s theory. GamesRadar gave it a 3.5/5 and VG247 gave it a 3/5, both of which are based in the UK, which I guess are on the wrong continent.

Which leads to the mention of Italian and French people being able to better appreciate his very original product. Like the article says, there is a lot to unpack here with regards to how people see certain countries and their people, which countries are seen as “civilised and cultured”, where those countries are located, what their histories are, how they are portrayed in media and subsequently which countries are not given the same treatment. I don’t fuck with it.

On top of that, he takes aim at American reviewers and how they are accustomed to FPS games and those people can’t understand his game. It seems to completely ignore the sheer amount of games that have reviewed well that have no combat. The Sims has been around for nearly 20 years and has been strong both commercially and critically. Sony’s own stable has games such as Journey and Little Big Planet. If he’s talking about games with IMPORTANT THEMES, someone should tell him to play Gone Home. The opinion that only shooty games get high reviews would’ve been outdated 5 years ago let alone today.

It makes me wonder why he would act as if he is being torn apart when his game has got a score of 83 on Metacritic, something a lot of other devs would be happy about. I’m going to assume it’s because he really values that website and he feels some type of way seeing his newest game be rated lower than his last Konami game.


It’s almost stunningly hilarious that the FIRST WOMAN YOU SEE IN THE DEATH STRANDING, post the quiet nonsense, walks up to you, holds her hand out, and says Hello, my name is Fragile

Like, noice kojima. What a guns out start