Hideo Kojima says he 'completely rewrote' Death Stranding 2 after the pandemic

Death Stranding 2
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

Hideo Kojima says that he "completely rewrote" Death Stranding 2 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to IGN, Kojima explains that the sheer scale of Covid-19's effect on the world made it impossible not to take into consideration.

"You can't pretend that something this big never happened," he says. "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."

Kojima discusses the pandemic at length in the interview. Alongside its effect on Death Stranding 2, he also voices his concerns about the distance he believes the pandemic continues to put between people. "I personally feel a sense of danger regarding the continued movement toward promoting remote work, leaving Tokyo, and minimising the amount of face-to-face contact required because of the pandemic," he says. "Humans exist in a physical reality. When I went to America and finally got to hug people again, that feeling was just so different."

It's worth noting that Death Stranding itself was eerily prescient about the pandemic, particularly its themes of humanity being scattered and isolated in the wake of a disaster. This is something Kojima comments on directly in the interview. "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 whether we should be doing that via the Internet alone."

Kojima further believes that these issues of "isolation and division" affecting the world right now are not exclusively related to Covid. He doesn't specify what these other factors are, but it's reasonable to assume he's referring to the war in Ukraine, and possibly the rise of fascism in the US and Europe (although it should be said that humanity struggling with issues of social and political division is not exactly a new problem). In any case, Kojima believes entertainment can play a role in resolving these issues. "Entertainment can't intervene in politics, nor can it be used as a weapon. The existence of entertainment can change the world though, and I want to help put life into people by providing them with entertainment."

At the same time, he worries that technology will continue to have a distancing effect, both between individuals, and between people and art. "I think gaming hardware platforms will ultimately vanish, and it will all be sharable anytime, anywhere and with anyone," he says. "My concern, though, is that the world might become one where entertainment is brought down to us from above. Even now, AI will recommend what it thinks you'll like, and I think we'll end in a place where individual videos change depending on who is watching them."

This wasn't everything Kojima told IGN. He also spoke with them in depth about Kojima Productions' plans for the Death Stranding movie, which he says is "taking a direction nobody has tried before."