In a recent interview with BBC1 Newsbeat, famed Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima spoke about the theme of connectedness in his upcoming game Death Stranding and how his game’s themes touch upon the growing division seen both physically and socially regarding President Donald Trump and the Brexit movement.
Speaking with Newsbeat gaming reporter Steffan Powell, Kojima discussed how the world is growing increasingly divided, not just physically by the building of President Trump’s border wall or by the removal of Britain from the European Union, but also socially due to the increasingly selfish and oppositional nature of people across the world, and how the thematic use of ‘bridges’ is meant to “represent connection.”
“President Trump right now is building a Wall. Then, you have Brexit, where the UK is trying to leave. There are lots of wars, and people thinking only about themselves in the world. In Death Stranding, we’re using bridges to represent connection. There are options to use them or break them. It’s about making people think about the meaning of connection.”
Though some outlets, such as GameSpot, The Independent, and Forbes have framed the above quote as Kojima taking a political stance against President Trump and Brexit, this narrative is extremely unlikely. Death Stranding’s production began in 2015, when Donald Trump was still a candidate in the crowded race for the Republican nomination and six months prior to the first Brexit referendum. Despite the specific naming of President Trump and Brexit, the themes of isolation and connection appear to be the focus of the game’s narrative rather than the specific political policies and ideals of these political lightning rods.
Kojima continued, stating that the goal of Death Stranding is for “people to remember” how connected we were in the past and how we benefited emotionally and as a society from these connections:
“Caring for each other is what people really like and what makes them feel good, because we’ve always been like that in the past. I want people to remember. A feeling, in my game.”
These themes of isolation and connection were further elaborated on by Kojima in a Newsbeat documentary uploaded on November 4th, 2019, wherein Kojima stated that he was “very prone to loneliness” and imagined that others, “especially gamers” felt similarly and hoped that Death Stranding could make others “feel at ease” in the face of this feeling:
“I’m very prone to loneliness. I think there are similar people around the world, especially gamers. Even though they’re having fun with others outside, when they’re alone playing video games in their living room they don’t feel like they fit into society or their community. So when those people play this game, they realize people like them exist all over the world. Knowing that even though I’m lonely, there are other people like me makes you feel at ease. That’s what I want people to feel when they play this game.”
Death Stranding releases for the PlayStation 4 this Friday, November 8th, 2019. A PC version of the game has been announced for an “Early Summer 2020” release.