Hideo Kojima has worked on a half dozen video game series since the 1980s, and many stand alone games as well. Possibly his most famous contribution is with the Metal Gear series, the first two of which he wrote, directed, and designed. Ever since, he has been a producer on every game in the series, as well as continuing to design, direct, and write at various times. He’s even given his voice to characters in six of the Metal Gear games, as well as numerous others.
A few years ago, after admitting that he would like to work on a horror game like Silent Hill, Kojima was brought into the series to direct what would have been the ninth installment, titled Silent Hills. Film director Guillermo del Toro and The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus were also involved in the game. Eventually, the game was canceled, but Kojima, del Toro, and Reedus have re-teamed for a new game, Death Stranding.
Not much is known yet about Death Stranding, but recently Kojima did admit that it is not a horror game, as some assumed. It was a safe assumption to make before then, as del Toro has made numerous horror films over the years (including Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak) and of course, Silent Hills was meant to be a psychological horror game. But Kojima is done with the horror genre. He explained why in an interview with IGN:
“I get scared very easily. Actually, this is true of Alfred Hitchcock as well as Steven Spielberg. Because they scare easily, because I scare easily, it’s actually easy for us to make something that is scary, because we understand what is scary. But while in that process, we’re constantly imagining, like, terrifying situations so it ends up giving me bad dreams. That’s the reason why I don’t want to make a horror game.”
He spoke further on the subject, showcasing the very theory he presented – people who scare easily like he does know what is scariest:
“I think the most effective way to scare someone is to show them something that’s slightly out of the ordinary. Slightly off, but at first glance, they don’t know what it is about it that is unusual. When you do something like this, it confuses the mind, and that becomes unnerving for the person who sees it.
Also, the unknown. When there’s no information available for something, it’s more frightening. An example would be a bungee jump. If you’ve done it more than one time, it’s never as scary as the first time. Something that no one has any preconceptions about is the scariest thing.
A good example of that is the original Alien. Everyone knows the design now, the famous design by H.R. Giger, but in the original movie, you don’t see it for most of the movie. You just see, like, quick cuts and little pieces, so you don’t know the shape. You don’t know the exact size. Until you see it at the end, and it’s like “oh, it’s shaped like a person. Somebody is wearing, like, an outfit, like a mascot.” So it’s not scary at that point, but until that point, because it’s this unknown entity. It’s very scary.”
Even though Death Stranding is not a horror game, it certainly falls into the category of the unknown that Kojima was speaking about. Which might also have been a contributing factor to the assumption that it would be scary. Scary or not, anticipation is certainly building for the game, which stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Rouge One: A Star Wars Story) alongside Reedus.
Death Stranding will be released before 2019, though an official date is not set at this time.