UPDATE (Sept. 18, 2019 at 4:23 PM EST): The title of this article has been changed to better clarify the intent from the translated Hideo Kojima quote.
Hideo Kojima revealed that Death Stranding won't get "really fun" until players get halfway through the game, adding that they will feel lost to begin with and that the feeling is intentionally part of the game's overall design. Death Stranding is Kojima's first game since his messy split from Konami, the company with which he produced all of his greatest hits prior to launching his own studio, including Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders.
Kojima's description of Death Stranding might be cryptic at times, but it's difficult to accuse the man of ever being dishonest about what players will experience in the game. He's already gone on record as saying that not everyone will understand Death Stranding, and he's been adamant that it's an entirely new genre, meaning that it will be lost on some people and an acquired taste for others. Through it all, a consistent theme in Kojima's interviews regarding the game has been how much he wanted to push gaming and create something entirely new, something that he believes Death Stranding has succeeded in. Despite the confusing build-up to the game's release, excitement has only grown for the title, which is a must-own PlayStation exclusive for many who currently have the console.
Kojima served up another brutally honest analysis of his own game in an interview with GameReactor during Tokyo Game Show 2019. According to Kojima, Death Stranding doesn't get "really fun" until players have "completed 50 percent of the game." That's obviously a design decision that most developers can't afford to make, as burying the hook of a game so far into its progression can lose people before they ever find it. That doesn't appear to be a concern for Kojima, however, who had a well-reasoned philosophy behind the decision - as well as a timely comparison to the movie Alien:
"Some people say it’s almost like the movie Alien, where you are gradually finding out what the whole world is about, what you can do and not do. Maybe it gets really fun when you have completed 50 percent of the game. The player, like in shooters and other genres, go into the game with a known rule and you think you know what a game is about. I didn’t want to have that feeling. Everyone should start from ground zero. Not knowing how to pick up and play the game. What I have shown makes you puzzled, but it all really makes sense when you play the game."
At least there's a reassuring bit at the end where Kojima acknowledges how puzzled people have felt about Death Stranding up until this point before he states that it will all make sense once consumers have actually gotten a chance to go hands-on with it. From what fans have seen so far, Death Stranding will heavily feature exploration as a mechanic, with Norman Reedus' Sam tasked with unifying the fractured parts of the country formerly known as the United States of America and navigating some strange, supernatural enemies in order to do so. That's to say nothing of Death Stranding's babies, which are certainly a feature of the game that will hopefully, as Kojima says, make sense upon playing the game.
In all honesty, Kojima could outright tell people Death Stranding was a terrible game and, at this point, millions would probably still purchase it. There's an alluring quality to everything shown about the game so far and Kojima's reputation as something of a creative genius has certainly helped assuage fears that the game is too far involved in its own story for players to fully grasp it. Death Stranding is one of the most important games of 2019 - after release, players everywhere will find out if it's also one of the most important games of its generation.