Soon, gamers will finally get an opportunity to explore the world of Death Stranding and find out what strange surprises legendary developer Hideo Kojima has in store. In the meantime, Kojima has become more vocal about Death Stranding, and recently addressed criticisms that his game looks like a "walking simulator."
The term "walking simulator," usually used negatively, came about when Gone Home began receiving critical praise despite the fact that the gameplay mostly involved players walking around an empty house and looking at things. Many gamers used the term to describe Gone Home and other games like it as a way to argue they didn't count as games at all. Since the recent Death Stranding gameplay shown at TGS, some folks began attributing the term to that game as well.
In a recent interview with Game Informer, Kojima addressed that criticism while simultaneously offering new details, some tangible and some philosophical, about how multiplayer works in Death Stranding, and about the game's themes of loneliness and isolation.
Kojima says that yes, the game does center around traveling the country slowly on foot, but that play tests have shown players getting completely absorbed into the act. He compares Death Stranding to Metal Gear Solid, the latter of which he attributes to inventing the stealth genre as players know it. He talks about the challenges of inventing a new genre in those days and how those same challenges exist today when developing a game like Death Stranding.
In the end, he shrugs off the criticism. He says that some players will like Death Stranding's weird gameplay and some won't, but that in his experience most people come around once they spend some time with the game.
Kojima also discusses the philosophy of the unique multiplayer system in Death Stranding. For those who don't know, players can drop things in the world and those things might show up in other people's games. Players can "like" the things they find and the player that dropped them will get a notification.
Kojima compares this asynchronous multiplayer design to the art of letter writing. He talks about how Death Stranding can make players feel incredibly isolated and that this system gives them a piece of another player to create a sense of connection. It forces the player to think about someone else traveling the world too, but at a distance.
"If someone puts a cup there in Death Stranding, you might think to yourself, “Did that person deliberately put it there? Did he just have to throw away the load? But you think about it."
In Kojima's eyes, this creates a bridge between two otherwise disconnected players the same way Death Stranding's protagonist works to bridge a connection between the cities of the in-game world.
Death Stranding will launch on November 8 for the PlayStation 4.