The SUGOI JAPAN Award 2017 is a national voting project to award nominated works created in Japan in the four categories of manga, anime, ranobe (light novels), and novels through fans voting on which works they want introduced to the world. This year marks its third holding, and things are heating up more than ever. In this featured series, world-famous creators nominated for a SUGOI JAPAN Award 2017 sit down for exclusive interviews.
World-renowned game creator Hideo Kojima is well known for directing the “Metal Gear” series, and he’s currently in production with his latest game, DEATH STRANDING. In this interview, Kojima talks openly about the new game, and he had the following special message to share with TOM fans worldwide.
Message to fans of Tokyo Otaku Mode
What will DEATH STRANDING - the newest game we’re developing - be about? The two teaser trailers we’ve released have probably left you with even more questions, but we hope you’ll keep on speculating. We’ll be working on the game while you’re busy with that [laughs]!
Those who wondered what the heck was going on with the Norman Reedus trailer were probably relieved after seeing Mads Mikkelsen with soldiers in the second trailer. Some may feel better thinking that it’s going to be some sort of action based game; some might have felt a little disappointed by it. But let me tell you this, it’s not that simple! The teasers are filled to the brim with hidden hints. I would like you to look for them, connect the dots, and discuss your findings with others. After all, that process is also part of the game.
---Below is a reprint of the first part of the interview. To read the full interview, please see SUGOI JAPAN---
Game creator Hideo Kojima is renowned for continually creating awe-inspiring video games. After his departure from his former company, he established Kojima Productions Co., Ltd., and immediately began work on a new PlayStation®4 game DEATH STRANDING that is yet again poised to take the world by surprise. He is a man who surpasses the boundaries of game developers, and is often referred to as “Kantoku” or Director out of respect. If the objective of SUGOI JAPAN is to share awesome Japanese content abroad, then Kojima Kantoku - who has already won countless hearts all over the world - is the best creator to speak to. We asked him about his new game and what it’s like to be an artist who faces off with the world. All creators, and fans, pay close attention to what Kojima Kantoku has to say!
Why top tier celebrities and creators are eager to join Hideo Kojima’s creations.
From Norman Reedus to Mads Mikkelsen; internationally known actors are clad in never before seen attire.
-- DEATH STRANDING will be Hideo Kojima’s first work as an independent creator. The first trailer, released at E3 June 2016, shocked the world by featuring Norman Reedus in the nude (hereinafter Norman). The second trailer, released in December, unveiled Mads Mikkelsen (hereinafter Mads) in military uniform. The world is utterly thrilled with Kojima Kantoku’s return.
Kojima - With the very first trailer, I wanted to show a different side of Norman than we’re used to seeing, by having him in tears and hugging an infant. Most people only know him as Daryl from The Walking Dead. However, this time, Norman… is butt naked! [laughs]. Don’t you think Mads Mikkelsen look cool in the second trailer [slyly smiling]? I’m absolutely in love with Mads, to the point where I watch one of his films every day.
*The first DEATH STRANDING teaser trailer revealed in June 2016, starring Norman Reedus.*
-- You’re already messing with our minds! [sobs]
There’s a strong impression that you strive to incorporate actors and creators you are a fan of in your work. I recall you repeatedly saying “Norman’s great!” while watching The Walking Dead way back in 2010. Around what time did you start aiming to involve Mads in DEATH STRANDING, who now plays a villain-like role?
Kojima - I think It was around the time of “Valhalla Rising” (2009) and “Casino Royale” (2006). After seeing his past featured films, I found out that he was in Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Pusher” Trilogy (1996-2005), so I got ahold of Mads through Nicolas.
“Valhalla Rising” was recommended to me by Hollywood film director Ryuhei Kitamura who insisted, “There’s this incredible movie, you have to watch it now”. Of course, I immediately purchased the imported Blu-ray. Nicolas’ “Drive” (2001) was released in Japan right after that. I really enjoyed the film, and wrote a commentary about it. I couldn’t meet Nicolas in Japan, so I contacted him while in London. To my surprise, he came all the way from Copenhagen to meet me.
Director Guillermo del Toro introduced me to Norman. He was the one who discovered Norman’s talent, so I asked him for Norman’s home address. He said “sure!” and sent an email right then and there to Norman saying, “Hideo Kojima wants to work with you”. Norman quickly replied “Oh Great! O.K.” [laughs]. And then I went off to meet him.
*The second teaser trailer released in December 2016, starring film director Guillermo del Toro and actor Mads Mikkelsen.*
-- It seems like the Kojima-way of creation is all about connections without borders. I hear that you have a great friendship with Norman.
Kojima - Norman showed concern and supported me during my previous situation, so when I went independent I went to ask him to appear in my first project. When I offered him a role in my next game, he replied: “Of course, that would be cool! Yes! I would be a fool not to take this!”.
It’s a similar story with title sequence designer Kyle Cooper. We’ve been friends since 1999, he’s a very special person to me. He also worried for me when I decided to go independent, and wrote to me saying, “I understand your decision, and I’ve always got your back.”, which made me cry. For Kyle, and Nicolas and Guillermo as well, even if there are differences in what we create, what language we use, what kind of hardware we use, and which methods we employ, all creators have a way of connecting with one another. We can share in each other’s joys and sorrows regardless of language. Therefore, our lingua franca isn’t English, but “creating”. As long as we have this connection, we can become great friends. Even if I can only meet them a few times a year, actors and creators who’ve I’ve known for a long time are always willing to lend a hand.
I have the world’s best people and technology, and am able to use them in my games.
-- Your Twitter account shows that you’ve been actively meeting the world’s best Film directors, creators, and actors. Do you think that meeting those people enables you to create whole new forms of entertainment that surpass former game concepts?
Kojima - As long as there’s the urge to work together and to create, I can connect with people and most of them will be willing to meet me. With the internet, we’re in an age that enables us to easily watch the world’s best entertainment. Similarly, people, technology, almost anything is within reach, so there’s always some way to incorporate them into my games.
I regularly go to meet all kinds of people, and many people come to meet me. I think it’s best to talk to people face-to-face. I meet them in person, persuade them, and share my vision with them. They respond with “yeah, let’s do this!”, our agents agree on a fee, and we start creating.
Read the full interview here
©Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC.
DEATH STRANDING is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC.