Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series, wandered onto the stage halfway through Sony’s E3 press conference, said “I’m back” then lapped up the long and warm applause. After his mysterious removal from Konami, the famed game director set up his own studio and later revealed a partnership with Sony – but it wasn’t until Monday night in Los Angeles that fans knew the result of the deal.
And to be honest, they know little more now, apart from the fact that the first title from the post-Metal Gear Kojima Productions will be called Death Stranding and stars Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus (who previously worked with Kojima on an abandoned Silent Hill sequel). The oblique teaser for the game has the Reedus character waking naked on a beach, clutching a baby, which then seems to disappear, replaced by a black tar-like substance – which then appears as a child’s hand prints in the sand. All around the human characters are dead sea animals.
Also involved in the project are Metal Gear series designer Kenichiro Imaizumi and PlayStation 4 technical lead Mark Cerny.
Several years of power struggles, as well as delays to the latest Metal Gear game, The Phantom Pain, have been blamed for the falling out between Kojima and Konami, the publisher he has worked with since 1987. His name was removed from branding on the Metal Gear website last March.
The new project certainly seems a departure from the high-tech world of Solid Snake, taking on a much more mystical patina. At the end of the teaser, we just see five characters seemingly hovering in the air a long distance away. What we definitely don’t see is a release date. Sony may come to learn, as Konami did, that such things are not always easy to extract from Kojima Productions.
However, reaction to the trailer was one of enthusiastic applause from Sony’s press conference audience – who had already seen the return of God of War and Crash Bandicoot. Perhaps only Kojima could provoke such positivity with little more than a beach-load of fish carcasses and a semi-nude television star.