“Kept you waiting, huh?”
A special guest on Sony’s stage brought a fitting climax to Tokyo Game Show 2018. Toward the end of the last day of the show, Hideo Kojima appeared on the PlayStation stage to talk about his highly anticipated game Death Stranding.
If anything, the stage event was a reminder that Kojima is just as much of a phenomenon in his home country as in the West. Literally thousands of fans gathered in front of the PlayStation stage, stretching all the way to the back of the cavernous venue, and roared with delight at every new announcement and a new minute-long trailer.
This was by far and away the largest gathering of the four-day event. Appropriately, the first comment Kojima made when appearing on stage was “I can’t believe how many people came!”
IGN Japan’s TGS livestream studio was in a balcony overlooking the show floor from the back of the hall, directly opposite the PlayStation booth, and the raucous reactions from the crowd were loud and clear as we tried our best to continue our interviews as best we could. Our guests were distracted too, and one of our livestream crew tweeted a video of the scene.
When asked about the current development status of Death Stranding, Kojima said that “at the moment we’re in the phase where I’m holding the controller the whole day, embedding new elements while playing the game.”
Kojima indicated that this means development has surpassed the phase where he looks at what individual staff members are doing, and is now looking at how the project is coming together as a whole.
“Development is going well,” he said. “It’s a completely new game. Things are going according to plan, but there’s one thing. Due to the videogame voice actor strike by (labor union) SAG-AFTRA that started in 2016 and lasted a year, I couldn’t record with Norman (Reedus) and Mads (Mikkelsen) during that period. So there are some parts we are still recording.”
The mysterious golden-masked character who appeared for the first time in the new trailer will be modeled on Troy Baker, who performed the voice of Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Kojima gave away an Easter egg in the new trailer. “When he takes off his mask and pushes it to the ground, men appear out of the mud. I’m one of them. You should be able to recognize one character who’s wearing glasses, so that’s me.”
One more new character was announced. Kojima explained that this character will be the captain of the organization to which Reedus’ character and protagonist Sam belongs. The skull-masked character is modeled on actor Tommie Earl Jenkins. In Japan, he will be voiced by Akio Otsuka, who was the Japanese voice of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games. Otsuka made an appearance on stage and uttered the fan-favorite line “Kept you waiting, huh?”, eliciting a huge response from the crowd. According to Kojima, the new character will play a central role and has the second-largest number of lines after Sam.
Two years ago, Kojima also appeared on a stage at TGS. At that time, he told the audience that the game would be released before the setting of classic anime movie Akira, which was set in 2019. When asked about this at TGS 2018, Kojima reacted by saying, “Which Akira do you mean?” joking that he had already forgotten his statement. However, after that, he reassured fans that no changes in the release schedule for the game have been made. An official release date for Death Stranding is yet to be announced.
Esra Krabbe is an editor at IGN Japan. With all the Kojima fans nearby, he could hardly hear himself writing.