Death Stranding Is An Open World Game But The Story Won’t Lose Its Importance

With 10 weeks and 4 days left in the game’s release date, the hype for Hideo Kojima’s upcoming Death Stranding is off the charts. Right now, many players are wondering what Death Stranding’s gameplay. While speaking in a recent interview, Death Stranding’s creator Hideo Kojima talked a bit about the game and revealed that story will function alongside the open-world.

In a recent interview with 4Players.de, Hideo Kojima talked a bit about Death Stranding and revealed a lot of new information about the game. He discussed a variety of things and one of the things he discussed was how the studio is putting a focus on Death Stranding’s story and open-world gameplay this time as compared to Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain.

According to Hideo Kojima,

After experiencing an action game in an open world, you cannot just go back to other things. That’s what I thought. Because of the interactivity. Of course, there are other ways to make a game. A linear game for example. However, I cannot go back after having had the experience of having a large-scale world in a game. The problem, however, is the technology.

Of course it is technically difficult to create an open world. The player has the greatest possible freedom in an open world. Therefore, you are never really sure what the player will do. In this context, storytelling in an open-world game is the biggest challenge. As there is more and more freedom, it means that the story sometimes gets in the way of a distraction.

What Kojima is basically talking about here is the technical limitation in open-world games from a game development standpoint. Of course, game developers have to go out of their way to add details into the open-world design of a game in order to make it feel ‘alive’. And since Death Stranding is a game that features themes of life and death, connection and disconnection, striking that perfect balance of story and opportunity was something Kojima focused on.

Even though adding details can give the illusion of a grander world in the game, but there’s a huge cost to it too. Not only does it take a lot of time for game developers to add detail but it also makes the game heavier to run. Games then take a huge load of storage space and then all of that data and assets need to be rendered and processed. So, it’s a matter of computational power as well.

On the other hand, we also have the problem that when game developers present an open world that is full of details to the player, they can get distracted and the story loses its importance. Every good story has a sense of momentum, energy, and urgency. It is very common that the player gets distracted by all the possibilities of an open world and forgets all about the game’s story. So this is something Hideo Kojima worked, balancing Death Stranding’s story and its open-world game design.

During the interview, Hideo Kojima also compared how he made Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain’s story and its open-world design and what he is doing differently with Death Stranding this time.

According to Hideo Kojima, in Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, he started with an experimented a lot and opened the initial level linear. The hospital-level at the start of the game is meant to introduce stealth mechanics and the game’s story after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

“I started with a kind of experiment by starting linear. And once the world opens, the story fades in one way. Some Hideo Kojima fans were not happy that the story takes a back seat. But this was done very consciously. This time was the biggest challenge and the biggest obstacle: It’s an open world, but at the same time we do not want to reduce the importance of the story, so fans of Hideo Kojima games will not be disappointed.”

From what Hideo Kojima has revealed about Death Stranding’s story and open-world design, the game sounds very interesting and we can’t wait for its release date. Just quite recently we also learned that Death Stranding’s story is connection and disconnection, all at the same time, which is a very unique concept as far as video games are concerned.

Death Stranding is being developed by Kojima Productions and Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4 even though a PC release is also rumored. Pre-orders for the game are now open with a November 8, 2019 release date.