Hideo Kojima revealed in a new interview that his plans changed for upcoming sequel Death Stranding 2 because of the pandemic.
Of course, on one level all game companies and their projects went through changes because of the way the pandemic affected everyone.
But what Kojima is referring to here is how, after a major event happens, entertainment that was produced before that event can immediately be rendered irrelevant in its aftermath.
This is how Kojima describes this change:
“Fiction changes when something that big happens. When something takes place that nobody thought was possible, works of fiction written before it become less effective as entertainment.
That’s why I completely rewrote Death Stranding 2 from its themes up as well. You can’t pretend that something this big never happened. While the games themselves are based on characters who are not bound by our reality, the players themselves have gone through the pandemic, and a story written before that experience just wouldn’t resonate with them in the same way, whether it was a fantasy story or a sci-fi one.”
Around the time of The Game Awards, Hideo Kojima granted an interview with Geoff Keighley, were he shared more lighthearted sentiments in regards to the situation. At the time, he had joked that he did not want to make any more predictions of the future. This was a reference to the meme fans came up with, that Death Stranding had predicted what would happen in the pandemic. Of course, as he now makes clear, he did not expect to predict the future, and did not intend to do so either.
Science fiction writers had traditionally attempted to predict the future, to varying results. Being a futurist is a real job today as well, with real applications in various fields. Futurists as we know them today got their start in World War 2, helping the Allies create technologies that put them ahead of the Axis. That work carried over to think tanks like RAND and SRI, who have helped guide US government policy and market trends, as well as prodding forward where science and technology would go forward. It was precisely that kind of work that prepared this entire infrastructure we are now aware existed all along to handle the pandemic.
For fiction creators, not just video game creators like Kojima, the thought of their work becoming irrelevant is frightful, for how commercially successful it will be in the short term, but also if they will even be remembered in the future.
We can then expect Death Stranding 2, to be the kind of game that Kojima wrote to be memorable, and endeavor to somehow capture the current zeitgeist. Death Stranding 2 has only been confirmed for the PlayStation 5.