Friday, June 24, 2016

Japanese Video Game Jesus Returns To Save Us From Mediocrity

Happy fan-fucking-tastic Friday, you beautiful bastards! Thank you for stopping by the blog. I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to talk to you about our lord and savior; Japanese Video Game Jesus...

Have you heard of the Great Konami Tribulation, and the wise sage that was forced to bare the cross of Metal Gear alone? The Konami council issued their decrees struggling to stifle and control his genius. When the board failed, they engage him in a destructive battle. Their hope was to destroy The Kojima's reputation by sabotaging his project. When the dust settled, he told the world that he would return to our realm soon. Since then many claimed they had heard whispers of a new project, but still others had said it was too soon for his return. I'd like to let you know that The Kojima has risen! Returning to E3 with the simple words of, "I'm back.". After his proclamation, he delivered unto us the following visual koan:

Are you now gripped by confusion and question? What in the holy fuckery did you just watch? Ah... you see that's the method of the teacher. Much like the great zen masters, Hideo Kojima knows that the pupil must ponder the questions raised. And at the moment that great doubt has been provoked, the master delivers just enough knowledge that the student can unravel the twisted strands of the knot.

Alright, I'll stop fucking around now, before someone thinks I'm legitimately about to start a personality cult like Scientology... Sorry I meant North Korea.

So it's been established that the Death Stranding trailer was a little mind fucking. Thankfully Wired Magazine did an interview with Hideo Kojima, that both clears a few things up and muddles the water more. 

I'm posting about 3/4 from the interview below as it applies directly to this post. However, I recommend you read the whole thing, here:

WIRED: I’ve watched the trailer for Death Stranding and I’m still confused. What the heck is this?
KOJIMA: It’s a teaser, so the only thing I can say is, watch it. You can see the crabs, the whales, all things, they all have these umbilical cables. Norman, as he stands up. It’s a very important part, this connection. That’s the keyword. What people are playing today in open-world action games, or linear action games, it will compare naturally to them. It will feel familiar. But after an hour or two of playing, you will start to feel something different, something new that you haven’t played. The story is about connections, what you call “strands” in psychology—how people are connected.

WIRED: How does that affect gameplay?
KOJIMA: There’s an author that I’m a huge fan of named Kōbō Abe. Among his work is a novel called The Rope. He mentions that the first tool that humanity invented was the stick, to keep away bad things. Right now, looking at today’s online games, you see a lot of sticks—pistols, weapons, things that are the equivalent of the first tool. Abe, in his novel, mentions that after the stick, mankind invented something that keeps things that are important close to you—the rope. In Death Stranding, there will be the equivalent of sticks. But also, I want to tie people together with the equivalent of ropes.

WIRED: So it’s a multiplayer game?
KOJIMA: It’s not so simple. It’s a new system. It’s not as if today you have online gameplay where you fight with guns, and I’m swapping them for ropes.

WIRED: When I hear “stranding” I think of being alone on an island. But you mean it in the sense of strands connecting people.
KOJIMA: I’m using both meanings. Connecting people through gameplay is the basis of the game. Trying to connect one character to another, or to connect life and death.

WIRED: You’ve selected very specific words for this title. Why “death”? Action games all have death in them. Why is it so important here?
KOJIMA: In arcade games, you have this notion of dying, putting another quarter in, and coming back. That hasn’t changed in the 35 years that I’ve been making games. In this game, life and death will be part of that, but I want to give a different twist to that notion.

From the above interview and trailer, it appears that me just might be given a something that is actually new. Not just a plot twist, and not just new art, but something substantially different in the way a game is played. This could be that spark that the games industry has needed since open worlds and first person became common place. 

I'm imagining a game in which your death leads you to some kind of "purgatory". While in purgatory your game play will effect another player's experience. And by helping or hurting the player you either take over their experience, and bring yourself back. Idk though. This is all just speculations at this point, but I'm pretty excited about our community being saved from mediocre games by Japanese Video Game Jesus.

Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate your support. Let me know what you think. Just a few points to add, if you're looking for the novel, "The Rope", it doesn't appear to exist in an english translation, as noted on Reddit, but in this thread a redditor found a copy that had been translated into spanish. If you find an english translation please let me know. If you're interested in following the progress of the game, and those trying to piece it all together go checkout /r/DeathStranding. As always, I hope you have a good day, and I will see you soon.  

-Chali Baicunn