Kojima Tries To Explain Naked Norman Reedus At Tribeca

The man behind Metal Gear continues to hone his persona as a really weird creative dude. At the Tribeca Film Festival’s games event, Hideo Kojima revealed why the teaser for Death Stranding opened on a naked Norman Reedus as well as some other random Kojima Facts™.

Like for instance, you might have known that the game designer is a big fan of Robert De Niro, but did you know that a young Kojima used to practice his impression of the acclaimed actor in front of a mirror, reciting the now famous and often parodied monologue from Taxi Driver? Or that he used to watch the violent and unsettling thriller about a vigilante who gets bloody in 1970s New York often in the morning before heading off to school? It explains a lot.


This is the first year that the Tribeca Film Festival has had a game component in addition to the rest of the event. Like its cinema counterpart, the Tribeca Games Festival screens games and hosts talks with different game designers whose work intersects in various ways with film. Being the big movie buff that he is, Kojima was a natural fit, talking both about the games he’s worked on and the movies that have inspired him (the first one he ever saw in a theater by himself was Rollerball, a 1975 flick about people on roller blades forced to fight in a future dystopia for the amusement of the masses).

But Kojima can’t really go anywhere without people asking about Death Stranding, his latest project about strange looking dudes searching for test tube babies. On that subject the designer was predictably coy, saving himself from naming the character played by Norman Reedus and instead explaining that introducing him first as a naked man was intentional. Kojima wanted people to first see him without any clothes on so they could later see his transformation as different clothes, equipment, and hairstyles are added.

A typical Kojima response that raises more question than it answers, like, for instance whether that means the game’s nightmarish setting will include barbershops. The crowd and Twitch chat seemed to dig what he was saying, however, because for all of the charming nonsense that comes out of Kojima’s mouth, it’s still better than most of the canned nonsense floating around the rest of the video game industry.


As for production, the leader of Kojima Productions did say that the game “is moving on PS4,” and “so far it’s going pretty well.” He also mentioned that “there’s a plot.”


But that was as specific as the man of mystery was willing to get, deciding to relay the rest of the team’s progress on the game thus far by way of an extremely abstract metaphor”

“Let’s say that Norman’s character is walking in New York (and the game is not set in New York, this is just an example), we’re trying to see if what we can depict with Decima Engine actually looks like New York, if it scales correctly and feels good there. Let’s say the character goes in an Italian restaurant, who the character meets going into the restaurant, what he will be eating, all those details are decided, are set.”


Instead, what’s currently being decided on are what the tables will look like, what specific things will be said in that sort of scene, and what other dishes will be on the menu. I encourage you to interpret what this says about where the game is in development however you like.


For now though, here’s another fun Kojima Fact™ to tide you over until the next time he decides to take a break from working on his next project to share riddles with us about its development. While some of you might have just sat back and not questioned what was going on the first time you played Super Mario Bros. all those years ago, the man who said one of his characters breathed through her skin in order to explain her wardrobe came away from Nintendo’s classic NES game with questions that only led to more questions.

“I wanted to know why Bowser was taking away the Princess, and why was this complete stranger Mario trying to rescue her,” Kojima told his interviewer, Geoff Keighley, through an interpreter at one point. “And why are you stepping on those mushrooms.”


You can watch the entire discussion here.

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Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com