Hideo Kojima Explains the Need to Change Death Stranding 2 after the Pandemic

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Acclaimed video game developer Hideo Kojima is currently hard at work on Death Stranding 2, the sequel to the acclaimed 2019 PlayStation exclusive starring Norman Reedus. Announced at the 2022 Game Awards with a trailer about as confusing as the first game itself, many fans of the beloved Metal Gear Solid creator are sure to be looking forward to what this sequel will have in store. As with all things, of course, it seems the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a significant delay to the game’s early progress, though not for the reasons you may think.


Hideo Kojima had already stated previously that Death Stranding 2‘s story changed quite a bit as a result of the pandemic, stating “I had the story written before the pandemic, but after experiencing the pandemic I just rewrote the whole story from scratch. I also didn’t want to predict any more future, so I rewrote it.”

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His comments about predicting the future may be a bit in jest, but they are based in reality to a degree. Death Stranding had released not long before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, but the game’s story wound up being eerily relevant to the new state of the world. In the game’s story, a shocking event kills millions of people and forces those that remain to isolate themselves. The game is largely about creating new connections in this world.

In an interview with IGN, Death Stranding writer Kenji Yano stated “[it] got things right about the current pandemic. People are unable to go outside, becoming isolated. I’ve often said that Sakyo Komatsu and Mr. Kojima are quite similar, in that they’re writers who foresee the future.” He went on to say how, as with the game’s own story “I looked at the world at that time…and I felt that it was becoming divided and people were becoming isolated… even on the internet, a lot of people are still becoming isolated and divided. They’re connected to others, but it’s leading to conflict, bullying, and so on.”

How Has Death Stranding 2’s Story Changed?

Kojima was forced to flip the script for Death Stranding 2 in light of the pandemic.
Kojima was forced to flip the script for Death Stranding 2 in light of the pandemic.

Now, Hideo Kojima has further elaborated on these comments in an interview with Natalie, a Japanese entertainment site. The interview was translated by VGC. “Before the pandemic, I’d actually already conceived the narrative for Death Stranding 2,” he said. This caught the interviewer, a Japanese pop star known as Nocchi, by surprise, as she had been under the impression that the sequel began development after the pandemic had already begun since the first game came out so close to the start.


Kojima went on to elaborate, saying that the game’s story and script were already in progress even before the pandemic hit but that “…when the pandemic did strike, it led us to restructure the entire script. In Death Stranding we championed the act of connection. But, as the pandemic took hold, digital connections like remote work gained prominence. I also realized that digital connections alone couldn’t satisfy human needs. We are inherently explorers. Right now, we’re dealing with seclusion and division, and the world is undergoing significant transformations. We can’t rewind to our pre-pandemic reality, so we’ve had to reassess the concept of ‘connection’.”

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Hideo Kojima further added that “In Death Stranding 2, the interpretation of ‘strand’ evolves. You’ll notice, at the end of the teaser trailer, a message that says ‘Should We Have Connected?’ That’s the crux of what we’re trying to articulate in the sequel.” Strand is the name Kojima used to describe the genre for the previous entry, declaring it a brand new genre for video games at the time.


It will certainly be interesting to see how the sequel’s plot tackles these big questions. For a game whose story was entirely about connecting people to one another, it is an interesting development to go on to question the benefits of such connection in light of the deep division and isolation caused by the pandemic that the first game so eerily resembled.

Are you excited for Death Stranding 2? Are you curious what the original story would have been before the pandemic, or are you excited by the idea of the story shifting to resemble new developments in the world? Sound off in the comments and on our social media feeds!

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Written by Tanner Linares

Articles Published: 91

Tanner Linares is an enthusiastic gamer with a propensity for babbling his opinions at people who may or may not care. He graduated with a degree in English Writing from Northern Michigan University in 2021. He is also writing several graphic novels with a wonderful illustrator.