“The skill I see in great filmmakers, I now see in Kojima’s hands.”
Hideo Kojima is an enormous film buff — a large chunk of his games are really akin to an esoteric film — so it’s no surprise that George Miller, the Australian director of the Mad Max franchise, would be hugely into Death Stranding.
IGN has put together a banger of a video, somehow getting Miller to sit down not only long enough to see parts of Death Stranding, but also to offer his thoughts on it as a filmmaker.
Unsurprisingly, he’s hugely into it. Miller’s less concerned with the mechanics of the game than the themes and principles behind it, which isn’t a huge surprise. Directors are responsible for bringing a creative vision to life, much in the same way a lead designer would, so the fact that the game might be mechanically boring for some doesn’t really matter.
Perhaps the biggest compliment — and one Kojima would certainly be chuffed by — is where Miller likens Kojima to some of the great filmmakers.
“In the collaborative arts, there is usually one voice ultimately. It’s usually somebody who has the inspiration for the first idea, but has got the mechanism, the skill, the craft and make it a full work. The person who has that, has to do one very important thing, that is create the strategies with which everyone else can work. They have to be coherent, elegant, holistic strategies that unify the piece. the skill i see in great filmmakers, I see in Kojima-san’s work.”
I can’t help but wonder if Miller’s Death Stranding experience was mostly the cut-scenes. Either way, he loved it.
I was overwhelmed by what I saw. We’re in the hands here in a master in terms of visual representation, taking out of the imagination and making it real on a screen. But to some degree, that’s the necessary surface of the thing. I think thematically, the player is being invited into a experience that is very, very profound and very deep.
Something that really impressed Miller was the indirect and direct connection players have with each other. The idea that everyone has a shared history, a shared journey, was a huge plus point for the filmmaker.
“Something I’ve always thought was really interesting, everything in this room, everything on the roadways we travel, carry with them a tremendous amount of history. We walk in each others’ paths. And that’s what’s happening in this game. So even though you’re alone, you’re following paths of complete strangers, and yet somehow they have an effect on you. That’s a very, very powerful analogy to what happens in life. And it feels to me the player can have that experience made manifest before them in a very direct way, a very original way.”
All of it makes me wonder what that unreleased Mad Max game could have been. George Miller was receptive to Mad Max: Asylum back in the day. Maybe someone can take a leap with Fury Road the way Death Stranding tried to. That’d be nice.