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Death Stranding's teaser probably won't be playable, Hideo Kojima says

"I want to do something new"

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Hideo Kojima's last two game projects, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and the canceled Silent Hills, were both preceded by playable teasers: Ground Zeroes and P.T., respectively. But Kojima says he doesn't think he'll release a teaser — or at least the teaser we saw earlier this week — for his next title, Death Stranding.

"It wouldn't be fun at this point, so I don't think that's going to happen," Kojima said in an interview with Polygon, "because I want to do something new. But if I was to do that, I probably would try some different kind of approach."

Kojima said Death Stranding's teaser, which stars Norman Reedus in a surreal beach scene, is part of an experiment — a test. And he enjoys whipping fans into a frenzy, hiding hints and references to his earlier work in pre-release media.

"I want to continue this back and forth for the users," Kojima said. "I enjoy putting out these teasers and bits of information here and there, even before the game is released, and have [fans] imagining things and enjoying this process.

"I believe that the game medium is something that allows this to happen. These gimmicks are intentional and I enjoy this."

Death Stranding Kojima Productions

Kojima said this week's Death Stranding teaser was shown in part to convey a theme — "I'll keep coming" — and to showcase the type of technology he wants to use.

"We finally have enough manpower enough to put out this teaser and do these experiments, these tests I want to do," he said. However, Kojima wouldn't say what game engine his team has settled on. After a worldwide tour of video game studios, and with the help of technical adviser Mark Cerny, Kojima said they'd settled on two possible game engines, one of which was used to develop Death Stranding's teaser.

"There's this planning phase, when I try to do some [technical] tests to see what can be done, and what can't be done," Kojima said. While "there are many fantastic engines all over the world," he said, Kojima Productions is looking for two specific things for its future games.

"One, something that is capable of portraying all the visuals of this world I want to portray," Kojima said. "I also want to have as many new game elements and unseen game elements, and I'm looking for something that makes that possible to achieve. There were many candidates and from all of them, we narrowed the list to two strong candidates. One of these engines was used for a teaser, the other engine we have been continuing to do mechanics tests on. The names I cannot disclose. But we have to settle down soon and decide."

As for Death Stranding's theme, Kojima indicated that some of it was personal.

"We used the song 'I'll Keep Coming,' [by Icelandic band Low Roar]," Kojima said. "There's a reference to the waves — how they come and keep coming. They'll go away and they keep coming. I'll also keep coming myself, my games, and what I want to do. And I want you to enjoy this, along with the players."