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Making Death Stranding is apparently turning Hideo Kojima into a tired, lonely insect

Hideo Kojima's twitter bio famously says 70% of his body is made of movies but right now his feed is about 50% 'Oh God so tired'. With Death Stranding coming in November, Kojima's tweets are increasing painting a picture of an exhausting and oddly isolated life. 

For the last couple of months, among all the game promo, celeb chasing, film love, and music playlists there have been a few tweets like this: 

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Fatigue. Tired. Exhausted. There's been a lot of messages like this that suggest at the end of the working day, Kojima is done: 

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Sometimes they're not always quite so negative, but the general theme is always that a rest has been earned from all the game checking. What's strange is that it's always the same scene – the parallels between the in-game Sam taking the weight off his shoulders when Kojima pauses for respite are hard to miss. 

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Actions repeat over time

To be fair, this isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Regular Hideo watchers will know that Kojima has done all of this before. Here's something similar that started appearing online during the development of Metal Gear Solid 5. This tweet is from back in March 2015 (when the game was due in September of the same year), this time using Snake sitting down and taking a well earned break: 

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Over the last couple of months, however, these messages have become far more frequent. They have been hitting Twitter almost weekly as the Death Stranding release date approaches (and I've honestly only used a fraction of what's out there). While there are plenty of tweeted screens more obviously part of the Death Stranding hype machine, usually repeating the the tag line "Tomorrow is in your hands", and images of VO, music, games and movies, the 'Sam is tired and so am I' messaging is surprisingly consistent. 

The format of these tweets is always the same, so much so that it's starting to feel like a coded message as this point [blinks in morse]. Death Stranding's lead character, Sam Porter, played by Norman Reedus, can be seen sat on the floor. Is this the character mirroring his creator's need to take a moment? Is there something about the scene that appeals to Kojima's state of mind? Other tweets are a little less coded, not about Death Stranding but more blatant about stating the author's exhaustion: 

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Introducing cicada

That most recent entry into the online diary of Hideo Kojima's life, also introduces the 'life as a cicada' theme. Something he has been tweeting about a lot, ever since getting this book by artist, author and filmmaker Shaun Tan:

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The book, which is about an under appreciated insect who works in an office, alternating between being ignored and abused by the people around him, seems to have struck a nerve with Hideo Kojima. His tweets constantly reference similarities between his office-bound days working on Death Stranding and the dutiful little insect: 

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What's interesting, or perhaps odd, here is that the book Cicada focuses on the isolation of the insect in the title but the exact reason isn't really ever made clear, other than he's an insect. He's mocked and mistreated by the humans around him but for no clear reason other than he's the only cicada in a suit working in an office full of people. The main theme is one of loneliness and exclusion, of not being adequately rewarded despite working hard and doing all that is asked of you without question. This is something Kojima clearly seems to be drawing parallels with as he works on Death Stranding. Especially with tweets like this deliberately matching pages from the book to his life: 

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It's an odd metaphor to draw on overall because there isn't really a clear moral or resolution to the story. In the book the insect is physically and psychologically abused by the people around him, who are portrayed as lazy and cruel: "Humans never finish work. Cicada always stay late. Finish work. Nobody thanks cicada" the book states, as it shows the creature being kicked around the floor by human co-workers. It's forced to live in the walls because its unacknowledged hard work and lack of promotion means it can't afford rent. It's not even allowed to use the human bathroom and has to leave work to use one outside of the building, being docked pay as a result. 

At the end of the book, after all this suffering, the cicada retires, and, with no job to do, it goes to the roof of the building where it pupates, grows wings, and flies away from a grey city with all the other cicada to live in a colourful forest. "Sometimes think about human. Can't stop laughing" the book finishes. It's a nice, if surreal, story but hard to really take literally unless Kojima actually eats his sandwiches in the walls and gets docked pay every time he needs to use the toilet? 

Less literally, does it mean Hideo Kojima sees running his approximately 100 strong studio as an isolated life, working alone and tirelessly without thanks? He certainly seems to occasionally resent his role as game director for keeping him trapped underground and away from the light: 

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Obviously, all developers work hard and, as the ongoing crunch debate continues, it's clear the vast majority work far too hard. But you don't see many airing their complaints about it publicly, albeit a little surreptitiously, while development is in progress. It doesn't help that this tweet thread below implies that Kojima tries to do, or control, possibly too much - apparently expressing some sort of responsibility for just about every aspect of Kojima Productions' development, promotion and business: 

(Image credit: Hideo Kojima )

I guess what I'm saying is let's just keep an eye on the next few weeks and months and see how many images of Sam Porter sitting down we see. As Death Stranding's "gold" date approaches – when the final published code is burned to a disk to be duplicated and distributed before release – Kojima's "cicada life" is only likely to intensify. Right now his eyes are getting tired "from checking the gameplay" a lot: 

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But it's not all bad at least: there are plenty of happier tweets about friends, films and music, but as that release date gets closer Kojima's not going to getting much time away from his desk any time soon. 

Leon Hurley

I'm currently GamesRadar's guides coordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.  I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures.