While it might feel impossible now to imagine Hideo Kojima's head-scratchingly complex Death Stranding could star anyone other than Mads Mikkelsen opposite Norman Reedus, Kojima revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that originally, it was recommended that he considered Keanu Reeves for the role.
"I originally was recommended Keanu Reeves but I wanted Mads," he said at the Master Storyteller panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, before being joined on-stage by film director Nicolas Winding Refn, who's also starring in Death Stranding as the elusive Heartman.
Discussing their different approaches to storytelling, Kojima acknowledged that regardless of whether his work receives praise or criticism, "you think about it ten years later".
"There's no reason to create something that's already there," he said (thanks Kakai Chik (opens in new tab) via wccftech (opens in new tab)). "I want to create something that gives more inspiration to the world. Like Hollywood movies where some don't live with you, people just digest and consume. What I do is make something that's difficult to chow down when you digest my work.
"What happens when I release my game or when Nicolas releases a movie, we get criticism or praise. But you think about it ten years later, same as Bladerunner or 2001: Space Odyssey."
Kojima further reflected on current trends in the industry, adding "the easiest thing for [him] to do" after leaving Konami to establish Kojima Productions as a standalone studio "would have been to make a game where everyone is on an island and shoots each other".
Death Stranding has had a flurry of activity in the last couple of months when we got a Death Stranding trailer, details on what the Death Stranding pre-order will get you, as well as enigmatic tweets about the fact that 'tomorrow is in your hands' according to the main man Hideo Kojima himself – all of which makes Leon wonder if making Death Stranding is "turning Hideo Kojima into a tired, lonely insect".
Death Stranding will release on PlayStation 4 on November 8, 2019. To keep you going, here's the cover art for both the standard and steelbook editions, which were also showcased at SDCC 2019 over the weekend: