Director and horror buff Guillermo del Toro has been speaking more about his role in Hideo Kojima's upcoming Death Stranding (opens in new tab), clarifying that, while he's appearing, he's not involved creatively.
Speaking to IGN (opens in new tab) del Toro explained, "I’m involved as a character. He’s discussed his ideas so I could understand the character, but other than that I’m not involved, creatively, at all."
Del Toro continues, "this is entirely Kojima-san’s game. I think it’s gonna be a fantastic game, 100%. But this is him and his ideas. I’m just a puppet in his hands. My contribution is limited to being a cheerleader for his ideas and being scanned for long hours at a time. That’s about it."
It's that "being a cheerleader" bit that worries me. Since Kojima's fallout with Konami he seems to be surrounding himself with people who adore him. Mainly big name stars like del Toro, Norman Reedus (opens in new tab), and Mads Mikkelsen (opens in new tab). This is not great creatively.
Up until this point Kojima has been an incredible director with some amazing ideas, but historically there's a precedent for people producing their best work when they had to fight for it. Great creativity often comes from struggle - when artists are forced to make hard decisions and prove their worth.
Having everyone adore you and say yes is often disastrous. Take George Lucas. The first Star Wars film was notoriously difficult to make, and it was only his faith and perseverance that held it together. He took a break after that for Empire and let Irvin Kershner direct instead, before coming back for Return of the Jedi. By that point the franchise was a phenomenon. And we got ewoks. Then there were the prequels. It was the same with the Wachowski sisters: they had to make a whole other film (Bound) to prove they could direct before they were allowed to make The Matrix. It was so successful we got those two sequels.
In both those cases Lucas and the Wachowskis went from fighting to realise their dream to having adoring fans and money thrown at them. Without having to question what they were doing, they lost their edge and we got Jar Jar and a CGI Keanu Reeves. Too many 'yes men' is never great. You need the odd 'no'.
Currently Kojima has a legion of fans and some of the biggest names in Hollywood saying how great he is. While Sony is throwing money at him and funding world tours. That doesn't mean Death Stranding won't be great but there's a huge contrast between his life at Konami and his current situation. If he's surrounded by people saying he can do no wrong and he no longer questions his decisions, how will that affect his work?
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