Death Stranding will not feature characters “with big breasts with no back story,” says the game’s director Hideo Kojima. The famed video game developer, who is currently developing Death Stranding for PS4, also discusses sexualised characters in video games.
Kojima’s comments come after one of the female characters in his last game, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, was criticized for being ‘unnecessarily’ sexualised.
Hideo Kojima Discusses Death Stranding Female Characters
In an interview with BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, Kojima says that “I’m going to have a different approach for the next game.” The veteran game developer says that with Death Stranding, “What I really want to avoid is, like you see in some games, characters with big breasts with no back story.” Kojima further explains that “If I make characters that at first glance might look like this then they’ll have a deep background story to give a specific reason why.”
Kojima seemed to defend the presentation of female characters in previous games, as some have criticised them as being “overly sexualised” in the past. Kojima was previously criticised for female character Quiet, a scantily clad assassin in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain whose revealing dress sense was a result of a parasite treatment that sees the character breathe through her skin and leaves her unable to talk (hence her name).
Speaking during a Q&A session at Tokyo Game Show 2016, Kojima revealed that Death Stranding will feature a female protagonist. Although it’s unclear whether this female character will be playable, some are hopeful that Kojima’s interest in featuring a prominent female character will lead the developer to do right by the character and fans in not just presenting her as a sexual object.
Others, though, are worried that Death Stranding‘s female characters will embody the same tropes and will continue to contribute to the trend of the hyper sexualisation of female characters in games. Doubters point to Quiet as well as Kojima’s comments on the Quiet controversy as a reason for their concern.
In a series of tweets, the developer said that once players realise the “secret reason for [Quiet’s] exposure” they would “feel ashamed” of their “words & deeds.” His explanation that Quiet was created as an “antithesis” to “excessively exposed” female characters in fighting games also fell flat.
The fear is that Kojima does not (or is unwilling) to listen to fans’ concerns regarding the representation of women in his games and this attitude will carry over into Death Stranding, despite his comments during the BBC interview.
Very little is known about Death Stranding at the moment, with the game’s story, playable characters, and gameplay features all unconfirmed. The game does not have a specific release date yet (though it will launch before 2019) so Kojima and the development team at Kojima Productions has plenty of time to reassure fans and would-be Death Stranding players.
Death Stranding is currently in development for PS4.