At Geoff Keighley’s 2019 Game Awards show, Death Stranding was represented in many categories. It won three of them: Best Game Direction, Best Performance, and Best Score & Music. What it did not win is Game Of The Year, which went to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
This is a defeat for Kojima, because even though he won smaller awards, everybody knows that unless you’re competing in a specific genre (Best Fighting Game, Best Racing Game, etc.) there’s only one award that really matters, and it’s Game Of The Year. Any publication or website can have their own GOTY award, but this is an industry award show, meaning that it is voted on by fellow developers and professionals. Fans could vote online for their favorite game in a separate category.
My Point of No Revengeance article was well-timed, I guess. I forgot that Geoff Keighley was going to be releasing a video expose on the development of Rising, but now it’s available, as you you can see for yourself:
Aside from padding the video with 10 minutes worth of pretentious scenic shots, the video itself reveals little that I didn’t deduce before — at least not concerning the turnaround of the Rising project itself. The video makes it seem super-duper serious, if not emotional, through its choice of editing and shot selection. Almost like somebody died and they’re trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. But the actual content of the interviews is really straightforward and basic. I figured all that out without needing to fly to Japan.
What’s worse is that the video never digs down to the true reasons behind the choices made. Kojima gives some flimsy excuse about choosing Platinum Games because they’re Japanese, and understand what a katana is; and we’re just supposed to accept that at face value? This is one of the most ridiculous answers I’ve ever heard from Kojima, but I’m not surprised he kept his cards to his chest. It’s the interviewers job to go deeper into the motivations of the people they interview, but we don’t get any satisfaction here. Keighley wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of the people who grant him exclusive access. He’s a guest. It would be rude to ask harsh questions.
I’d like to hear about the other reasons for Platinum Games being chosen. How about choosing a Japanese developer because it makes the communication process easier? That’s pretty logical. Or what about the fact that Platinum Games is an small independent company, not major competition like Capcom, who make the Devil May Cry series? Konami can’t ask Capcom for help. Platinum Games doesn’t have many hits under their belt, and still doesn’t have much recognition in the world, so for them this is probably an honor. But most major developers would be insulted at having some failed concept project dumped on their lap and a deadline to go along with it, so it makes sense to pick one which is young enough appreciate the opportunity.
But do we get any hint of the truth from this “truth behind” documentary? No we don’t. This is a promotional video: a 25 minute commercial dressed up as serious, even artistic journalism. Better than a traditional press release, right?
Just from watching the interviews, we see that Platinum Games wants to half-ass the project in order to meet the deadlines, but Kojima Productions is protecting their own reputation too much to accept this. This makes the high-flung “Let’s make Japan the best in the world again!” rhetoric an obviously empty gesture. This is still an awkward, confusing partnership, and the project still has time to fail — if Platinum Games fails to meet the “impossible” demands of their producers, Kojima Productions. That, or it will be delayed repeatedly and be released as a compromised piece of shit.