At Madrid Games Week, a week long convention in Madrid, Sony is doing what it normally does by promoting its upcoming games, including Death Stranding, which has a playable demo at the show.
The less normal thing Sony is up to is handing out masks of Director Hideo Kojima’s likeness to people in line waiting to play the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive.
No, really. Here are some tweets from people at the show with photographic evidence:
En la cola del Death Stranding de la Games Week dan MÁSCARAS DE HIDEO KOJIMA, ME AHOGO. pic.twitter.com/OJRO3xO2BX
— Ninten a secas (@NintenderoEnf) October 5, 2019
Debía hacerlo pic.twitter.com/JN75JCDr0q
— Ø???????????? ???????????????????????????? (@OkenCosplay) October 4, 2019
Me encanta mi nueva máscara ???????????????????? pic.twitter.com/sexvGjOq4o
— victor (@navarroalcubo) October 3, 2019
Death Stranding, just like, as a concept has been a wild ride in Sony and developer Kojima Productions’ marketing of the game. The game features Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus, a widely-recognizable face, as its main protagonist Sam and has its own soundtrack with new music from artists like Khalid, Bring Me the Horizon, and Chvrches, who leads the album with the title track. But along with all these very recognizable big names attached to it, the game also really doubles down on unnerving pod baby imagery and just generally seems impenetrable to people who aren’t (and even in a lot of cases are) actively invested in watching trailers and listening to Kojima’s descriptions of what is even going on in this strange, strange game.
But now, Sony seems to be leaning in on the weird cult of personality that follows Kojima and the games industry’s propensity to attach singular faces (ugh, I know. I’m sorry) and auteurs to projects that are the work of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people at once. Recently Kojima even came under fire (undeservedly so, given the developer’s first language is Japanese) for tweets that seemed to project this same idea, which makes Sony’s decision to really pander to that notion all the more questionable, given that these conversations were happening less than a month ago.
In the years since Kojima’s departure from Konami in 2015, the Metal Gear director’s story of overcoming adversity in a bad workplace has become a rallying cry for a lot of people mad about Pachinko machines, weird spin-offs like Metal Gear Survive, and the cancellation of Silent Hills and delisting of its demo P.T. But there are stories like this all over the industry that weren’t about people who had 30 years of experience, a widely-acclaimed portfolio, and a blank check from Sony to make whatever they wanted.
So Sony, please chill.