It’s fair to say that any major studio would want to tackle an adaptation of Death Stranding, the hit video game from Hideo Kojima.
The 2019 game was a massive success and even spawned a sequel awaiting a release. So, seeing the odd stylings of Kojima and his Death Stranding universe on the big screen made the most sense. It came as a surprise to many that indie studio Hammerstone Productions – the company behind 2022’s horror hit Barbarian – landed the gig.
Speaking to IGN, the video game creator explained how Kojima Productions and Hammerstone Studios came together: “I was on video calls with lots of people in Hollywood every week beginning last year, and not just for Death Stranding. I received a lot of offers, but my intention from the start was never to make a blockbuster film. Alex Lebovici from Hammerstone Studios shared my vision with regard to that. There were a lot of pitches to make a large-scale movie with famous actors and flashy explosions, but what good would explosions be in Death Stranding?”
He adds, “making money isn’t something I’m focused on at all, either. I’m aiming for a more arthouse approach, and the only person who offered to make a film like that was Alex Lebovici, which makes me think he’s a rather unusual type.”
And Kojima is aware of the unfair track-record video game movies have at the box office. He feels that this collaboration will lead to success. “The failure of film adaptations of games from a while back has led to a lot of movies that cater to gamers, right? That’s why they have the same kind of look as a game. I don’t want the Death Stranding movie to be like that,” says the creator.
He says, “rather, I’m taking the approach of changing and evolving the world of Death Stranding in a way that suits film well. I made Death Stranding to be a game, and games are games. There’s no real need to turn them into films. So in a way, the Death Stranding movie is taking a direction that nobody has tried before with a movie adaptation of a game. I think that what I need to make is something that will inspire some of the people who watch it to become creators 10 or 20 years down the line.”
The Death Stranding movie will serve as an expansion of the video game universe, and it’s being fast-tracked into production, but there are few details at the time of writing.