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As I watched this week’s trailer for Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding 2, On the BeachI had to think about it again. Kojima – genius or madman. I wonder if Sony is clever or insane to fund his next big visions.

I don’t know if we’ll answer those questions. But one thing’s for sure. It the crazy world of games, it’s good to be Kojima. I sometimes wonder if we’re in a simulated universe, one where Kojima is looking down laughing at the comedy while we admire some of the craziest things that he can serve to us. Like the WandaVision TV show, we’re stuck on the Kojima channel.

When I first saw Hideo Kojima’s first trailer for Death Stranding at the E3 trade show in 2018, it was so bizarre. I turned to GamesBeat writer Jeff Grubb after we saw the befuddling trailer together in a crowded theater, and we just laughed out loud because we had no clue what we watched.

The game was a spectacle and lived up to the mysterious and wacky hype. I was still pondering the same question after I finished Death Stranding in 2019. Was this a masterpiece of art or the ramblings of a madman? After I watched hours of cutscenes with no idea what happened at the end, nearly went wacky.

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But like many players, I’ve been enthralled by the games and played along. Kojima is responsible for so many of the great moments in video games culture. Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear Series at Konami, was the first to introduce stealth gameplay. He was kicked out of Konami.

It was sad to see the conflict between Konami, a respected game publisher, and an auteur with a cult of fans. Keighley ridiculed Konami in December 2015 for not allowing Kojima the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and accept an award. This led to Kojima being hailed as a hero. That prompted many jokes about Kojima’s “bromance” with Keighley and what a power couple they made. Kojima got a lot more airtime at the recent awards show than other performers.

Kojima received a warm welcome from Sony at E3 2015. He walked down an enormous regal staircase in front of the crowd. Kojima Productions was announced as a Sony-supported studio. And I recall a high-level game executive said derisively and privately (probably a little jealously) that it was like a “coronation.” That made me realize there were Kojima haters in the world. Was the man actually as good as people thought he was?

Death Stranding was a game that I enjoyed despite my confusion. My favorite games for 2019. Norman Reedus’s wild delivery simulator game was coherent enough to make my mind think about loneliness, disconnecting people, and bonds which can bridge life and death. How could I dislike it when there was such great acting and production value? Kojima is a creative genius, according to people like Guillermo del Toro. It had to be art, even if I didn’t get to push a button for hours at a time.

Well now we’re on the same train of uncertainty and ambiguity again. Sony showed the awesome but confusing Death Stranding 2 Trailer, which showed that Kojima’s creativity is not a thing that anyone can control. He can do anything because it looks awesome. Like putting in the shoulder puppet man as a cute character, along with the baby Lou.

Hermen Hullst, the head of PlayStation Studios, then called him Kojima as if everyone knew his name. Kojima, he said, would finish Death Stranding 2 and then start work on another action espionage video game that would be the culmination his learning.

It’s kind of like a spiritual successor to Metal Gear. Take that Konami. Let’s not also forget he’s working on a crazy game for Xbox, dubbed OD, too. Apple got him bring his games Mac. Kojima’s Death Stranding has sold at least five millions copies. And there’s a Death Stranding movie coming out and a documentary about Kojima himself.

This week was another coronation. You can do whatever you want when you have the Kojima reputation. Many game companies do not want to take on brand-new franchises or ideas. They will only approve sequels or franchises that come from other media. But Kojima is free to do whatever he wants. He is the brand.

Fair or not, that’s how fame works. Your fans will be afraid to criticize your work. Your fans will love you unconditionally and will let go of your zany creations. You’ll be allowed unlimited budgets and completed creative freedom. It’s all crazy. Crazy like a fox. All you need is the magic touch. It’s good to be Kojima.

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