Kojima on Death Stranding: ‘Giving likes is giving unconditional love’

Kojima has further discussed the Death Stranding likes system that is still puzzling some players. This is one of the mechanics that is designed to incentivize player cooperation, adding to a rather unusual multiplayer system. He even equated it to some loving another player in his own off-beat Kojima way.

Speaking to Game Informer, Kojima was asked about the likes mechanic and what players could do with them. He revealed that this system was the subject of a big argument with the staff, as he tried to create something that would be substantially different from the standard in-game fame or money rewards.

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While the staff wanted to reward players with kudos or points, Kojima was trying to deviate from those traditional staples of video games. So, to combat that established path, he said that “giving ‘likes’ is giving unconditional love.”

Kojima seems especially proud of this system, stating “[he doesn’t] want to say [he is] brilliant for thinking of this idea, because it’s really a mix of the Japanese way.” However, as it happens with mostly everything Death Stranding, players will have to try it to see just how much it adds to the game.

Kojima then briefly explained how the Death Stranding likes work. If you use an object that another player placed in the world, one like will be instantly sent to that player, but you can send a few additional likes as a tip. Kojima then mentioned how there is no tip system in Japan, but you still get good service, while in America the tip system exists in order to offset low base wages in order to encourage good service.

This Death Stranding likes system is entirely about positivity, with no way of disliking or giving a thumbs down to something. If an object gets many likes, they will remain in the game, while the ones that have few likes might disappear. “But it isn’t negative,” concluded Kojima.

Death Stranding is a game where you play alone, but you can see tracks and traces from other players, making you realize that you are not as lonely as you might initially think. The likes are another layer to this innovative game genre called “Action Game, Strand Game (Social Strand System),” as Kojima describes it.