Following his acrimonious departure from Konami, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima along with a team and long-time friend Mark Cerny scoured the globe, visiting various video game studio’s in search of the perfect game engine for his, and newly founded studio Kojima Productions debut title – Death Stranding.
One of the stops on his travels was to visit with Guerrilla Games Amsterdam-based studio in the Netherlands, and it’s safe to say that Kojima-san was a little more than impressed with what the Killzone, Horizon Zero Dawn developer had to offer.
“I visited many studios all around the world, meeting many great people. Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam: their technology was just a league ahead of everywhere else,” said Kojima, speaking to PlayStation Blog at RTX in Sydney, Australia.
“Even though they have an open world they are able to render very rich scenes with many objects. As you know their upcoming game Horizon Zero Dawn, which is coming out in February, has an artistic sensibility, particularly with regards to the use of color, whereas we’re looking for a very photo-realistic sensibility.”
In total Kojima spent time with 30 different studios before deciding on Horizon Zero Dawn‘s Decima Engine for the development of Death Stranding, but with Guerrilla Games engine built purposely for the studios own vision, the famed developer had to be sure that the engine would fit in with what he wanted, tests needed to be conducted to see if Decima would work for Death Stranding and the vision Kojima has for his first project.
“Their engine is built for their purposes, for the game that they wanted to create, and as I said we wanted to create a game that even at the very base levels looks very different from that, so we needed to test it to see how far we could tune their engine to fit our purposes.”
Of course, Kojima Productions is not the first studio to borrow or use Guerrilla Games’ Decima Engine, the very same engine had been previously used in the development of Supermassive Games’ survival horror title Until Dawn, and the studio’s terrifying PSVR rail shooter – Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, released last year. Kojima explains that he offered no payment for the use of Decima, but rather, received the engine via a more surprising method.
“Usually when you go to use, buy or borrow an engine, someone will say, “Lend us your name,” or of course ask for payment. We had no contract with Guerrilla Games, but when we met them they suddenly gave us a box, a very pretty box. When we opened the box, there was a USB dongle inside that had the source code for the engine.”
With no contract in place, Guerrilla Games’ handed over the keys to the City, the source code of all the studio’s hard work over the years, “they simply said, “Mr. Kojima please use this engine,” and we thought these people are incredible.”
Although Horizon Zero Dawn‘s developer was keen for Kojima and his studio to use its Decima Engine, there was one stipulation – that the pair developed the engine together, “there was one condition though, that Kojima Productions doesn’t just use the engine, but that we develop the engine together with Guerrilla Games, that it should be a collaborative effort. So we were really blown away by their stance on this and being so open with the engine and we thought “Wow, these are the people we have to work with.”
Death Stranding is currently in development for release on PS4.