Death Stranding’s ‘Like’ System Is Designed to Create a Positive Experience

During Death Stranding’s nearly hour long Tokyo Game Show 2019 demo, Kojima Productions showed the game’s asynchronous multiplayer. Most notably, the function of the “like” system was put on display. For example, if one player leaves behind a ladder to cross over a chasm, when another passerby stumbles upon it later, the passerby can “like” the ladder. According to Hideo Kojima, this won’t tangibly add to the experience. As such, players shouldn’t expect XP or any other kind of in-game reward for giving or receiving likes. It is meant to inject positivity into the overall experience.

In an interview with Game Informer, Kojima expounded further on how likes work in Death Stranding. It seems rather simple, as though it will function akin to similar systems on social media. This idea wasn’t easy to sell to the game’s development team, though.

Kojima said:

I had a big argument with the staff, actually. In a game, you get more money, or you get more fame, or you get more kudos, right? That’s what game systems now days are about–you want something in return if you do something. At the beginning, the Asian staff said, “Hey, Hideo, no one will ever understand this. Maybe the Japanese might.” I said, “That’s why I want people to do it in the game.” So all these staff members said to me, “We have to give them kudos or points or whatever,” but that would be like a normal game–any other game. So I said, “Giving ‘likes’ is giving unconditional love.”

But, of course you can see how many likes you get, so that’s maybe a little reward. If you just use [something another player placed], one like will be sent automatically. But also you can send more, like a tip. I don’t want to say I’m brilliant for thinking of this idea, because it’s really a mix of the Japanese way; we don’t have tips, but you know you get really good service in Japan. Whereas in America, there’s a tip system where waiters try their best because they want to be tipped. So it’s a cross lateral in the game.

Again, this sounds very similar to the way in which most social media platforms work. Yet, there will be a key difference, as Death Stranding’s like system doesn’t feature a dislike option. This is an attempt on Kojima’s part to remove negativity and instead focus on positivity.

He explained:

What I really wanted to do–I didn’t want to give “thumbs down.” I didn’t want to give any negative in this game; it was a positive intent where I started this idea. In current SMS and internet, there’s likes and thumbs down. To me, [thumbs down] is like the stick–it’s an attack. But that’s why it’s a positive intent in the game; if [your objects] have few likes, they might disappear, and the ones with lots of thumbs up will remain, but it isn’t negative.

There are plenty of questions still. How exactly will players keep track of what they did that people like the most? Is sending a like the only way to express gratitude? We’ll have to wait and see.

Death Stranding will come to the PlayStation 4 later this year on November 8th.

[Source: Game Informer]