Apart from the mysterious premise and characters, Death Stranding’s development time arguably is one of the project’s most fascinating aspects. After parting ways with Konami in early 2015, Kojima Productions was established in December 2015 and soon began searching for a game engine. Upon teaming with Guerrilla Games and using the Horizon studio’s Decima Engine, Kojima and Co. got to work on Death Stranding. That means Kojima’s latest, set to launch this November, was fully developed in roughly three years. Even more intriguing, the game’s production only has a team of 80 developers behind it.
Kojima revealed the surprising figure in a recent interview with GameSpot. When explaining misconceptions about how long it typically takes him to complete a project, he noted that Metal Gear Solid V’s development time was primarily lengthened due to the team’s producing the Fox Engine. Not having to worry too much about the engine technology allowed for production to happen at a much quicker pace with Death Stranding. Additionally, Kojima Productions’ completion rate was also helped by a smaller development team, as everything is decided and created in-house.
Through translator Aki Saito, the studio’s Head of Marketing and Communictations, Kojima told GameSpot,
Don’t get me wrong, I’m always quick. It’s like, three years? I can’t really say anything about Sony right now…maybe it will take 8 years, or maybe 10 years for first-party titles, like Nintendo as well. Cyberpunk  has probably been worked on for more than 8 years. I’ve created in three years. When I was creating Metal Gear Solid 5, I needed more time because I had to produce the engine, as well as produce other titles.
So, if you looked back at the interviews three or four years ago, I’m as consistent as I said about game design… I’m kind of very efficient in the way I make games in a short time. Every day, every hour, I decide right or left. I won’t say, “I’ll think about it” or “let’s think about it,” I make a decision on the spot. So, that’s one reason I don’t outsource so much because you have to answer emails and wait for answers, that’s why I do it in house as much as possible.
One of the reasons it’s fast is because I do all the planning, design, and produce, and that kind of forces me to make quick decisions. There’s no time lag. Like other developers might have different people doing boss battles, and different people doing the cutscenes–it’s a bit chaotic when they have to pull everything together. But our team is only about 80 people, usually other big teams are 300 or 600. So that’s what–with the short amount of time and [fewer] amount of people, and the direct feedback I give–allows me to make this game in this time.
Death Stranding’s short development period is impressive considering the studio’s size. The game’s development had to have been a massive undertaking, given the sheer number of gameplay systems, the detailed open-world, and the grandiose nature of the narrative. Fans can see for themselves how well everything worked out when the title arrives in a little under two months’ time.
Death Stranding will come to the PlayStation 4 later this year on November 8th.