Death Stranding: Hideo Kojima Calls Out “Director’s Cut” Branding

Hideo Kojima apparently doesn't approve of the Death Stranding: Director's Cut name, which really makes you wonder why it was chosen in the first place.

Death Stranding
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

If the reveal of Death Stranding: Director’s Cut left you wondering why, exactly, the upcoming PS5 re-release is being referred to as a “director’s cut,” it turns out your not alone. Even Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima doesn’t seem to know why that name was chosen.

Yes, after fans spent weeks asking why Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is called a director’s cut when the director of the game clearly had nearly total creative control over the “retail” version of the title, Kojima himself has stepped in to suggest that the name was not his decision and that he feels it is not entirely accurate.

We naturally assume that Death Stranding publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment must have chosen that name if Kojima didn’t, but it’s not clear at this time why Kojima was seemingly unaware of the decision to go with that name or otherwise unable to change anyone’s mind. You’d think that the game’s actual director would have some say in the title of a supposed “director’s cut,” but here we are.

In any case, the more interesting story here has to be whether or not the game’s “director’s cut” branding is indeed inappropriate or whether this is another example of sometimes outspoken film buff Hideo Kojima failing to recognize that movies and games are still two entirely different artforms and that the rules and conventions for one do not necessarily apply to the other.

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Honestly, it’s pretty hard to argue against Kojima in this instance. Not only is he the director that this director’s cut title is referring to (and thus someone who should be involved in every aspect of a supposed director’s cut), but words do still matter. Labeling Death Stranding: Director’s Cut as a director’s cut when it doesn’t actually include any content that the director felt they had to cut is inaccurate at best and intentionally misleading at worst.

As Kojima himself points out, there are clearly better phrases to use here (many of which other studios already use for these kinds of releases). Why did Sony (or whoever made this decision) choose this particular phrase unless they were trying to capitalize off Hideo Kojima’s name and suggest that this is somehow his “preferred” version of the experience?

Interestingly, Kojima’s statement comes on the heels of Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut‘s recent reveal. Some fans were also left wondering why that game was being referred to as a director’s cut when it also seemingly includes no previously cut content that we would typically associate with the idea of that phrase. Given that both games require current owners to pay a $10 “upgrade fee” in order to access their PS5 exclusive features, it’s enough to make you wonder if the “Director’s Cut” branding is being used to sell people on something that doesn’t really exist to help justify the price increase.

After all, the recent “Snyder Cut” of Justice League got the idea/potential impact of a director’s cut on a lot of people’s minds, so it’s certainly not unrealistic to suspect that someone decided the vague notion of a director’s cut has more value at the moment than something like “Definitive Edition” or even “Game of the Year Edition.” Granted, the Ghost of Tsushima team hasn’t yet weighed in on whether or not they chose or approve of the Director’s Cut name for their upcoming re-release, but again, we haven’t seen anything from that game that would suggest it’s a director’s cut in the traditional sense of the phrase.

It would be great to see more actual director’s cuts of games (i.e. versions of games that feature content that its creators intended to include in the original games but could not for whatever reason), but it simply feels disingenuous to put that idea in people’s heads when it seems like that’s not actually what we’re getting in these instances.

In any case, we’ll see whether or not Death Stranding: Director’s Cut does enough to justify its $70 price tag and $10 upgrade fee when it’s released for PlayStation 5 on September 24.

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