Abandoned being a Kojima game might have just broken the world record for being both the quickest sprouting urban myth in gaming, and the quickest to be shot down. The reasons people believed it might have been are questionable at best: mainly the game’s director has the initials HK, but then it could just as easily have been a game from Heather Knight, Hayley Kiyoko, Heidi Klum, or Harvey Keitel with that logic. The game’s description also included the mention of a Playable Teaser (you know, like PT), as well as the game’s website being weird, the fact the trailer was given a surprise drop despite coming from a minor studio, and Kojima Productions being due to announce its newest game quite soon. Oh, and Abandoned is a synonym for Stranded, like Death Stranded. Bit of a reach all this, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m glad Abandoned isn’t a Kojima game, because it looks like it could be all the better for heading in completely the opposite direction to his off-the-wall surrealness.
If you’ve read all that and are now thinking “hey, Abandoned is a synonym for Stranded,” first I’ve got a bridge to sell you, and second, the game existed as a Kickstarter project years before Kojima left Konami, while reports indicate that Kojima’s next game could be an Xbox exclusive, rather than PlayStation. So again, it’s not a Kojima game. Let’s get that out of the way.
I know that Kojima is a beloved figure in gaming, but I’ve got to tell you – I just don’t get it. I haven’t played his full back catalogue, and I love nonsense like Escape From New York, as well as anything referential, so I’m sure there are some games of his I’d enjoy, but it’s not a name that fills me with excitement like it does for other people. ‘She breathes through her skin, that’s why she looks like that’. How kooky and fun! ‘No, see, it’s ironic product placement when Kojima does it’… sure it is. I bet he was paid ironically too.
I don’t hate the guy: I recognise that he’s the iconic face in game development, and that many mechanics and systems and genres exist today because of his ideas, but let’s face it – the guy’s a bit wacky. And Abandoned looks very un-wacky. There’s mention of a bloodthirsty cult, and the narrator’s delivery of “religious nutjob” is just superb, but it all seems very grounded. There’s a Blair Witch feel to the whole thing, with shaky footsteps through a bare forest, the overwhelming fear of the unknown, and every crunch in the distance hinting at a beast stalking you from the shadows. We have seen very little so far – the trailer even ends with the promise of gameplay footage coming soon – but it all seems very un-Kojima, and I hope that it continues in that vein.
Of course, the team behind Abandoned had no idea that they were going to be embroiled in a Kojima conspiracy, and so the trailer wasn’t designed with anything like this in mind, but I do like that it’s deliberately understated. Most horror games employ jump scares, gore, or terrifying monsters to try and draw you in, but Abandoned just gives you the woods – and it’s enough.
Video games in general struggle with the idea of ‘less is more’; it’s the product of focus group testing and pie charts on demographics. But horror is arguably the worst genre for believing more is more, and it seems like Abandoned is eschewing that. However much you might love Kojima, you could never really argue that he’s a ‘less is more’ kind of guy.
Mostly, I just hope Abandoned doesn’t become That Not-Kojima Game. We haven’t seen enough of it yet to know if it’s good or bad, but it would be grossly unfair for it to only ever be known for being the subject of a weird and incorrect rumour. Look at what happened to Richard Gere’s career.
Abandoned doesn’t look very Kojima to me, and I know that disappoints a lot of you, but I’m happy it’s taking a more bare bones approach to horror. Now just watch the gameplay trailer consist of Mads Mikkelsen eating scrambled eggs in the shower before turning around and screaming at the screen “It’s Kojima, bitch!”
Next: Bring Me The Horizon And Hideo Kojima Need To Collab More Often
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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