The Kojima Productions logo took the gaming community by storm when it was first announced. For the longest we didn't know what it was, but then Kojima revealed that the name of the character was called "Ludens". We're now learning who is behind the mask and it turns out that it's Hideo himself.
Game Informer did a brief write-up based on an interview that Hideo Kojima recently had with Geoff Keighley during the San Diego Comic-Con weekend. The interview was nestled in between four hours worth of live-streaming from the IGN studios. During the interview Kojima revealed lots of details about the character Ludens, the technology and who is under the mask. While a lot of people assumed it was Norman Reedus under the mask as some tie-in to Death Stranding, the reality is that it's not Reedus at all.
Kojima explained that it's actually his face under all that cool, high-tech gear. Originally, back in December when they were just getting started at Kojima Productions, Hideo and three others were the only ones on staff, so only Hideo and one other team member worked on the concepts for Ludens. After going back and forth with a Japanese digital imagery company, they finally managed to get a finished version 3D rendition of Ludens after around two months of work.
In January Kojima had his face 3D scanned to work as the face of the company's logo. Kojima thought the finished product looked kind of creepy, so he had them modify the eyes and face structure a bit so it didn't look so much like him. You get to see what that looks like as a finished product with the new Kojima Productions intro video below.
The suit that the character Ludens is wearing is called an Extra-vehicular Creativity Activity Set, shortened to the ECAs. The headpiece is based on medieval armor and many of the bronze looking notches embedded into the suit are actually based on the rotary disk drives of Alan Turing's Turing Machine. Crazy, right?
The idea was that the suit was designed to be both practical in some sense, but also have a science fiction feeling as well. I think they managed to capture that with Ludens' suit. In the concept art they debated about whether or not he should carry a sword or spear, but in the final version they ended up giving him the pole and flag, which he sticks into the ground in the company logo video above.
What's interesting is that according to Kojima, Ludens is on a completely different planet under the water. There's a space whale playing around in the background. While most gamers would jump to the conclusion that they would have to kill the whale, the reality is that the whale wants to play with Ludens.
The entire video centers around the idea of human evolution through playing with technology.
As pretentious as that may sound to some people, keep in mind that 16 years ago with the original Deus Ex from Warren Spector and Ion Storm, gamers were introduced into a world of high-tech, advanced robotics and human augmentations. As sci-fi as that sounds, keep in mind that starting next year we'll actually have the first consumer-ready bionic prosthetic hitting the market in collaboration between Open Bionics and Eidos Montreal. So gaming working hand-in-hand to evolve humans through technology is not so far fetched after all.
While the Ludens video is impressive, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Kojima Productions' Death Stranding. We'll have to wait a while before we see more of that game.