EXCLUSIVE: Hot on the heels of announcing Death Stranding 2 (w/t) at The Game Awards, gaming auteur Hideo Kojima’s Kojima Productions has partnered with Barbarian EP Alex Lebovici’s Hammerstone Studios to develop and produce a film adaptation of the former’s hit video game, Death Stranding.
The film being fully financed by Hammerstone will be produced by Kojima and Lebovici via their respective banners, with Kojima Productions US and Allan Ungar serving as exec producers.
Connecting with more than 10 million worldwide since its 2019 launch on PlayStation 4, Death Stranding features an all-star cast including Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, Guillermo del Toro and Margaret Qualley. The game challenges players to reconnect a fractured society after the cataclysmic ‘Death Stranding’ event, which has opened a doorway between the living and the dead, leading to creatures from the afterlife roaming the fallen world marred by a desolate society. Carrying the disconnected remnants of humanity’s future in his hands, players embody Reedus’ Sam Bridges as he embarks on a mission to deliver hope to humanity by connecting the last survivors of a decimated America.
The plot for the project, marking Kojima Productions’ first-ever feature adaptation, is being kept under wraps. But we hear that it will introduce new elements and characters within the Death Stranding universe. It’s not yet clear who will write and direct the pic, though we understand it’s now on the fast track, with development underway.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership with Hammerstone Studios,” said Kojima. “This is a pivotal moment for the franchise and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with them in bringing DEATH STRANDING to the big screen.”
“We are thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to partner with brilliant and iconic Hideo Kojima on his first film adaptation,” added Lebovici. “Unlike other big budget tentpole video game adaptations, this will be something far more intimate and grounded. Our goal is to redefine what a video game adaptation could be when you have creative and artistic freedom. This film will be an authentic “Hideo Kojima” production.”
Kojima is a world-renowned game creator, known for pushing the boundaries of the medium, who is widely considered the father of the stealth game genre. He launched his studio, Kojima Productions, in 2015, and in 2020 received the BAFTA Fellowship, the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of exceptional contribution to film, games or television. Kojima’s Death Stranding has launched on PC and received numerous game awards following its debut on PlayStation and was followed up in September of 2021 by a Death Stranding Director’s Cut, enhancing the game experience by offering players more character action, expanded areas, extended storylines through new missions and a unique Social Strand System, enabling them to stay connected with others around the globe through in-game actions. The Death Stranding sequel game announced last week is being developed for PlayStation 5, with Kojima himself serving as its writer, director, producer and designer.
Lebovici’s L.A.-based production company Hammerstone Studios finances, develops and produces independent films across all genres, having produced nearly 20 films and financed over $200M in budgets. The producer has been quietly amassing a string of buzzy films of late, including the critically acclaimed 20th Century Studios horror Barbarian, starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long, which took over $45M in worldwide box-office, and Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment of the beloved series starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. He recently wrapped production on the genre-busting dystopian fever dream Boy Kills World, also starring Skarsgård, which he produced alongside Sam Raimi and Roy Lee. Lebovici is currently in post on the feature adaptation of the short Kung Fury the Movie, starring Michael Fassbender, Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Sandberg, and on Yuval Adler’s Sympathy for the Devil, starring Nicolas Cage and Joel Kinnaman.