PSX 2016: Death Stranding Runs On Guerrilla Games’ Decima Engine

Gamers have been completely enthralled with Death Stranding. It’s such an odd, visually impressive and thematically unique title based on the little we’ve seen of it. Of course, a lot of people are wondering what’s powering the game? Are those cinematic graphics representative of in-game visuals? And what can we expect from the game’s overall presentation?

Well, we got an answer to quite a few of those questions during a Q&A session that Geoff Keighley had with Hideo Kojima, Guerrilla Games managing director Hermen Hulst, and PS4 architect engineer Mark Cerny.

During this year’s PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, California, Kojima, Hulst and Cerny sat down and talked about the technology powering Death Stranding, which aired at the three hour mark during the live-stream below.

One of the first things they talk about is movie director Guillermo del Toro and his role in Death Stranding. He was featured in the most recent cinematic trailer for the game and Keighley was interested to know how big of a role his character played.

According to Kojima, Guillermo del Toro was 3D scanned along with different outfits he’ll be wearing throughout the game. However, someone else will be doing his voice and motion capture for the character’s in-game movement. For those wondering, Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen are the two main stars of the game and the two were 3D scanned from head to toe, and both of them are doing their movement and voice acting in the full game. So expect full performance capture from the two leads.

Keighley also shrewdly asked if we can expect any female leads and Kojima replied with “of course”.

Death Stranding - Decima Engine

It was then revealed that Death Stranding is running on the Decima Engine from Guerrilla Games. The core source is the same code powering Horizon: Zero Dawn, this focuses on real-time light shaders with full physically based light rendering, dynamic mapping and even volumetric entities for clouds and dynamic weather effects.

Mark Cerny helped introduce Kojima to Hulst and their Decima Engine during the world tour they took together. Hulst explained that the Decima Engine has ties back to Greek mythology where as Kojima explained that Decima translates to Dejima in Japan and relates to Japan’s long history connecting, trading and establishing relationships with the NetherLands.

Kojima Productions and Guerrilla Games will be collaborating to further improve Decima together. Guerrilla Games will have a space setup within their Amsterdam studio so that can connect via satellite to work on the engine with Kojima Productions.

Death Stranding - Decima Engine

On Kojima’s side, they’ve been tweaking the Decima to render more realistic environments, hoping to pick back up where they left off with the Fox Engine, which is one of the most impressive pieces of technology on the market that Konami has no idea what to do with now that it’s stuck in their possession.

Despite having to start over from scratch, Kojima Productions is already off to a great start based on the in-engine, real-time presentation they put together featuring the cinematic of Death Stranding running on the PlayStation 4 Pro.

They plan on taking the Decima Engine to the next level, Kojima compared it to traveling to “Jupiter” with Guerrilla Games and he says they’ve established a philosophy of taking the Decima Engine to Jupiter and beyond.

Death Stranding - Decima Engine

To be completely honest… visually, the Decima is not quite on par to what they had achieved with the Fox Engine and Metal Gear Solid V. However, Kojima knows they still have a lot of work to accomplish and so they’re working around the clock to bring the quality of the renderer up to par as a true successor to the Fox Engine.

The one thing I do wonder about is how the licensing will work? It’s Guerrilla’s code but Kojima is now taking over and mutating it into its own entity, not unlike the Cthulhu-style monsters featured in Death Stranding.

I wonder who will get to call the engine their own if they decide to stop collaborating? What’s going to happen there? I would absolutely hate to see some sort of fallout cause the engine to get lost in limbo due to some legal happenstance. That would just be ruinous for gaming as a whole.

Anyway, in the interim, we get to enjoy seeing two well renown studios collaborating on making a high-end game engine to rival what Kojima and his crew accomplished at Konami with the Fox Engine.

Death Stranding is still a long ways out from release but Horizon: Zero Dawn, will be making its way to the PS4 starting February 28th, 2017.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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