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Trademarks May Offer Hints About Kojima's New Horror Game

Despite taking nearly 10 minutes on stage to promote his upcoming game at this year’s Game Awards, we don’t actually know a whole lot about Hideo Kojima’s OD, aside from the fact that it’s a horror game, has some famous actors, and makes use of Xbox’s cloud infrastructure in some way. Some internet sleuths, however, have discovered a few interesting trademarks that point to a possible inclusion of multiplayer features.

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Grab a grain or two of spooky salt and let’s dive in. (And no, I’m not going to delve into last year’s OD leaks. Check them out at your own risk).

In a post on r/GamingLeaksAndRumors, user Away_Development3617 has shared the discovery of four trademarks, two of which are for OD’s logo and another two are for a “Social Scream System” and “Social Stealth,” which sure are Kojima-sounding terms if I’ve ever heard ‘em. All of these list the applicant as Kojima Productions, though the pages are in Japanese. A quick internet translation reveals a variety of terms such as “downloadable game programs,” “computer software for video games,” and more. It’s best to probably not read into too many of these terms for now, especially given that the trademark filings also make catch-all use of terms like “virtual reality headsets” and “software for multi-platform video games.”

Interestingly, however, the post sharing the trademarks does speculate that perhaps these trademarks are related to an unidentifiable symbol in the lineup of technology advertised in the OD trailer as being used in the making of the game. After Unreal Engine, 3Lateral (tech that specializes in the “digitization of human appearance”), MetaHuman (Unreal Engine’s digital human tech), there’s something that looks like three S’s. As the Reddit post (and followup comments speculate), that could refer to “Social Scream System.”

While this is all speculative at best right now, it does match past Kojima-isms, particularly where it concerns multiplayer language in his games.

Hideo Kojima games have historically aimed to deliver clever multiplayer integration

Back when the second iteration of Metal Gear Online (RIP) arrived in 2008, Kojima’s stealth action shooter wasn’t just a series of straightforward team deathmatch modes. Based on the game’s fiction, MGO utilized the “SOP System,” which allowed players to see essential information about the status and location of other friendly players, but could also be hacked into and seen by the opposing team. In a game that cynically forecasted hyper-advanced communications and intelligence technology, this was as narratively applicable as it was interesting.

Metal Gear Online’s next iteration via MGSV in the 2010s also packed an entire simulation of attempts to diffuse the world’s nuclear weapons and tasked players with defending their own bases. Metal Gear has always been about the threat of nuclear weapons, so again, it was thematically consistent.

Most recently, Death Stranding featured an ambitious collaborative multiplayer feature called the “Strand System,” which allowed player-constructed ladders, bridges, roads, ropes, and more to appear in other people’s games. This resonated with Death Stranding’s themes about connectivity between humans and the role technology plays in that.

So, yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kojima cooked up something called a “Social Scream System” for a horror game. And given the use of the Xbox cloud infrastructure, OD is a game that’s likely intended to be played online.

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