Ludens is the Kojima Productions company icon and mascot. Ludens wears an "extra-vehicular creative activity (ECA) suit", and often carries a flag bearing the Kojima Productions logo – which is based off Ludens themself. Ludens is prominently featured in a video titled "Kojima Productions logo movie", where they trek into the unknown of space and plant the studio flag into uncharted lunar ground.
Yoji Shinkawa was the principal designer of Ludens, having formulated the overall design and idiosyncrasies of the mascot. Roughly 20 years before Death Stranding's development, Kojima discussed with Shinkawa the idea of an astronaut exploring a digital space, and Shinkawa remembered this. Ludens was not just an idea of the moment, but rather one that had lived with them for a long time. Ludens' design is intended to give off a high tech feel while also being nostalgic. The surface of Ludens' EVA suit has "Turing pattern"-like elements that slightly rotate, inspired by the Turing machine. Additionally, his skull mask has human fossil and armor visor motifs.
Involvement in Death Stranding Edit
Hideo Kojima has stated that Ludens is merely the icon and mascot of Kojima Productions, and is not featured as a character in Death Stranding. It has been said that the default face model behind Ludens' mask is none other than that of a digitally scanned Kojima. However, when asked about the identity of the mascot, Kojima responded, "That's everyone, that's us, that's the users, that's each one of us wearing that skull mask." Kojima has also described Norman Reedus' character Sam in a similar manner, assuring that gamers wouldn't simply be playing as Reedus, but would become him. Additionally, "Bridges" can be observed on Ludens' left shoulder pad in a sketch of the mascot.
Though not featured thus far in any capacity as the real world mascot, imagery of Ludens is present in Death Stranding. Additionally, there is a character who is a fan of the mascot, aptly named the "Ludens Fan".
Toys in the likeness of Ludens appear in Death Stranding as minor product placements and story elements. In one flashback, Cliff gives his son a Ludens keychain, referring to it as "an astronaut," using it to segue into talking about space to the BB. Additionally, Heartman has a Ludens Nendoroid figure in his lab, which Sam can inspect to gain likes from Heartman.
- Ludens are a fictional race of distinct humanoid beings in the novel The Time Wanderers. They are said to be superior to average humans, possessing advanced latent mental abilities and morality superseding those of the general human species.
- Kojima Productions' company message mentions a race of beings called "Homo Ludens" (those who play).
- "Homo Ludens" was coined by Professor Johan Huizinga of the University of Leiden.
- The inscription "EXTRA-VEHICULAR CREATIVE ACTIVITY suit" on Ludens' suit is a nod to the mission of creating new forms of playing in unexplored areas of the universe.
- Ludens switching their visor has the hidden meaning of saluting the unknown. Furthermore, the flag is placed for those who come after, so they will know upon seeing it they are not alone.
- ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "LUDENS, the icon of Kojima"
- ^ Polygon – "Hideo Kojima reveals the character behind the new Kojima Productions logo"
- ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "#DSStories 26"
- ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "EVA suit description"
- ^ a b Polygon – "Who's inside the Kojima Productions mascot suit? Hideo Kojima, of course"
- ^ YouTube – "YouTube Live at E3 2016 - Hideo Kojima Interview"
- ^ YouTube – "Norman Reedus & Jeffrey Dean Morgan Have Comic Con Traditions"
- ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "#DSStories 27"
- ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "#DSStories 28"
- ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "#DSStories 29"