Confused about Death Stranding? Don’t worry, nearly everyone who isn’t Hideo Kojima is perplexed by this surreal-looking video game. From a baby in a canister, skeleton troops, gigantic monsters, to Norman Reedus with an “x” cut into his stomach and Mads Mikkelson controlling four undead troops, Death Stranding looks to be one of the wildest games Kojima has ever created. Let’s talk about some of the things we already know about Death Stranding.
Death is Not Final
According to an IGN video from December of last year, Death Stranding seeks to separate itself from the tried-and-true mechanic of death. In most video games, dying means a loss of progression and having to replay the same thing you just experienced not 10 minutes ago. In a game like DOOM, this is fine as the moment-to-moment gunplay is phenomenal (so much so that we want to see a crossover between DOOM and another famous id Software title), but in others it can be tiresome.
Death Stranding treats death differently. The scenes that take place in the trailer below water are the game’s “game over” mechanic, where players can collect gear and reach their body to rebirth into the world. However, as is seen in the teaser, the massive explosion from the monster that kills Sam (Reedus’ character’s name), persists after Sam respawns. This indicates that death doesn’t magically rewind time, but just slots the player back in to reality shortly after the events of what killed them.
It’s a Mad World
If the idea of death not really counting doesn’t do enough to make you do a double-take, the rest of the world Hideo Kojima is creating will surely do it. This universe is unlike anything we’ve seen in a video game before, which is really just the stamp of an excellent Kojima experience. As we mentioned above, there are a lot of odd things at play, with one of the central themes being the infant.
This newborn baby is in some sort of protective chamber, and is seen being passed from one character to another, and then magically disappearing. What we do know is that the baby seen in all the teasers is the same infant, so its significance cannot be understated.
However, as for some semi-solid information to go off of, Sam seems to be a part of a team called Corpse Disposal Team 6, as can be seen on the armbands of the men in the trailer. From this name – and the state of the world from the teasers – we can assume that the environment is in a pretty bad place, and it’s up to Sam’s team to collect and dispose of any bodies found. It starts to get a bit murky when we consider the giant monsters swallowing not just the dead bodies into the ground but people who are still alive.
Another interesting point worth noting is that the figure who jumps on the upturned vehicle makes the exact same motion as the Mads Mikkelson character seen in the sewers. The assumption here being they are one and the same character, although as usual, motives are unknown.
No, not the book written by Johan Huizinga in 1938, but the icon and mascot of Kojima Productions. Homo Ludens is the idea that we are all together, we are the same, and we’re all players. Ludens takes on the appearance of an astronaut, though one far more imposing with a certain Spartan warrior aesthetic.
But what does this have to do with Death Stranding? Well, during one of the trailers, a mini Homo Ludens figurine can be seen attached to the capsule the baby is held in. This is either an Easter egg or the Ludens mascot eclipses being just an icon and becomes an actual character or major element in Death Stranding.
There’s still no official release date for Death Stranding, though we are less than a week out from Sony’s E3 press conference, where another trailer for Death Stranding is expected to be revealed. While it probably won’t answer a lot of questions immediately (it’s likely to create more), there’s a good chance it will offer a lot of information for fans to dig through!