Everything We Know So Far About Death Stranding
Death Stranding trailer: Curiouser and curiouser
At The Game Awards last year Kojima Productions premiered a fresh trailer for Death Stranding which features more dolls, more inexplicable black threads, and a baby bottle. No, not a container filled with freshly pressed milk; a bottle, containing within a squinting baby.
The trailer explains very little, but does announce Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen as a co-star of Norman Reedus.
What does the goop mean? What happens when you power-up a baby in a bottle? We have no idea, but we sense some reality-bending antics happening here, especially given Kojima's statements on the game's unusual narrative structure.
We're not the only ones getting confused. Mads Mikkelsen recently stated that he himself got lost when Kojima explained the game to him. "He was trying to tell me the full plot of the game, and it's so elaborate that, I mean, I got lost but I really wanted to learn more. It's a big honour to be there," he told a crowd at Saudi Comic Con.
Less befuddling is the nature of Death Stranding's gameplay, which will, according to Kojima himself, be open-world action with less focus on sneaking around than Metal Gear Solid. He recently told the PlayStation Blog the following.
"I can't really speak on that right now but in a word, it's an action game – an open world game, with a lot of freedom. You have a lot of freedom of choice to do what you want to do and you can get in vehicles and so on. If you are a fighter, there's plenty of opportunity for that. If you're not that type of player, there are other ways to play this game."
So, there will be open worlds, vehicles, and plenty of choice.
This is somewhat more concrete than what we extracted from Kojima in our own interview last year. "The player will be controlling Norman Reedus' character and it will be an action game if you really want to put a genre on it," explained Kojima in an interview with Digital Spy.
"For example, when I made Metal Gear, it was an action game but it was different because the main thing was about hiding. People eventually ended up calling that 'stealth action'. In this game the player will be controlling Norman but by playing it they will find something different, something that won't fit in established terms."
Death Stranding multiplayer: Will I be stranded alone?
In short: no. Kojima has explicitly stated that there will be an online multiplayer component. The structure of this multiplayer remains unclear.
Competitive? Coop? We don't know. But Kojima has said it won't fit the standard "campaign vs multiplayer" dichotomy.
"We do have an online component and, again, it's different as there will be something different versus what most people expect from an online game," Kojima told the PlayStation blog. "A lot of games have a 'campaign mode' and once you're done with that you take it to the online mode. This game is not that kind of structure."
Death Stranding release date: When is it coming out?
Well, although we might have two trailers for Death Stranding, don't get too excited, because it sounds like it's not coming out any time soon.
The game is still in the very early stages of development, with Kojima only just having settled on an engine for the game pre-E3 2016.
He's still recruiting staff for key roles in his new Kojima Productions studio.
We'd expect a release date is at least a year away, if not more. We can imagine it's going to be a big focus at E3 2017, though.
What we do know is that the game is coming exclusively to PS4 to begin with, but it will eventually be released on PC as well.
Death Stranding definition: What does that name mean?
Kojima is, of course, surrounding the game in a certain amount of mystique, but there's actually a real-world phenomenon that the name of the game gives a nod to.
As you can see in the announcement trailer above, Reedus finds himself on a beach that's covered in dead whales, dolphins, fish, crustaceans and other sea creatures.
Cetacean stranding is a natural phenomenon where cetaceans (the biological grouping for whales, dolphins, porpoises and other carnivorous, finned, aquatic marine mammals) all strand themselves on the land and die of dehydration, collapsing under their own weight or drowning when their blow holes are covered by a high tide.
They say some of the probable causes for cetacean stranding include averse weather conditions, confusion from nearby use of sonar and even whales being led astray by other sea creatures.
How this ties into the story, we have no idea yet. Kojima, you mysterious man, you.
When we spoke to Kojima about the game and its title, he said:
"A 'strand' in psychology is often used to refer to ties or chains. So how all the crabs [in the trailer] have this weird umbilical cord and how the baby is tied to Norman [Reedus' character] is a representation of this.
"There's a Japanese author I am a huge fan of called Kobo Abe. He has a short novel called Rope in which he makes a definition; a statement: the first tool mankind made was a stick. It was made to keep away bad things. It's a weapon.
"The next tool created by mankind was rope. The rope is not to keep away bad things. On the contrary, it's a tool used to keep good things close to you, to tie good things close to you. Sticks and ropes are some of the tools most used by mankind even these days.
"In most games you see that are online multiplayer or co-op – or even single player – the communication is through sticks. In this game you will be able to use what will be the equivalent of sticks. But I also want people to use what will be the equivalent of ropes."