Previously on the walking de… *cough cough* um I mean, Norman Reedus plays a unknown protagonist in this upcoming Silent Hill game…. dammit not that. Ok enough with the Norman Reedus jokes, let’s get serious and talk about a game i’m very excited about, i’d go as far to say I’m most excited about over all other games in the pipeline right now.
Death Stranding is an upcoming action-exploration-puzzle (what? It’s hard to quantify right now..) game brought to us by the creative genius Hideo Kojima, best known for his Metal Gear Solid series. It’s the first game from Kojima since leaving Konami and reforming with his new development studio, ‘Kojima Productions’. Norman Reedus takes centre stage as Sam Bridges and so far, the trailers have been intentionally vague, but damn does this game look interesting. So let’s get stuck in with what we and the internet know about this game so far… well, think we know.
With trailers being released at E3 2016, E3 2017, E3 2018 and The Game Awards, you would think that the puzzle would start unfolding, but, as we learn more about Death stranding, we’re given more questions and little in the way of answers. What we do get to see from the first look at gameplay is that the world looks undoubtedly beautiful.
Throughout the trailers you see a few different locations and it seems very much like it’s inspired by Iceland’s environment. From the 2016 trailer you see Sam on a black sand beach surrounded by dead crabs, fish and whales, with black rocks and an icy sea, which looks a lot like the black sand beach in Vik, Iceland. In the E3 2018 trailer we got to see Sam walking and climbing in different locations. Here, the stunning scenery continues to resemble Iceland, and, to finish it all off, Hideo Kojima tweeted about an Icelandic band he discovered when he was travelling the Nordic shores in 2014 called LOW ROAR. If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that the song used in trailer number two is: LOW ROAR – ‘I’ll keep coming’.
The trailer at The Game Awards in 2016 introduced us to Mads Mikkelsen and Guillermo del Toro, two new characters in the game. Immediately the atmosphere appears to be different in this trailer. Looking like something straight from a horror version of Saving Private Ryan, with skeleton soldiers, tanks and World War II style planes flying around.
Guillermo’s character has a badge on him showing the logo for the United Cities of America, the same is on Bridge’s gear, leading us to believe he works for the same company or is on the same side. Mads mikkelsen’s character seems to control the four skeletons soldiers using the strands attached to him. These are then released to pursue Guillermo’s character. After watching the trailer you would think Mad’s is a villain, but, when asked, he responded “I’m not a villain, but a character in the game”, so it’s unclear what to expect with his role in the story as of yet.
The following year at The Game Awards we got to see more from Sam Bridges. At the start Sam is talking about the creation of life by explosions and how another explosion is the result of the state of the world. There is a lot to take in with this trailer but some of it has become clearer since the release of the subsequent two trailers. The guy trapped under the vehicle is ageing at an extremely accelerated rate. We find out this is due to the rain, named in this universe, ‘Timefall’. In this situation, it could be as a result of the entities lurking nearby. We get to see the baby in the glass jar again as Sam’s friend throws it to him before being dragged into the head of a colossi. It appears that it’s a way to escape the underworld, an underwater parallel dimension. A new character is also presented to us, the man in the golden mask, who we will learn a bit more about in the lastest trailer.
2018 E3 gave us the first look at actual gameplay from Death Stranding. We see Sam walking whilst carrying different items through varying terrains. The woman (Lea Seydoux) talking to Sam at the start of the trailer indicates that he is a delivery man. She also notices the tear that runs down Sam’s face, remarking that he has ‘DOOMS’ like her. Lea’s character then asks Sam what level he has, Sam’s response: ‘The Extinction Factor’. At Sam’s level of DOOM he explains he can sense the entities, while Lea’s character with a higher DOOM level, appears to be able to see them. Lea’s character asks Sam to come work with her, it is here we notice ‘FRAGILE EXPRESS’ printed on her clothing, perhaps a more prestigious delivery company?
The entities similar to the rain they affect, cause time to accelerate. When our two characters see the footprints of the entity walking, the camera pans down to show the life of nearby plants rapidly progress through a full life cycle. Sam takes refuge from the rain in an old building, it’s here we hear a guy over the radio, who mentions that if Sam is eaten, sure he will come back, but it will trigger a void out, something we saw at the end of the last trailer when a colossi created a huge crater in the ground. The last thing in the trailer is another woman (Lindsay Wagner) who speaks to Sam, telling him that it’s too late whilst implying he doesn’t remember her. Not much is known about this mysterious character, other than the fact she appears in the photo with Sam earlier in the trailer, maybe his mother, but that’s just a guess.
The latest trailer released a few months ago was only a short one, but we got to see more from the man in the golden mask who is voiced by the powerful presence that is Troy baker. We also saw the kind of enemies we will have to face or flee from. The first question I want to pose; Why does Sam have a woman who is very much alive on his back, when earlier trailers showed Sam carrying a seemingly deceased individual? We now know that this is the Dutch model Stefanie Joosten, I would speculate Bridge’s job involves the transport of various items, depending on how much the sender is willing to pay. Now let’s focus on the man in the golden mask who seems to have the power to create monsters from the world of the dead. When we first see the man, back in the trailer for The Game Awards in 2017, nothing was said, he simply floated by and pointed, spooky. After now seeing him in this new trailer summon a lion, it appears he might have summoned the colossi that caused the huge crater we saw in the previous trailer.
There is still a lot of unanswered questions for the story of Death Stranding, but with each trailer we are learning a little bit more about the game and so far, it looks like it has the potential to be a masterpiece. I personally can’t wait to play Death Stranding and unfold the mystery that awaits, although a release date has not yet been confirmed, Hideo Kojima has teased that it could be late 2019.