During Sony’s E3 press conference a few weeks ago the new Hideo Kojima game, Death Stranding, was shown. Well, sort of.
If you haven’t already seen it, I’ll give you a full breakdown of the highly confusing teaser. The teaser opens to a stunning quote, “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” (William Blake, Auguries Of Innocence) we can already tell that we are in for one of Hideo Kojima’s mind games. This quote is swiftly followed by a shot quickly move up dirty sand, littered with dead fish, dead crabs, umbilical cords, and miscellaneous skeletons leading all the way to some staggering hand prints appearing in the sand. Right away, we see Norman Reedus lying naked on the black sand, brandishing a highly advanced set of cuffs on his arm, and an umbilical cord leading to something nobody but Hideo Kojima could have come up with- a newborn child. Reedus (covered in shadows of handprints) promptly picks the child up and after a long shot of his face, we are shocked to see that the child is gone and replaced by a black liquid, soon revealing a growing trail of black handprints. Norman Reedus stands up to reveal a C-section scar (possibly symbolic of the loss of the child), and walks toward some dead fish, then some dead whales, then to five figures floating over the ocean.
Sounds confusing, right? Well it’s a good thing that developer of the game, Hideo Kojima, explained the game in an interview with Wired
In Wired’s interview, they do exactly what any of us would do with this kind of footage, and that is to directly ask Kojima what was even going on. Hideo Kojima skillfully answered “It’s a teaser, so the only thing I can say is, watch it. You can see the crabs, the whales, all things, they all have these umbilical cables. Norman, as he stands up. It’s a very important part, this connection. That’s the keyword. What people are playing today in open-world action games, or linear action games, it will compare naturally to them. It will feel familiar. But after an hour or two of playing, you will start to feel something different, something new that you haven’t played. The story is about connections, what you call “strands” in psychology—how people are connected.” Prying further into the use of the concept of connection through psychological strands, the interviewer inquires about the use of the word stranding (seeing as it makes people think of both Kojima’s intention, and the idea of being stranded), Kojima answers “I’m using both meanings. Connecting people through gameplay is the basis of the game. Trying to connect one character to another, or to connect life and death.“ In the interview, we also learn that Death Stranding will have multiplayer and deals with the concept of death in a very unique way. Hideo Kojima explains this death idea by stating “In arcade games, you have this notion of dying, putting another quarter in, and coming back. That hasn’t changed in the 35 years that I’ve been making games. In this game, life and death will be part of that, but I want to give a different twist to that notion.”
I’m sure that many people following this games creation have seen the image of the Ludens suit. When the close-up image was released early June with the caption “I’ll Keep Coming” (seemingly in direct relation to the song used in the Death Stranding teaser shown during 2016’s E3). This further emphasizes the futuristic aspect of the game that we have seen. Kojima refers to it as the “Extra Vehicular Activity suit”. Now, if we pair this futuristic suit with the futuristic handcuffs we can possibly tell that this game is to be set in a technologically evolved world. Another neat thing to note regarding the Ludens suit, is the fact that it is also Kojima Productions new logo; and if we delve further into dissecting the Kojima Productions website, we can find that it opens with the statement “From Sapiens to Ludens“, this could also be a nod to the advanced technological ‘evolution’ that we should expect to see in Death Stranding. This is further extrapolated upon in the Message section of the website through the statement “We are Homo Ludens (Those who play)“. The Message also speaks a lot about connectivity and interacting with those around us, possibly even further connecting the website to the new game released by the studio, Death Stranding. It can also be noted that this theme of connection carries over to Kojima Productions twitter, with recent tweets emphasizing this idea.
E3 proves games can bring people together. Every year Homo Ludens from all over the world get together beyond nationality, gender, age, etc.
— Kojima Productions (@KojiPro2015_EN) June 18, 2016
We can assume that connection as an overarching theme is being shown through every medium that the studio has to offer, whether it be via means of their official website or social media accounts. This emphasizes the importance of checking every possible outlet that the company speaks through, because just as Homo Ludens are, it is all connected.
With more and more being revealed about Death Stranding daily, gamers around the world can continue sitting in their seats buzzing with excitement and speculation over Kojima Productions’ soon to be released masterpiece. With a trancelike trailer and fantastic teaser images, it’s no wonder that this game is growing in popularity and anticipation.
For more video game news keep coming back to Informed Pixel!