It’s been 2 years since the highly mysterious Death Stranding was unleashed unto the world and every trailer since then has left us with more questions than it has answers. The brainchild of legendary game designer Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding goes full Kojima with his first unrestricted debut into the world of gaming. Renowned for his notoriously complex, deeply philosophical and just outright strange plots, we can only take a guess at what Death Stranding is going to be about.
So here’s all the details we know (and a couple of things that we think we know) about Death Stranding and how they’re going to relate to the game… maybe.
Death Stranding Is The Name Of An Event In The Game
Kojima has revealed that Death Stranding will be the name of an event in the game – it refers to the stranding phenomenon in which whales and dolphins beach themselves on land. There hasn’t been a universally accepted reason for this particular behaviour although some marine biologists believe that whales and dolphins strand due to predators in the water or navigational errors. I wouldn’t put it past Kojima to have a completely new theory for the stranding phenomenon altogether but I think the crazy physics in the Death Stranding world would definitely mess with animal navigation. Not to mention that there are huge tentacle creatures in the ocean; no wonder the beach is full of those guys trying to escape.
Explosions In The Universe Is Akin To The Big Bang
In the third trailer, the narrator talks about explosions in the universe as well as the coming explosion. These explosions akin to the Big Bang Theory (the scientific supposition not the terrible TV show) speak of the creation of the universe. While the coming explosion, thanks to my high school physics knowledge will lead to subsequent large-scale evolution. I think we can assume that this will be the Death Stranding event that Kojima mentioned.
Interestingly enough this third trailer has been confirmed to be set in the earliest part of Death Stranding, right after the game’s prologue. Reedus still has his clothes on, much to the disappointment of certain fans and he’s missing the C-section scar, that he had from the earlier trailers.
Death Stranding Doesn’t Have A Defined Game Genre
A lot of people are asking what type of game Death Stranding is and while it’s been listed as an action game Kojima believes that its genre or at least sub-genre has yet to be defined. Much like the Metal Gear Solid series which we consider a stealth game, that genre actually never existed before that time. It was something created when other developers started to follow the Metal Gear play style.
At E3 2018 we’re given some gameplay footage of Reedus in full Snake creeper mode, looking similar to the stealth mechanic of the Metal Gear Solid series o we can expect that to be at least one of the mechanics that you’ll be using to getting around in this world. The hiding from invisible creatures and overall silence in the game leads us to think that sneaking is going to be important for getting around and completing objectives.
Death Stranding’s Game Mechanics Will Focus On ‘The Rope’
Kojima has mentioned that one of the main themes of Death Stranding is influence by the short story ‘Rope’ by Japanese playwright Kobo Abe which states that:
“The first tool created by humans was a stick, meant as protection by putting a distance between oneself and “bad things”, and that the second was a rope, used to secure things one finds important.”
While its historical accuracy may be dubious, it is a lovely fable. Kojima believes that most games focus on the ‘stick’ aspect of mankind’s tools that arm players to fight enemies, but what he wants Death Stranding to focus on is the rope. He added that the game will still arm players with ‘sticks,’ suggesting there will still be some traditional violence in the game. This is confirmed in the last trailer where we see Reedus’ character carrying a yellow gun.
The ‘rope’ aspect of the game is prominent in the handcuffs that Reedus has on. Nothing says ‘rope’ like handcuffing yourself to a creepy baby. A lot of people in the Death Stranding world appear to have babies tethered to them, so I’m speculating that the babies will also have something to do with the ‘rope’ feature.
Speculation: My guess is that the ‘Timefall’ rain that we’ll talk about later will have something to do with it and the babies will be something of an insurance policy so that when you die you can be reborn into the baby you’re carrying around. It won’t be like a restart button as the game will still continue on without you and if the last trailer is any indication it’s likely that the use of the rebirth facility will extract some form of price.
Dying In The Game Will Not Lead To Death
This takes us to one game mechanic that Kojima has freely shared some information on… well in his own Kojima like way. Apparently, dying will not lead to a conventional reset to where you left off, but will transport you to a sort of purgatory that you are free to explore before returning to your body. One of the characters on Reedus’ radio refers to this state as a ‘voidout’.
Kojima explains the purgatory state as the equivalent of the ‘Continue?’ screen when you die with the counter ticking down towards zero. I’m not sure if this will borrow from the Dark Souls mechanic where when you die you’re returned in a weakened ‘dead’ state and you have to make your way back to your body. But we do know that the game will continue on after your death progressing as if you never ‘died’. So if you were killed by a giant crater in the Earth the crater will still be there when you get back.
Death Stranding Is An Open-World Action Game With A Lot Of Freedom
A delivery man has got to have the freedom to deliver. When it comes to gameplay we know from interviews that the game will be an open-world action game with a lengthy single-player campaign that will give the player a lot of freedom. I imagine that in addition to being a sneaky delivery man there will be some survival elements involved, as Reedus’ is seen to be drinking some water while traversing the barren landscape. Some of the equipment that’s been revealed is the handcuffs and the vehicles. The handcuffs or bracelets appear to be health monitoring devices with blue indicating full health, yellow and then red for low; analysis courtesy of a Porter man stuck under a truck.
What’s an open world game without some vehicles to get around? In the trailers, we see Reedus’ character with a great looking motorcycle falling off a cliff, so I’d be surprised if we don’t get some vehicle options in Death Stranding.
Timefall Is In The Rain
The rain in Death Stranding is known as Timefall and when the water hits you it ages and deteriorates your body in a matter of seconds. I’m not sure if this includes all the water in the world but the rain definitely will so it’s important that you keep your hoods up or if you’re like Seydoux carry around an awesome looking umbrella. At the beginning of the second trailer, we can see that the plants that are hit by the Timefall, rapidly age and die as well as in the case of that unfortunate Bridges member who gets stuck under a truck and pulls a reverse Benjamin Button.
Kojima directly quotes that “people in the game are aware of the rain but Reedus is quite unique in this regard”. Most fans assumed that this would mean that Sam would be unaffected by the rain, but in the fourth trailer a raindrop hits the skin of his hand and it immediately begins to age and wrinkles up at an accelerated rate. So what could Kojima mean then by him being unique? And what’s that skull tattoo there for?
Everything Is Upside Down
The world of Death Stranding looks as normal as a post-apocalyptic world can be, just for a few key details. Things are upside down. There’s an upside-down rainbow spotted in the second and fourth trailer and when we’re in the watery depths of purgatory all the whales and fish seem to be swimming upside down. There’s a theory that the water from the Timefall rain actually comes from the purgatory realm and due to the flipped gravity it falls onto Earth and that’s why it causes ageing. I’m not sure then why everything is upside down but it’s a nice theory.
Sam Porter Bridges Is A Delivery Man
Norman Reedus plays brooding protagonist Sam Bridges – delivery man. As spotted on the uniforms of the men he was with, in the third trailer, he’s a part of Bridges’ Corpse Disposal Team 6. It kinda makes you wonder why Bridges needs so many people to dispose of corpses and how many teams are out there.
In the latest E3 trailer Lea Seydoux refers to him as Sam Porter Bridges. We know that Porter and Bridges are the names of organisations in the Death Stranding Universe as we can spot their logos all over the world. We can assume that the name Porter here refers to both Reedus’ job and the delivery company that he works for more so than his actual name.
The Bridges logo depicts the United States of America covered by a spider-web that originates in a blank space where Washington DC used to be. The caption is Bridges – United Cities of America on it suggesting that it could be a type of government agency. The web is fitting to the theme of ‘connections’ so we’re just left to speculate as to what the Bridges company does.
We know as well that there will also be some sort of multiplayer component that’s going to tie into the Death Stranding theme on connections. Kojima has said in an article that Death Stranding will connect players to one another and that the strands have to do with life and death.
Guillermo del Toro is just an actor in Death Stranding
World-renowned filmmaker and screenwriter Guillermo del Toro stays out of the director’s chair this time, instead, he’s happy to be just an actor or as what he’s referred to himself as Hideo Kojima’s puppet. He has no idea what the game is about and we barely have any idea what role he’s going to be playing in the story.
What we do see is that Del Toro appears to be working for the aforementioned agency Bridges and appears to be hiding from the WWII looking soldiers like Mads Mikkelsen.
Mads Mikkelsen Has A Skeleton Army
Because Del Toro is hiding from Hannibal and Rogue One actor Mads Mikkelsen’s character, it is assumed that Mikkelsen will be the game’s primary antagonist. Although I for one don’t think it’s going to be that black and white but we can speculate about that later.
For some reason, Mikkelsen is decked out in what appears to be WWII garb with an army of skeleton soldiers? It’s fairly different from the uniform and advanced robotic arms that Reedus and his friends wear.
At the Saudi Arabia Comic Con, Mikkelsen states that his character isn’t a villain but he does hint that his character may toe the line of what is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it’s up for us to decide. I’m not sure whether that’s a physical decision that we make in the game or whether it’s a decision that we make in our perception. To be fair to Mikkelsen the main antagonist is probably that giant rock looking dude with the hand-shaped head that can reverse gravity.
Léa Seydoux Works At Fragile Express
The last E3 2018 gameplay reveals a new character played by Léa Seydoux. According to her jacket, she’s from a company called Fragile Express probably a rival corpse disposal company whose logo depicts two skeleton hands in a cupped motion with the motto “Handled with love”. I wonder if these skeleton hands have anything to do with Mikkelsen’s character and his skeleton soldiers. Reedus’ does mention that he only does deliveries, which begs the question what does Seydoux’s character do?
Also the question why do you need so many teams for corpse disposal? I mean I guess when giant invisible creatures can you hunt you down at a moment’s notice there’s bound to be a lot of corpses. In the second trailer, we can see the entity even absorb down a corpse into black tar. Do those corpses eventually become one of the floating things in the sky? Or is it just fuel for the invisible entities? So many questions.
Both Seydoux and Reedus appear to have something known as a chiral allergy which produces tears and ‘dooms’. The tears we can clearly see on both Seydoux and Reedus’ face whenever the invisible entities’ handprints appear. So maybe these invisible guys really are ninjas chopping onions! But what are dooms and what’s a chiral allergy?
We did the google science thing and found out that Chiral or Chirality is a property of asymmetry that is fundamental to the chemistry of living organisms. An object is chiral once it is distinguishable from its mirror image. I can’t tell you yet what that means for the game so if there’s any doctor’s in the house feel free to let me know!
As for dooms, Seydoux mentions it again when she refers to Reedus’ level. We’re not sure what exactly levels are but it could be a hint to a sort of level or class in the gameplay? Reedus states that he’s got the extinction factor which isn’t as good as Seydouxs…. apparently. I’m not going to lie I haven’t the faintest clue what this whole level thing is about. If you listen closely to the song in the trailer ‘Asylums for the Feeling’ by Silent Poets there’s a line that goes “It’s no surprise he’s dooming”. I’m very sure it’s not a coincidence those lyrics are in this trailer.
Lindsay Wagner Surprise Reveal
Lindsay Wagner, the 68-year-old actor and former Bionic Woman, made a surprise appearance in Death Stranding‘s E3 2018 demo. Wagner appears a little younger in the game than she does in real-life (and she looks fantastic in real-life), and seems to appear on the oily beach seen in the first Death Stranding trailer. We don’t know much about her but she seems to be someone from Reedus’ past that he’s forgotten.
The photo that Reedus keeps with him features a slightly blurred out woman who’s pregnant as well as a woman in the middle that looks similar to Wagner. The photo has been taken in the Oval Office of the White House which could be a connection to the Bridges organization that’s in Washington. In this case, the woman is most likely the President of the United States given the overall situation.
More Cast Members To Be Revealed
Kojima wrote on the PlayStation Blog that there are other cast members who have yet to be revealed. In more concrete news, voice actor Troy Baker who plays Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V, Tommie Earl Jenkins who has done vice work for World of Warcraft, Pillars of Eternity and actress/writer Emily O’Brien who plays Camille in League of Legends have joined the Death Stranding cast although their roles are unknown.
At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Baker made his debut as a sort of blinged out Skeletor that can manipulate the oil. While Jenkins will be playing a skull-masked character that will be the ‘shachou’ or boss of the Porter company that Sam is working for.
Death Stranding Will Not Be Related To PT
PT aka Silent Hills starring Norman Reeds and director Guillermo del Toro was one of the last games that Hideo Kojima was working on in Konami. So when he brought both actors back there was a great deal of speculation on whether their appearance would be linked to the previous Silent Hills game. Kojima, however, has confirmed that even though he will be utilizing the two talents it will not be related to Silent Hills. As for those of you asking it is needless to say that Death Stranding will have nothing to do with Metal Gear Solid which belongs to Konami.
Death Stranding Is Being Built On The Decima Engine
Guerrilla Games knocked it out of the park last year with Horizon Zero Dawn, hands down one of the best new IPs of 2017. With it came a fiery red haired protagonist in a gorgeous open world RPG with seamless environments and fluid gameplay so it’s good news for us that Death Stranding will be building upon the Decima engine for their game. I’m looking forward to the seemless open world experience that the engine has been proven to be able to create.
Death Stranding Is Coming Out Before 2020
Before the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Before the new Akira. https://t.co/PEuuP8FRfL
— Kojima Productions (@KojiPro2015_EN) September 18, 2016
Last but not least the question on everyone’s mind, when is Death Stranding coming out? In true Kojima fashion when asked the question he tweeted “Before the Tokyo Olympic Games. Before the new Akira”. The Tokyo Olympic Games are in 2020 but the new Akira statement is a little more ambiguous. Suffice to say there’s probably more to that statement that meets the eye. But I think it’s safe to say we’ll get a release date for it next year.