In about a month or so, Hideo Kojima’s highly-anticipated game, Death Stranding, is set to launch exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Ever since the announcement of the game a few years back, it has been unclear what Death Stranding is actually about. Sure, Kojima Productions has since released several trailers and gameplay footages of the game, but those previews resulted in more questions leading many to ask the question, what is Death Stranding?
What we know so far:
So far, we know that The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus will serve as the main protagonist Sam Bridges in the upcoming game. Past trailers showed him carrying a baby, which weirded out people when it was first showcased. However, a 48-minute Death Stranding gameplay footage showed at the Tokyo Games Show earlier this month revealed that the baby is called a “Bridge Baby” or BB, that allows Sam, among other things, to see supernatural monsters from other dimensions that are called the “Beached Things” or BTs.
Moreover, it appears that the main premise of Death Stranding revolves around the journey of Sam Bridges, as he traverses the ruins of the United Cities of America, in a mission to create new “strands” and unify humanity. Although the gameplay footage shown at the TGS revealed what an actual mission on Death Stranding would look like, it was still not a straightforward preview that provides players an understanding of what to expect from the game.
A Walking Simulator?
The somewhat vague trailer led to many interpretations, with some calling Death Stranding a glorified walking simulator. However, Kojima addressed the walking simulator criticism, saying that while Death Stranding will center on Sam traveling the environment on foot, the game offers something beyond controlling a character from point A to B. Kojima himself recently explained that the playtests showed players were absorbed with Death Stranding’s vast environment that it made walking from one end to the other quite enjoyable. Kojima then said that “in this game, I think you will not understand if I just say this, but once you start playing the game, just walking in that world is really fun.”
Based on Kojima’s statement, it appears that it would be impossible for players to know what Death Stranding is until they get to experience the game itself. Kojima previously admitted that as it stands today, Death Stranding turned out to be something so unique that he doesn’t fully understand it. He revealed that the game, its world view, and gameplay are all new and it is his mission to create a genre that has never been done before.
Although the game is set to release in a month, there is still this longing to understand what Kojima is bringing to the table come November. In our quest to solve gaming’s biggest mystery right now, here are some possible scenarios that may deepen our understanding and finally answer the question, what is Death Stranding?
Death Stranding is a completely different game
It is no secret that while Kojima has produced games that revolutionized the video game industry, the developer is known for letting people believe one thing that turned out to be something completely different. Remember that time when Kojima trolled players back in 2001 when Metal Gear Solid 2 was released? Before that game’s launch, people thought that MGS 2 would mostly revolve around Solid Snake. However, to some people’s disappointment, it turned out that the game’s main protagonist is a new character called Raiden, and the legendary Snake only plays a supporting role.
It is not at all unlikely that Kojima is trying to pull the same stunt with Death Stranding. Almost all of the trailers revealed showed Norman Reedus playing the primary role, but will this remain true once the game releases? It is possible that what we are seeing right now is just a very small part and may not be the central focus of the game. Or certain presumptions about characters revealed thus far may not prove to be true. Either way, it'll be interesting to see any twists that Kojima has prepared.
Death Stranding is a glimpse into Kojima’s mind
It is not unheard of for creative people such as artists, musicians, authors, and the like to pour out their existential questions, emotions, and world views into their preferred mediums. Probably one of the most obvious reasons why we can’t make sense of the game now is because it would be impossible to do so through Death Stranding trailers and gameplay footages alone. But would we be able to make sense of it all once we play the game itself? Probably. But if Death Stranding is indeed a portal into Kojima’s psyche, then it is likely that only he alone can comprehend the game 100%. So what do we as players get from Death Stranding? Well, for one, a preview into the game developer’s perspective of the world, and hopefully, an awesome gaming experience like no other.
Death Stranding is a game that aims to revolutionize the gaming industry
Out of all the scenarios mentioned above, this one is the most probable. Why? Because according to Occam's razor problem-solving principle, "among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected." We're probably overanalyzing this whole Death Stranding thing. Although the other two scenarios mentioned above could still prove true, those are just assumptions and pure speculation that may have been preventing us from hearing what Kojima has been trying to say all along. Death Stranding is a game that wants to break conventional industry labels and offer a new and innovative way to play. Thus, it would be impossible to fully comprehend it until we get to experience the game ourselves, given that we have no point of reference or other previously released games to compare it with.
The biggest question now is will Kojima deliver? Would Death Stranding be a game that will truly shock gamers and introduce a new genre in the industry? Or would it just be like any other game and all the mystery and guessing is just a marketing tactic in an attempt to boost sales? Basing off Kojima's track record, we are hopeful that this would not be the case and that Death Stranding would turn out to be that game that players will remember for the rest of time. Luckily, we only have to wait for a month to see if Death Stranding would live up to the hype and expectations surrounding it.
Death Stranding is set to release on November 8, 2019, exclusively to the PS4.