In a recent interview with Japanese publication Music Natalie, Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima revealed that his upcoming sequel, Death Stranding 2, will revisit the meaning of the word “strand” because of the covid pandemic.
After Kojima first revealed the teaser trailer for Death Stranding 2 at last year’s Game Awards, he revealed that he had already begun writing DS2’s story before the pandemic hit, but after living through its eerily similar world, he went back to the drawing board with writing the sequel. Kojima elaborated on his restructuring of DS2’s story, saying:
At the beginning, there was the theme of “connecting,” and after that, I made a lot of notes about character settings, game ideas, and so on. Like how to connect it. I put it together while maintaining a balance…But I had to rewrite everything because of corona. In Death Stranding, it was justice to connect, but with the corona crisis, pseudo-connections such as remotes have come to be emphasized. On the other hand, I felt that such pseudo-connections alone would not lead to fulfilling human lives. After all, humans need to go out into the outside world and move.
The isolation and fragmentation of the world during the pandemic “dramatically” altered the way people viewed what it meant to be connected, which led the auteur to revise the definition of the word “strand” in DS2.
Death Stranding saw Kojima perform a hat trick of sorts by predicting how a worldwide pandemic like covid would lead to a global lockdown and, in turn, elevate the importance of mail delivery services to keep society whole. In Death Stranding you play Sam Porter Bridges, a courier for Bridges, a logistics company, who is metaphorically and literally building bridges across America by trekking across the sci-fi wasteland and delivering packages.
If that wordplay on bridges wasn’t hammered home enough, Sam must avoid ink-like monstrosities on his journey using a “bridge” baby who can detect their presence. But wait, there’s more. Throughout the game, Kojima also plays with almost every homonym variation of the word “strand.”
Aside from strand being in the title of the game, Kojima uses the noun variation of the word to represent the shore of a beach, the verb meaning to leave someone somewhere, and even coined his own definition for Death Stranding’s genre as a “strand-type game” which loosely means that it is a video game where players can work together toward completing common goals through its online function even if they aren’t playing together. It’s all kind of exhausting when you sit and stew on it but basically, all you need to know is that Kojima loves his homonyms and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with Death Stranding 2.
Time will tell how Kojma’s rethinking of the meaning behind the word “strand” will manifest itself in the sequel, but if the previous title is anything to go on, he’ll likely discover even more use cases of the word to explore in codexes and cutscenes acted out by his favorite, 3D-scanned Hollywood actors.