If you viewed the bizarre teaser for Death Stranding and immediately thought, “what the hell did I just watch,” the good news is that you are not alone.
Above all, the trailer seemed conceptual: there was no gameplay, just some hints at themes and ideas. Subsequently, there are some things we know concretely about the game, and some things that, in classic Kojima fashion, are more of fan conspiracy theory—and people are eating it up. Lets break it all down, starting with the stuff that’s actually grounded in reality.
Before the big reveal, Kojima was actually wearing a Death Stranding shirt during E3 interviews, that rascal:
Later that night, Kojima did another interview about Death Stranding, which you can watch below:
- Norman Reedus is starring, but Guillermo del Toro is not involved.
- They have not settled on a game engine.
- While Kojima would not specify a game genre, he did say there would be a lot of “action.” It will not be a straightforward action game however: “It’s something completely different from what they’re used to,” Kojima said.
- The game sounds kind far off, release-wise.
- It is not connected to P.T.
- The Kojima Productions logo has nothing to do with the game.
Kojima Productions also shared some images of the “making of” the teaser on their official website, which you can see below. These photographs show the process of Photogrammetry, where hundreds of photos are taken to create the 3D data necessary for an in-game model, as well as performance capture, which helps with what the in-game model actually does:
Okay, that about covers the solid stuff we know about Death Stranding—which, as it turns out, is not very much! The game appears to be in an early stage, given that they haven’t even settled on an engine yet. Still, there’s a lot to chew on in the teaser. Kojima himself said “There are a lot of elements in this teaser...I want for people to create their own ideas.”And that’s exactly what people have been doing; the teaser is being treated as a puzzle that needs to be solved, much like P.T. before it.
The most commonly cited thing about Death Stranding right now is the name itself. Maybe it seems like an awkward title, but it is a reference. You know how at the end of the Death Stranding trailer, you see this?
Well, as Wikipedia explains, there’s something known as “Cetacean Stranding,” which is a phenomenon where aquatic marine mammals, such as whales, beach themselves. This could happen for a variety of reasons: maybe the behemoth died in the water and washed ashore, maybe it was hurt and that’s how it floated to land. Or, more tragically, maybe some whales followed the distress call of an already stranded friend, only to doom themselves in the process.
Going back to the trailer, Norman Reedus himself seems stranded on this beach, eh? But if that’s the case, wouldn’t the implication be that he is also dead? Certainly, that’s what Kojima implied in his E3 interview when he said that “It’s a stranding for something that is not alive.” At the very least, there seems to be a psychological aspect to Death Stranding, especially given the disappearing baby.
Eagle-eyed fans also noticed that Reedus is wearing dog tags with equations on them (click on the icon to enlarge the picture):
Don’t see it? Lets ENHANCE:
According to Redditor tuomas146, these are the The Schwarzschild radius and the The Dirac Equation. These equations reference things relating to relativity and quantum mechanics, which in turn makes it seem like the game could have a bit of a sci-fi twist to it. Hence, say, the futuristic looking handcuffs:
From here, the theories spin out of control. Lots of people are taking the baby to mean something metaphorical, like Kojima’s relationship to Metal Gear Solid or Konami—hence the sense of loss. I’ve seen people postulate that the baby is actually a clone of Reedus, which perhaps he physically grew. Others are reading into the umbilical cords—not only does Reedus/the baby have one, so does all the typography relating to the game. Heck, most of the creatures in the trailer appear to have some sort of cord attached to them:
Some are noting that the trailer has a “strong environmental vibe,” given that Reedus appears to have his hands soaked in oil (nevermind all the dead sealife.) But the most out there theory I’ve seen believes that perhaps Reedus somehow traveled through a black hole. Maybe that seems ridiculous, but the thing people are citing are the dog tag equations—as neoGAFer Vaga writes, “An example of an object where the mass is within its Schwarzschild radius is a black hole.” HMM.
I don’t know what to believe, but I’ll say one thing: it sure is fun to be back on Kojima’s wild ride once more.