It’s one small step for Hideo Kojima, one giant leap for gamerkind. We don’t quite know where Death Stranding is going, but one thing’s for certain: this is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before. ‘Global player collaboration,’ you say? Interesting.
Death Stranding has been something of an enigma since it was first announced, at Sony’s conference during E3 2016. The first title from Kojima’s newly-reformed studio (after whatever it was that caused the split between the director and Konami during the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain days), it’s billed as an open-world action game, with main characters played by actors Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen.
Almost two years on, the info-nuggets about the game that we have gleaned are definitely intriguing. The title refers (in part) to the cetacean stranding phenomenon, whereby dolphins and whales will seemingly choose to strand themselves on beaches, sometimes in groups. There’s no accepted explanation for this behaviour, but it ties into Death Stranding’s themes of life and what binds lives together perfectly.
Life and its ‘opposite’ are connected, that’s the message here. Speaking to IGN in December 2017, Kojima explained a few of the key elements of the game. Specifically, what happens when your character is ‘defeated.’ You’re transported to a sort of watery purgatory, as we’ve seen, where your character is able to leave their body and explore in first-person before returning to the world.
There’s something quite deep and spiritual going on here, but this attitude towards Game Over screens is only the start of Death Stranding’s innovations. As Mars Mikkelsen reports, the whole concept of living beings being inextricably connected to each other runs deep. It’s going to extend to the players themselves, too.
"The whole concept of playing the game, as I understand, needs collaboration from different people from different parts of the world,” he said, which brings up all kinds of questions. This being a Hideo Kojima title and all, it’s unlikely that we’re talking about a simple co-op mode here. We’ve heard talk of this close connectivity between Death Stranding players before; Mikkelson’s fellow motion capture actor Norman Reedus has stated that the game will feature “elements of social media.”
It’s just another fascinating piece of the Death Stranding puzzle. What befuddling new innovations will the game bring to online multiplayer? Nobody can say for now, but perhaps another showing is in the offing for E3 next month? Stay tuned.