After years of cryptic trailers and images, we finally have something solid on Death Stranding – a release date set for November 8, 2019. The reveal trailer, however, raises more questions than it does give answers.
The extended trailer, which clocks in at nearly 9 minutes, is a huge dumptruck of information. Norman Reedus’ character Sam works for an organization called “Bridges” in what is apparently the United Cities of America. The game is set in some kind of post-apocalyptic period where tar-like creatures have done something that has scattered humanity. There are these otherworldly creatures, a terrorist organization, the scraps of government, and more.
We see environments including forests, snowcapped mountains, and even the White House, where Sam tells a very ill-looking president that she isn’t “the president of jack shit.” The bottled babies we keep seeing in the trailers are apparently called “Bridge Babies,” and they somehow connect the person plugged into them to another world or another time.
As Sam, your goal is to reconnect society. The game seems to be very much about travel, with the trailer spending more time showing Sam walking, using ladders and ropes, and riding a motorcycle than it does with him shooting, though he does have guns. At the end of the trailer, Mads Mikkelsen’s character says to a POV character that “the whole wide world will be yours to explore,” including the moon. This feels like it’s talking to us, the viewer, making me wonder just how big the open world of Death Stranding is.
Sam can ride, shoot, run, fight, and climb, and he seems to wear that big chunky backpack through all of it. There’s heavy stealth, as you’d expect from a Kojima game, and it seems the stealth varies depending on whether you’re avoiding the terrorists, the otherworldly “BTs” that apparently only come out in the rain, or the dust-like demon soldiers that Mads Mikkelsen’s character controls.
And then there’s the cast. Aside from Reedus and Mikkelsen, you’ll see Lindsey Wagner of Bionic Woman fame, directors Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding-Refn, voice-actor Troy Baker, and Lea Seydoux. It’s a weird cast to be sure. Kojima has had a friendship with Reedus and del Toro since before the cancellation of the ill-fated Silent Hills, and has been very open about his fanboy fascination with Mikkelsen and Winding-Refn. The renderings of the actors fall into the uncanny valley in this no-context trailer, so it’s hard to tell how they’ll fit into the game. They also have weird names like Heartman, Deadman, and Fragile, so it’s definitely a Kojima game. The fact that the women are named Fragile and Mama doesn’t bode well for an improvement in Kojima’s handling of female characters.
With all that said, I’m even more excited for this game now that I have something to chew on. Death Stranding hits PlayStation 4 on November 8, 2019.
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