Death Stranding Trailer Reaction

After a few hints and a poster, Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s first new game since his departure from Konami has been announced proper at E3 2016 – trailer and all.

As is common with a Kojima trailer, the first thing we see is a quote:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
– William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

As is also usual for Kojima, the mysterious poetic excerpt is echoed what has become a routine mix of literal and metaphoric interpretations. We see not just a grain of sand, but a whole beach, strewn with dead sea creatures.

Not long after, we get what 50% of The Walking Dead fans have been waiting six seasons for: a good glimpse of Norman Reedus’ butt. Sure it’s CG, but we’ll settle. Reedus has previously appeared in Kojima’s ill-fated PT (Playable Teaser, which never eventuated into Silent Hills). There was some speculation that the character in the recent “I’ll Keep Coming” poster for Kojima Productions was also Reedus – an amazing pick considering barely any of his face was revealed – and it would seem the eagle-eyed folks were probably right!

that’s what she said

that’s what she said

This definitely doesn’t look like a PT 2.0 attempt, but when the baby in Reedus arms (“hold infinity in the palm of your hand”, anyone?), disappears, replaced by gooey black sludge, I couldn’t help but give in to a familiar fetus-in-the-bathroom-sink shudder. Straight-up horror or not, Kojima at least flirts with the spooky side of things in most of his games (Laughing Octopus, Gray Fox’ introduction, AI Campbell etc), and he certainly looks set to continue here.

I would hazard a guess that similar to Kojima’s strong anti-nuclear message in the Metal Gear Solid series, this trailer is hinting at an ecological message here. Surely all the dead whales and crabs by what appears to be oil can’t be a coincidence? But then we’re also looking at a ghost baby, a robotic umbilical cord and eventually five levitating figures high above the ocean so I guess anything is possible.

As a long time Kojima fan, it’s heartwarming to see any fruition from him now that he’s free of his old publisher’s shackles, and that while might have lost his old franchises and his Fox engine, he’s taken with him everything that Konami couldn’t claim ownership of: Norman Reedus, the fact that four out of the ten names in the credits are “Hideo Kojima”, and, most importantly and clearly from this trailer, his unequalled and unique directorial mastery.

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