Not long after the well-publicized and drawn-out breakup between esteemed game designer Hideo Kojima and the historied game conglomerate Konami, Kojima Productions’ inaugural title Death Stranding was announced at E3 2016. It was in that initial trailer that we were introduced to a glimpse of the bizarre world that the main character based on actor Norman Reedus would be a part of. Shown earlier this week during Sony’s press conference, the latest trailer for Kojima’s wild solo debut game ties some more of the loose strings together.
Following E3 2016, a new cinematic trailer was shown at The Game Awards 2016 and introduced a character based on director Guillermo Del Toro. There was also a little more insight given in terms of what was happening with the baby that Reedus’ character held in the first trailer. At this point, an impression was made that there were at least two dimensions in this game: a seemingly empty one where the disconnected Reedus resides and a ruined one where Del Toro and the villain based on actor Mads Mikkelsen are located. Though Death Stranding did not show up at last year’s E3 we were given another trailer at The Game Awards 2017. It is here that fans learned the name of the main character, Sam Porter Bridges, and were first introduced to the “Timefall,” a rain that ages and essentially obliterates anyone it touches.
The latest trailer is the longest we’ve seen so far and seems to be the first to feature actual gameplay sequences. To start, we’re shown the now-infamous baby sucking his thumb before giving viewers a quick thumbs up, as if it’s saying “have fun with this one”.
With some background dialog (between Norman Reedus’ Sam Bridges and a newly-introduced character based on Léa Seydoux) we find out that Bridges is a delivery man who has the “extinction factor”. Bridges admits his condition is not as bad as that of Seydoux’s character because he can only sense the mysterious invisible creatures rather than see them.
The trailer transitions into a montage of Bridges in the process of various deliveries to the haunting tune of SILENT POETS’ “Asylums for the Feeling” featuring Leila Adu.
The impressive music at the opening of DEATH STRANDING E3 2018 trailer is ASYLUMS FOR THE FEELING by SILENT POETS. After 12 years since the last album, Silent Poets released the new album ‘dawn’ that I borrowed from. He’ll be performing with great artists at Shibuya WWW on 6/24. pic.twitter.com/5PGl9dbWZX
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) June 12, 2018
Going through what seems like different times in the character’s life we are shown Bridges carrying an ungodly amount of sizable packages through different locales. The travel routes include the muddy world we were shown in the TGA 2017 trailer as well as some lush greenery and healthy river settings that become contrasted with barren and rocky wastelands in the next scene.
What’s being delivered though? In one instance, we see what looks like a body bag. Are living people being delivered to certain points where the dimensions can be crossed? Maybe they’re already and being transferred to the other dimension for an ulterior motive? We’ll most likely have to wait for that definitive answer.
It can be assumed though that the game will feature some light platforming. We’re shown a sequence where Bridges must be guided through a sketchy overpass on a thin ladder as well as a scene where he impressively climbs the side of a mountain with full gear. Additionally, we’re given a hint of the game’s combat as Bridges single-handedly unlocks a carrying case that then transforms into an AR-like weapon.
DEATH STRANDING E3 2018 trailer out now! Actual game running in 4K on a PS4 Pro, from the DECIMA ENGINE. Answering some clues from the previous 3 trailers, showing gameplay & featuring 2 new female characters. A handmade, “silent” trailer with no explosions/gun fights. pic.twitter.com/9A5OHmmREz
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) June 12, 2018
Like most avant garde narratives, the new Death Stranding trailer presents four textual themes: “GIVE ME YOUR HAND IN LIFE, GIVE ME YOUR HAND IN DEATH, GIVE ME YOUR HAND IN FLESH,” and “GIVE ME YOUR HAND IN SPIRIT”. The game seems to be a study of our understanding of life and death. Perhaps the dimension we see Bridges making his deliveries in is a limbo between life and death (this would give the last name “Bridges” some literary nuance). Alternatively, it can be surmised that he’s stuck in an afterlife that’s a result of the Timefall eradicating all beings of flesh, only to leave behind plant life and those who’ve somehow surpassed their flesh.
At one point in the trailer, Bridges and the character portrayed in Seydoux’s likeness come across each other in a thrilling moment as they hide through self-controlled stillness from one of the invisible creatures that are able to leave physical imprints in Bridges’ dimension. With a spike-studded jacket that reads “FRAGILE” (which is a delivery company titled “FRAGILE EXPRESS” per artwork shared on Kojima’s Twitter, maybe this is who Bridge works for?), the Seydoux-based character reflects to Bridges that “the Timefall fast-forwards everything it touches but can’t wash everything away.”
Moving into some action, we’re given a suspenseful sequence where Bridges must employ his stealth and wits. Activating a sort of sensor over his shoulder (also seen in the TGA 2017 trailer) that’s powered by the title’s omnipresent baby, Bridges is now able to see the shadowy humanoids his extinction factor didn’t let him see before.
If you go back to the TGA 2016 trailer, the soldier covered in black fluid based on Mads Mikkelsen commands his subordinates with umbilical-like cords. The shadowy creatures shown in this week’s trailer seem to have the same cables. Could it be that the Mikkelsen villain is the one behind the Timefall? Perhaps his subordinates are manipulated husks of humans who were irreversibly aged by the mystical rain’s power.
No matter what their origin, the scene ends with Bridges being discovered, captured and pulled down by the shadow enemies. In a transitional darkness, Seydoux’s character appears with what seems to be a tiny baby fetus. She then says, “a [cryptobite?] a day keeps the Timefall away”, before chewing and swallowing the fetus. It can be surmised that the ubiquitous babies shown throughout the trailers are a sort of foil to the workings of the Timefall.
Before the trailer’s end, we’re introduced to Lindsay Wagner’s character who seems to know Bridges. It seems heavily possible that she’s the woman in the photo that Bridges is looking at earlier in the trailer, maybe his wife or mother. Bridges asks who she is before Wagner’s character states, “you’re too late.”
No release date was announced for Death Stranding but it’s clear this one will be worth the wait.