What the heck was that Death Stranding trailer about, then? IGN sat down with Hideo Kojima in order to ask that very question, and while the auteur shied away from some details, he was surprisingly candid in his responses about the game. So, where to start? How about the underwater sequence that the ex-Konami veteran noted is playable at PSX 2017?
“One of the themes of this game is life and death,” he said. “So I want people to realise that when they die in the game, that isn’t the end.” That underwater environment is purgatory, a place where every player will be transported when they die. This is Kojima’s response to Dark Souls, which has changed how we think about failing in games.
Each and every time Sam (who’s played by Norman Reedus) dies, you’ll end up at the bottom of the ocean, and you’ll be free to explore in first-person. Within this space you’ll find items and other objects, which we assume you’ll be able to bring back into the world with you. “It’s the equivalent of that screen that says ‘Continue?’ and a counter ticking down towards zero,” added Kojima.
Okay, so the Game Over screen is fully interactive, but is that all that's unique? Not quite, as Death Stranding is aiming to introduce the idea of persistence. So, in the trailer there’s a massive explosion before Sam is transported to purgatory, but when he’s brought back to life there’s an enormous crater in the world. Every death in your game will leave a mark behind.
Alright, alright, but what about the babies? Well, it’s baby, to be precise. Kojima’s confirmed that the child we’ve seen in all three trailers so far is the same person, and it plays a key part in both the plot and the gameplay. “The baby relates to game mechanics as well as the story as a whole,” he explained. Do you have to protect it? Does it give you powers? Who knows!
So what about the guy that gets really old, then? That’s the rain. Except this isn’t rain that we recognise from our world, it’s called Timefall, a slippy substance that alters the flow of time. “Most people in the game are aware of the rain – and well, Norman is quite unique in this regard… I think I should stop there,” he laughed.
But what is Death Stranding? It’s an open world action game. Kojima’s not really revealing much about how online multiplayer (a feature already confirmed for the title) will work, but unsurprisingly he wants to do something different with it. The project’s making progress, though, and it sounds utterly intriguing. At least this interview has cleared a few things up.