Tomorrow Is In Your Hands
– Tagline
Death Stranding is an action, strand video game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 4. It is directed by Hideo Kojima – the first game he and his reformed studio have worked on since the disbandment of Kojima Productions as a Konami subsidiary in July 2015. The game was officially announced during Sony's E3 2016 press conference. It is slated to release on November 8, 2019.

Story Edit

Characters and cast Edit

Death Stranding stars Sam (Norman Reedus), a reputed deliveryman on an expedition across the continental United Cities, following in the footsteps of UCA president-to-be Amelie (Emily O'Brien). He works for an organization named Bridges, headed by Die-Hardman (Tommie Earl Jenkins), which also employs several allies he encounters throughout his journey. Such Bridges allies include Deadman (Jesse Corti); Heartman (Darren Jacobs), an AED-reliant man whose heart stops every 21 minutes; and Mama (Margaret Qualley), a young woman tethered to her beached infant daughter and confined to a Bridges warehouse.

On his journey west, Sam befriends a young woman named Fragile (Léa Seydoux). Conversely, he is antagonized by Homo Demens figurehead Higgs (Troy Baker) along the way, and finds himself engaged in something of an arch-rivalry with the enigmatic Cliff (Mads Mikkelsen).

Synopsis Edit

In the near future, mysterious explosions have rocked the planet, setting off a series of supernatural events known as the Death Stranding. With spectral creatures plaguing the landscape, and the planet on the verge of a mass extinction, it's up to Sam to journey across the ravaged wasteland and save mankind from impending annihilation.[2]

Gameplay Edit

Death Stranding takes place in an open world and is played from a third-person and occasionally first-person perspective. As the deliveryman Sam, the player is tasked with making their way through the world carrying cargo, while overcoming various environmental obstacles with equipment, dealing with various enemies, and progressing through the main story or undertaking side missions. Predominantly taking place in the continental United States of the future, Death Stranding's vast open world includes biomes such as lush grasslands and forests, cold tundra and snow-covered mountain ranges, and reddish dusty drylands, all of which can be fully explored.[3]

Before embarking on deliveries, players can select an amount of cargo to carry, personal protective equipment, traversal equipment, and weapons. Traversal is a core element of the gameplay, demanding topographical route planning and environmental scanning, consideration of carried cargo, and active balancing of Sam as his center of gravity and stability shift. A powered exoskeleton can be worn to enable Sam to carry heavy loads of cargo more easily, or run much faster and jump significantly farther than normal. Heavy loads can be divided between Sam and up to two floating carriers. While in combat, cargo may be dropped to allow for easier movement and picked up again after enemies are dealt with. Additionally, players must manage systems such as health, stamina, cargo integrity, equipment durability and power consumption, and their Bridge baby's mental state. Sam can rest in-place and recover lost health and stamina, or sooth his Bridge baby and increase his relationship with the infant. Locations in the world such as safe houses, hot springs, and rest shelters function as means of replenishing varying attributes associated with maintaining Sam.

Though players have melee combat and firearms at their disposal to deal with enemies, lethal violence against living enemies is not encouraged. Players are able to use melee combat and firearms to incapacitate or restrain enemies, or attempt to circumvent them entirely, and may run, jump, crouch walk, or use vehicles to navigate the world. While under threat from enemies, crouch walking may be used to move stealthily and hide in various cover. When the player dies, they aren't presented with a conventional "Game over", but instead transported to an "upside-down realm" analogous to a "Continue?" prompt, where they can explore and recover lost items. Player-determined changes to the game world – particularly triggered voidouts – are persistent, remaining in the player's game world even after death.[4]

Multiplayer Edit

The game's asynchronous multiplayer, named the Social Strand System, enables online players across the world to indirectly help one another throughout their journeys. Roads, bridges, and safe houses can be built across the Social Strand System, and players may contribute to the construction of such structures. The paths walked by other players across the Social Strand System may be observed and traversed to reach destinations. Well-trodden paths will smooth over in time, allowing for faster travel down them. Helpful structures, vehicles, equipment, and signs of other Sams may be used by players in their travels. Players making use of the helpful aids of other Sams may express their gratitude by giving them likes. A PlayStation Plus subscription is not required to access the Social Strand System's features, and said features are optional.

Presentation Edit

Kojima return E3 2016

"Hello, everyone. I'm back!"

Hideo Kojima formally revealed Death Stranding at Sony's E3 2016 conference, through a reveal trailer featuring the then-unidentified lead character Sam. At TGA 2016, Kojima Productions revealed a teaser trailer featuring Cliff and Deadman. At TGA 2017, Kojima revealed a second teaser trailer, which provided a more expansive look at the game's unique world and story.

In February 2018, it was revealed that Emily O'Brien and Troy Baker had joined the cast of the game. In May, Shawn Layden of Sony Worldwide Studios revealed that Death Stranding would be part of a group of four games (along with Ghost of Tsushima, Marvel's Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II) which PlayStation would focus on at E3 2018.[5] At E3 2018, an extensive teaser trailer premiering gameplay and incorporating "Asylums for the Feeling" by Silent Poets (feat. Leila Adu) was presented, showing Fragile and Amelie for the first time; it was revealed that Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner would be part of the game's cast. Later that year at TGS 2018, it was revealed that Tommie Earl Jenkins would portray a key character in the game, and that Akio Ōtsuka, Kikuko Inoue, Nana Mizuki and Satoshi Mikami – Metal Gear series veterans – along with Kenjiro Tsuda, had joined the game's Japanese voice cast.[6]

In May 2019, the names of several of the game's main characters were revealed in the release date reveal trailer. In July 2019, after previewing it to attendees of the San Diego Comic Con, Kojima released a trailer spotlighting Heartman. For Gamescon 2019, Kojima revealed showcased introducing Deadman and Sam's Bridge baby, Mama, and the Ludens Fan. The following month, Kojima announced that production of the Japanese voice over of the game had finished.

In September 2019, Kojima announced that he was open to developing a sequel to further solidify the "strand game" as a genre.[7] At TGS 2019, Kojima showcased extensive gameplay in the open world of episode 2 ("Amelie") of the game, as well as an in-depth tour of Sam's private room. On September 24, during PlayStation's State of Play presentation, it was confirmed that along with the premiere of Death Stranding a special limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle would also be released.

Development Edit

Kojima del Toro and Reedus TGA 2017

Death Stranding marks the second collaboration between Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, and Norman Reedus

The development of Death Stranding began following Kojima Productions' reformation in December 2015. The game entered full development in 2017.[8] Kojima revealed that in previous games he has worked on, he had to make compromises to bring them to fruition. With Death Stranding, however, he stated that the need for compromise is no longer present, and is confident that the game will be "something completely new that no-one has seen so far", as well as his best creative work yet.[9] Kojima was aware of the belief that he was deliberately proceeding too slowly in the game's development, and revealed that was not the case.[4]

Kojima suggested that Death Stranding does not fall solely into one specific gaming genre,[10] but rather is largely a new genre of gaming entirely: a "strand game".[1] Its genre-defying nature has been described in a similar vein to that of Metal Gear: In its infancy, Metal Gear was initially considered to be merely an action game, as the stealth genre was not thought to exist at the time; it would go on to be perceived as something more specific and unique due to its novel stealth elements, ultimately ushering in the stealth genre of video games.[11]

Concept Edit

Connected personnel

A rope connecting, from left to right, Guillermo del Toro, Norman Reedus, Hideo Kojima and Mads Mikkelsen

All elements of the game, from its story to gameplay, are bound by a unifying idea – that of the "strand", or connection. Kojima believes that humans have constructed "walls" between themselves, and have grown accustomed to isolation. He hopes that in playing Death Stranding, players come to form new bonds with other players around the globe, and that they come to understand the importance of forging new connections with others.[12]

According to Kojima, most action games consist of players communicating with the equivalents of "sticks" – swords, guns, punches, kicks and other avenues of physical communication – with the "stick" metaphorically being humanity's first invention. Kojima aims to "tie people together" by utilizing humanity's second invention: the "rope".[11][13] Despite there being an increased emphasis on "ropes", "sticks" will still be utilized in the game as well, in conjunction with "ropes".[14]

Engine Edit

Further information: Decima
Kojima at Guerrilla Games

Guerrilla Games gifted Kojima Decima's source code, sparking their collaborative development of the engine

After a worldwide tour of video game studios, and with the technical advisement of Mark Cerny, Kojima narrowed down two game engines for Death Stranding, one of which was used to create the game's E3 2016 teaser trailer.[15] Kojima ultimately chose Guerrilla Games' in-house Decima engine after being sent a box containing the engine's source code, which "made [him] very happy". Additionally, Kojima set up a small satellite studio at Guerrilla Games, in order to work in close liaison with the Dutch studio to improve the engine.[16]

Music Edit

The official soundtrack of Death Stranding is composed by Ludvig Forssell, who previously worked with Kojima on Metal Gear Solid V. Death Stranding: Timefall is an original album inspired by the game, featuring music created by artists such as CHVRCHES, Khalid, DJ Lazer, and more.

The first two trailers for Death Stranding used songs produced by the Icelandic band Low Roar: "I'll Keep Coming" in the reveal trailer and "Easy Way Out" in the TGA 2016 teaser trailer. In February 2017, a limited edition 12" single containing the aforementioned two songs was published by Mondo Records, in conjunction with Kojima Productions. This was the first piece of merchandise released for Death Stranding. At E3 2018, the revealed teaser trailer used Silent Poets' "Asylum for the Feeling" as a background song. The official release date trailer would later use the song "Path" by the band Apocalyptica.[17]

Release Edit

DS Twitch stream promotion

Promotional image preceding PlayStation's Twitch live stream of the 2019 release date trailer

Several release windows were given throughout Death Stranding's development. Kojima stated that, "[Death Stranding] will be out before the Olympics", referencing the Tokyo 2020 Games. Additionally, in 2016, he stated that "there is a movie called Akira, and [Death Stranding] will be out before the year in which Akira is set", with that year being 2019.[18] During the TGS 2018 stage panel, Kojima mentioned that the game is still on track to release when planned, which is the year 2019 in which Akira is set. In a podcast with Dan Fogler, Norman Reedus corroborated a 2019 release.[19] In March 2019, Kojima revealed that "Death Stranding is very slightly behind our initial plan, but not behind by much."[20]

On May 29, 2019, on a co-branded PlayStation Twitch stream, the release date trailer was shown for the first time. It announced that Death Stranding will be released on November 8, 2019. The game will be offered in Standard, Special, Digital Deluxe, and Collector's editions.

Pre-order bonuses Edit

DS pre-order bonuses

Death Stranding pre-order bonuses

  • Death Stranding dynamic PS4 theme
  • Chibi Ludens PS4 avatar
  • In game items*:
    • Gold "Sam" sunglasses
    • Gold hat
    • Gold speed skeleton
    • Gold armor plate

* Unlocked in-game via story progression.

Special Edition Edit

DS Special Edition

Death Stranding Special Edition

  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Steelbook case
  • Death Stranding: Timefall (original music from the world of Death Stranding)
    • Music album digital download
    • Behind the scenes making of video
  • Gold "Ludens Mask" sunglasses*

* Unlocked in-game via story progression.

Digital Deluxe Edition Edit

  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Death Stranding: Timefall (original music from the world of Death Stranding)
    • Music album digital download
    • Behind the scenes making of video
  • 10 PSN character avatars
  • In-game items*:
    • Gold power skeleton
    • Gold "Ludens Mask" sunglasses
    • Gold armor plate (lvl. 2)
    • Gold all-terrain skeleton

* Unlocked in-game via story progression.

Collector's Edition Edit

DS Collector's Edition

Death Stranding Collector's Edition

  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Bridges cargo case
  • Full-sized BB pod
  • Custom steelbook (including full PS4 game)
  • Ludens keychain
  • Death Stranding: Timefall (original music from the world of Death Stranding)
    • Music album digital download
    • Behind the scenes making of video
  • 10 PSN character avatars
  • In-game items*:
    • Gold power skeleton
    • Gold "Ludens Mask" sunglasses"
    • Gold armor plate (lvl. 2)
    • Gold all-terrain skeleton

* Unlocked in-game via story progression.

Limited Edition Edit

DS Limited Edition

Death Stranding Limited Edition PS4 Pro bundle

  • Pre-order bonuses
  • 1TB PS4 Pro system with special Death Stranding-inspired design
  • Translucent, BB pod-inspired DualShock 4 wireless controller
  • Death Stranding complete avatar set
  • Death Stranding: Timefall (original music from the world of Death Stranding)
    • Music album digital download
    • Behind the scenes making of video
  • In-game items*:
    • Gold power skeleton
    • Gold "Ludens Mask" sunglasses
    • Gold armor plate (lvl. 2)
    • Gold all-terrain skeleton

* Unlocked in-game via story progression.

Reception Edit

Prerelease Edit

In early 2019, Kojima privately demoed the first two hours of an early version of the game to Guerrilla Games[21] and Metal Gear Solid movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. This early showing received much excitement and praise from the viewing parties, with Vogt-Roberts describing the game world as "next-level immaculate".[22] Sam Lake of Remedy Entertainment was also shown the game and stated that it "dares to push the boundaries".[23] In March, The Division 2 director Julian Gerighty was shown the game, and was left thinking it was "mind-blowing" and would be "timeless".[24] In April, Iain Cook of the band CHVRCHES was shown the game by Kojima and was likewise left in awe, stating, "Some of the shit he is doing with the new game is unlike anything I have seen anyone else do."[25]

Death Stranding also received notable criticism in its prerelease phase. According to Alanah Pearce, then of IGN, one prolific game developer is said to have tried the game and not liked what they played.[26] David Jaffe, best known for directing the Twisted Metal series and God of War (2005), criticized the game's marketing in a video titled "Death Stranding Marketing: What Are They Thinking?!?". He questioned how well-thought-out the game's marketing plan was, and suggested that "Maybe Kojima's just drank a little bit too much of his own kool-aid and thinks that the kind of cryptic, weird shit that his hardcore fans love... Maybe he's like, 'That's what they love!'", additionally stating that such marketing is rather limited in audience reach. He compared Death Stranding's marketing to that of Gears 5 – a game also being marketed at the time – noting how more accessible Gears 5 came off as being from its marketing, and claimed that Death Stranding would "need word of mouth to save it, because it's fucking weird".[27]

Controversy Edit

In late September 2019, Hideo Kojima received backlash for an English tweet wherein he clarified that he uses the "A Hideo Kojima Game" label because of his direct involvement in many crucial aspects of a game's development from beginning to end.[28] The use of "me doing" in his English tweet lead many to criticize him for seemingly taking full credit for the aspects of game development he mentioned. However, his tweet was partially mistranslated from his original Japanese tweet, wherein he uses the word 関わる ("involved") and not "me doing" as is used in his English translated tweet, and states that he would not use the label if his only contribution were a concept, game design, or producing.[29][30]

Gallery Edit

Key art Edit

Trailers Edit

Notes Edit

  • Death Stranding has an install size of 55GB on PlayStation 4.
  • A key theme in the game, as well its namesake concept, is cetacean stranding – the phenomenon of cetaceans stranding themselves ashore. The event is more encompassing in Death Stranding than it is in reality, however; several other forms of marine life are seen stranded on a beach alongside cetaceans, including crustaceans and fish.
  • Development of Death Stranding was so smooth that Sony Interactive Entertainment stated, "We've never seen a game be made at such a fast pace."[31]
  • Three Death Stranding Easter eggs can be found in Guerrilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn:
  1. Stranded Necklace – the dog tag-laden necklace worn by Sam in the reveal trailer, described as "Six tarnished metal ingots threaded with a plain wire";
  2. Stranded Shackles – the cuffs attached to Sam's wrist in the reveal trailer, described as "Shackles made from an unknown, smooth material";
  3. Stranded Figure – the infant doll found in the TGA 2016 teaser trailer, described as "A battered idol of an infant, smelling faintly of decay".
  • In early October 2016, Kojima took the development team of Death Stranding to visit the Meguro Parasitological Museum, with the purpose of showing his staff members how fundamental parasites are to the ecosystem.[32]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "[...] DS is not a stealth game. Could move subjectively but not a FPS shooting game either. By incorporating with the concept of connection(strand), it's totally brand new genre called action game/strand game(social strand system)." 
  2. ^ – "Death Stranding Game | PS4"
  3. ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "[...] The snow mountain is not the set, the path exists and you can actually go climb up the mountain. The snow mountain appears in the beginning of the trailer is exactly what it is." 
  4. ^ a b IGN – "Kojima Explains Death Stranding Gameplay and Lore"
  5. ^ Engadget – "Sony is trying a new format for its E3 press conference"
  6. ^ DualShockers – "Death Stranding — Here Are All the New Details Shared by Hideo Kojima and by the Japanese Cast [UPDATED]"
  7. ^ GameSpot – "Death Stranding Sequels Might be Necessary, Kojima Says"
  8. ^ YouTube · IGN – "Death Stranding and the Future of PlayStation (Hideo Kojima, Mark Cerny & Hermen Hulst)"
  9. ^ Digital Spy – "Hideo Kojima confident Death Stranding will be his "best work""
  10. ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "Part 9 of 9. When asked about what genre is the game." 
  11. ^ a b IGN – "E3 2016: More Cryptic Death Stranding Details From Kojima"
  12. ^ Instagram · @hideo_kojima – "Death Stranding conceptual explanation leaflet (EN)"
  13. ^ GamesRadar+ – "Here's what Death Stranding is actually about, according to Hideo Kojima"
  14. ^ Twitter · @KojiPro2015_EN – "Part 8 of 9, how Kobo Abe's sticks and ropes are keywords." 
  15. ^ Polygon – "Death Stranding's teaser probably won't be playable, Hideo Kojima says"
  16. ^ GamesRadar+ – "Here's everything we know about Death Stranding's Guerrilla Games produced Decima engine"
  17. ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "Apocalyptica is a metal cello band from Finland who I have been fan of for over 20 years. I finally got to meet them (Thanks to Sam Lake!) in Helsinki earlier this year. We both felt a creative "strand" to each other and I was delighted to use their track for the latest trailer." 
  18. ^ IGN – "Death Stranding Will Be Out Before 2019, May Feature Heroine"
  19. ^ Reddit – "Dan Fogler's podcast with Norman Reedus"
  20. ^ IGN – "Death Stranding Is A Little Behind Schedule, Says Kojima"
  21. ^ Twitter · @akisaitokojipro – "Showed the first 2 hours of gameplay to our Guerrilla brothers. Yes, Hideo was demonstrating it! (The game is not fully completed...yet) The picture show’s the friendship between us! Keeps our mutual secrets here!" 
  22. ^ Twitter · @VogtRoberts – "So @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN let me play DEATH STRANDING! The world is next-level immaculate. It's like freebasing pure Kojima & Shinkawa. Remember when FURY ROAD blew you away but also made you (in the best-most-thankful way) ask "wtf" how does this miracle exist? YOU. ARE. NOT. READY!" 
  23. ^ Twitter · @SamLakeRMD – "With @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN @Kojima_Hideo. He is an inspiration. #DeathStranding dares to push the boundaries. It’s wonderful to be able to compare notes. Happy and honored to call him a friend. @remedygames @ControlRemedy" 
  24. ^ Twitter · @jgerighty – "Over the course of making #TheDivision2 we did many many awesome things and received support from many other developers. Hugely thankful to @Kojima_Hideo for having welcomed us to his gorgeous studio and shown us his mind blowing game. Trust me, #DeathStranding will be timeless." 
  25. ^ Comic Book – "'Death Stranding' "Is Unlike Anything I Have Seen Anyone Else Do""
  26. ^ YouTube · Beyond! – "Death Stranding Conspiracy Theories - Beyond 548"
  27. ^ YouTube · David Jaffe – "Death Stranding Marketing: What Are They Thinking?!?"
  28. ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME means the declaration of me doing concept, produce, original story, script, setting, game design, casting, dealing, directing, difficulty adjustments, promoting, visual design, editing, supervising the merch." 
  29. ^ Twitter · @Kojima_Hideo – "“A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME”とは、企画、プロデュース、原作、脚本、設定、ゲームデザイン、キャスティング、交渉等の川上から、演出、監督、難易度調整、プロモーション、ビジュアル、PV編集、グッズ監修までの川下までにも関わるという宣言。原案やゲームデザイン、プロデュースまでの作品にはつけない。" 
  30. ^ Twitter · @metasynthie – "If you want to know what Kojima was actually trying to communicate in that tweet, here's my attempt at a de-mangled translation" 
  31. ^ Siliconera – "Hideo Kojima, Koei Tecmo, Falcom, Level-5, And Aquaplus Talk Future Projects And Plans"
  32. ^ Twitter · @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN – "2/3 Today virus's the one to get all interests but I wanted to tell my staff the parasites is deeply involved in the coar of our ecosystems." 

External links Edit

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