Hideo Kojima is renowned for creating fascinating game worlds with convoluted narrative. Like the Bohemian Rhapsody, many a gamer will tell you they adore Metal Gear Solid but you can be sure they’ll have a really hard time explaining it to you. It looks like Death Stranding established itself as a similar venture from the get go. That trailer from back in E3 2016 was much the same as Metal Gear.
Fascinating but… what the hell is going on?! Many will have been disappointed by the lack of Death Stranding at this year’s E3. So for now, we’ll have to put up with the heady mix of confusion and fascination that many will remember when seeing the first ever trailer for Bioshock.
Lately, at All Things Playstation, we’ve been looking at the role publishers have in the game industry. They can place restrictions and demands on what can be in a game which can only feel stifling to such an original minded person as Kojima. In the case of Metal Gear Solid V, things did not end well between the two parties. With plenty of things left to do, Konami decided $80 was enough for the game and slapped a deadline on Kojima. After a bitter parting of the ways, Sony Interactive was all too aware of Kojima’s talents and decades long contribution to the games industry. Naturally, they chose to back the newly founded Kojima Productions financially.
This means two things. We’ll likely be waiting a lot longer for the game Kojima has reportedly wanted to make all along. This is because, with new massive funding and less scrutiny from Sony, Kojima will have a lot more creative freedom. His ambitions being realised, will take more time and may result in THE game of the PS4.
There’s A Reason Death Stranding Looks So Good
In both teaser trailers seen so far, a kind of animation can be recognised. It’s not full CG… It’s just that – it may as well be. That’s because we’re looking at the Decima Engine. A graphics engine that, despite its best efforts has not yet taken over the likes of Unreal and Unity. Created by Geurrilla Games and first seen on Killzone: Shadowfall, then on Until Dawn, it’s safe to say it generates some really clean looking, well performing games. More recently, it was brought to gamers in Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s a fantastic engine for lighting and facial motion capture, on a par with the likes of Uncharted 4.
Many aspects of the gameplay are still open to discussion as Kojima is making sure it’s all kept under wraps for now. So far we have Norman Reedus, surrounded by metaphors of death. Mads Mikkelson, hooked up to soldiers leads us to a new theory. It would be typical of Kojima’s paranormal themes if the player had to take on squads with a unified A.I. As if Mikkelson was controlling them individually from his mind.
This would make getting spotted and moving around cover far more problematic against a hive mind. We feel this transcendent gameplay is typical of what Kojima has become known for over the years. The recurring theme of babies leads us to believe the human race is dying out and that the act of giving birth is now considered more of a miracle. This would explain how infants seem to be guarded so closely in what little we’ve seen. Children of Men, anyone?
Some semblance of what to expect in gameplay can be found in a typically academic quote from Kojima himself. It suggests we will have a wide ranging system in place for use of initiative and gameplay variation. The huge suit of futuristic armour also gets us scratching our heads.
“Most of your tools in action games are sticks. You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these ‘sticks.’ In Death Stranding I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes… But of course, you will be able to use the sticks too.”
Musings On A Release Window
Sadly, we have no official release date to report. However, head of Sony Interactive Studios, Shawn Layden has been reported to have been playing the game himself. Which has given rise to the one and only solid fact about the game. It will be an open world title. Yet, the fact that it is playable is no indicator for a release window. There’s no telling what state it is currently in. By our estimations, Death Stranding will be available on the cusp of the arrival of the PS5. Leading to theories of its availability on both PS4 and PS5 in the dim and distant future.