There is a lot going on in the latest trailer for Death Stranding, the latest creation from gaming icon Hideo Kojima. There’s a dying president, and hand-to-hand combat. Hazmat suits and Fortnite ladder building and baby-powered generators. There’s a distinct, post-apocalyptic sense of absence akin to Shadow of the Colossus, and a tendency for squishy, guttural and sinewy soundscapes like in Resident Evil.
All of this is to say that Death Stranding is definitely a Hideo Kojima game. As with his magnum opus, the Metal Gear series, Kojima has littered his latest work with his mind’s convoluted creations. In 2012, Agness Kaku, the lone translator for Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty—a gig for which she wasn’t credited—offered her take on the creative process of and her time working for one of the gaming industry’s most notable enigmas.
“When a story has a plethora of clichés (‘the-government-made-me-a-killer-then-abandoned-me’ comes painfully to the mind) and takes itself seriously, all one can do is lay on a good coat of noir and make it stick,” Kaku told Hardcore Gaming 101 (in a no longer accessible interview).
Now, two decades years after the release of the cliché-ridden Metal Gear series, Death Stranding appears to follow a similar path. The game’s trailer clearly hints at something happening in this post-apocalyptic version of the United States, but the overwhelmingly muted atmosphere and hodgepodge of scenes supersede any plot point the trailer hoped to establish. Why should I care that this iteration of the world is dying? Why was Sam wearing a lone handcuff? How did that ladder, lacking any visible joints, extend up the side of that mountain?
Of course, any good trailer draws viewers closer to the edge of their seats, and to the edge of their sanity, as they await answers upon the game’s release. Unfortunately, Death Stranding’s pseudo-philosophical introduction seems more likely to mesh enjoyable gameplay with unwieldy imagery that is passed off as artistic.
But come on, you know you’re going to pre-order it.
Death Stranding is set to drop this November for PlayStation 4.