Death Stranding / Kojima Productions
WHAT THE NEW DEATH STRANDING TRAILER TELLS US
There is so much going on.
by Felipe Parada
All I can say is wow, just wow, what a trailer. The trailer that was dropped during the 2017 Video Game Awards is definitely a confusing and baffling one. From babies, to invisible monsters and a new radar detector, I am going to take a look at what Kojima is trying to tell us in the newest Death Stranding Trailer. Before I begin I want to get one thing out of the way first, this is not a super hardcore in-depth analysis of the trailer because I don't think there is enough time in the day to try to grasp it in its entirety. Also this is strictly my opinion and shouldn't be taken as concrete fact even though I know that I will probably be wrong in my analysis. So Let's begin, shall we?
I have been following this game since it was first leaked that Kojima was starting a partnership with SONY on a new game. Anyone who is familiar with Kojima's work knows that there are many, many levels to his game and that you cant just look at whats on the surface. He goes as far as hiding the reveals in plain sight (Were looking at you Metal Gear Solid 5), something that he does very well because of all the Red Herrings he places in the games and especially in the trailers. Now we can all say that he looks like he is doing the same thing in Death Stranding but one can never be sure. Lets look at the first clue which is the title itself "Death Stranding".
It's all in the name
This would be one of the biggest clues because it holds a description on what the game is about. Death Stranding, or the concept of death being stranded, was first hinted in the first trailer where you see a whale dead on the beach. The whale was stranded between the sea and the land, stranded between two worlds. This idea is further expanded upon in the new trailer with a group of 3 explorers that are stranded in an unknown location being hunted by an unknown presence, could it be death itself or is there something more? Can the term "death" have a new meaning?
If there's one thing that is constant in Kojima games its his ability to break the fourth wall. We all remember the experience of having our memory cards read out loud and putting our controllers down and watching it being "controlled" by Psycho Mantis. That was Kojima's literal interpretation of the player being controlled by another. There was this relationship that we built with these characters because Kojima designed it in a way to invite us in and become part of the game. I believe Death Stranding will somehow give us the ability to interact with these characters on a larger scale. Can the idea of "being stranded between 2 worlds" bridge the gap between players and the characters we see on the screen? How will the Playstation Camera and controllers play into this because we all know he will try to pull a "breaking the fourth wall" sequence.
Lets take a moment to examine a phrase that Kojima had on his website right after be departed from Konami:
"Playing" is not simply a pastime, it is the primordial basis of imagination and creation. Truth be told, Homo Ludens (Those who Play) are simultaneously Homo Faber (Those who Create).
Even if the earth were stripped of life and reduced to a barren wasteland, our imagination and desire to create would survive - beyond survival, it would provide hope that flowers may one day bloom again. Through the invention of play, our new evolution awaits.
We can definitely expect this game to be the beginning of a new evolution in gaming. How we play the game (Player) vs How we play the game (Playing) will be constantly brought up in this game. A concept that can be turned upside down in ways we never thought possible. With the technology the Playstation 4 has to offer, this reality, this new metaphorical notion of playing a game will have a new meaning but it all starts with a bang.
The New Big Bang
You hear it over and over in the trailer, "There was an explosion" which indicates that this new evolution can only come about after it has been destroyed. This can be further expanded upon as the trailer starts and you see the flowers withering away right before we are introduced to Sam (Norman Reedus). As we look further we see one character in distress while the other is trying to help him. This is where things get a bit interesting because if you look closely at the players wristbands you notice that the one trapped has his band in red and the one helping is still in blue (You see where I am going with this?) The different colors illustrate the different feelings they are having at the current moment and this is where the controller might come into play. We all know the PS4 remote's light-bar changes all different colors and at first we complained about it and really didn't think much of it but now it might be an integral part of the game.
How is this destruction going to allow us to interact with the game? These hidden monsters are the ones trying to control the game and we (the explorers) are the ones playing the game. We need to destroy this notion of how video games are played in order to gain full control over the narrative. We see this as the helpless and rapidly aging explorer gets dragged down into the black sludge signaling his struggle with being both dead and stranded between both worlds.
What Does it all Mean?
Just touching on these 2 aspects alone has garnered a lot of thought about where the game is headed. Now I could go on and on about all the other minor details (and there are a lot of them) but like I said earlier "there isn't enough time". The one thing I can say for sure is that Kojima has somehow taken the destruction of his relationship with Konami and turn it into his new meaning in life. There was a point where he was stranded between two worlds and needed to evolve in order to maintain his legacy. No longer was he bound by the strings that were keeping him limited to just one way of thinking.
We can all learn something from what Kojima experienced at Konami. The idea that something needs to die in order for something new to be re-born. This just further add to the belief that there are things that happen to us for a reason, the reason may be unclear at first but it will become clear at a later date. We are in the new dawn of gaming where games need to take on a new form and a new narrative. The destruction of the "old ways" are near and it will all start with "Death Stranding".
Check out the trailer below and feel free to add some of your theories on Kojimas upcoming game.