We take a look Death Stranding, the next game from Metal Gear Solid-creator Hideo Kojima starring Norman Reedus of Walking Dead fame.
What is Death Stranding about?
Death Stranding's reveal trailer opens with a quote from William Blake's 'Auguries of Innocence': "To see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wildflower. / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour."
We're then taken to a beach covered with deceased crabs, as the camera slowly pans to our protagonist, Norman Reedus.
Passed out on the ground, completely naked and with a broken handcuff around one wrist, he slowly brings himself to his feet holding what appears to be a newborn baby. Except the baby quickly disappears and he's left with just black oil on his hands and the sight of equally oily invisible baby footsteps walking away from him.
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He then gets up and we see that the beach is covered in dead whales. Staring up at the sky, our focus is drawn to five ominous figures floating in the air before him – they look something like the Dementors from Harry Potter.
What this means remains unclear. It's immediately unsettling, much like P.T., and we can make some generalised guesses based on what's in the trailer and the poetic reference.
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Blake's poem is widely read as being a warning to mankind about the consequences for society when nature is mistreated. This certainly chimes with the dominant motifs of oil and whales in the trailer.
Reedus certainly seems to have woken up in a post-apocalyptic world, but not the kind of zombie-ridden one we're used to – this wasteland is likely the result of man's abuse of the environment, like if 50 BP oil spills happened concurrently in all corners of the globe.
It all juxtaposes starkly with Blake's quatrain, which reflects the innocence with which children see the world and appreciate the most minute details. Remember the fleeting baby appearance?
Yes, there's some seriously in-depth symbolism going on here. We've given it our best guess, but we can't quite be sure of what it all means in the larger context of the game.
Even Kojima's fans are confused at the moment.
According to recent rumours, Death Stranding may see Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) star alongside Norman Reedus, acting as the game's primary antagonist.
This rumours springs from a tweet from Hideo Kojima himself, who appears to be standing in a motion capture studio.
Shortly after Kojima tweeted this, a fan posted the following photo on Instagram with Mikkelsen (#banter).
You might notice Mikkelsen is wearing the very same outfit found in Kojima's tweet, which to some, could be a dead giveaway. The actor also confirmed on Twitter that he was working on a "Japanese videogame."
Hideo Kojima is an obvious fan of Mikkelsen, tweeting his love for the actor in January 2015, stating that he is "cool and sexy in blood." Whatever floats your boat, Kojima-san.
Death Stranding gameplay – how does it play?
Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions stated on Twitter that Death Stranding will try and go beyond the traditional definition of "action" and "RPG" found in similar games. This confirms to us that Death Stranding is certainly ambitious, and won't like anything Kojima has done before.
The sequence seen in the trailer will apparently not playable in the final game which has just entered production at the studio.
During this year's Tokyo Games Show, Hideo Kojima announced that Death Stranding will be an open-world action game with online elements. It will also have the trademark storytelling you'd want from a Kojima project, so expect something surreal, silly and over-the-top.
Kojima has said "with Death Stranding, I’d like to offer the next step, the future of gaming” with gameplay and storytelling that goes beyond genre conventions. It also appears Guillermo Del Toro is more involved with the project than we first thought.
FInally, Kojima has confirmed that Death Stranding has entered "full-blown development" at Kojima Productions, but it's still a while off.
Death Stranding release date – when is it coming out?
Hideo Kojima confirmed that the game is coming to PS4, but it is still in the early stages of development. In other words, we're extremely unlikely to see it this year – maybe a full reveal at E3 2017 is more realistic?
During E3 2016 it was confirmed that Death Stranding will be coming exclusively to PS4 on console, but will also release on PC in the future.
Death Stranding trailer – How does it look?
The first and only trailer for Death Stranding is running in real-time on PS4, which is rather impressive considering the detailed motion capture and environments on display.
Despite being overly cryptic, the unusual mixture of disturbing visuals and haunting music leave a powerful impression, and we expect nothing less from Hideo Kojima.
We can't wait to see more.
Death Stranding has us excited, how about you? Let us know in the comments.