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Death Stranding

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Death Stranding
Death Stranding.png
Teaser poster
Developer(s) Kojima Productions
Publisher(s) Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s) Hideo Kojima
Producer(s)
  • Hideo Kojima
  • Kenichiro Imaizumi
Designer(s) Hideo Kojima
Artist(s) Yoji Shinkawa
Writer(s)
  • Hideo Kojima
  • Hitori Nojima
Composer(s) Ludvig Forssell
Engine Decima
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Release TBA[Note 1]
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Death Stranding is an upcoming action game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4. It is the first game created by director Hideo Kojima and his subsequent reformation for the game's studio, after the 2015 disbandment of the company as a subsidiary of Konami. It was announced at E3 2016 and has no set release date.

Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, and Lindsay Wagner are set to star in the game, with motion capture, facial scannings and vocal performances. Film director Guillermo del Toro also contributed his likeness to another character through facial and body scanning. The game's title is a reference to the cetacean stranding phenomenon.

Gameplay

Pre-release gameplay screenshot of Death Stranding, taken from the trailer shown at E3 2018. Sam, the protagonist, uses a device to uncover several invisible enemies in order to sneak past them.

Death Stranding is an action game set in an open world environment, which also includes multiplayer functions.[2][3] Kojima compared the genre to how his earlier game Metal Gear – now considered as a stealth game – was called an action game during its release because the stealth genre was not considered to exist at the time.[4][5]

According to Kojima, one of the key aspects of the announcement trailer was the idea of a connection between life and death.[4] He explained one of the main themes through a short story by Kōbō Abe; The first tool created by humans was a stick, meant as protection by putting a distance between oneself and "bad things", and that the second was a rope, used to secure things one finds important. Kojima compared the main "tools" in action games – punching, shooting and kicking – to sticks, and that in Death Stranding, he wants people to communicate through the game equivalent of ropes.[4] While the title refers to the phenomenon of cetacean stranding, "strand" is an alternative meaning for shore, and also stands for strings and connections.[6][7]

When the main character, named Sam, dies, the player is sent to another world, referred to as an upside-down world submerged in water. Kojima suggests that when the player returns to the world of the living, anything they did or any damage that an explosion or the likes causes when the player dies remains persistent in the world and does not go away. Another element talked about is the existence of a type of rain, called "Timefall", with the ability to age or deteriorate whatever it hits. Another gameplay element talked about is the player's ability to interact with the environment and wander outside of the character's body, as well as recovering items when they die.[8]

Development

Norman Reedus (left) and Mads Mikkelsen (right) respectively portray the main protagonist (Sam) and antagonist via voice acting and motion capture.

After a lengthy corporate conflict with Konami as a restricted subsidiary,[9][10] Kojima Productions closed in July 2015 and reformed as an independent video game developer and studio in December.[11][12] On the same month, Hideo Kojima announced his partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment, at the time led by Andrew House, to make a new "PlayStation game".[13]

Kojima revealed the game at Sony's conference during E3 2016 with the trailer.[14] It was made possible with the technology of photogrammetry and motion capture.[15] It featured Norman Reedus, who will serve as the basis for the main protagonist. The game is the second collaboration between Kojima and Reedus, following the cancelled Silent Hills.[16] Kojima and Mark Cerny, lead system architect of the PlayStation 4, spent two weeks in January 2016 looking for a game engine on which to develop the game.[17] One of the two remaining candidates had been used to create the teaser trailer.[14] Guerrilla Games would later be announced as a collaborator on the development of the game, as it was providing their proprietary game engine, Decima.[18] Kojima Productions' meeting room was recreated in the engine as a reference of accuracy, for the purpose of testing physically-based lighting.[19]

A second teaser unveiled that Mads Mikkelsen would be joining the cast as the game's main antagonist.[18] It also featured a character bearing the likeness of Guillermo del Toro, who had previously collaborated with Kojima and Reedus on Silent Hills.[20][21][19] During this period a female protagonist was said planned to be revealed[22][19] and that Ludvig Forssell, who previously worked with Kojima on Metal Gear Solid V, was writing the music.[23] An alternate cut of the second teaser included a song from the band Low Roar. Kojima Productions and American media publisher Mondo partnered to release a 12-inch vinyl single of the song under the Death Stranding brand, which was released in February 2017.[24][25]

The game entered full development in 2017.[26] A few days before E3 2017, Kojima announced that the game would not appear during the usual Sony conference.[27] In June, information came from Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, affirming that Death Stranding was in fact in a playable alpha version, but he had not to be able to categorize the game in a specific genre.[28]

A third teaser was presented during The Game Awards 2017 in December, where Kojima, Reedus and del Toro made appearances.[29] The next day, the same trailer was shown again at PlayStation Experience, in which also Kojima made an appearance on stage during the event. Mark Cerny, commented the trailer saying that the game would have gained sense after 4-5 hours of playing and confirmed that the video was captured on PlayStation 4 Pro.[30] The same month, more info from Kojima about the gameplay was revealed.[8] At the same time, Kojima admitted that he was aware of the common belief that would see him proceeding too slowly in the development, but reiterated that this was not the case.[8] Kojima also revealed that the team was unable to do any performance capture or voice over for the third trailer in time for E3 2017 due to the 2016–17 video game voice actor strike, so it was delayed until the Game Awards.[8]

In February 2018, Emily O'Brien and Troy Baker joined the cast for the game.[31] In May, Sony Worldwide Studios' Shawn Layden, revealed that Death Stranding would be part of four games – along with Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part II – on which the company would deeply focus during E3 2018.[32] At the event, a new trailer was shown, showing gameplay for the first time. It also revealed that actresses Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner were to be a part of the cast.[33]

Reception

Death Stranding's announcement during Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 has caused public excitement: from the entrance of Hideo Kojima, introduced by Andrew House on the Sony stage, welcomed with great enthusiasm after his "Hello, hello everyone. I'm back!" exclamation,[34][35] to the teaser trailer itself, which generated amazement – especially for Reedus' appearance and interpretation – triggering several reaction videos from the public which was widespread on YouTube. Kojima's arrival and the trailer were chosen by several publications to be one the most emblematic moments in Electronic Entertainment Expo that year.[36][37][38][39][40]

In the period after the shown trailers and basic game information, there was a notable movement among Kojima's fans, which gave free rein to their theories about the game, its gameplay and its plot, organizing themselves in communities on discussion forums.[15][41] In 2017 Death Stranding was nominated by Golden Joystick Awards in the category "Most Wanted Game",[42] which however was won by The Last of Us Part II.[43] In June 2018, during the days following the Electronic Entertainment Expo press conferences, Death Stranding reached the top ten in the most watched video game trailers on YouTube, with more than 4,500,000 views.[44] During the same month a parody video game of Death Stranding, called "Deadly Standing" and being developed by "Hodeo Kojumbo", was released for Android,[45] getting majority of users reviews jokingly positive.[46]

Notes

  1. ^ In 2016, Kojima said that the game would be released prior to the year the film Akira was set – 2019.[1]

References

  1. ^ Robson, Daniel (September 17, 2016). "Death Stranding Will Be Out Before 2019, May Feature Heroine". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ Sykes, Tom (September 13, 2016). "Kojima's Death Stranding is an action game in an open world". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ "E3 2016: MORE CRYPTIC DEATH STRANDING DETAILS FROM KOJIMA". IGN. June 15, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Rad, Chloi (June 15, 2016). "E3 2016: More Cryptic Death Stranding Details From Kojima". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on June 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ Davenport, James (June 16, 2016). "Kojima's Death Stranding will be an action game, sort of". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ Weber, Rachel (December 19, 2016). "Watch Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen in Creepy 'Death Stranding' Teasers". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. 
  7. ^ Kamen, Matt (September 13, 2016). "Hideo Kojima reveals more about his mysterious Death Stranding game". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Sliva, Marty (December 11, 2017). "Kojima Explains Death Stranding Gameplay and Lore". IGN. Retrieved December 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ Brown, Peter; Crossley, Rob (March 20, 2015). "Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (March 19, 2015). "Metal Gear Solid creator's involvement in series questioned, Konami removes branding". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on March 20, 2015. 
  11. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (July 12, 2015). "Kojima Productions Has Disbanded, Says Metal Gear Solid Voice Actor". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. 
  12. ^ Dyer, Mitch; Otero, Jose (December 16, 2015). "Hideo Kojima Talks New Studio, 'Edgy' PlayStation Game, and the Future". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on December 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS AND SONY OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP". IGN. December 15, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (June 15, 2016). "Death Stranding's teaser probably won't be playable, Hideo Kojima says". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Hernandez, Patricia (June 14, 2016). "Hideo Kojima's New Game, Death Stranding, Already Has Conspiracy Theories". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. 
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  18. ^ a b Pereira, Chris (December 3, 2016). "Kojima Partnering With Killzone, Horizon Dev Guerrilla for Death Stranding". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. 
  19. ^ a b c Death Stranding - PlayStation Experience 2016: Panel Discussion. Sony Interactive Entertainment. December 3, 2016. Archived from the original on December 5, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  20. ^ D'Anastasio, Cecilia (December 1, 2016). "Death Stranding Goes Full Kojima With Mysterious New Trailer". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. 
  21. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (December 1, 2016). "New Death Stranding Trailer Is Very Weird, Features Hannibal Actor Mads Mikkelsen". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. 
  22. ^ Makuch, Eddie (September 18, 2016). "Death Stranding Possibly Coming in 2018, May Feature Female Hero". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. 
  23. ^ Forssell, Ludvig (December 3, 2016). "Twitter status 12/03/16". Twitter. 
  24. ^ McWhertor, Michael (December 3, 2016). "Death Stranding's trailer music is coming to vinyl from Mondo". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  25. ^ Weber, Rachel (December 16, 2016). "Hideo Kojima Talks Soundtrack and the Meaning of 'Death Stranding'". Glixel. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. 
  26. ^ Death Stranding and the Future of PlayStation (Hideo Kojima, Mark Cerny & Hermen Hulst). IGN. December 9, 2016. Archived from the original on December 12, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  27. ^ @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN (June 7, 2017). "Apologies to our fans, Death Stranding will not be @ E3 as we are fully focused on development. Pls see me with @geoffkeighley on 6/14!" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  28. ^ "E3 2017 - PlayStation's Shawn Layden on Death Stranding, Spider-man and the nature of the console competition". The Daily Telegraph. June 17, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  29. ^ Byford, Sam. "Watch the unhinged new trailer for Kojima and del Toro's Death Stranding". The Verge. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  30. ^ "Death Stranding Trailer Makes Sense After Playing 4-5 Hours, Sony Exec Claims". GameStop. December 8, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  31. ^ Bell, Brian (February 22, 2018). "Troy Baker, Emily O'Brien Join Cast of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding". Paste. Retrieved March 15, 2018. 
  32. ^ Seppela, Timothy (May 11, 2018). "Sony is trying a new format for its E3 press conference". Engadget. Retrieved May 18, 2018. 
  33. ^ Makuch, Eddie. "PS4's Death Stranding Announces Two More Celebrity Stars". GameSpot. Retrieved June 12, 2018. 
  34. ^ "THE LEGENDARY CREATOR OF METAL GEAR SOLID ON HIS WEIRD NEW GAME". Wired. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  35. ^ "Hideo Kojima announces surreal new game, Death Stranding". The Guardian. June 14, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  36. ^ "The 11 Biggest Stories from E3 2016". IGN. June 19, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Best of E3 2016 Awards, Page 3 Of 3". IGN. June 14, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
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  39. ^ "The DeanBeat: The best moments of E3 2016". VentureBeat. June 17, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  40. ^ "POLYGON WRITERS' TOP 10 GAMES OF E3". Polygon. June 20, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  41. ^ "Death Stranding remains a mystery, but that won't stop fans from theorizing". Polygon. December 2, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
  42. ^ London, Andrew (September 21, 2017). "Voting is now open for the Golden Joystick awards". TechRadar. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018. 
  43. ^ "Here are your 2017 Golden Joystick Award winners". PC Gamer. November 17, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018. 
  44. ^ Sehran Shaikh (June 13, 2018). "Cyberpunk 2077 Is The Most Viewed Trailer Of E3 2018, Amazing Looking Screenshots Released". GamePur.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018. Death Stranding - E3 2018 4K Trailer PS4: 4,579,892 views - 126,162 likes - 27.56 L/D 
  45. ^ "Deadly Standing Is The Next Masterpiece From Genius Developer Kojumbo". Kotaku. June 26, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018. 
  46. ^ "Death Stranding is already inspiring hilarious phone game rip-offs". IGN. June 26, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.