If you watched the Game Awards 2017, you’ll know that one of the most interesting reveals was the newest trailer for Hideo Kojima’s much-hyped game, Death Stranding. At 8 minutes long, it gives us a lot, but almost nothing to make sense of:
It begins and ends with a short philosophical exposé by Norman Reedus’s character:
Once, there was an explosion. A bang which gave birth to time and space. Once, there was an explosion. A bang which set a planet spinning in that space. Once, there was an explosion. A bang which gave rise to life as we know it. And then came the next explosion…An explosion that will be our last.
-Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding trailer
The trailer opens to Reedus’s character Sam on the ground, waking up after a vehicle accident. A member of his party has become trapped under their truck.
A lot happens in the next few moments. We see that the men’s uniforms are marked with a few badges and emblems, denoting them as CDT, or “Corpse Disposal Team”. We also see a symbol in the shape of the United States, which are now presumably called the United Cities of America, as we will find out later in the trailer.
Suddenly the man under the truck begins aging at an immensely accelerated rate. As a colleague attempts to free him, a mechanical device on his shoulder begins spinning and clacking, putting the team on alert. Sam instructs them “Don’t even breathe” and they watch silently as the shoulder sentry illuminates large ghostly handprints tracking sideways on the overturned truck, and then away into the rainy mist.
A cadaver the party was transporting is then swallowed into an inky pool next to Sam, and we see a massive, skyscraper-tall figure for just a moment through the fog. The CDT members realize they are surrounded as the massive handprints return. Inky arms reach from underground and begin carrying the now-panicking trapped man away, and his colleague shoots him.
A cloaked figure floats down from the sky, lands on the overturned truck, puts its finger to its lips, and disappears as Sam’s remaining team member is grabbed by the same ink-black arms. He throws a strange capsule carrying a live baby to Sam, then is then lifted up by invisible forces, and failing to shoot himself, begins stabbing himself as he is floated upwards along with debris. The frame tracks skyward and we see a massive black figure with something akin to an umbilical cord coming from its navel. Its head is a hand, and the scene ends with Sam’s colleague being consumed.
Everything further than that in the trailer doesn’t add too much, except for Sam standing at a massive crater as 5 figures float around the ridge. So what can we make of all this? Almost nothing, really, but fan theories abound.
One of the most interesting is that of Reddit user Isofyr:
- The babies are clones of the people carrying them
- The Corpse disposal guy in the trailer activates his baby who gets all his memories from that point, then throws the baby to reedus and kills himself
- The black goo is a rapid aging compound so the new baby with all his memories can be grown up quickly
- The guy who was crushed had his spare baby crushed and the black aging goo spilled out, that’s why he aged so much-Isofyr, on new Death Stranding trailer
Some of this does seem plausible, strange as it is. And anyway, we should all know by now that strangeness has no barrier to entry in the worlds crafted by Hideo Kojima.
Another thing: the strange figure which floats down to make a mysterious gesture and disappear is likely the antagonist, played by Mads Mikkelsen. He makes the same hand gesture in this trailer, around the 3:40 mark.
So it seems that humanity is under attack by some sort of intra-dimensional shadow beings that have superpowers and feed on both life and death, and somewhere in the mix are Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo del Toro, (possibly) baby clones, and rapid-aging technology.
Why does the world need a Corpse Disposal Team? What happened to the United States to make it become the United Cities? What’s with the weird tendrils that seem to permeate everything, especially as seen in this trailer? Does Norman Reedus really have a baby inside him? Why doesn’t the colossus in the trailer have a head? How come Reedus’s character seems to have a connection with the “other side”? Will any of these questions be answered?
While nothing really seems to make sense in the trailer, it does promise an extremely eerie cinematic experience with a well-crafted atmosphere, as well as an involving story that, if we’re really honest with ourselves, will probably leave us with more questions than answers.
If you’re like me and want to play this game more than ever, you’ll just have to wait until its (projected) 2018 release. And make sure you have a PS4, as it will be a PlayStation exclusive.