E3 2018: Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding Trailer Left Us Beyond Befuddled

Four trailers now, and still: “What the *beep* is this PS4 exclusive all about?”

Frustration aside, Hideo Kojima and Death Stranding continue to supply gamers everywhere with a healthy dose of haunting weirdness and possibilities. No doubt all the corners of the internet are attempting, or have already attempted, to uncover them, and so we thought it’s best to hop on the wagon now. Here’s what we found:

Kojima likes butts and he cannot lie

As Kotaku UK writer Laura Kate Dale beautifully analyzes it in her article, is there a game developer out there who cares more about the characters’ posterior than Kojima? The distinct adoration, presumably, peaked when the E3 2018 trailer began with that of a baby. Weird, but cute.

Mostly weird.

Lindsay Wagner

The actress, model, author, singer, acting coach, advocate and professor is one of two newest high-profile talents, aside from Leá Seydoux, set to appear in the game. She may be playing two versions of the same role, too, as the woman who stands on the E3 2016 trailer beach (who might be an apparition — note lack of shadow and, erm, high heels on sands) and the woman in the photograph (who bears more likeness to Wagner now).

Also, her character poster introduces a never-before-seen color in the game world thus far: red.


Safe if inorganic?

In the E3 2018 trailer, one of the invisible, possibly Timefall-causing creatures steps on the photograph of Sam with, possibly, his family. Notice how it remains intact. The same can be said to the planes and that one innards-coated tank in the TGA 2016 trailer, which are re-utilized by the dark forces, and the truck in the TGA 2017 trailer, which came into the aquatic (and playable!) world* with Sam a-OK.

*You must read this fascinating interview with Kojima from IGN’s Marty Silva to see the dots connecting!

You get a five, you get a five, everybody gets a five


This may just be the brain going all Number 23, but five seems to be a recurring item in the game. “You have DOOMS like me,” Seydoux character said, and there are five letters there that make up the disease (remember FOXDIE, anyone?). Five is also the number of beings seen in the sky in the E3 2016, TGA 2017 and E3 2018 trailers, with the latest one marking the first time they are seen in transparent form. Additionally, if we’re going by Taoism (or the pillars of science, you choose), there are five elements that underscore many phenomena including Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

In short, despite relishing in the surreal, Death Stranding seems to always link itself to science, theoretical and factual — there are overt references to the environment, interpersonal relationships, chirality, creation vs. annihilation and more…

Speaking of which, one of the most immediate examples of “chirality”, or the inability to superimpose one object onto its mirror image, is your hands. Hmm, wonder what those invisible creatures leave behind whenever they walk? Or what are printed all over Sam’s body in the E3 2016, TGA 2017 and E3 2018 trailers? Also, it seems the giant humanoid and the “flying whale” in the TGA 2017 trailer are made up of, or at least have many, hands; the former has one as its head and the latter has many protruding from its body.


Or, who knows, the five-ism could just be a design choice. After all, my design professor said odd numbers create more interesting-looking work. They did make Mads Mikkelsen’s character appearance in the sewer in the TGA 2016 trailer more menacing.

The times, they might be changing

“Are we playing two different characters?” my sister asked when she noted the mountain-climbing Sam looking a bit different than the walking Sam. “No, it’s the same… Ohhhhhh!”

In congruent with the game’s time motif (aging, age-accelerating rain, possible anachronisms, possible season cycle, connotations in song choices, etc.), it’s likely that the story will have us playing Sam from a young porter to a more experienced one — either as intended or through many “voidouts” (after being eaten by the creatures one too many times). If so, it’ll be safe to assume that MGS V’s “(x) days have passed” mechanic will make a return and affect the gameplay in different areas and ways, too.

Some odd contrasts

Use life to see death – a fetus must be “activated” so you, or the five-petal flower robot, can see where the creatures are.

Water kills – what has long been considered as the source of life is now where you’ll be dragged into if the creatures catch you. Then again, in the TGA 2017 trailer, that’s the only place where the surroundings are still teeming with life. Normal life.

Cryptobiosis – this is defined as a state where an organism reduces its metabolic functions to near-inactive levels to survive harsh living conditions. In other words, in order to live, you must become inert (Seydoux’s character said the way to not be affected by the Timefall is to ingest a cryptobiote, which is an enlarged tardigrade).

Bracelets, packages, the questions!

It seems like only those belonging to the BRIDGES company/organization has one — Sam, Guillermo del Toro’s character and Sam’s two ill-fated friends in the TGA 2017 trailer. Sometimes the accessory is seen converted/turned into handcuffs for certain packages to attach themselves to.

Will there be an “inventory management” feature in the game, and the weight you’re bearing may affect your mobility? If so, does that mean there’s a “risk-and-reward,” more packages-more bonuses element? What will happen when you lose that the package midway? In the E3 2016 and TGA 2016 trailers, both Sam and del Toro’s character’s bracelets are package-free, and they are seen in depressing situations.

Bonus: That’s Kojima-san! (TGA 2017 trailer)

For those who may have missed it, the developer cameos as one of the creatures out to eat us. Note the glasses.

Find anything else that is worth sharing (we know there are, don’t say no!)? Remember, Kojima did, as always, tease that Death Stranding might have a multiplayer component, so we need your gray matter to answer the question that begins this article. Here’s the trailer again:

For more about the game and an eventual review of it, stay with The Young Folks.


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