By Tommy Robbins. No one would argue that one of the grandest stories that came out of E3 this year was the announcement of Hideo Kojima’s new title, Death Stranding. In the week that has followed, a slew of speculation and fan theories have arose from the swarm of ever-vigilant Kojima fans, in a mad attempt to successfully dissect that bug-out nuts trailer.
This, of course, plays perfectly into the enigmatic creator’s intent. Kojima thrives in the weird, often extending the experience of his games well beyond the time we actually spend with them. In the first in a series of tweets from the official Kojima Productions twitter, some cryptic information regarding that intent was given, clearly pointing out hidden information in the trailer.
Starting off… pic.twitter.com/OhArIqYuBz
— Kojima Productions (@KojiPro2015_EN) June 16, 2016
In an interview with Wired, Kojima was asked to explain his idea for Death Stranding and how his concept will affect gameplay. Hinting at a reversal of the significance of death in video games, Kojima is apparently keen on creating an entirely new genre altogether, one that focuses on the connections between players and the settings that surround them. The word ‘stranding,’ as he continues to point out, is not only being used in reference to isolation, but also as the act of creating strands, or connections:
“You can see the crabs, the whales, all things, they all have these umbilical cables. Norman [Reedus], as he stands up. It’s a very important part, this connection. That’s the keyword. […] after an hour or two of playing, you will start to feel something different, something new that you haven’t played. The story is about connections, what you call ‘strands’ in psychology — how people are connected.”
‘Stranding’ is what Kojima establishes as the game’s central thesis, and, he says, comes from Kobo Abe novel, The Rope, in which Abe establishes that the first tool, the stick, was used for deterrence. As a weapon, the stick allowed us to push away that which threatened us. But as another tweet from Kojima Productions pointed out, we became civilized; and thus a secondary need to “capture and bind important things to us” was formed. From the Wired interview:
“In Death Stranding, there will be the equivalent of sticks. But also, I want to tie people together with the equivalent of ropes.”
In a post on Eurogamer, Kojima address another fan-theory, specifically one that speculated the trailer was a visual poem in which Norman Reedus was a placeholder for Kojima and the baby (that damn baby) symbolized the Metal Gear series. As for the figures looming ominously on the horizon, these were theorized to be none other than former Metal Gear developer Konami, who ripped his projects away from Kojima, leaving him stained and disheveled.
“Part of the trailer is based on the song ‘I’ll Keep Coming’ [Low Roar]. I will keep coming; Norman Reedus and [design collaborator] Kyle Cooper will keep coming back; waves are a big theme. As for Konami? I thought people might link it but there’s no connection in there.”
With all that in mind, there’s really no clarity. Kojima will likely continue to spew information, misinformation, and ambiguous rousings, all of which even he’s not 100% sure have any real significance — because that’s just what he does. All anyone can really do is sit back and enjoy the roller coaster that will be the next 3 to 5 years of Kojima Studios development.
‘Death Stranding’ will probably make even less sense when we finally play it, whenever that’ll be.