Update: Here's our detailed breakdown of this amazing Death Stranding E3 2018 trailer!
To say that Death Stranding is one of Sony's most highly anticipated games is an understatement, with the new PS4 exclusive representing the triumphant return of Hideo Kojima to gaming. This time, Kojima's newest game arrives as the flagship title for Kojima Productions, with the studio head now completely unattached from his former stomping grounds at Konami. Up to this point, Death Stranding has been teased and shown off several times, with every subsequent trailer being deconstructed by fans. And now, there's yet another gameplay trailer to peruse through.
When first announced, the mysterious early images and teasers for Death Stranding were somewhat unintelligible... or, in other words, they were a Kojima game. And, while the Metal Gear Solid franchise — a series which Kojima birthed, nurtured, and preened throughout multiple technological eras of gaming — was also frequently abstract and bizarre, its basic framework communicated a stealth/action hybridized gameplay that was at least accessible to most, at a glance. The serious prominently featured sniper rifles and super-powered villains, with overarching narratives focused on surveillance, civil war, foreign manipulations, and the high-tech arms race, to name a few of its explored topics.
Death Stranding, on the other hand, appears considerably murkier in its themes, but recent rumors of its game mechanics seem ambitious, strange, and hard to compare to previous games. Those expectations were set from the earliest images of a naked Norman Reedus, with filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro standing in a limbo-like haunted deathscape clutching a baby in fear; all of these curious visions led Kojima fans into speculation frenzy, following every nugget of news about the game. Now, with new gameplay footage (above), fans can develop a better idea of what to expect from Death Stranding.
In an extended eight minute trailer, Kojima finally reveals a few meager examples of apparent gameplay, in between more perplexing and oddly disturbing imagery. The baby-in-the-windpipe returns as a Death Stranding motif, but a few scraps of dialogue and additional characters pop up into the gray post-apocalyptic landscape. Reedus' character is scene navigating through rivers, scaling mountains, and hiking through desolate terrain, carrying a few different clutches of cargo; in one scene, he has a boxy backpack, another shows him carrying what looks likea tightly-wrapped dead body, and in another he has a dozen or so boxes precariously attached to him. In one scene, he even gets tumbled by the surf and loses all his belongings. Will the game be heavily focused on getting from point A to point B with some form of loot?
Aside from these scenes, we at least get a better look at the strange entities floating, fading, and hovering throughout the air. An invisible creature invades a cave with Reedus, leaving overgrowth in their handprints in the mud, until another character shows up and warns Reedus not to make a sound. This newcomer is wearing entirely different clothing — Reedus wears gear that looks built to withstand the elements, while his new friend has a black jacket with dozens of spikes, imprinted with the word "fragile" across the back. Actually, Reedus' jacket has the word "porter" on its shoulder; is this a description of his role, carrying materials through the harsh environment? Or is this his character's name?
Aside from that, the two characters' insistence on keeping quiet, even quickly covering their mouths when in the presence of the dangerous creatures, may imply that sound and stealth will be an important mechanic in the game. Interestingly, this is somewhat reminiscent of the recent horror film A Quiet Place.
As expected, the Death Stranding trailer skimps on real answers, but at least we can now get a small glimpse of what the game itself looks like.