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- Death Stranding
Recently, the king himself, Hideo Kojima deigned to show us plebeians a tiny glimpse of his newest title, Death Stranding. Unfortunately, there have since been a lot of jokes and inane articles from people in this industry who clearly do not appreciate or even understand the brilliance of what was shown. And you may think all the bathroom humor is just simple peeing for the sake of it, but it goes much deeper than that and into genius territory that Kojima must be commended for.
In a perhaps futile attempt, before we explore what was shown at Gamescom, it’s important to look at Kojima’s urological work in the hopes that the urinalists (the cool word for bad game journalists) won’t ruin that ever important yet partially irrelevant Metacritic score come November. This brief video while not exhaustive, demonstrates some of the most important scenes that you will need to familiarize yourself with.
As any true Hideo Kojima fan can tell you, pissing has been a major part of nearly all his games, in fact, Kojima is one of the leading urological auteurs in the video games industry.
In every numbered Metal Gear Solid game, someone inevitably pisses themselves. In the first three Metal Gear Solid titles (and Phantom Pain) the three scientific geniuses are all intimidated and threatened by physically stronger, more powerful people. These geniuses are clearly the stand-ins for Kojima himself, harkening back to a time, perhaps in his youth, where his talent and intellect was underappreciated, forcing him to deal with violent seniors or peers by peeing. As we all know, gamers are an oppressed minority and lest we forget, the Metal Gear Solid series was developed under Konami which is an (allegedly) very bad, super evil company sponsored by Skeletor that mistreated Kojima. Like, Subscribe, and buy my “Konami is Bad” t-shirt.
MGS2‘s layered approach to pee
There is an evolution in MGS2 however, that only a fool or a total buffoon could miss. And that of course is when Raiden, a metaphor for how free will is a lie, the personification of our disappointment in not getting to play as Solid Snake, and Kojima’s rebellion to creating a sequel, is showered in piss from high above. Now, this is a highly contentious topic in the conversation of Kojima-sama’s piss, there are many different interpretations of this moment and discussing them all would take literal days, but here are two of the most popular.
We the player, are Raiden, and the game’s god is Kojima, so here, Kojima is pissing on our feelings about playing as Raiden. He is trying to show us that we are stupid for being angry over such a thing and that we should cool off. There’s also the theory that flips this on it’s head, that the faceless, ignorant piss soldier is in fact the audience and Kojima is Raiden. Because we are the incredibly important customers, we are the gods that developers must appease at all times otherwise we will ruin them through any means necessary, so of course we’d be positioned above developers in the metaphor. This theory obviously can’t be true, because that would make us, the Gamers™, the bad guys, which is of course completely ridiculous.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Pee-er
MGS3. The big one. The boss. The Big Boss. The one where Big Boss wets himself after Volgin beats the shit out of him in a gratuitous torture sequence. After people (idiots) criticized Kojima for the plot of MGS2, saying things like “The story is poorly told” and “I can’t follow the character’s motivations,” Kojima may have felt, understandably, attacked. Volgin’s torture scars and mutilates the Big Boss of Metal Gear Solid. It’s subtle, and without me telling you, it may escape you, but there are clear parallels at play here. Kojima is once again using urinology to break the fourth wall.
MGS4, as we all know and literally 100% agree on, is just a bag of bloated piss. Zero, the great mastermind, is old, decrepit, and seconds away from death. He requires medical equipment in order to piss, which he does next to The Boss’ grave — a vital part to MGS3. This is a perfect metaphor for the series it should be taught in film school. At this point, the Metal Gear series was so full of piss, it threatened to spill over onto the memory of MGS3, the best thing Kojima has ever done.
Now we come to Death Stranding, where Kojima is artistically free, and so is the piss. You’re free to piss wherever you want. While Kojima single-handedly made every Metal Gear Solid game, he looked on in envy of others who were creating the games they desired, to piss as they please. This is shown in the voyeuristic scenes, where Snake watches strangers piss.
Here, however, Kojima is creating the game he wants to make, he is in control and therefore so is the player. Kojima and his career have evolved from pissing himself, to getting pissed on, until finally, he is the one taking the piss.
Now that you have a basic idea of the level we are operating on, we can discuss the earth shattering possibilities revealed at Gamescom. Death Stranding is mature game for adults, so it’s disheartening to see so many people fixate on the fact that you won’t be able to see Norman Reedus’ penis. It’s like everybody missed what was shown before hand in the trailer with Mama. The trailer that featured an invisible breastfeeding umbilical cord baby? The ghost baby is the dick. They are both there, but not there. It’s Schrödinger’s dick. Do you understand? No? Fine. I’ll take a page out of Kojima’s book and spell it out for you.
Mechanically and thematically, Norman Reedus’ penis is identical to the baby you spend the game physically attached to, a baby that you have to rock to sleep, perhaps in the same way you have to shake your penis after pissing. Throughout the game, just as you are physically attached to the baby in order to become emotionally attached (Kojima explicitly said this on stage), so to will the repeated need to piss in game help you become emotionally attached to Norman Reedus’ dick. Genius. We’re ignoring the connotations of what this may accidentally be saying about the love a parent has for their adopted or non-biological child for now. Yes, Kojima did say that Reedus’ penis won’t be in the game, but he didn’t say Death Stranding would be free of dick, did he? On a separate note, Geoff Keighley is in the game.
Philosophical debates around what is or is not a dick aside, Kojima has other genius moments (like the incredibly progressive and feminist ways he treats all of his female characters) but few can measure up to the ways in which he uses urine like a true scholar. Few other developers have such a track record that is so consistent and strong, like peeing with a healthy prostate. Long live Kojima and long live these complex and totally intentional metaphors.