We saw a new trailer for Death Stranding at The Game Awards last week, and once again we were left with just as many questions as we had before. The surreal world Hideo Kojima is creating begs to have its mysteries solves, but details on what exactly is going on have been scarce since the game’s reveal during E3 2016. We’ve gotten a few more peeks at Death Stranding since then, but as cool as it looks, what is it going to play like?
Kojima sat down for an interview with IGN during PlayStation Experience and finally opened up about some of the gameplay and lore of Death Stranding. It still doesn’t make a lot of sense, but his comments about the game did give a few hints of what to expect, and it sounds pretty impressive.
Death Doesn’t Have to be the End
Dying and continuing in video games is a design tradition started back when arcades were where you had to play. Initially, the whole trope was contrived to keep quarters going in machines, but as years went on it just became the “way things are.” Even now, in the majority of games, when you die, you either reload your save or go back to a checkpoint. Kojima says that in Death Stranding, death doesn’t mean a game over.
When Sam (Norman Reedus) dies in the game, you won’t be loaded to an earlier point in the game. In the latest trailer, we saw an ocean area in which whales swam upside down and objects, and people floated all around him. This is where you’ll go when you die in Death Stranding. This purgatory will be free for you to explore in first-person. Because of some of Sam’s unnamed abilities, you’ll be able to wander outside of his body in purgatory and collect items and possibly experience some material that expands the plot.
When you’re ready to get back to the game you can re-enter Sam’s body and return to the real world. However, what happened before your death will remain when you return. Instead of pulling you out of the game, death will be just another mechanic you use to complete your journey. However, since there aren’t continues or resets after you die, you’ll have to deal with the permanence of your actions.
The Flow of Time
The latest Death Stranding trailer shows a strange rain that affects objects it touches by aging them. This rain is an integral part of the game’s plot, and Kojima revealed some details on how it works. The rain isn’t water for one. It’s called “Timefall” and is a hazard that the humans inhabiting the game know about.
As to why Sam seems unaffected by it, it’s because he has some sort of unique ability that makes him either immune or less susceptible to the effects of Timefall. It was also confirmed that of the three trailers, the latest one is the earliest chronologically, taking place only a bit after Death Stranding’s prologue.
Yes, The Babies are Very Important
One of the weirdest facets of Death Stranding we’ve seen is the babies we’ve seen in each of the three trailers. Well, Kojima has given a few answers we’ve been looking for, but their purpose is still mostly obscure.
Kojima confirmed that the baby that washed upon the shore in the first trailer is the same one that appears in Sam’s throat in the TGA 2017 trailer. Since we saw it when Sam was in purgatory it may be that the baby is somehow related to the unique abilities he has, but who knows.
The babies will relate to game mechanics, as we saw in the latest trailer when Sam’s robot arm came to life when he picked up the artificial womb. Kojima had nothing else he wanted to reveal though other than the robot does have a name, one which he’s not telling right now.
For more of Kojima’s interview on Death Stranding, you can check out IGN for the full text.