With E3 quickly approaching, it got me thinking about all the games that were shown at last years E3 conference. More specifically Hideo Kojima’s new project Death Stranding. After Kojima revealed the gorgeous cinematic trailer for the game at the Sony press conference, it seemed everyone was still left with one big question. What the heck is Death Stranding about? Well just like any other fanboy with a passion for games I think I have a pretty solid theory.
Leading up to the reveal of Death Stranding in 2016 there was a lot of drama between Hideo Kojima and Konami. The feud between the two began to surface in reports that Kojima might be let go by Konami right before Metal Gear Solid V was to be released. Upon release many fans noticed the game seemed unfinished and that its last few chapters were repeat missions. Some have speculated this as a result of Konami cutting funding from Kojima before the game was finished. Konami even went as far as preventing Kojima from attending the game awards to accept an award he won for his work on MGS V.
In the end it was a dishonorable send off for one of the gaming industries biggest legends. Many fans were left wondering what would become of the Metal Gear series and the Silent Hills project that he had been hard at work on with film director Guillermo Del Toro. Kojima would have to leave all of his work and creations behind in pursuit of something new, and sure enough like a phoenix rises from the ashes, Kojima Productions lived once more on its own.
What We Know
Since the announcement of Death Stranding, there have been two trailers released. The first showed us on a beach with dead sea life washed ashore. As the camera slowly approaches the figure of a man. This man is portrayed by Norman Reedus the actor who also was attached to Kojima’s Silent Hills project back at Konami. There is lots of very interesting imagery including handcuffs attached to the man’s wrist, the baby that is attached to the man by what appears to be some sort of umbilical cord, and faded hand prints all over his body. The trailer concludes with the disappearance of the child followed by a wide shot of five floating mysterious figures as well as several whales that appear to be dead on the shore.
The second trailer while a little longer in length does little to directly specify the narrative of the game. Once again we see a place that seems to be covered by dead sea life, only now we see an army and none other than Guillermo Del Toro holding a baby in some strange futuristic pod. the camera begins to move forward through a dark sewer where we are introduced to group of five stealth soldiers. The camera continues to zoom in on the leader of the group as he takes off his night vision goggles to reveal that the character will be played by none other than Mads Mikkelsen.
So we have two trailers that show quite a bit, but reveal nothing at all. Well not quite. There is plenty of important imagery that I feel like when closely examined could reveal quite a bit. The first thing we see is the dead crabs. the interesting thing about crabs of all sea life being dead is that they feast on dead plant and marine life. So for crabs to be dead we must immediately know that something bad has happened. The setting is very clearly pointing to a dystopia where even the ocean has dried up revealing the beached whales as well.
If you have followed Kojima and his career at all you will note that whales are a very important detail, as he tends to work the story of Moby Dick into a lot of the Metal Gear Solid lore. He even used the name Moby Dick Studios as a fake studio name in order to reveal MGS V . So the fact that these whales are dead indicates to me that Metal Gear is now indeed dead as well. However, whales are not the only thing of significance in this trailer. As the camera reaches Norman Reedus we see he has handcuffs, but only on one of his wrists. To me this indicates that he has escaped from somewhere, but only barely as he wasn’t able to fully remove what kept him bound. This is where we also see the baby attached to Norman by the umbilical chord.
In my opinion Norman Reedus character is a direct reflection of Kojima. In this case he has escaped Konami where he felt creatively imprisoned and the baby is a representation of all his creations such as Metal Gear, Zone Of The Enders, and his Silent Hills project. When the baby disappears it is telling us he had to leave his children or his creations behind with Konami.
The next thing we see are the hand prints that cover his body. Hand prints and finger prints are a way in which one can show their identity. In this case Kojima’s identity is very much the legacy he created while still working at Konami, but when he looks down at his hands they are covered in black paint. The black paint on his hands tells me that he still can leave his mark somewhere else. If he were to touch something with hands covered in black paint it would leave his hand print behind and Kojima plans to leave his mark with the creation of his new project and studio. The last thing is the mysterious five floating figures which I still find quite hard to place a mark on. Seeing as they appear to be the villains I am led to believe they represent Konami in some way.
The second trailer reveals to us Guillermo Del Toro. This is very interesting to me because he was so heavily involved in the work that had begun on Silent Hills with Kojima and we have also seen Norman Reedus who was a part of that project as well. With this knowledge I speculate that the baby he is carrying is possibly a metaphor for his work on Silent Hills and he too is trying to keep his creation hidden away from the enemy. The only other thing of real note in the second trailer is the five tactical soldiers in the end. At the end of the first trailer there was also five mysterious figures. I am speculating that they may be the same people.
Finally the title Death Stranding is very revealing as well. Konami essentially abandoned Kojima, so it is easy to interpret that Death Stranding is literally what Konami did to Kojima. They left him stranded to fend for himself. Now I’m sure everything I just went through can be interpreted several different ways, but this is just my theory. So tell me what you think. Am I right or am I completely wrong? And if you have your own theory comment below and let us know.