The new trailer for Death Stranding has been unveiled by Hideo Kojima, and boy, is it spectacular. At five minutes long, it shows us a cinematic sequence that seems like it may have been specifically choreographed as a trailer and not part of the final game.
Hideo Kojima is a video game industry legend. His work on the Metal Gear Solid series has helped shape and define video games for the last 20 years. His unique style is distinctive: cinematic, story-focused, fourth-wall breaking and genre-splicing. For those who were perhaps concerned Death Stranding would be a radical departure from the tactical espionage action that defined Metal Gear Solid, I think this trailer offers some hints that we can expect to see some of that in Death Stranding. The skull-faced soldiers marching through the ruins of the decimated city search for the strange suited man, who carries, of all things, a pod containing a live baby. The man clearly needs to remain hidden – showing us there will be at least some form of stealth mechanic.
Similarly, the tactical manoeuvres of the undead-looking soldiers (who are dressed in Vietnam-era equipment) remind us of the intense tactical elements of Metal Gear Solid, but there is also a departure in that the fantasy elements are so much more overt: organs drip from the bullet holes in a tank like something from The Evil Within or Silent Hill (perhaps Kojima learned from his brief work on Silent Hills, a cancelled game in collaboration with Guillermo Del Torro), gigantic dead crabs liter an ash-baked landscape, toy babies drift down ink-dark rivers.
All of this is “rendered 4K running live” (according to Kojima’s tweet) in the most stunning graphics. Facial-capture shows us the likes of Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen – playing what seems to be an enigmatic villain (what else?) – whose subtle smile when the plastic baby doll touches his feet is enough to send shivers down your spine. Norman Reedus is not the only big name involved. It will be interesting to see these giants playing off on screen.
There has always been a fantasy element to Kojima’s work – beings who are human but gifted with unique abilities – but here it seems the landscape as well is slightly fantastical: what do these shattered cityscapes mean? The black earth? The beached creatures?
There are many mysteries to be solved but I, for one, an intrigued.