I don’t know quite how many Death Stranding trailers I’ve watched now, but still, I have no idea whatsoever what it’s all about.
There are some things that crop up time and time again: Norman Reedus, sometimes naked. A baby. Ominous floating people. A crater, probably created by a huge explosion. But what does it all mean? Only Hideo Kojima knows, and it’s really starting to turn me off the game.
Don’t get me wrong; surrealism is good. But there’s also a fine line between being mysterious and pretentious. At the moment it feels like Hideo Kojima is just stroking his gentleman’s sausage in front of us all, saying “Hey, look at me! I’m making a crazy game and shit. Oh yeah!”. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be hearing about the game’s mechanics and how it’s going to be unique. Aside from being so mental that we’re probably going to need a lobotomy to not wrack our brains trying to understand it, anyway.
Watching the Death Stranding trailers is a waste of our time. The idea of a trailer is to give us a glimpse of what lies in store. To sell us something. The only thing Hideo Kojima has sold to me is that he still wants to be a film director rather than a game director. Sure, it’s nice to be teased a little when a title has just started development and there’s little gameplay to be shown, but when you shy away from showing anything substantial year after year alarms bells start to ring.
Death Stranding could very well turn out to be a masterpiece. But it could also quite easily turn out to be an incoherent mess. Ever since Metal Gear Solid landed on the original PlayStation, Hideo Kojima has been at the forefront of in-game cinematics. Back then, his work was amazing, but now, I feel it’s simply the norm. Games have moved on.
You can’t simply have great cutscenes and so-so gameplay anymore, which – let’s face it – most Metal Gear Solid games had. For Death Stranding to truly succeed it needs to both capture our attention with its narrative, and our hearts with its gameplay. At the moment, it’s captured our attention alright, but in the wrong way. And the only way Hideo Kojima is going to be able to get me back onboard is to show me some real-time action. Until then, Death Stranding is dead in the water for all I care.