“Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour.”
December 9, 2017 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Here's the full World Premiere of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding from The Game Awards. [Youtube][Trailer] “Tonight we got an extended look at Hideo Kojima’s next big project, Death Stranding. It appears that Norman Reedus’ character has crash landed somewhere dangerous, where invisible creatures roam the land. The whole thing gives off a horror game vibe, so maybe we don’t have to be sad about never getting that Silent Hills collaboration anymore. The footage is flippin’ bonkers. There are giant shadow men, a fetus, golden deteriorating skulls, suicides, and an apparently pregnant Norman Reedus. “Once there was an explosion, a bang that gave rise to life as we know it,” Reedus growls. “Then came the next explosion. An explosion that will be our last.”” [via: Kotaku]

• All the theories and possible clues we might have missed [Polygon]
“There’s a lot to unpack here, although we may not yet have the tools to do so. But there’s one theory posed on Reddit that is resonating with several would-be Death Stranding scholars. “The babies are clones of the people carrying them,” posits user lsofyr. “The Corpse disposal guy in the trailer activates his baby who gets all his memories from that point, then throws the baby to [Sam] and kills himself.” From then on, Sam is tasked with carrying around the baby, the theory goes. He does that by attaching the baby directly to — and sometimes inside of — his body. Reedus must keep the baby safe on the behalf of his fallen teammate, protecting it until it’s ready to be dowsed in the black goo that seems to age people at high-speed. That part of the theory is taken from one of the trailer’s most ominous moments, as lsofyr suggests.”
• Here’s what we think Death Stranding is actually about [AV Club]
“In a future where all the crabs are dead, Good Daddy Sam Porter (Norman Reedus) is a member of a corpse disposal team for BRIDGES, the public works force for a government known as the United Cities Of America. (That much we can tell from the markings on one of the character’s arms.) Corpse disposal is an important job, because humanity is under attack from a group of extradimensional threats known (in our minds here at The A.V. Club) as the Oil Baddies and their dark masters, the Bad Floaters, who are drawn to human corpses and pull them into their dark oil world. (For food? Who can say, except that the Oil Baddies’ oil seems like it’s whatever exists as the membrane between our world and theirs.) The only defense against the Oil Baddies are Magic Babies, which are kept in a glass womb that, if connected to a Good Daddy, allow them to detect and mimic some of the powers of the Bad Floaters and their terrifying Dark Umbilicals.”
• Death Stranding Trailer Makes Sense After Playing 4-5 Hours, Sony Exec Claims [Gamespot]
“Ever since Hideo Kojima's new game, Death Stranding, was announced at E3 last year, many have been wondering what type of the game it is and what all the weirdness is all about. We still don't know. But today at PlayStation Experience, PS4 boss Mark Cenry confirmed that the game is already playable and everything will make sense...eventually. Cerny said he has played 4-5 hours of the game, noting that the story--or parts of it--will make sense after getting this far. It was also confirmed during the keynote that what you saw in the newest, strangest-yet trailer for Death Stranding was captured on PlayStation 4 Pro. Additionally, Kojima confirmed that the sequence in the new trailer where Norman Reedus' character is underwater is playable right now internally.”
• Death Stranding [YouTube][Teaser Trailer]
• Death Stranding [YouTube][Reveal Trailer]
posted by Fizz (43 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's..... something. I don't know what, but it's definitely something...... wow....
posted by Pendragon at 12:11 PM on December 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


I was never able to properly get into the Metal Gear series, (and Dues Ex sadly only had one real solid installment before the thoughtful philosophy of it all got yanked to make more room for mainstream crap) but everything I've ever read about them has always made me interested. I tried to take a shot at Metal Gear Solid V, and I enjoyed the gameplay a bit, but the story didn't grab me. The addition of the near-naked sniper for ridiculously vague reasons absolutely made me go "okay, whatever, screw this game." However I've read that they did full on male nudity in previous Metal Gears, so maybe that makes up for it.

Anyway, I digress.

This game will make me play a Hideo Kojima game and take it seriously for the first time, if the gameplay manages to lives up to the insanity of the trailers. It looks amazing, has Norman Reedus, and generally pushes all the buttons that I like to be pushed in a good sci-fantasy outing.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


This has really got me stoked, still very unsure how much I'll like the story ... but those visuals? Damn! Also, real-time on a PS4 Pro? Yikes.
posted by Ravneson at 12:19 PM on December 9, 2017


"Sign in to confirm your age"
The video on the Kotaku page doesn't make you sign in though.

You know how people post things on the internet saying "OMG this is so weird!!!" and you can't figure out what is so weird about it? This is not that.
posted by bongo_x at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


The addition of the near-naked sniper for ridiculously vague reasons absolutely made me go "okay, whatever, screw this game." However I've read that they did full on male nudity in previous Metal Gears, so maybe that makes up for it.

Perhaps, but as my brother pointed out earlier she was called Quiet, which doubles, maybe quadruples down on it being gross.
posted by opsin at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Also my final realisation while watching the trailer (after a bunch of "OK, whatever you say") was that Kojima may be so much about style over substance, or at least discernible substance, and so much about making moments cool enough for a trailer that he may be the Zack Snyder of video games.
posted by opsin at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


i don't care what the game is even about or what happens or anything at all other than the fact that this game exists in our timeline, which must be a sign of something good

really all i care about is hideo kojima's epic mancrush on mads mikkelsen
posted by poffin boffin at 12:34 PM on December 9, 2017 [16 favorites]


i mean it's a major studio release involving mpreg norman reedus fanfic what a time to be alive
posted by poffin boffin at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2017 [28 favorites]


Based on nothing I'm getting a vibe of this blog/fiction that was posted on MeFi: The Diary of Alex Case.
posted by vogon_poet at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2017


As was mentioned in a comment up above, MGV (and the rest of the Metal Gear series) is not without its problems, and Quiet is an egregious example of misogyny in gaming/character design. There's no excuse for that.

It's tough to reconcile that with everything else about Kojima that I love. I really want to give this game a chance because I appreciate how enthusiastic he is and that he's finally been given free reign to fully design and craft the way he wants to without Konami being shitheads about it.
posted by Fizz at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think there's a lot of lumping of Kojima with other game designers who really are only about style or fan service or whatever, which only makes sense if you ignore his... entire body of work?

Like I don't know how to refute the criticism that he has no substance when the predominant theme across his games are incredibly dense, opaque and convoluted plots that are driven by philosophical explorations into society, government, conflict, and the nature of being. Like off the top of my head there's a 5 minute non-skippable conversation about Camus right after a boss fight with the President of the United States in a mechanized octopus suit. And that wasn't even the only time Camus or L'Etranger is referenced in the series.

Like I'm not saying Quiet isn't problematic, but I have a lot less trouble believing that the character design was as much in service of the bananas plot (c.f. Kojima's entire oeuvre of completely bananas plots) as "giving fans an interesting character to cosplay". Contrasted with, say, the claims that Bayonetta was created to be a character that female fans would find empowering.
posted by danny the boy at 1:04 PM on December 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


Everybody seems to be giving Kojima a pass on this, even after Quiet, but all we've seen of his new game is a world where women don't exist and men protect babies in jars/their stomachs and it's really hard for me to not assume the worst.
posted by thecjm at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2017 [13 favorites]


I think it's a bit of a stretch to extrapolate all that from a trailer that is intentionally mysterious and opaque.

Like if the thesis is that there aren't going to be any women in this game... it would be a pretty abrupt change from all his other games. The last of which included the ability to recruit female soldiers into your army, and playable women characters in a way that CoD, Battlefield, and most other shooter games do not.
posted by danny the boy at 1:21 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think that if the entire first year of promotion about your game is about death and black goo and manly men carrying tiny babies either strapped to their chest on dreaming(?) about those babies living in the men's own bellies, and not a single woman has been seen in any of the trailers, then you're either playing with a super weird/anti-female metaphor or you're grossly naive to not realize the way that could be perceived.
posted by thecjm at 1:39 PM on December 9, 2017 [14 favorites]


Last of us(2013), Destiny(2014), Call of Duty Ghosts(2013), Star Wars Battlefront 2, Titanfall(2014), CoD World War II, Modern Warfare Remastered, Blacks Ops 3, Battlefield 1(added in DLC) lets you play as women.
posted by Julianna Mckannis at 2:15 PM on December 9, 2017


@thecjm Is it possible that the lack of women has something to do with the plot? Like, maybe this is in a world where women have been wiped out?

I mean, you’re not wrong to criticize, by any means, but given the content of this trailer it feels like it could be heading there.
posted by summerteeth at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


It is a bit early to make a true assessment of what this game is or will eventually be. That being said, you cannot deny that this game has featured only men in its trailers/marketing thus far. I'm sure this is in some small part because of the celebrity endorsement they've built into the game with Mads Mikkelson and Norman Reedus and their wanting to get as much mileage out of those characters on screen.

We also need to consider that this is still a larger part of a gaming industry that focuses heavily on men and young boys in virtually every aspect (corporate/business, game design/development, marketing, character, etc). It's still problematic and it could be a lot better in getting women and people of colour on the screen and in games in a more prominent way.
posted by Fizz at 2:33 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


lol
posted by juv3nal at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Grizzled Good Dad is a beloved, but totally overused plot device. However, Grizzled Good Dad has always depended on Unnamed Faceless Woman to actually get the kid to the point of walking, talking, and minimal self-sufficiency before Grizzled Good Dad takes over. If she is lucky, she might also provide GGD with some Backstory Pathos.

If someone's premise was that all the women are gone and men are now responsible to bear children from conception in order for the human race to survive, well, I think that could be pretty rad. It really depends on whether that means "Warehouses of fetuses in jars", which is less compelling, versus "Fetus must literally be kept near your person the majority of the time, and you can't just put it off to the side indefinitely and maybe some stranger will pick it up Lone Wolf and Cub-style." If you want to do the latter well, you've got to explore the space where traditional expectations of masculinity collide with a conscious decision to become deeply, physically vulnerable for the sake of something else in a way that is uncompromising and can't be alleviated by leveling up or some shit.

God knows if that's what they're doing here. The fetus-motif is running through the whole trailer outside of the baby jars, so for all we know it's part of some other thing.

(the Man Tear at the end though, boy, that kind of undercut the creepy vibe they were going for)
posted by schroedinger at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


Boys these days are all about the naked Reedus
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:03 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Does that mean you can play as Norman Reedus' baby father?
posted by biffa at 3:04 PM on December 9, 2017


God knows if that's what they're doing here. The fetus-motif is running through the whole trailer outside of the baby jars, so for all we know it's part of some other thing.

Click on that AV Club article up above for a really funny take on the series.
The only defense against the Oil Baddies are Magic Babies, which are kept in a glass womb that, if connected to a Good Daddy, allow them to detect and mimic some of the powers of the Bad Floaters and their terrifying Dark Umbilicals.”
posted by Fizz at 3:06 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


then you're either playing with a super weird/anti-female metaphor or you're grossly naive to not realize the way that could be perceived.

The first MGS game featured a female sidekick, and while she was portrayed as competent and ethical, her design origins are pretty much rooted in the 80s, and there's a substantial male gaze component to her outfits and circumstances, like secretly watching her pass the time in a jail cell exercising in her underwear. 50 demerits for house Slitherine.

MGS2's main character, Raiden, was widely panned by fans. He wasn't featured in the demo, and was pretty much designed following this template, purportedly in a failed attempt to make the franchise more appealing to women. Portrayal of actual women in the game was less frequent, with most of the screen time being you on the cell phone with your girlfriend, who may or may not be an AI.

Part of the plot of MGS3 was that the tragic main antagonist was a woman soldier who's accomplishments had been erased from history: photos of her in the Apollo program doctored to remove her, her status as founder the US Special Forces documented as Double Ultra Top Secret, and her unit helped win the battle of Normandy without so much as a peep. Some of the time she's protrayed with her sneaking suit halfway down, though it might to show a scar that's semi related to a plot point about the time she gave birth on the shores of France during D-Day.

The Vita game introduced a character Dr Strangelove who was her female lover and an AI / robotics designer, as sort of gender flipped Alan Turing. Sadly, one of the rewards for S-ranking the game is replacing her dapper attire with a bikini. She later gives birth to a son with one of the other side characters, who eventually murders her.

I haven't played MGS4, so about all I know about it is sourced from the internet: it ends with two old bums in a fist fight on top of a nuclear submarine. Hopefully Meryl found some clothes between MGS1 and this game.

MGS5 had a lot of problems and oddities. On the one hand, you can play the game as women -- once you've captured and interrogated them (this is how merc units recruit apparently). On the other hand, Quiet directly portrays some fucked up gender dynamics on the base, her attire is clearly pandering to the audience, and is poorly explained away as 'wearing clothes would literally suffocate her.' We clearly know what they're doing, as the most expensive outfits in the online game are all skin revealing swimsuits, and if you don't want to wait for the slow trickle of game currency, you can buy it directly. At this point online matches are a strange world of women in bikinis strangling one another. And on the weird hand, there's a strain of bacteria capable of changing genes, including gender chromosomes that are a central plot technology and at one point spawn a horror mini-story that ends with the quarantined committing suicide rather than become homicidal monsters, or women or something -- I forget.

As for this thing? Man, IDK. Sure, maybe it's just another marketing fake out ala the MGS2 demo. It's hard to say how much of the regressive views above were Kojima's idea and how much was an executive team's meddling. Considering said executive team has pivoted to making pachinko, probably more than zero parts was their idea foisted into the game. And it's also entirely possible that Konami's executive team as the only thing preventing MGS from becoming completely unhinged. What I can say, is that while there may or may not be deeper themes about gender dynamics in society, Kojima's LSD inspired 'plots' make it all too easy for fans to miss said themes.
posted by pwnguin at 3:13 PM on December 9, 2017 [8 favorites]


All I can say is that I'm freaking fascinated by this trailer. I have a big interest in storytelling via the game medium so I'm going to be following this game. Although if it's PS4 only I probably won't ever play it. As for the lack of women...I'm willing to wait and see given the kinda bonkers plot. If it ends up being just A World Without Women, then I will be super disappointed because that's not exactly DIFFERENT in the game industry.
posted by threeturtles at 3:14 PM on December 9, 2017


I think that if the entire first year of promotion about your game is about death and black goo and manly men carrying tiny babies either strapped to their chest on dreaming(?) about those babies living in the men's own bellies, and not a single woman has been seen in any of the trailers, then you're either playing with a super weird/anti-female metaphor or you're grossly naive to not realize the way that could be perceived.

Also lest I come off as apologist--I think this is way more likely given the entire history of the gaming industry. But gosh I think the "men have to give birth now" option could be good in the right hands.
posted by schroedinger at 3:19 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


If I can unlock a bikini for Guillermo del Toro's character, I think I might learn to forgive past mistakes.

But gosh I think the "men have to give birth now" option could be good in the right hands.

Obviously the whole argument is whether or not Kojima's are the right hands.

Maybe that's why there is a focus on hands in the trailer? He's trying to send us a message!

Hang on, decoding....

Hmm, strange, it says "Buy my game."
posted by deadaluspark at 3:29 PM on December 9, 2017


Oooh, here is the poster they've released. Very pretty.
posted by Fizz at 4:39 PM on December 9, 2017


1. Celebrities in video games? Meh.
2. This looks very weird, which is a good thing.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:51 PM on December 9, 2017


The trailer really reminds me of the SCP vibe, and in particular one extended series of expedition entries about an alternative universe Earth.
posted by lucidium at 5:14 PM on December 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Tacking on to the "pervasive misogyny in the Metal Gear series" discussion here James Howell, who has interesting Big Boss/FOXHOUND rank runs on Youtube, does a good job here [YT] of detailing the shitty way that women and female characters have consistently been portrayed and used in the series.

I personally found it pretty useful for framing my own thoughts about the subject, and also for underlining to me why I found how Paz got treated in GZ particularly gross.
posted by coolname at 5:16 PM on December 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Well, that… that certainly looks like a Kojima production. The Metal Gear games tend to start out like a military/spy thriller and descend into absurd schizophrenic-like delusion, this looks like it's skipping the early part where things are relatively sane.

MY THEORY because why not? Is that this is all taking place in some afterlife and the babies are their actual souls. so like DEATH has been STRANDING them in purgatory, the oilbads want to drag them to hell and the babies represent reincarnation or something. You don't find this out until the end, of course. Until then its all extradimansional alien apocalypse. Oh and they aren't really taking you to hell, its a Jacobs Ladder situation. Nah, that probably makes too much sense for Kojima.
posted by rodlymight at 5:27 PM on December 9, 2017


I like to think that Kojima is just quietly bemused by all the hubub about this, and as far as he's concerned he's just shown off a perfectly straightforward cinematic trailer that demonstrates the exact mechanics of how his new game will play.

Yes, as Norman Reedus, you will incubate children to escape from evil black oil. Why is anyone finding this weird?
posted by figurant at 9:25 PM on December 9, 2017 [8 favorites]


"Imagine if the big reveal in Death Stranding is that the baby is Quiet from MGSV. By the end it finally justifies her exposure and we all feel ashamed of our words and deeds." - PeterMolydeux
posted by straight at 9:57 PM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


@reicifr on twitter had the statement I most agree with currently: "Hideo Kojima is a genius for having people throw away money and break their backs to manifest his random, senseless brainfarts he dictates the interpretation of.

"But when's the last time he had characters speak to one another like human beings who aren't just theme machines?"

Like, Metal Gear Solid was "good" for a PlayStation game in the late 90s, but the justifiable complaints people raised against that game are just as applicable (if not more so) to its sequels. If you're willing to overlook those flaws, the franchise does have the capacity to entertain or provoke thought, but the flaws you must overlook become really unpalatable in a hurry, and they permeate every aspect of the production.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:00 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why is there a baby in this Stranger Things / Walking Dead mashup?
posted by es_de_bah at 11:40 PM on December 9, 2017


Maybe the Oil Monsters are the good guys; they've taken all the women to somewhere lovely and are just trying to clean up the mess all the men have left behind? Once all the men and their crap have gone They will terraform the Earth into paradise and bring back all of the women
posted by KateViolet at 11:46 PM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Think I've worked it out.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:50 AM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


...is that baby in his gastrointestinal tract? Cause that's not a great place to gestate
posted by saturday_morning at 4:48 AM on December 10, 2017


MGTOW : The Game.
posted by fullerine at 5:05 AM on December 10, 2017


...is that baby in his gastrointestinal tract? Cause that's not a great place to gestate

Not with that attitude!
posted by lumensimus at 6:07 AM on December 10, 2017 [6 favorites]


Sidenote: I'm excited to eventually see a grizzled old dad story in which the Plot Twist is that he abducted his child from her mother or something, and then the mother comes along and it turns out grizzled old dad has been Evil All Along a la Braid*

*this game is probably not that game
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 9:14 AM on December 10, 2017


...did that baby in his gastrointestinal tract give us a thumbs-up?
posted by Kelrichen at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yes, though given Kojima's predilections for mind-screwy explanations it might only look like a thumbs-up but is actually a significant part of the plot through some biotech reason or other
posted by coolname at 3:52 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


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