Hideo Kojima showed off new characters and gameplay from his upcoming game Death Stranding on Monday at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. It looks every bit as enticing, mysterious, and hilarious as anything Kojima has done.
Death Stranding is the first post- Metal Gear game from Kojima. It’s been more or less under wraps, aside from some cryptic trailers (including one in May that featured a couple tantalizing minutes of gameplay). Now, we finally have a better idea of what awaits us when Death Stranding drops in November. The Gamescom reveal focused on introducing characters, which also gave us a better look at the game’s lore. It also gave us a taste of its open world gameplay, with a focus on traversal and some simulation elements.
Here’s what we already knew: The game follows the aptly-named Sam Bridges—played by Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead—as he traverses a mysterious American landscape to “bridge” divides between people and cities while being menaced by various enemies and monsters.
The gameplay clip opens with Sam asleep in a placid landscape (press circle to wake up). The first thing that he does when he wakes up is take a long pee, capping it off with a gruff, “Nothin’ in the tank” before a glowing mushroom pops out of the ground. Sam then establishes a new “strand” on the game’s map by navigating to a kind of high-tech storage container featuring a holographic version of Gamescom presenter Geoff Keighley. After that, Sam falls down the landscape, and it looks hilarious. The baby strapped to his chest begins to cry after the tumble, and he consoles it. Following that, Sam runs down a hill and the player has to do some balancing with the left and right triggers.
The first newly-revealed character, Mama (played by Margaret Qualley), is an apparent ally of Sam’s who is connected via umbilical cord to her ghostly baby, who was born on “the other side,” so she cannot leave her location. The next reveal was a proper introduction to Dead Man, played by Guillermo Del Toro.
Dead Man’s exact role is unclear, but he gives Sam a total run-down of what the deal is with all the babies in portable vats. As Dead Man explains, these “bridge babies” or “BBs” are taken from “still mothers,” and the vats mimic the conditions inside the womb. BBs give people like Sam a connection to the “world of the dead,” and lets them detect the beings known as “BTs.” But as Dead Man explains, no baby has been in service for more than a year.
Death Stranding is supposed to implement a novel life-death cycle that involves a kind of liminal dimension that in a previous trailer looked like a ghostly World War I battlefield. This may very well be the “world of the dead” alluded at by Kojima, though of course everything is up for interpretation at this point.
Gamescom’s live opening on Monday featured reveals from upcoming games such as Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and more—but the most enticing offering was by far Death Stranding. Many mysteries remain, however, and Kojima stated that more gameplay will be on display at the Tokyo Game Show in September.