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Let’s Dissect Death Stranding Gameplay – What We Expect, What We Can Hope For

We got the latest revelation from Kojima-san at Sony’s conference at E3 2018 for the upcoming (we do not know what genre we can use to describe it) game, Death Stranding.

Of course, we are more confused now than ever and that is completely understandable given how Kojima loves to tease and baffle us ever since the days of Metal Gear 2.

Deciphering Death Stranding Gameplay

Nonetheless, that is not to stop us from deciphering anything we can and using what we know around the web including facts along with some plausible theories (with evidence), we’ll do our best to play the game Kojima’s so intent on.

Oh Kojima, What Doth Thou Hold?

So gone are the thoughts and speculations about what will be the role of the protagonist, Sam. Apparently, we play as, not a superhero, not a time-traveling agent, nor an elite soldier but a simple man who goes about delivering packages (and possibly people?).

At first, this sounds and appears like a troll, a meme, something the guys at the new studio, Kojima Production might be having a laugh about. However, no, not a chance. Kojima is talking ever so sincerely both in interviews and in his very interesting blog entry.

In it, he mentions how Kojima wanted to create something new, something that was very unconventional and completely unique. So now, you do not have a badass mercenary or an overpowered hero who can use supernatural abilities. You are just a regular Joe as Kojima puts it:

“To create… a hero that has never been done before.”

Of course, some guys over at the subreddit for Death Stranding have been joking about how Sam is the most dedicated pizza delivery guy and stuff. However, Kojima’s bizarre new direction and the decision could be a game changer in a world of games with stereotyped protagonists.

This leads us to the next part of the journey: If we are playing just as a regular dude, we will not have the skill-set that could turn the game all action-heavy, what does this mean for the combat and the overall gameplay?

Breathe in the Icelandic Beauty

If there is one thing that is abundant in the trailer, it is the grandeur beauty and the sense of isolation that is magical. We see Sam traversing barren landscapes lush with greenery.

We see him struggling against the high tides near the waterfalls and we see him climbing lava-colored mountains to reach his goal.

Every frame feels and looks like a work of art. Thanks to the DECIMA Engine (Horizon: Zero Dawn), Kojima has the capability to bring his wildest dreams and imaginations to the game industry and from what we’ve seen so far gives us nothing to doubt him.

All of this feels amazing when it comes to conveying messages and paint images in the mind so they linger long after the game is finished. But what about when it comes to actual gameplay. This is still not a movie after all, even though Kojima intends to overlap all forms of media in Death Stranding:

“I want to deliver something for people around the world that transcends generations. I want all people to experience the entertainment medium of games, not only gamers but fans of the film, novels, comics, music, and art.”

Where’s the Thrill and Action that Snake Brought Us?

So speaking of gameplay, will we just roam around delivery packages. What about actual action or combat? This is still a teaser but Kojima isn’t so keen on an action thriller kind of video game like the Metal Gear series. In an interview with Geoff Keighley right after Sony’s conference, Kojima describes how he pitched the game to one of the crewmembers, Lindsay Wagner:

“Lindsay knew most games were about shooting each other, punching each other and that she wasn’t so fond of that. So when I first met her, I explained to her how this game was not about just combat… but it had this concept of the ‘rope’ and bringing everyone together.”

Of course, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of combat, it just gives an idea of how Death Stranding will focus less on gunplay and more on other gameplay elements, one of which is survival. If you know Kojima, then you know he loves stealth and elements of survival horror in video games.

From what we have seen, Death Stranding seems to be on the same page. There is exploration so to achieve a goal that is other than defeating or killing enemies. There is stealth too, as we can see Norman’s character moving at the slowest pace possible while holding his breath to not attract whatever those hostile beings are.

But this is not to say there will not be any action at all. In fact, there is a point in the trailer where you can see Sam make out a settlement in the distance and immediately grab some sort of firearm from one of his packages.

Moreover, within the same interview, Kojima describes how players can ‘power’ through the enemies as well but that is not the main goal of the game. He clearly explains how guns will be available in the game and players can use that option but it will be riskier and less recommended to stealth.

Speaking of exploration and delivery packages, there seems to be a corpse at a particular point in the trailer. It definitely resembles the corpse that is turned ‘golden’ in the previous trailer for the game. Maybe, the real mystery lies in what items and beings will be delivered as packages and to whom. Guess we will only find out when the game releases.

Don’t Step out Into the Rain

An important aspect of the game that has been around since the third trailer is Timefall. Even described by Kojima himself on multiple occasions, Timefall is a different name given to a different type of rainfall that you can observe in the game. As you can probably notice, Timefall has the ability to accelerate growth and other processes as Lea Seydoux also points out during one scene.

Hats off to the guys behind the game to include certain details like the greenery and plants around Sam growing and dying instantly during a latter sequence in the trailer. This would explain why all characters we have met so far in Death Stranding wear protective clothes to combat the effects of the rain or use a special Umbrella like the pretty French lady does in the video.

Somehow, we are not so sure about this; the rainfall has something to do with the invisible creatures that can be observed in the last half of the trailer. When they attempt to make physical content, it is always on a destroyed and barren piece of land where we see black handprints being formed.

These creatures also have the ability to speed up time and events as you can make out how the surrounding plants bloom and wither off in just a matter of seconds. In addition, when Normand alerts the enemies towards the end, you can see how quickly all the lush greenery makes way to a dull and coal-colored patch of lands with little to no plants.

Whatever happens, be prepared to go out into the rain that is not just comprised of water.

Let Us have a Baby

One of the more prominent features of the game, the baby has been predominant in its presence in all trailers so far. Each character seems to have some interaction with these newborns. What we can gather, is that they may be some sort of reviving mechanism in the game.

At one point during the trailer, you can overhear Sam’s conversation with the guy on the phone who tells him something along the lines of:

“If one of those things eats you … you’ll come back, sure, but the surrounding area will still be a crater.”

So maybe whenever one of those things make contact with you, your time process is accelerated to the point of your death by old age. But the baby ensures that you can get reborn and into a new timeline. That is our thoughts, at least.

But what about the other point in the quote above? If death is not permanent, something else is. Will the surrounding area remain dead and barren irreversibly? Will an explosion reduce the land to no resources or a sort of place marked by the creatures as a curse?

Well, we can only go so far on deciphering the game. Of course all of this still maybe futile, you never know with Kojima. He understands games better than any of us and we will give him all the right to confuse, excite and take us on this magical journey that he has planned for us or how he likes to put it:

“It (Death Stranding) is sure to form an image unlike any seen before. I hope that the strand with you will be a special one.”

What Death Stranding really is, remains to be seen but do let us know what YOU make of Death Stranding Gameplay shown during E3 in the comments section below!