Ink, cables, connections, and strands are all words and concepts that have been used in a lot of Death Stranding advertisements over the past few years. However, Hideo Kojima recently said in an interview that the Death Stranding support network that players will form will be integral to the game’s message.
The main plot of Death Stranding (at least, what we’ve been able to gather) is that the United States, and quite possibly the entire world, has been almost utterly destroyed by a variety of apocalyptic phenomena, leaving people separated in various enclaves, apart from one another.
It falls to Sam Bridger to work as a deliveryman, keeping these enclaves connected by whatever means necessary, because many believe that if humans refuse to continue helping each other, then humanity as we know it is doomed.
A big and unexpected part of the game, according to Hideo Kojima, is the Death Stranding support network, where players will be able to interact with, and see signs of, other players as they go through the game themselves.
This is done, according to Kojima, in order to help players understand that they’re not alone and that there are other people out there that are in the same boat, and that bonds can be formed through that and help people to bond with one another despite their own loneliness.
Considering that hikkikomori (people who spend all their time on the computer in isolation, with very little human contact) are a noticeable social group in Japan, something like this, where people can’t form connections with others in isolation, likely struck a chord with Kojima.
He also wants the Death Stranding support network to be a positive experience. Making use of the tracks and traces that other characters have left in their wake will net them a “like” to let them know someone is giving them positive feedback. There’s also no negative feedback option, since the intent is to bring people together rather than driving them apart.
There’s no rewards to “liking” someone else’s things; the entire point of the exercise is to make the world as supportive as it can be, regardless of the dark circumstances that it currently finds itself in. You’ll be able to experience this support network for yourself when the game launches exclusively on the Playstation 4 on November 9 of this year.