|Publisher(s)||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Release||November 8, 2019|
Death Stranding[a] is an upcoming action game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4. It is the first game from director Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions after their disbandment from Konami in 2015. It was announced at E3 2016, and is set to be released on November 8, 2019.
Actors Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, Margaret Qualley, Tommie Earl Jenkins, Troy Baker, and Lindsay Wagner provided motion capture, 3D scannings and vocal performances, while film directors Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn are also featured. The title is a reference to the cetacean stranding phenomenon.
Death Stranding is an action game set in an open world, which also includes multiplayer functions. Kojima compared the genre to how his earlier game Metal Gear – now considered as a stealth game – was called an action game during its release because the stealth genre was not considered to exist at the time.
According to Kojima, one of the key aspects of the announcement trailer was the idea of a connection between life and death. He explained one of the main themes through a short story by Kōbō Abe; the first tool created by humans was a stick, meant as protection by putting a distance between oneself and "bad things", and that the second was a rope, used to secure things one finds important. Kojima compared the main "tools" in action games – punching, shooting and kicking – to sticks, and that in Death Stranding, he wants people to communicate through the game equivalent of ropes. While the title refers to the phenomenon of cetacean stranding, "strand" is an alternative term for shore and also stands for strings and connections.
When the main character, named Sam, dies, the player is sent to another world, referred to as an upside-down world submerged in water. Kojima suggests that when the player returns to the world of the living, anything they did or any damage that an explosion or the like causes when the player dies remains persistent in the world and does not go away. Another element talked about is the existence of a type of rain, called "Timefall", with the ability to age or deteriorate whatever it hits. Another gameplay element talked about is the player's ability to interact with the environment and wander outside of the character's body, as well as recovering items when they die.
People have created "Walls" and become accustomed to living in isolation. Death Stranding is a completely new type of action game, where the goal of the player is to reconnect isolated cities and a fragmented society. It is created so that all elements, including the story and gameplay, are bound together by the theme of the "Strand" or connection. As Sam Porter Bridges, you will attempt to bridge the divides in society, and in doing create new bonds or "Strands" with other players around the globe. Through your experience playing the game, I hope you'll come to understand the true importance of forging connections with others.— Hideo Kojima
After a lengthy corporate conflict with Konami as a restricted subsidiary, Kojima Productions closed in July 2015 and reformed as an independent video game developer and studio in December. The same month, Hideo Kojima announced his partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment, at the time led by Andrew House, to make a new "PlayStation game".
Kojima revealed the game at Sony's conference during E3 2016 with the trailer. It was made possible with the technology of photogrammetry and motion capture. It featured Norman Reedus, who will serve as the basis for the main protagonist. The game is the second collaboration between Kojima and Reedus, following the cancelled Silent Hills. Kojima and Mark Cerny, lead system architect of the PlayStation 4, spent two weeks in January 2016 looking for a game engine on which to develop the game. One of the two remaining candidates had been used to create the teaser trailer. Guerrilla Games would later be announced as a collaborator on the development of the game, as it was providing their proprietary game engine, Decima. Kojima Productions' meeting room was recreated in the engine as a reference of accuracy, and for the purpose of testing physically-based lighting.
A second teaser unveiled that Mads Mikkelsen would be joining the cast as the game's main antagonist. It also featured a character bearing the likeness of Guillermo del Toro, who had previously collaborated with Kojima and Reedus on Silent Hills. During this period, a female protagonist was said planned to be revealed and that Ludvig Forssell, who previously worked with Kojima on Metal Gear Solid V, was writing the music. An alternate cut of the second teaser included a song from the band Low Roar. Kojima Productions and American media publisher Mondo partnered to release a 12-inch vinyl single of the song under the Death Stranding brand, which was released in February 2017.
The game entered full development in 2017. A few days before E3 2017, Kojima announced that the game would not appear during the usual Sony conference. In June, information came from Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, affirming that Death Stranding was in fact in a playable alpha version, but he had not been able to categorize the game in a specific genre.
A third teaser was presented during The Game Awards 2017 in December, where Kojima, Reedus and del Toro made appearances. The next day, the same trailer was shown again at PlayStation Experience, in which also Kojima made an appearance on stage during the event. Mark Cerny commented on the trailer, saying that the game would have gained sense after 4–5 hours of playing and confirmed that the video was captured on PlayStation 4 Pro. The same month, more info from Kojima about the gameplay was revealed. At the same time, Kojima admitted that he was aware of the common belief that would see him proceeding too slowly in the development, but reiterated that this was not the case. Kojima also revealed that the team was unable to do any performance capture or voice over for the third trailer in time for E3 2017 due to the 2016–17 video game voice actor strike, so it was delayed until the Game Awards.
In February 2018, Emily O'Brien and Troy Baker joined the cast for the game. In May, Sony Worldwide Studios' Shawn Layden, revealed that Death Stranding would be part of four games – along with Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part II – on which the company would deeply focus during E3 2018. At the event, a new trailer was shown, showing gameplay for the first time. It also revealed that actresses Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner were to be a part of the cast. On September 18, it was announced at Tokyo Game Show 2018 that Tommie Earl Jenkins would portray a key character in the game, and that Akio Ōtsuka, Kikuko Inoue, Nana Mizuki and Satoshi Mikami, veterans of the Metal Gear series, along with Kenjiro Tsuda, had joined the game's Japanese voice cast.
In March 2019, Hideo Kojima said that Death Stranding was slightly behind its release date schedule, and that he himself was testing and adjusting the gameplay, day by day, defining that phase of development as "critical".
A trailer released on May 29, 2019 announced the release date of November 8, 2019. It introduced Margaret Qualley as Mama and Nicolas Winding Refn as Heartman. Several character names were also revealed: Cliff (Mikkelsen), Fragile (Seydoux), Deadman (Del Toro), Die-Hardman (Jenkins), Higgs (Baker) and Amelie (Wagner). O'Brien, Jesse Corti and Darren Jacobs are credited for voice-over work in the trailer. Del Toro and Winding Refn both received a "Special Appearance" credit, with Kojima later explaining that their likenesses were only used and their voice and motion capture are performed by other actors.
The game's announcement during E3 2016 was met with positive reception and discussion: from the entrance of Hideo Kojima, introduced by Andrew House on the Sony stage, welcomed with great enthusiasm after his "Hello, hello everyone. I'm back!" exclamation, to the teaser trailer itself, especially for Reedus' appearance and interpretation, triggering several reaction videos from the public which were widespread on YouTube. Kojima's arrival and the trailer were chosen by several publications to be one the most discussed moments at the event.
In the period after the shown trailers and basic game information, fans speculated their theories about the game, its gameplay and its plot, organizing themselves in communities on discussion forums. In 2017, Death Stranding was nominated by Golden Joystick Awards in the category "Most Wanted Game", but lost to The Last of Us Part II. In June 2018, during the days following the E3 press conferences, Death Stranding reached the top ten in the most watched video game trailers on YouTube, with more than 4.5 million views. During the same month a parody video game of Death Stranding, called Deadly Standing and being developed by "Hodeo Kojumbo", was released for Android, getting mostly jokingly positive reviews from users.
- Sykes, Tom (September 13, 2016). "Kojima's Death Stranding is an action game in an open world". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016.
- "E3 2016: MORE CRYPTIC DEATH STRANDING DETAILS FROM KOJIMA". IGN. June 15, 2016. Archived from the original on June 21, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- Rad, Chloi (June 15, 2016). "E3 2016: More Cryptic Death Stranding Details From Kojima". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on June 21, 2016.
- Davenport, James (June 16, 2016). "Kojima's Death Stranding will be an action game, sort of". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016.
- Weber, Rachel (December 19, 2016). "Watch Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen in Creepy 'Death Stranding' Teasers". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016.
- Kamen, Matt (September 13, 2016). "Hideo Kojima reveals more about his mysterious Death Stranding game". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016.
- Sliva, Marty (December 11, 2017). "Kojima Explains Death Stranding Gameplay and Lore". IGN. Archived from the original on December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Webster, Andrew (May 29, 2019). "Death Stranding is finally launching in November". The Verge. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Brown, Peter; Crossley, Rob (March 20, 2015). "Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (March 19, 2015). "Metal Gear Solid creator's involvement in series questioned, Konami removes branding". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on March 20, 2015.
- Hussain, Tamoor (July 12, 2015). "Kojima Productions Has Disbanded, Says Metal Gear Solid Voice Actor". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015.
- Dyer, Mitch; Otero, Jose (December 16, 2015). "Hideo Kojima Talks New Studio, 'Edgy' PlayStation Game, and the Future". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on December 17, 2015.
- "KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS AND SONY OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP". IGN. December 15, 2015. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- McWhertor, Michael (June 15, 2016). "Death Stranding's teaser probably won't be playable, Hideo Kojima says". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016.
- Hernandez, Patricia (June 14, 2016). "Hideo Kojima's New Game, Death Stranding, Already Has Conspiracy Theories". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016.
- Hussain, Tamoor (December 16, 2015). "Kojima's PS4 Console Exclusive Will Come to PC". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015.
- "Death Stranding and the Future of PlayStation". IGN. Ziff Davis. December 9, 2016. Archived from the original on December 13, 2016.
- Pereira, Chris (December 3, 2016). "Kojima Partnering With Killzone, Horizon Dev Guerrilla for Death Stranding". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Death Stranding - PlayStation Experience 2016: Panel Discussion. Sony Interactive Entertainment. December 3, 2016. Archived from the original on December 5, 2016 – via YouTube.
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia (December 1, 2016). "Death Stranding Goes Full Kojima With Mysterious New Trailer". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016.
- Hussain, Tamoor (December 1, 2016). "New Death Stranding Trailer Is Very Weird, Features Hannibal Actor Mads Mikkelsen". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017.
- Makuch, Eddie (September 18, 2016). "Death Stranding Possibly Coming in 2018, May Feature Female Hero". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016.
- Forssell, Ludvig (December 3, 2016). "Twitter status 12/03/16". Twitter. Archived from the original on July 26, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
- McWhertor, Michael (December 3, 2016). "Death Stranding's trailer music is coming to vinyl from Mondo". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016.
- Weber, Rachel (December 16, 2016). "Hideo Kojima Talks Soundtrack and the Meaning of 'Death Stranding'". Glixel. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016.
- Death Stranding and the Future of PlayStation (Hideo Kojima, Mark Cerny & Hermen Hulst). IGN. December 9, 2016. Archived from the original on December 12, 2016 – via YouTube.
- @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN (June 7, 2017). "Apologies to our fans, Death Stranding will not be @ E3 as we are fully focused on development. Pls see me with @geoffkeighley on 6/14!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "E3 2017 - PlayStation's Shawn Layden on Death Stranding, Spider-man and the nature of the console competition". The Daily Telegraph. June 17, 2017. Archived from the original on June 18, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- Byford, Sam. "Watch the unhinged new trailer for Kojima and del Toro's Death Stranding". The Verge. Archived from the original on February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Death Stranding Trailer Makes Sense After Playing 4-5 Hours, Sony Exec Claims". GameStop. December 8, 2017. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- Bell, Brian (February 22, 2018). "Troy Baker, Emily O'Brien Join Cast of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding". Paste. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
- Seppela, Timothy (May 11, 2018). "Sony is trying a new format for its E3 press conference". Engadget. Archived from the original on May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
- Makuch, Eddie. "PS4's Death Stranding Announces Two More Celebrity Stars". GameSpot. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- Imtiaz, Khurram. "Brand New Characters And Gameplay Revealed For Death Stranding". GearNuke. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- Ramsey, Robert. "Death Stranding Japanese Dub will Feature Metal Gear Voices, Including Solid Snake and Big Boss". PushSquare. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- Marcell, Katri. "Death Stranding Features Iconic Metal Gear Solid Voice Actors". VGR. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "小島秀夫が語る、未来のゲームとは？ 世界中が待ち望む新作『DEATH STRANDING』進捗も報告". J-Wave (in Japanese). March 5, 2019. Archived from the original on March 30, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- Donnellan, Jimmy (March 6, 2019). "Hideo Kojima Confirms Death Stranding Is "Slightly" Delayed". Cultured Vultures. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Death Stranding hits a "critical phase" as Kojima plays the game "every day" on PS4". Eurogamer. March 24, 2019. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Death Stranding Gameplay Release Date Trailer". YouTube. May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Dayus, Oscar (May 29, 2016). "Death Stranding Release Date For PS4 Revealed In New Gameplay Trailer". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
- Hideo Kojima [@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN] (May 29, 2019). "I asked my bestie, Nicolas, to be "HEARTMAN" in DS as special guest. We 3D scanned his head, body, and facial expressions to make his 3D model, but his acting and voice are done by a different performer, same as with Guillermo" (Tweet). Retrieved May 30, 2019 – via Twitter.
- "THE LEGENDARY CREATOR OF METAL GEAR SOLID ON HIS WEIRD NEW GAME". Wired. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Hideo Kojima announces surreal new game, Death Stranding". The Guardian. June 14, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "The 11 Biggest Stories from E3 2016". IGN. June 19, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Eight Of The Greatest WTF Moments Of E3 2016". Kotaku. June 17, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "The DeanBeat: The best moments of E3 2016". VentureBeat. June 17, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Death Stranding remains a mystery, but that won't stop fans from theorizing". Polygon. December 2, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- London, Andrew (September 21, 2017). "Voting is now open for the Golden Joystick awards". TechRadar. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Here are your 2017 Golden Joystick Award winners". PC Gamer. November 17, 2017. Archived from the original on November 18, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- Sehran Shaikh (June 13, 2018). "Cyberpunk 2077 Is The Most Viewed Trailer Of E3 2018, Amazing Looking Screenshots Released". GamePur.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
Death Stranding - E3 2018 4K Trailer PS4: 4,579,892 views - 126,162 likes - 27.56 L/D
- "Deadly Standing Is The Next Masterpiece From Genius Developer Kojumbo". Kotaku. June 26, 2018. Archived from the original on August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Death Stranding is already inspiring hilarious phone game rip-offs". IGN. June 26, 2018. Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.