So Death Stranding got a nearly nine minute trailer yesterday, with a good look at the world, character interactions and a release date: November 8th. I’ve already pre-ordered the ridiculously expensive replica baby version (of course that’s a thing), and although it won’t be a full breakdown I would like to give some impressions on the game at this point.
I’ve always been into Death Stranding but I’ve had it on the back burner: I left the dissection and speculation to others, content in the knowledge that it looked good and that I’d find out all I needed to by playing the game, whenever it came out. This trailer is what’s finally made me engage with it more actively, mainly because it’s given me the best grasp of the game so far. Norman Reedus’ Sam Bridges is a courier schlepping large boxes across a hostile, barren landscape by placing ladders over gaps and hiking over rocky hills, this much we know. Turns out he’s on a first name basis with the terminally ill U.S President, a woman named Bridget, so maybe Bridges is actually a government agency? She wants him to unite the remaining people of the U.S so they can stand together against “BTs”, the shadow ghosts from previous trailers, who are revealed through the use of the tank babies seen before, here revealed to be called “Bridge Babies”, which come from “The other side”. Presumably that’s what the “Death Stranding” is; a link between the living and dead. Sam thinks this is a lost cause, and rebuilding the country is both unnecessary and won’t do anything about the BTs, but it’s currently unclear how and why they’re here. Troy Baker’s character Higgs is the leader of a terrorist group who roam from settlement to settlement killing people, Lea Seydoux’s character is named Fragile, which leads me to believe that both she and Sam are named after their respective companies, as are all employees, and Mads Mikkelsen’s character Cliff gets a proper look in. He’s a scientist it seems like, reassuring and softly singing to a Bridge Baby in a lab, but also has those skeletal soldiers seen in previous trailers. They aren’t present when he’s in the lab, but there are shots of him in a warzone that looks like something from the first world war, covered in tar and seemingly naked, as well as rising from oil “Apocalypse Now”-style, lighting a cigarette that then sets said oil on fire, which doesn’t effect him or his soldiers. It’s interesting that he can be in two completely different states, and the title cards “Those bound to Hades” and “Those who struggle to stay connected” suggest said soldiers are some kind of malevolent power from the other side, barely kept in check by Cliff. Sam appears in the WW1 mud and blood-covered trenches in his uniform, alongisde ghost soldiers and one with a physical form he shoots, so clearly that warzone plays a part in current events and he’s capable of taking part in a conflict. Speaking of conflict, we get a look at combat out in the world as a group of goons chase after Sam: he knocks two out, dodges one and they reluctantly call off the hunt when it begins raining: a sign of the BTs’ arrival. At one point the cheery baby inside Sam’s body turns into a doll, which makes him drop to his knees and hold a gun to his head: that same doll is seen earlier strung up near Cliff, and given his clear links to BBs it’s not a stretch to think he has the ability to replace one, he may even be the one who brought them over in the first place.
Okay, so, the broad strokes I’ve gleaned from this trailer are that basically the U.S and perhaps the world is in ruin and full of shadowy ghost monsters from the land of the dead, babies from said land help the remnants of humanity see them, a terrorist group lead by Troy Baker is threatening said remnants and a courier disagrees with the President that the U.S is worth rebuilding. Also there’s a war and Mads Mikkelsen is involved. Also there’s a character in it called Die-Hardman. Now I’ve got something concrete I’m finding it easier to engage with Death Stranding, and I look forward to more information and footage coming out, hopefully a series of escalating trailers like MGSV had, all of which were ace. I’ll be reviewing it, obviously, and in the meantime I’ll probably write about any key new info or trailers, I’ll judge them on a case-by-case basis.
By James Lambert