Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding: 10 Things You Need To Know

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These skeletal soldiers are just one hint of what is to come from Kojima Production's new project, Death Stranding

Don't waste another second watching Death Stranding videos on repeat and find what you need to know about Hideo Kojima's revolutionary new videogame right here.

Death Stranding is the most mysterious upcoming game in the market and every piece of the puzzle that Kojima Productions reveals leaves us scratching our heads and saying “wtf” as we start to dig into hours and hours of research, or what I like to call a, “Kojima Hole.” But, luckily, you’ve found this article and instead of bouncing around from blog to blog for the better part of your day, you can just read this to catch up.  Here is what we know so far.

10) Death Stranding Will Be Released as Late as 2019

Mads Mikkelsen telling Kojima Productions not to say anything else about the release date

Kojima Productions hinted at this date with a very cryptic tweet in 2016 after bluntly reminding us that they obviously have a release date in mind and that budgets need deadlines (you don’t have to be a dick about it, Koj), saying, “Before the Tokyo Olympic Games.  Before the new Akira.”  

Each of these events are set for the year 2020, which makes 2019 the latest that the game would be released.  Hideo Kojima later confirmed this prediction during Tokyo Game Show 2016, saying that the game would come out, “before the year in which Akira is set.”  Which is 2019, so we might even expect Death Stranding to come out some time during 2018.

9) "Death Stranding" Refers to Beached Whales

You can find a direct reference to the beached whale phenomena in the first trailer

“Death Stranding” is a term that refers to a type of cetacean stranding, which is just a fancy way of saying beaching; a phenomenon that ironically doesn’t mean going to the beach for a good time, but is actually when whales wash up onto shore to die.  “Death Stranding”, as opposed to “Live Stranding”, is meant to classify whales that have beached postmortem.

Hideo Kojima took it further during the 2016 Tokyo Game Show by saying that the game would involve, “something from another world stranded in our world.”  Judging from our deductions, it must be something dead, right?  Maybe those skeletons following Mads Mikkelsen around somehow got stranded on our planet.

8) Death Stranding is Hideo's First Game After Leaving Konami

This is Kojima Productions’ mascot who apparently won’t be making an appearance in the new game

After Hideo Kojima’s rocky past with Konami, Hideo took his Kojima Productions staff and decided to go independent by starting his own video aptly named video game company, Kojima Productions (they’re spending all of that creative energy on the new game, I’m sure).  

This left all of us Kojima fans with too much time on our hands and too big of an imagination to even fathom what he would do next.  All we know is that he has something to prove: that Konami was just holding him back and that he never really needed them in the first place.

7) Death Stranding’s Engine Will Be the Same as Horizon: Zero Dawn

A shot from Horizon: Zero Dawn, showing off the incredible detail that the Decima Engine is capable of

The engine is called the “Decima Engine” and was developed by Guerilla Games and it doesn’t mean you’ll be hunting robo-dinos in the game, it just means that you might recognize the physics, AI, and logics from games like Killzone Shadow Fall, Until Dawn, and RIGS: Mechanized Combat League in addition to Horizon.

This means that the game is going probably focus on graphics and cut scenes.  Which is what you’d expect from a Kojima game anyway, but might mean a less action-based video game and focus more on connecting with other characters socially.

6) It Will Be Open World and Have an Online Multiplayer Option

This is Hideo Kojima providing the closest thing to a description of the multiplayer gameplay that Death Stranding will feature

Something like holding hands?  There’s not much that we know about this aspect of the game, but it’s worth bringing up that Death Stranding will have an open world and there’s going to be an online multiplayer option, but no one is sure if it’s going to be a more passive or active part of the game.


5) Death Stranding Will Not Feature Your Typical “Game Over”

There’s been a lot of speculation regarding the death and rebirth process in the game; one theory thinks that this creepy winking baby in the incubator is actually Norman Reedus, but that's been debunked.  Still, the baby teleporting from one trailer to another might hint at how dying will work in the game

According to Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding is going to feature a new approach to dying in a video game.  In June 2016, Kojima Productions tweeted, “From the days of coin operated games [sic] have had a continue option if you were to fail your mission.  Failing would also mean the death of your game character.  In making a game, both in story and in the game system you depict death.  However, ‘death’ is about to have a new meaning.”  This might mean that there is no such thing as, “Game Over” in Death Stranding, but it might mean that the story would change if you fail a certain number of times.


4) Mads Mikkelsen Will Be the Antagonist

Mads looking dastardly with his gang of skeletal troops

This is almost too perfect of a fit because Mads Mikkelsen is known as one of the creepiest bad guys on TV today.  Just look at that second trailer for Death Stranding, his smile at the end made me text my mom, “I love you.”  However, despite his deep involvement, Mikkelsen got completely lost when the plot was explained to him by Kojima, which might just be something that was lost in translation, or it might just be the fact that Hideo Kojima’s stories get more twisted than your average plot line.


3) Death Stranding Will Have Heavy Sci-Fi Elements

Think this is just a normal promotional poster for Death Stranding?  Take a closer look at Reedus' dog tags in the next image

A zoomed in photo of Reedus’ dog tags, the gibberish on the top is The Schwarzschild Radius and the gibberish on the bottom is The Direc Equation

If you take a look at all of the clues that Hideo Kojima is pointing out, you’ll see that black holes are going to have a major role in the game.  The dog tags that Norman Reedus is wearing in the promotional poster have two equations:  The Schwarzchild Radius and The Dirac Equation.

The Schwarzchild Radius determines the radius necessary for a mass to make the escape velocity equal the speed of light. In English this translates to the size necessary to make a sphere a black hole.  The Dirac Equation is a proof in quantum physics that describes quarks that have a parity, or mirror image.  Don’t worry, I barely understand it too.  But this is what Kojima does best and might hint at the multidimensional nature of the game.

2) Death Stranding won't be a horror game

Hideo Kojima and Mads Mikkelsen think that this game is going to be funny

Sorry to all of you horror fans out there that are still praying for a new Silent Hill, but Hideo Kojima doesn’t want to classify his new game within the “horror” genre.  The only way that he’s defined it has been as “A really new idea.”  Which isn’t very useful.  But he’s striving to make it as “something you haven’t seen before, something with more of an artistic slant to it.” This might seem hard to believe when you watch the trailers and practically poop your pants from the terrifying imagery.  But, alas, he continues to say that, “I’m not pursuing a dark aspect to the game.”  In fact, there might be a good amount of humor and a definite breaking of the fourth wall, which is a direct opposition to horror and a favorite trope of Kojima’s.

1) The Gameplay Was Inspired By a Short Story

The web motif signifies the ropes and strands that inspired Hideo Kojima’s concept for the game and references can be found throughout the promotional material

Death Stranding’s gameplay is going to be something that we’ve never seen before.  According to Hideo Kojima, it is inspired by a Japanese short story entitled “The Rope” by author Kobo Abe.  In it, Abe describes the first two inventions discovered by mankind: sticks and ropes.  Sticks are used to keep enemies way, while ropes are used to keep what we care about close.  In an interview with IGN, Kojima said, “Most of your tools in action games are sticks.  You punch or you shoot or you kick…In [Death Stranding], I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes…But of course you will be able to use the sticks too.”


So far Death Stranding has appeared as everything you would want from a Hideo Kojima game.  It’s heady, it’s dramatic, it’s shrouded in mystery.  So far, it looks like it’s going to completely change the way we play video games and now we’re hanging on every word that Hideo says like puppets on - well like puppets on a strand.  There’s no doubt that this is going to be Kojima’s most ambitious project yet and he’s only released two trailers.

Kojima has had the brilliant idea to focus on the things that we want to keep close rather than the things we want to keep away, which totally turns the entire idea of video games on its head, and none of us can wait to see what he's planning.

You may also like:

That’s the Spirit!: Death Stranding is Silent Hills Under a Different Name
Can Metal Gear Survive without Kojima? 
Top 15 Upcoming Horror Games of 2017 and Beyond (For PC)
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Nathen writes reviews, fictional stories, and non-fictional ones too. All while still refusing to admit that he's actually a goat in a trench coat.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Battlefield 1, Starcraft II, LoL
Top 3 Favorite Games:League of Legends, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Fallout 4

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