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Feature Article

Death Stranding: Release Window, Trailers, And What We Know

Still a mystery.

Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and mysterious games that might release next year or next. Its provocative story trailers only seem to raise more questions about not only its plot, but its gameplay. First revealed at Sony's E3 2016 press conference, all we've had to go on about the game since has come from its trailers and a smattering of interviews with Kojima.

While it's not yet known when we'll hear more about the game, we're hoping that it's sometime soon. To ensure you're kept up to date on everything there is to know about Death Stranding in the time between now and its next reveal, we've compiled all the information we have on the game so far: its premise, its trailers, and more.

What Is Death Stranding?

As stated, Death Stranding is the newest game from famed game developer, Hideo Kojima, who's best known as the creator of the Metal Gear series. It's an open-world action game that includes an optional online multiplayer component. You play as Sam Bridges, an employee for a mysterious organization who embarks on a journey to reunite a shattered world filled with dangerous invisible enemies of unknown origin. His profession seems to be that of a delivery man of sorts, but the nature of the parcels he delivers remains unexplained.

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There are not a lot of specifics about the game's story, but it appears Sam has allies in his journey. One such character is an unnamed woman with an umbrella-like device, who appears to help Sam in overcoming the world's deadly invisible threats. Another is a commanding officer who talks to Sam via radio.

The game is being made with the DECIMA engine, the same game engine used to make Horizon Zero Dawn. Death Stranding seems to make use of a grimmer color palette in its use of the DECIMA engine compared with Guerilla Games' more vibrant post-apocalyptic adventure.

The Cast

Death Stranding is packed with a cast of Hollywood actors who are providing voice acting and motion capture performance to the game. It stars Norman Reedus as Sam, Mads Mikkelsen as a bizarre unnamed antagonist, Léa Seydoux as the aforementioned unnamed woman, and Lindsay Wagner as a mysterious friend of Sam's. Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro is even in it too, but only his likeness is being used, not his voice. In addition, voice actors Troy Baker and Emily O'Brien both play parts in the game as well, with the former playing the role a mysterious man wearing a golden mask.

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Release Window

Death Stranding doesn't have a confirmed release window. During Tokyo Game Show 2016, Kojima stated that the game would be launched before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan--the year in which Akira is set. However, that film took place in 2019, and Kojima's comments implied that Death Stranding would've launched in 2018. Seeing as it's nearly the end of 2018 at the time of this writing, it's safe to say that this is no longer happening. However, we're crossing our fingers that a Death Stranding release date comes sooner than later.

How It Plays

Death Stranding is primarily an open-world action game, but there will still be stealth elements. There's apparently a great degree of freedom in how you choose to approach the game, being able to choose whether to progress by fighting or seeking out alternative routes. Based on brief gameplay footage from the fourth trailer, you seem to spend a lot of time wandering through open landscapes and abandoned buildings. While it seems you explore the world on foot, there will apparently be access to vehicles.

Every once in a while, you'll encounter invisible hostiles. Luckily, you seem to have a handy device on your backpack that detects their presence. Despite any attempts you make to sneak, these creatures can easily sense your breathing. The footage seemed to imply that this would be a mechanic where you need to vary the degree in which you hold your breath.

According to Kojima, Death Stranding also aims to eschew some of gaming's most time-honored traditions--in this case, the mechanics that dictate life and death. When Sam dies, you're sent to an upside-down world submerged in water that you can explore in first-person. But once you return to the world of the living, anything you've done or any damage you've caused in the world persists.

Another major mechanic in Death Stranding involves a type of rain known as "Timefall." This substance has the ability to age or deteriorate whatever it hits. It's likely the reason why the characters in the third teaser trailer are wearing hoods, and why the one who isn't ages rapidly--and quite painfully--in a matter of seconds. Both the death and aging mechanics shown in the third trailer are showcased in story cutscenes rather than in-game.

Lastly, the most bizarre aspect of every Death Stranding trailer is the baby that Sam and others can be seen holding. Kojima has confirmed that this mysterious infant is more than just a plot device, and that it actually relates to the game's narrative and gameplay mechanics.

How Did Death Stranding Come To Be?

There's an intriguing history behind Death Stranding's development. After a long-standing corporate conflict with former employer Konami, Kojima parted ways from the publisher in July 2015 and reformed his longtime studio Kojima Productions as an independent developer. During the same month, Kojima announced he was working alongside Sony to create a new PlayStation game. This turned out to be Death Stranding, which was debuted at Sony's E3 2016 press conference to great fanfare.

The First Trailer

Death Stranding's debut trailer introduces protagonist Sam. It's a brief teaser that establishes the game's rather surreal tone. There's also a baby and a bunch of dead sea creatures.

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The Second Trailer

The game's second trailer is even stranger. It offers a glimpse of the game's main antagonist, played by Mads Mikkelsen, and we see the character whose likeness is based on Guillermo Del Toro. Once again, the baby appears and we still have no idea what's going on.

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The Third Trailer

Death Stranding's third trailer offers a look at the invisible creatures that inhabit the game's world and the threat they can pose upon Sam and his colleagues. Troy Baker's character also briefly appears to taunt Sam as things start to go south.

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The Fourth Trailer (Gameplay)

The fourth trailer showcases what seems to be actual gameplay. Sam is seen wandering the land carrying on his back various cargo and, at one point, someone wrapped up in a body bag. There's also a brief glimpse of Sam sneaking past the invisible creatures--once again with a baby in tow. Also, the characters played by Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner are revealed.

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Bonus: Antagonist Teaser

The teaser shown at Tokyo Game Show 2018 focused on the masked character played by Troy Baker. It's revealed that he has ability to harness the power of the world's invisible creatures to summon beasts.

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mgespin

Matt Espineli

Matt Espineli is an Editor at GameSpot. He loves MGS, film noir, and westerns, but he very much loves YOU too.
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