Death Stranding returned for Sony’s E3 2018 press conference with another grand, bizarre, wild look. Although Hideo Kojima of Kojima Productions wasn’t on hand to introduce it, he brought something just as good: gameplay.
This one starred Norman Reedus’ character Sam Bridges, the protagonist of the game. We saw him in a rainy, jungle-like environment trying to survive. That involves climbing mountains, carrying a heavy life pack — in which he holds a tiny baby, encased in a synthetic womb — and even pulling off an infected toenail.
We saw actual gameplay for the first time ever. Bridges is seen walking up those mountains and making his way painfully through an intense rainstorm. His mission appears to be saving people who have been taken hostage by mysterious forces. We’ve seen those before, too; they were included in a trailer released last year.
Other than gameplay, we also met two new characters. One is played by Lea Seydoux, who talks circles around Bridges and eats what appears to be a live maggot at the trailer’s end. Another is Lindsay Wagner, whose role is even more uncertain. They’re the first two women to be shown as part of the game’s cast, although their inclusion only introduces more questions.
Collaborating with Kojima on Death Stranding, which is due on PlayStation 4 sometime in the future, are several other big names. Those include Guillermo del Toro, Mads Mikkelson and Norman Reedus, each of whom perform key roles in the game.
Last time we saw Death Stranding was at The Game Awards 2017 last December. Kojima and host Geoff Keighley are good friends, meaning The Game Awards is often a platform for Kojima to show off what he’s working on. Meanwhile, the first time Death Stranding appeared was at Sony’s E3 2016 press conference two years ago. It’s been a regular fixture ever since.
Death Stranding will be the first game released by Kojima Productions, the studio formed by Kojima after he and Konami had a bitter parting of ways in late 2015. We still have no idea when, of course. But at least we know (or think?) it’s playable now.
Update: Hideo Kojima wrote a blog post to give some more context (?) for what we saw at the conference. Here’s what he said about the gameplay:
Some might have already picked up on this, but Sam is unlike any other hero you may have seen in games before. A typical hero is usually some sort of elite or someone with a military background. Sam is not. He is a working man of sorts — a hands-on professional. Someone with a skillset akin to a blue-collar worker. This is something you’ll intuitively understand once you play the game and control Sam. Herein lies our challenge, to create both a new form of gameplay and a hero that has never been done before.
He also threw in two new, very pretty character posters. You can stare longingly at those below.