CULTURE

"Death Stranding" Is a Parable to Teach Antisocial Gamers About Responsibility

Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding places gamers into the role of a working single father.

Kojima Productions

With Death Stranding's PS4 release drawing closer, details on the game's plot are still surprisingly scarce–until now.

After piecing together gameplay clips, marketing efforts, and game director Hideo Kojima's own words, Death Stranding's narrative thrust seems all too obvious: The game will be a parable that aims to teach the most antisocial gamers some real-world social responsibility.

Death Stranding's protagonist is Sam Porter Bridges (played via motion capture by Norman Reedus), a man tasked with delivering packages in a dystopian American hellscape while protecting a baby in a tube. So basically, Death Stranding places gamers into the role of a working single father.

Norman Reedus Comic-Con International 2018 - "The Walking Dead" Photo Call Getty Images

This is likely a far-cry from the real lives of the most terrible, self-proclaimed gamers, who spend their days screaming about racy underage anime on the Internet and have nothing more important to protect than a plate of microwave chicken nuggets their mom just handed them. Hideo Kojima recognizes this gamer archetype and clearly hopes to find a solution.

In this light, Norman Reedus seems like a perfect casting choice, embodying the sort of rugged, grimy everyman that many awful gamers kind of imagine themselves emulating. By allowing these delusional gamers to pretend they're Norman Reedus, Kojima hopes to ease them into the idea of being functional members of society who care about anyone or anything other than themselves. Don't believe it? Watch the trailer for yourself:

Death Stranding - Official Release Date Trailer www.youtube.com


"Humans aren't made for living alone. They're supposed to come together, to help one another," says a voice during the trailer, probably forgetting that a lot of these men do live with their parents.

"It's so hard to form connections when you can't shake hands," says another.

These lines might as well be speaking directly to the miserable man-babies screeching about how much they hate women and minorities, or as they call it, "ethics in video game journalism."

The best part is that these exact gamers actively don't get the point. They're just excited to play the newest game from the creator of Metal Gear Solid and have no idea what kind of reality check Death Stranding has in store for them. This is a little surprising, considering they all think they're very smart, and Kojima hasn't exactly made his intent a secret.

For instance, when describing the themes, Kojima invoked a short story by Japanese writer Kobo Abe about humanity's tools for separation and connection: "Most of your tools in action games are sticks. You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these 'sticks.' In [Death Stranding], I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes."

In essence, Kojima is saying, "Hey gamers, maybe try actually connecting with other humans for once instead of being awful all the time."

And yet, when Kojima announced that he intended to make the game accessible for everyone through lower difficulty options, the worst gamers j*zzed all over themselves in the comments trying to appear superior. For whatever reason, the idea that some people will enjoy playing a game in an easier difficulty mode makes them feel better about their own wretched lives. Perhaps spending 50+ hours with a virtual baby will change their perspectives.


Kojima even hopes to introduce these gamers to the potential of fatherhood (which optimistically assumes they'll one day become capable of maintaining a relationship with a woman who isn't their mother). Not only can gamers experience the baby's voice coming out of their controller while they play, but they can also purchase a special edition Playstation 4 with a urine-colored controller and smudged handprints on the system. It's just like what a real baby would do!

The answer to "what is Death Stranding about?" has been right there in Kojima's pinned Tweet since all the way back in May: "People have built 'Walls' and become accustomed to living in isolation...Through your experience playing the game, I hope you'll come to understand the true importance of forging connections with others."

It's about growing the f*ck up, gamers.

*Holy crap, I thought I was joking about this theory the whole time, but I'm starting to think I'm actually right.*