Death Stranding’s marketing campaign so far has made one thing abundantly clear- the game is, first and foremost, about “connections”, whether that’s in terms of its social multiplayer-driven mechanics, or Sam’s main mission to reconnect America acting as the central narrative hook. However, game director Hideo Kojima is unwilling to tell us if that main mission to reconnect America is a positive one.
Speaking with Game Informer, Kojima got to speaking about the game’s central narrative premise, and interestingly enough, ended up comparing it to real-world themes and topics, saying that many things shown and portrayed in Death Stranding are metaphors. He explained that Sam’s mission to reconnect America isn’t going to be an easy one, simply because there are many cities that don’t want to be reconnected for various reasons.
“For Bridges’ sake, you’re connecting from east to west and they want you to join the UCA – the United Cities of America,” said Kojima. “When you connect, you can use UCA services, but at the same time, they’re retrieving your information 24 hours a day. It’s like 1984. Some people may not like that, and say ‘I’m not going to connect to UCA, because we’re going to repeat the same thing that we did.’ Like Trump, or the EU, these things. It’s a metaphor.”
He then went on to point out that he has intentionally not said whether Sam’s mission to reconnect America is right or wrong, and that that’s something he wants the players to decide for themselves. “In the game, the mission is to really reconnect America again – but I haven’t said whether that is correct or not,” he said.
“When you play, and connect, there’s drama, there’s preppers, there’s storyline; you start to feel like connection might really feel good,” Kojima added later. “But I’m not saying it’s positive or negative to connect. It’s really up to the players to see how they feel while playing the game.”
Kojima’s games have never shied away from tackling heavy themes that echo real-world topics and problems, so it should be interesting to see how Death Stranding handles its own story. The concept is definitely interesting, and if handled deftly, can lead to a very compelling narrative. Here’s hoping.