Death is just the beginning.
One of the central themes of Death Stranding will be, well, death. Kojima is going to explore the meaning of life and death in his upcoming magnum opus not just via the story, however, but also the gameplay. One way he will do this is via the unique death mechanics that the game will have, which he shed some light on in an interview with IGN.
“One of the themes of this game is life and death. So I want people to realize that when they die in the game, that isn’t the end,” he said.
Instead, death takes you to a sort of purgatory, where you leave your body and can explore the area in first person. You can find items and abilities here, and at any time, choose to return to your body and return to the world of the living.
“At that point, you’re not dead or alive. It’s the equivalent of that screen that says ‘Continue?’ and a counter ticking down towards zero.” Kojima explained.
Once you do return to the world of the living, what you have done isn’t erased- this isn’t a reset to your last save before your death. Instead, everything persists.
“So as you saw in the trailer, you saw the crater, and when you come back, it’s still there. Most games would’ve taken you back to before the crater was made. So depending on the player, you might have a lot of craters all over the place — depends on each player.” Kojima explained. “Death will never pull you out of the game.”
So it sounds like death is not a fail state in this game as much as it is a mechanic- more than even games like Dark Souls or Breath of the Wild, it seems like Death Stranding will use death in very interesting ways. Now we just have to wait for it to come out, or for, you know, some, any, gameplay footage for it.