Hideo Kojima, the same man who coined the term “Tactical Espionage Action” for a series of games largely defined by hiding in vents and watching half-hour cutscenes, is here to clear up any questions viewers may have had after watching last week’s trailer for his upcoming game, Death Stranding.
Though it’s hard to understand how anyone could not fully understand exactly how Stranding will play after watching nine minutes of digital Norman Reedus running around with a baby in a jar and Mads Mikkelsen summoning glowy-eyed skeleton soldiers in a lake of fire, Kojima has taken to Twitter to shine a bit more light on the game’s genre just in case.
See, it’s a “totally brand new genre called action game/strand game (social strand system).” Frustratingly, this latest message comes atop Kojima having already laid out his vision of the “Social Strand System, or simply Strand Game” in an earlier tweet that fully explained what we needed to know.
And yet, if that wasn’t enough, others with far less poetic grace than Kojima have looked around and found promotional materials that more concretely describe the game’s features. In essence, Death Stranding seems to be an action game with an emphasis on co-operative online stuff. Mystery solved.
To be fair, genre trappings are reductive and the above isn’t nearly as much fun to say as talking about the hot new “Social Strand System” or “Strand Game.” Also, given Kojima Productions’ tendency to experiment with presentation and play systems within the confines of otherwise standard action game templates throughout the Metal Gear years, Kojima may be hinting at not just the tonal importance of “the concept of connection (strand)” for the game, but the ways it manifests in other, harder to describe elements of the design, too.
Anyway, in the end, none of this truly matters. Nailing down Death Stranding’s exact genre really isn’t all that important. We already know the true artistic goal that’s motivated the creation of Kojima’s new game without having to hear anything else: making the world’s first, fully realized Mads Mikkelsen appreciation simulator.
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