Let’s Be Clear: Death Stranding is Never Coming Out

Let’s be clear, we would love to play Death Stranding.  Hideo Kojima makes fantastic games and we’re excited about anything he’s working on.  His unique vision for games ensures that whatever title he works on will be a unique gaming experience; we may not always love it, but it’s always memorable and interesting.  In addition, Norman Reedus is a fun actor and we love him on The Walking Dead.  He has a great face for a gaming character and would be a perfect post-apocalyptic wasteland scavenger or battle-hardened space marine or (of course) zombie horde survivor (though we still maintain that digitizing actors is overrated).  This is the kind of game we could obsess about and spend a lot of time speculating over.  What kind of character will he be?  What kind of gameplay should we expect?  These may be fun and entertaining exercises, but let’s be perfectly clear: this game is never coming out.

Where there’s only one set of handprints in the sand, that’s where Norman Reedus was carrying you.

How do we know it’s never coming?  Well, first, this preview is really no more substantial than the preview we saw at the end of PT.  It’s a lot weirder, to be sure, but there’s no hint about the actual gameplay or what the game will look like.  Even Star Wars 1313 provided some really exciting gameplay for us to look at before it got cancelled; even that old Indiana Jones title had some neat battling for gamers to see and it still never materialized.  Here we have far less than that and, to us, it feels exactly like the announcement for Silent Hills a year ago, only this time we don’t get a game as awesome as PT to play as a teaser.  Second, we don’t have any specifics about the gameplay at all.  Kojima has described the game very generally and hasn’t provided any specifics.  When games are this conceptual and this far from turning lofty ideas into solid gameplay experiences, gamers are always advised to be cautious.

Hideo Kojima seems very intent on building a game around Norman Reedus. Also, we hear that Shigeru Miyamoto is very interested in making a game with Sean Patrick Flanery. #boondocksaints

And, to be clear, the ideas here seem to be very lofty.  Kojima gave this great interview to Wired magazine in which he discussed a number of interesting themes and fascinating game concepts, but he’s really, really vague.  So vague, in fact, that we may be reading into his words more than is actually there.  That said, we are intrigued about his idea of sticks and ropes and building games about connections between people rather than games where you kill a lot of people (we’re finding more and more days in which we’re not in the mood to shoot things in games).  Games have depended for far too long on guns and swords to deliver gameplay; finding new things for players to do during gameplay is always a noble endeavor.  We’re not sure what Kojima had in mind, but we certainly would never underestimate his ability to be creative.

Okay, so we’re never going to know exactly what Kojima had in mind with this image but it is haunting.

But gaming these days means controlling expectations.  Games (and movies) we’re extremely excited about almost always wind up disappointing us.  Meanwhile, games (and movies) that slip under the radar have a chance to really amaze us.  As much as we want to get excited about this title, the smart thing to do right now is to keep our expectations in check.  To be clear, we would love to be wrong and to see an awesome, innovative, unusual title appear at an upcoming E3 that makes great use of Reedus’ acting and Kojima’s imagination.  Right now, though, we’re filing this game in the Games We Will Never See folder, right between Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Halflife 3.

  • Big Boss 2.8

    Ok, one thing is to keep expectations in check and another is to think that this game is never coming out. Silent Hills and Half Life 3 were completely different situations. Kojima was at odds with Konami during Silent Hills development, and Half Life 3 wasn’t even been announced. I’m not saying that Death Stranding will definately be released; nothing is set in stone in this business. However, the logic behind the assumptions made in this article are quite lacking.

    • coopdojo

      Like we said, we’d love to be wrong about this and for you to be right. Kojima is easy to like after the way Konami treated him so seeing this make it to shelves at some point down the road would by itself be a major victory for him.

  • Kawaiiterrorist

    “Right now, though, we’re filing this game in the Games We Will Never See folder, right between Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Halflife 3.”

    Well Beyond Good and Evil 2 is now absolutely happening and any research into the code for the Source 2 Engine makes it very obvious that Half Life 3 is in development and will be using Source 2. Death Stranding will of course release, there’s no evidence here that it won’t be and most of the article is rather contrary to reality.

    • Coopdojo

      You saw the Ubisoft E3 video right? Not even the devs of Beyond Good and Evil 2 could believe they were up there. We are thrilled to be wrong about that one. Let’s add in suggestions that we’ll also never see another Battletoads, Max Payne, and, I dunno, Cybernator to the list as well in case we can be wrong about those too.

    • Kaye Faye

      I agree with you for the most part, but don’t get your hopes up on Half-Life 3. It is one of those games that we’ll believe in when we see it. The issue there is that Valve has hidden code teasing Ep3 and later HL3 since… well, immediately after the Orange Box dropped a decade ago.

      I’m not saying that HL3 absolutely doesn’t or has never existed in some form… that’d be silly, but the thing to note about Valve is they have a very fluid design process. They actually have the freedom to say ‘If we believe in a game, we’ll make it. If we’re losing faith, we’ll restart it. If we lose interest, we’ll stop it.’ And they’ll do this ceaselessly. Look at how many times Team Fortress 2 was scrapped and rebuilt. It was literally 3 or 4 completely different games. And while Half-Life 2 may have consistently involved Combine, City 17, and PHYSICS (OMFG) in each iteration, it too changed drastically several times even within a year of its release. You could take all the content cut from Half-Life 2 and recycle it all to a game with arguably twice the overall content. Not necessarily the quality, naturally, but you get my point.

      Perhaps we’ll see it some day… but at this point, little code teases mean nothing concrete. They’ve been doing that for well over a decade now.

    • Mr. Game

      We’re as pleased as anyone about BGaE 2 – based on how emotional the lead was during E3 when he took the stage, it looks like not even the dev team thought it would ever see the light of day.

  • Kaye Faye

    Feels a bit premature to be saying that. And this isn’t comparable to the Silent Hills/Beyond Good & Evil 2/Half-Life 3 situations.

    Silent Hills was the result of a company with shitty work ethics and a growing disinterest in its own IP clashing with a creator who was excited but wanted more freedom.

    BG&E2 (Though it may for realsies be happening now) was a creator who has been pushing to create something of his very own but is struggling with a parent company that has/had little interest due to the prior game being a financial failure.

    Half-Life 3, from what we can piece together, appears to be a case of VALVe either having lost interest in Half-Life or feeling creatively stifled and not wishing to pursue it until they can think of something innovative enough to warrant it (Or perhaps a bit of both.)

    Whereas here we have a game with strong studio backing, from a celebrated creator who is excited, passionate, driven and already going full steam ahead. Until we see massive delays or issues it just seems premature to say “Nah, nope, won’t happen” just because they aren’t being forthcoming on details and are being a bit vague. Hideo doesn’t seem like the Molyneux type who would burst out on stage and promise crazy shit and then remember on the trip back to the studio he never actually crafted a design document.

    • Mr. Game

      Let’s hope you’re right! It was surprising the game didn’t really make an appearance at E3 though this year.