If you watch the Walking Dead TV show, or you at least have friends who do, you know who Daryl Dixon is. The fan-favorite character was so beloved that when the show started killing off its characters mercilessly, the fans voiced pretty loud their displeasure of that fate befalling Daryl.
Another interesting fact is that Daryl Dixon was a character created for the TV show specifically for actor Norman Reedus, and doesn’t appear in the comic books. The popularity of the character is also shown in video games like The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct where we learn his origin story, and mobile game The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land.
Daryl Dixon was the reason Norman Reedus is so well known and respected as an actor today. So, when Reedus is about to star in the video game Death Stranding by Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear), an acclaimed creator, writer, producer, and director in the industry, of course that created more interested in the game. The game has been in the works for a while now, and besides the teasers, there wasn’t much to see until this year’s 8-minute E3 trailer.
With a beautiful song Asylum for the Feelings by Silent Poets feat. Leila Adu, the trailer raised more questions than before, which only make us believe more that this might be a game to set a new bar for future projects just like The Last of Us did in 2013. Involvement of Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Hellboy) and Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Doctor Strange) gives the project hype as well, and the female protagonist is portrayed by gorgeous French actress Léa Seydoux (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Spectre).
The plot unknown
Hideo Kojima is all about being mysterious when it comes to his games. He barely said a thing about the plot of Metal Gear Solid before its release, and it’s the same case now. However, Sony on the other hand, doesn’t share Kojima’s inclination towards secrecy. They published a short and story description on the PlayStation webpage:
“Besieged by death’s tide at every turn, Sam Bridges must brave a world utterly transformed by the Death Stranding. Carrying the stranded remnants of the future in his hands, Sam embarks on a journey to reunite the shattered world one step at a time. What is the mystery of the Death Stranding? What will Sam discover on the road ahead? A genre-defining gameplay experience holds these answers and more.”
As you see, even Sony Entertainment didn’t give any clarification, but only brought more confusion. Except for the main characters name, Sam, we are still left in the dark, even after the newest trailer was released. However, there are some clues we are able to pull out of this short description.
Firstly, “death stranding” is a term that describes a phenomenon and not a poetic title. At the end of the trailer, Sam is seen operating a device powered by a baby in some sort of liquid. This device helps him see phantom figures looming above ground and appeared to be tied to something above. They are an obvious threat since we see Sam trying to avoid them and running away from them. So “death stranding” could refer to them as lost souls of the dead, whereas Sam is the only person that can set things right and save them or the world from them.
The trailer showed signs that this is a game that will involve time travel or at least revolve around time disruption. Close to the beginning, we see Sam putting his gear and cargo down to rest. A female character, played by Léa Seydoux, shows him to stay quiet and they both observe the handprints in the mud made by an invisible creature, presumably the phantoms. Anywhere that phantom walked the plants start to grow rapidly, which makes us think that time is fast-forwarding in those places.
This clarifies the WW2 setting a bit, we observed in the trailer featuring Del Toro and Mikkelsen, especially when it comes to planes flying over and tank going above the character with the encapsulated baby. In the previous trailers, we saw that people turn into the phantoms after they’re taken by them, which made characters kill themselves or be killed by others in order to avoid this fate. However, Sam seems to be immune to their touch or at least able to withstand it longer.
One of the trailers uses the beginning of William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence which symbolizes that you can find revelation in the smallest of things:
“To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”
Here we have Sam lying naked with phantom fingerprints all over his body and a baby out of its capsule beside him. After the baby dies, it leaves small fingerprints on Sam’s thigh, and sand, until the camera zooms out and we see Sam standing among dead ocean while several phantoms hover above the ground.
Another trailer starts off with Sam’s narration: “Once, there was an explosion, a bang which gave rise to life as we know it. And then, came the next explosion. An explosion that will be our last.” This appears to hint that first, the bang created the world, and then another one destroyed it. Could this explain the origin of the phantoms and the large creature at the end of that trailer?
Maybe some kind of scientific experiment went wrong and the time collapsed and opened a gateway to other universes. Del Toro’s character seems to be a civilian who uses the same baby-powered device to locate the phantoms in the trailer we mentioned before, so perhaps he is one of the scientists. We doubt that the name as big as del Toro is simply there to have a cameo appearance knowing that he is a big video game fan and also an imaginative creator himself.
Which leaves us with characters played by Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux. Mikkelsen’s character is obviously a bad guy since he simply has that satisfying look we got used to seeing in Hannibal after the four skeleton soldiers in the DS trailer disconnected from him and he appears to be free of the black goo. Seydoux’s character seems to be one of those NPCs that will lead or mislead Sam on his journey. She certainly knows how to handle herself and the high-tech umbrella she’s carrying might be for more than just the rain.
At the end of the newest trailer, she eats a bug and says: “A cryptobyte a day keeps the timefall away.” This may refer to the time collapse whenever the phantoms get a hold of a person or are near any living thing like grass or whales. We also see Sam spitting several of those bugs as well as the black goo at the end of one of the trailers.
All in all
There are many fan theories out there, and there will be more until Kojima or Sony release a more clear description of the game’s narrative. What Kojima himself confirmed in interviews is that Sam is the main and only character you can lead through the game, despite the trailers showing various other people running through the terrains.
The release date is not yet available, so we can only hope that it will be soon since the trailers only peak our interests more. However, one thing is certain based on the trailers and it’s that this could be a game that will set a higher bar for the ones to follow, if any of the assumptions we made comes true.