The Japanese developer Hideo Kojima throughout his career created extraordinary projects and came up with mechanics that fundamentally changed the industry. Once upon a time, when there was no even a concept of stealth action, he released the Metal Gear game, which is completely based on covert passage, and in Metal Gear Solid the Japanese genius broke the fourth wall between the game and the player. However, the game designer was still shackled by the Metal Gear setting, and even Konami did not support all the ideas of the developer. What is worth the cancellation of Silent Hills! This game could completely change the attitude towards horror.
Fortunately, now Hideo Kojima has received complete freedom of action and was able to realize those ideas that seem most interesting to him. Thanks to this, Death Stranding turned out to be unusually fascinating and complex in terms of plot. So complex that many simply will not be able to understand the philosophical subtext of the project, the ideas of the game designer and the subtleties of the plot narrative. Today we’ll talk about important aspects of the storyline without spoilers so that you understand that Death Stranding is not a walking simulator, as many people mistakenly believe after watching trailers, but something more.
And before we start, I would like to emphasize that we are strongly recommending to go through the Death Stranding plot on PS4, and even preferably in the first wave, that is, immediately on the release. The fact is that the Internet is full of people who want to spoil your impression with spoilers, stories about characters, gameplay videos and other content. And this game is best played in complete ignorance, so that literally every dialogue brings a lot of pleasure. To protect yourself from spoilers and wait for the release on the PC, which will take place almost a year later, simply does not work. Yes, and why take the risk?
Communication is most importantIf you look on the Internet for comments on Death Stranding trailers or any thematic articles about the game, you will definitely find jokes about the “simulator of walking and delivery”, as well as everything connected with this. Many gamers who do not really want to think about the ideas and ideas of Hideo are banal unable to understand the philosophy of the project, the subtext of the storyline and those messages that the genius from Japan prepared for us. That is why we can say that Death Stranding is not for everyone. This game, like an author’s movie with multi-layer subtext, requires the player not only to press the gamepad, but also to carefully go through the campaign.
After the first trailer, gamers had a lot of questions ...
For example, the plot is based on the goal of combining communications nodes to recreate the United Cities of America from the west coast to the east. However, we not only run from point to point, connecting important objects for it to the network, but also unite people, allowing them to be together, enjoy communication, information and various benefits. This is the cunning subtext: the task is not to connect a communication terminal, but to rally people. The main character, like a messenger with good news, moves around the world with his mission, uniting people and giving them the opportunity to fight evil with common efforts.
... and after subsequent trailers - even more
It is also worth paying attention to the plot of the plot, in which we are told about the rope and the stick. These items have been with people at all times. People attract everything good with a rope, providing themselves with food or something else. And people need a stick in order to repel everything bad, defending themselves from evil. Many years have passed since the moment when mankind picked up these two tools, but to this day, even in a more technological version, they exist in our lives and continue to fulfill their mission.
Why is the baby in the flask?Among the game mechanics of Death Stranding there is a darkness of oddities, which, however, are very succinctly explained during the passage of the storyline. The most interesting and extraordinary mechanics, so to speak, is a child in a capsule on the belly of the protagonist. Bridge Baby, aka BB, is responsible for Sam’s survival - without this child, you would not be able to complete one task. The thing is that the protagonist only feels the Beasts, but cannot see them, but the child is able to see creatures from the other world and point us to their location. It is for this reason that the hero carries the child in the capsule - he works as a "radar" and points to the Creatures.
The kinship in the game is also in the opposite direction
The connection between the babies of the BB and the world of the dead is the most direct - the mothers of these children are in a coma due to brain death. The capsule on the hero’s belly imitates the womb, and while the baby is in it, it can indicate creatures from the other world - this is how the scanner on the shoulder works. However, any stress experienced by the infant affects his psyche and mood, so we periodically need to visit a private room and synchronize the parameters of the capsule with the mother. It sounds strange, but if you think about it, this is really a simple and ingenious decision by the developer.
Defenseless baby on whom your life depends
It is also worth considering that BBs are not eternal, because after about a year of “use”, babies become unsuitable for their mission. This is what the character of Guillermo del Toro will tell us about at the beginning of the campaign. But our BB is special. In addition, he will tell the storyline through his memories - Sam will see them with his own eyes every time the system is connected to the capsule. And you can swing the capsule with the help of a gamepad to reassure the baby, if he survived the stress, and the private room is very far away.
And villains and noQuite interestingly, the game features terrorist villains from the Homo Demens group, aka Homo Demensa. On the one hand, the developers show the members of the group as a real evil, dangerous killers who, for the sake of their ideas, turn entire cities into craters, undermining people in settlements. These are, without any doubt, real monsters, killing for their own benefit. On the other hand, are they so terrible, as it seems at first glance? The scriptwriters will quickly explain to the gamer that there is no division into “white” and “black” in the game. In the virtual world, as in the real one, “gray” people are most often met - they do good and bad deeds.
Terrorists, but not the fact that the villains
It is also worth noting an important point that will be explained in the epilogue - Amelia, who is the president of the SGA (United States of America), is held captive by terrorists, but no one holds her by force, does not prohibit communication with the outside world. Our hero must get to Amelia and save her, gradually uniting the nodes in a chain, and the members of the Demensons will interfere with him in every possible way, threatening hefty black creatures. They defend their own interests and make it clear to the gamer that not always people who do something that may seem terrible, actually do evil. Perhaps their actions should be viewed from a different angle, so that everything falls into place.
What is the omoyari principle
The core game mechanics of Death Stranding are built on the Japanese principle of omoyiyari. This is not just an expression or a rule, but a whole concept of interaction in society, when one person empathizes with another and tries to help. The meaning of the omoyari principle is that a person must anticipate or feel the needs of another person and satisfy this need before being asked about it. This concept is fundamentally different from the Western principles of “need-tell me about it,” and Kojima decided to build most of the game mechanics and even the plot around the “omoyari”.
“For example, a gamer puts a ladder by the mountain to overcome an obstacle. In fact, he does this solely for himself in order to simplify his task and climb to the required height. However, when the gamer has risen, his ladder remains in the same place and falls into the worlds of other players. They will also be able to use it when they go along this path, and this gives them a certain advantage - they can save time or resources. That is, the gamer himself went through the map area and helped others to pass it with greater ease. For your help, you will receive a like that motivates you to help in the future.
The gamer understands that he will put the ladder or throw the cable and so will help others, in return receiving like. This is kind of a thank you. And when a player sees that he is helping others, he begins to do it more often, receiving inner pleasure from it. It is here that the “omoyari” principle is born. The player rejoices in helping other people, creating a respectful relationship with them, ”- Hideo Kojima on the principle of“ omoyari ”.
That is, the basis of the gameplay is mutual assistance, about which no one will even ask the player. It's just that scriptwriters and game designers have built the game world in such a way that you yourself will begin to help other gamers on a subconscious level. And it really works! Already at the beginning of the passage on the way of the player there will be stairs, cables and post offices, which are set by others. You just entered the game, you just started your journey, and Kojima’s idea is already starting to work - somewhere out there, in a distant corner of the subconscious, the idea appears that if I was helped, then I will help others.
Leave the stairs and help another
Gradually, this idea comes to the fore and you begin to help other users already at the level of automatism. Suppose I climb a mountain with great difficulty, and then I understand that if you drop the cable down, it will be much easier for all subsequent players to go through this section. This rope will not help me in any way, because I have already climbed, but the principle of “omoyari”, which Hideo Kojima instills in us, works exactly as it should. And I boldly throw the cable, helping people whom I do not even know and do not suspect of their existence. Death Stranding taught me how to help others, and I just do it because I can and want, even without reward.
Need to read between the linesAlmost everything that you see on the screen during the passage is not what it seems. You should immediately come to terms with this and learn to think about what the characters tell us, analyze their actions, monologues, involvement in something. If a man in a black suit is pointing a terrible monster from the other world at you, this does not mean at all that he is just a ruthless killer. It is likely that he pursues his goal and knows more about the world than you. Although, of course, the manifestation of aggression and cruelty in the game is demonstrated very clearly. To undermine cities and turn settlements into craters is bad, which we are told very directly.
The shore from which the new president of the SGA cannot leave without Sam’s help ...
If we are given the task of connecting individuals to a common network, this does not mean that you are directly obligated to do this. You may not want to connect someone. Maybe their demands will be impossible and you will refuse to risk your life for this. And life itself with death in the game is very unusual, because our hero, Sam Porter Bridges, does not die, but moves to the Coast, from which he must return back to his body and continue on his way. This leads us to the idea that if Sam cannot die, then, apparently, he has his own reasons. Maybe he hasn’t done everything he should yet?
... acts as the cornerstone of the plot
Hideo Kojima skillfully demonstrates to us through Death Stranding that a player can be unbalanced (both literally and figuratively) and taught to ask the right questions even without direct prerequisites. Are good people not always friends, and bad people are not always enemies? If the world is so real and I can drown in any river or crash when falling from a mountain, then where are these unreal creatures from another world? What is the Shore and why does Amelia not age? Believe me, you will ask these questions throughout the storyline, and the answers to them will bring so much pleasure and satisfaction that other games will seem like babbling against the backdrop of such fundamental ideas of Kojima.