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Death Stranding Continues Metal Gear’s Anti-War Theme

mads mikkelsen in death stranding

War has changed.

Much of Death Stranding’s gameplay mechanics and plot remain a mystery, but director Hideo Kojima recently revealed that his upcoming PS4 exclusive will continue Metal Gear’s anti-war theme.

In an article written by Kojima himself on Glixel, he said Death Stranding aims to establish connections among players instead of pitting them at war. “We don’t need a game about dividing players between winners and losers, but about creating connections at a different level.”


Kojima’s Metal Gear series has always focused on politics and warfare, which served as an avenue for him “to change the idea that games could only be about fighting.” Since the first Metal Gear game for the NES until Metal Gear Solid 2, Kojima always pondered on mankind’s conflicting ideals on using warfare for peace. “If war and nuclear weapons are atrocities, why do they continue to exist? Younger generations didn’t know the answer,” said Kojima.

Fast forward to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima allowed gamers to build their own private army and manufacture nuclear warheads for protection. The Phantom Pain’s online aspect allowed players to steal nukes from others, with an option to disarm or hold on to it as a deterrent. The Metal Gear team tracked numbers of player owned nukes, and leaks stated that a complete nuclear disarmament will bring forth a true ending scene. Kojima said this experience aims to make gamers “understand what it really means to take a stand against war and nuclear weapons.”

“As far as I know, this goal hasn’t been achieved yet, but if we can’t disarm ourselves in the real world, at least the fictional game world offers mankind, the creators of nuclear weapons, the unparalleled ‘experience’ of making the conscious choice to create a nuclear-free world.”

According to Kojima, inspirations for Death Stranding are Metal Gear, 1963’s The Great Escape, and Christopher Nolan’s recent Dunkirk film. These three materials showed that “victory isn’t defeating your enemies, but protecting life.” Both The Great Escape and Dunkirk showed that successfully escaping from enemies lead to one’s victory.

Again, Kojima used an excerpt from Kobo Abe’s short novel The Rope to explain how Death Stranding’s anti-war theme supports its gameplay aspects: “The rope and the stick are two of humankind’s oldest tools. The stick to keep evil at a bay, the rope to bring that which is good closer, both were the first friends conceived by humankind. The rope and stick were wherever humankind was to be found.”

Kojima said he wanted to “break the curse” that using sticks are the only way to defeat enemies. “We are ready for a game not based on competition, but on the rope that will bring good to the player and make connections.”

Kojima previously said that Death Stranding will be an open-world action game. While the game still has guns and familiar elements in the gaming medium, Kojima touts Death Stranding will be a new genre in gaming. Kojima re-asserts his ideas with Glixel, saying “We need a game that maintains the essence and fun unique to the medium, but also offers a completely new type of experience. What’s more, the interactive nature of video games means that this new experience will be deeper than movies or other media could hope to offer.”

Death Stranding is scheduled to launch before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the new Akira movie. The game is powered by Guerilla Games’ Decima Engine, which the team is apparently using to use for good looking fog effects.

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