E3’S Promise

Norman Reedus stars in Kojima Productions' first major project for PS4: ‘Death Stranding' PHOTO FROM KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS

Norman Reedus stars in Kojima Productions’ first major project for PS4: ‘Death Stranding’

The most surreal image out of video game conference E3 this week was The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus, sitting naked on a black, tarry beach, cradling a very small infant in his arms. Man and child are connected by umbilical cord, until the baby melts away in his hands.

Like, what?

The game is Death Stranding, it’s for PlayStation 4, and it’s the newest project from gaming icon Hideo Kojima (best known as the creator of Metal Gear) and his new studio, Kojima Productions.

There really aren’t any more details than that. Nothing about plot, nothing about gameplay, nothing about even what graphics engine the game will use – Kojima admitted as much in a few post-reveal interviews.

And that was just one bomb-shell among many dropped at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo – the biggest video game showcase of the year. It’s truly an exciting time to be a gamer: Every time you check your Twitter feed, there’s a new trailer dropped, new tidbits about upcoming titles, new release dates.

For example:

-Nintendo showcased footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, promising an adventure quite unlike anything that has come before, with a strong open-world RPG feel to the proceedings. It looks incredible. Link can start forest fires, for one.

-Microsoft announced a new console for late 2017, codenamed Project Scorpio, that aims to bring consoles ever closer to the world of high-end PCs. The consequences could very well ripple through the entire industry, whether this is a success or failure. In the meantime, Xbox One sales continue to lag behind the PS4, and news of a new console on the horizon is not likely to improve the trend. PS4s are in high demand, with custom controllers from websites like Omega mods being used to add to the experience, it is hard to match those levels.

-Sony dropped game after game bombshell, including a new God of War, the return of Crash Bandicoot (sort of), Marvel’s first serious venture into AAA-gaming with a Spider-Man title, and even a release date for the ultra-hyped The Last Guardian (Oct. 25).

Gaming can be a difficult world to get into. Though a young industry, its pillars – like Zelda – have long, rich histories that span 20 years or more, in many cases. (Zelda turns 30 this year, in fact.)It’s difficult to find an entry point. Even something as out-of-the-blue as Death Stranding has a legacy – its origins may well be an aborted collaboration between Kojima, Reedus and Guillermo del Toro called P.T., a demo of Silent Hills, an intended reboot to the hallowed horror franchise.

It’s exciting, and daunting, for those new to the medium. The older you get, the less likely you’ll be willing to make the investment, I’ve found.

And yet I find myself wishing more people were willing to dive into this world of gaming, to embrace the unknown and the confusing, to try something as outlandish as Death Stranding, legacies be damned. You’d watch it if it were a movie, so why not try it as a game?

Because gaming is magical. You just have to pick up a controller to see it.