Death Stranding
Edge|Christmas 2020
Kojima’s post-apocalyptic Pat might have delivered the message of hope 2020 needs
ABBIE STONE

Draw up a list of titles you probably don’t want to accurately predict the future, and this is surely right up there with Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. But less than a year after its initial release, Death Stranding has aged disappointingly well, thanks to a year that’s aged all of us far more horribly than any of the game’s body decaying rainstorms ever could. The very definition of an essential worker, you play as courier Sam Porter Bridges – subtle – risking a suddenly deadly outside world in order to get emergency supplies to desperate people. Keeping your face covered is crucial to your survival. The greatest threat you face is invisible until it’s too late. You constantly risk breaking your back fetching supplies for vulnerable, less well-equipped neighbours, struggling to resist the temptation to lighten your load and abandon their cargo even though you just know they voted for Brexit.

Still unconvinced Kojima Productions owns a working crystal ball? It gets worse: you go a seemingly endless amount of time with no physical contact with another person. Technically you’re often in the vicinity of thousands of people, but you can’t see any of them, aside from a lone hologram at the front door, its broadcast quality spottier than your grandma’s Zoom connection. You sleep, shower and live in what seems like the same four walls forever. You have to battle misinformation spread by sycophants and prove to the people you’re trying to help survive that you’re acting with their best interests at heart. Sam’s unkempt locks are begging for a trim. If you can’t relate to that last one, congratulations, but personally we’re hugely grateful this magazine doesn’t run author photos.

So, wonderful. Death Stranding has loosely predicted the conditions of our current crisis and captured the mood of a year everybody rightly despises. Isn’t it all too soon, especially with two months of 2020 yet to endure? We wouldn’t blame you for seeking out more escapist entertainment – it certainly hasn’t done Nintendo’s stock price any harm – but revisiting Hideo Kojima’s long hike, his bizarre last stand for the fetch quest, is now surprisingly cathartic. There’s actually a lot of hope in this dystopia.

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