The Trailer for Death Stranding Was Exactly What E3 2016 Needed

When the world goes dark and the gunfire won't cease, you just gotta relax and let Hideo Kojima plant weird things in your mind.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

Near the end of Sony's e3 2016 press conference, we were treated to the debut trailer of Hideo Kojima's new game, Death Stranding. It features The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus kneeling in black sand, naked, and crying as he cradles a baby bound to his person via an elastic umbilical cord.

As a games writer, it's my job to attach some kind of meaning to the things I see in trailers and previews. Truth is, as far as Death Stranding is concerned, I can't. I won't even make an attempt. The Metal Gear Solid series alone is a showcase of the crazy surrealism Kojima is capable of even when he's leashed and collared by the likes of Konami. Now he's working with a blank cheque Sony handed to him, and as a consequence we saw Norman Reedus on a beach covered in oily handprints and mountains of dead sea life.

If it's not clear, I'm 100% OK with that. Not because Reedus' rear end was up on the big screen at the Shrine Auditorium (no hurt feelings there, mind you), but because gaming needs Hideo Kojima. We need someone whose video games cause their audience to run through a spectrum of emotions, everything from "Ha ha, what the hell was that?" to wide-eyed awe.

The trailer for Death Stranding prompted a lot of smiles and giggles in between the head-scratching. Picture edits of Naked Norman Reedus Holding [X] literally popped up overnight, with my favorite being Reedus holding Grubbin (a new bug Pokémon unveiled yesterday. Grubbin is as generic as a vendor trash Pokémon gets, which gave quick rise to an ironic fan club for the insect on Tumblr).

But the jokes at Death Stranding's expense aren't mean. If anything, there's a palatable sense of relief behind them. Despite the hype surrounding big-name previews like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this E3 has a very thick shadow trailing behind it because of the June 12 massacre at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando. Despite the good times that inevitably couple themselves with E3's bright lights and big noises, this has been a very emotionally draining show, particularly for queer members of the video game community.

The usual deluge of shooters and war games also took up big chunks of Sony and Microsoft's press conferences, adding to the tension and somber thoughts. The publishers shouldn't be blamed for showing their wares, of course: That's what E3 is all about. But I think for most of us, the gunfire on-screen and panicked radio chatter rang especially loud in our ears this year.

So when Hideo Kojima came on stage and shook off the last few droplets of Konami still clinging onto him, we couldn't help but feel uplifted. "Come on, Kojima," we silently prayed. "Give us something to talk about. Be you."

It happened.

I'm admittedly not a huge fan of Kojima's work, but I'm a fan of Kojima himself. When he shows us something baffling like Death Stranding, you can just hear him whispering in your ear. "This is very serious and artful. Except I'm just kidding. Or am I?"

I can't wait to see what kind of stories Hideo Kojima tells us while working on Sony's dime. Even if I don't appreciate the story itself, I will always appreciate how it's told.

(This article's genius banner was nicked from Voyageurtrier's Tumblr. The link itself is safe for work, but the general Tumblr is not, so tread warily.)

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

Tagged with Hideo Kojima, Kojima Productions, Norman Reedus, Sony.

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