Gaming: ‘Death Stranding’ yet again the standout trailer from E3 in LA

Is this a cultural product so perfectly trailable it would be almost a shame to release it?

Still from trailer from Death Stranding

Still from trailer from Death Stranding

 

This week saw the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA, now in its 23rd year of operation, and 21 million people gathered online to devour its tantalising goodies. While the history of computer gaming abounds with tales of sweaty, sparsely attended meet-ups in regional cities, filled with pony-tailed men in Hawaiian shirts just dying to tell you about the future of computer chess, E3 is a whole different ballgame (likely one that’s fully licensed by its parent league and features the facial likenesses of its players).

Now hosting 70,000 people over three days of demonstrations, talks and showcases, the conference’s real killer app is its mammoth trailer drops. Put simply, E3 is your annual reminder that game trailers put their Hollywood counterparts squarely in the ha’penny place.

Nowhere is this better displayed than in the case of the compulsively enigmatic Death Stranding, the new trailer that became the most talked-about footage from the conference in years. Directed by Metal Gear Solid honcho Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding is a mysterious action game that features Mads Mikkelsen, Lea Seydoux and (weirdly) Guillermo del Toro in as-yet vaguely defined roles. Its star, The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, is seen carrying a sequence of large boxes across spectacularly rendered environments, and spends part of the trailer carrying an unborn baby in a glass jar, seemingly using it as a ghost detector to help him navigate a grassy hill patrolled by giant, oily phantoms. Astonishingly, the trailer is actually more inscrutable than I’m making it sound. All of which leads to a chorus of baffled glee you simply don’t get for the trailer for the latest Iron Man.

Reaction

“That Death Stranding trailer just altered my existence,” claimed @Lights, while @Styxiedust offered the moderately more pedestrian, “I cannot wait for the weirdos of the internet to sift through every goddamn frame of the Death Stranding trailer and tell me the date of my own death”.

The furore is all the more astonishing given the game has been trailed at three E3s in a row, bearing little-to-no details about its form and function at any point, nor a firm release date. In a world of endless eye-rolling when it comes to media hype and PR bluster, has the games industry gifted the world a cultural product so perfectly trailable it would almost be a shame to release it?

“What if” asked user @Endesga, “Death Stranding never comes out. And the game . . . is just a trailer a year . . . forever”.

If they keep being as good as this, who’d argue against it?

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