Death Stranding

Leading up to the release of the director’s cut of Death Stranding, which hits store shelves on September 24 of this year, Kojima Productions has dropped the final trailer, which has been credited as having been edited by Hideo Kojima himself.

Now, I’ve said this before, as many have in the gaming press and industry at large, but it seems odd to call this version of Death Stranding the director’s cut, as one can only assume when Kojima Productions cut their deal to release the original version of the game, that Sony just gave them a boatload of money and said “Do whatever, man.” And considering that Mr. Kojima is both notorious for being a bit of an auteur, and has himself said he wouldn’t call this a director’s cut, one wouldn’t imagine that he ever would release a game that wasn’t his final, director’s cut (aside from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is arguably what lead to very existence of Death Stranding in the first place).

Are you still with me?

Even though I have already stated that a majority of the content included in this new version of the game doesn’t quite speak to what I would want from a director’s cut of Death Stranding, the beefed-up graphics and performance (thanks to the PS5) are more than reason enough to get back in and finally finish the dang game.

The thing is, after watching this final trailer — which clocks in at a whopping four minutes and 44 seconds — I am less excited to play Death Stranding and am in fact more interested in watching whatever movie Mr. Kojima will eventually direct.

Death Stranding

For as much as I did enjoy my time with Death Stranding, there were numerous design elements that felt like they were actively fighting against me. There were just too many canned animations of Sam drinking the endless supply of Monster Energy drinks, or relieving bodily fluids or showering. These often added useful boosts to Sam’s stats or provided valuable ingredients for grenades, but they got tedious after the 100th time. And some of the conversations with the endless parade of holograms that would trigger after a successful delivery were a bit much. There are so many small design choices that belabored the process of actually playing and enjoying the game.

It seems like the cutscenes are where most of Kojima’s attention and creative ideas are focused, which isn’t to say the gameplay lacks or isn’t up to snuff, but it does feel like it’s lacking a more contemporary or streamlined polish.

So when I watch a curated trailer of the notoriously flowery and opaque exposition, the camera framing, and parade of memorable oddballs characters, I almost wish this was a trailer for a Death Stranding Netflix original movie. Because I think watching Kojima’s creations are, quite often, better than playing and interacting with them.

Regardless, the Death Stranding Director’s Cut is what we get, which releases in only a few short weeks. For now, I’ll just hold out hope for the eventual Hideo Kojima directed movie, which, if it ever does come, will no doubt be one of the most ambiguous films of all time.

You can check out the final trailer for Death Stranding Director’s Cut below and marvel at just how well done it actually is.

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