Baby theft, a submarine, and a mystery man: What we learned about Death Stranding from Kojima playing with toys

Hideo Kojima has given us a new window into his creative process for Death Stranding, and it just so happens to be made out of little plastic figurines and a Lego model of the Yellow Submarine. The game maker tweeted a pair of images showing this definitely-for-work-not-play scene, and though it might tease new details for Death Stranding, it's not the first time he's used toys to block out his creative vision - he built whole stages from Metal Gear Solid in Lego to get the camera angles right.

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The figurines

First off, let's meet our players. We have three collectible Titan Hannibal figurines, one of Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter, one of Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, and what looks like one of Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford (his back is turned in all the photos). I'm going to assume that mini-Mads represents Mikkelsen's skeleton-commanding Death Stranding character, and there's a good chance that mini-Hugh with his shaggy hair, beard, and glasses is a stand-in for Guillermo del Toro's character. Then there's a baby, which is probably a baby.

Oh, there's also John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the Yellow Submarine, let's assume they're creepy dead crabs or something (I think the sub itself is the significant part, but I'll come back to that). Fishburne could represent Norman Reedus, since he's the only other major Death Stranding character we've met so far. But Kojima's carefully blocked out both shots to obscure the figurine's face, which makes me suspect he's a stand-in for an as-yet unseen character.

The baby

With the cast established, we can talk about the most important thing that's going on in the scenes: Mads has the baby! The last trailer had Guillermo del Toro nervously lurking around with a baby in a pod before Mikkelsen and the bone boys showed up. Whether this scene takes place before or after the events of that trailer is unknown. But clearly at least one infant has changed hands here, and that's probably not a good thing.

The submarine

Now about the submarine that Hugh Dancy / Guillermo del Toro seems to have fallen from. It could represent another whale as seen in the first trailer, but an honest-to-goodness U-boat would go along with the other World War 2-era vehicles that appeared in the second trailer. A submarine's general silhouette and reliance on sonar to navigate makes it an easy man-made analogue for the whales that appeared in the first trailer.

Kojima has indicated that whales partially inspired the name Death Stranding, as the scientific name for whale beaching is cetacean stranding. Can you imagine what navigating around under the surface of that ocean, all inky black water and creepy tendril creatures, would be like? Maybe Mads isn't the only thing GDT is afraid of.

Credit where credit is due: Kojima's managed to make me use my imagination with a bunch of toys way more than I have since elementary school.

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Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.