Norman Reedus does actually know what Death Stranding is about, despite joking around after debuting the third Death Stranding trailer in December. Well, he mostly knows. And he shared a nugget of that wisdom in a conversation recorded for, of all things, the B&H Photography Podcast. Glad to know that even professional photographers can't help but sneak in a few questions about Death Stranding when they get a chance to talk to Reedus (who is also an accomplished photographer, the actual reason he was on the podcast) because that's totally what I'd do in the same situation.
"The concept is so mind blowing, because it's not like 'Kill everybody and win the game!' It's a connecting thing. It's like the opposite," Reedus explained. "It's so ahead of its time, and there're elements of social media in it, and the idea is that... So many games and so many parts of millennial culture are being alone in a room, and you lose contact - physical contact - with people. This is after that and the re-establishing of that physical contact. It's super, super interesting."
Hideo Kojima has said that both physical and emotional/philosophical 'connections' are core to the concept of Death Stranding. But this is the first time I've seen it framed as a response to the isolation of modern society and, in part, social networking. It's a means for Kojima to pivot toward a new message: the anti-nuke, spy-fiction ideology at the heart of the Metal Gear series - though sadly still relevant - doesn't resonate as much with people who weren't alive during the Cold War, or those who can barely remember it. But scrolling through pictures of our friends and feeling super isolated? Now that's something us millennials can relate to!
Reedus said he's asked Kojima "zillions of questions" about the game, and he's absorbed some information from all of that performance capture too. At this point he's probably the most knowledgeable person about Death Stranding who doesn't have a desk at Kojima Productions’ ritzy Tokyo office. Reedus has learned a lot since starting. Some of it about himself.
"When I met [Kojima] I was like, 'Oh, so they'll play me?' And they're like, 'No, they are you!' So as we're doing this motion capture stuff, they want me to be Norman. They're all standing and if I scratch my head a certain way, they go, 'Oh, do that!' And we'll capture it. By the end of the day you're kind of not moving, because if I keep moving we're going to keep filming! And it's all great but we could go on forever.
"I'm down with whatever Hideo wants to do because he's another-level genius, that guy."