2 – Death Stranding
Now more than ever do we as the human race need to bridge our connections and bring ourselves closer. Even as we stay isolated within our own homes, the need for human connection is insurmountable — it’s how we came to populate nearly every corner of the globe.
This may seem like a far cry from Hideo Kojima’s usual fare of Metal Gear Solid shooters, but this independent project has players divided on what it truly means, and I believe it is closer to the Metal Gear Solid series than most realise. To me, Death Stranding is more than a “walking simulator” — it is how humans bridge connections with others and realise their own humanity.
This game boasts an online feature where players can traverse the barren lands with the aid of structures made by those who have gone before them. After hitting a certain point in the game, you will be able to return the favour — as many of these players do — be it by building structures or “liking” the helpfulness.
Metal Gear Solid is what Kojima was known for and, for me, Psycho Mantis — the “scummy” boss of the Playstation Metal Gear Solid 4 game — is at the heart of what Kojima aims to achieve. Frustrating boss battle aside (tip: try the heat specs), he brings a very human touch to the game — we learn that his father resented him for causing his mother to die in childbirth and in so doing led him to believe that “humans don’t bring each other happiness”.
With his dying breath, he tells Snake that he is “different” — a person who “lives in the moment” and one without “a past or a future”. As the cutscene ends, Mantis opens the door for Snake and Meryl — but in doing so, opens his own heart: “This is the first time I’ve used my power to help someone. It’s strange…it feels…kinda…nice.”
It is more crucial than ever that we help one another — build the bridges and open the doors that we sorely need. Death Stranding shows us we can do just that.