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Death Stranding’s world building intersects with fashion and design

posted by Patrick Tanguay   Nov 04, 2019

Can’t say I’m much of a gamer but I like when things intersect in interesting ways and the launch of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is one of those times. This is a huge launch with lots and lots of coverage, you’ll probably be seeing it everywhere. The GameSport review, which gives a great idea of the look and gameplay, is above and here’s more of what it’s about, from the review at The Verge:

Death Stranding takes place in a distant future, one that has been ravaged by a largely unexplained phenomenon called the death stranding. It wiped out cities and almost all life while opening a gate between the worlds of the living and dead. Those ghostly BTs haunt forests and mountains, and certain humans called repatriates are able to return to life from a strange underwater space known as the Seam. Sam, played by Norman Reedus, is one of these repatriates. He’s also something of a post-apocalyptic delivery man, shuttling supplies from one settlement to the next. Early in the game, he’s given a particularly ambitious task: reunite America (now known as the UCA, or United Cities of America) by traveling across the country, connecting settlements to a sort of internet-like network. At the same time, Sam is trying to reach the west coast of the country to rescue his sister who has been captured by a terrorist organization.

David Erlich at IndieWire is calling it the best video game movie ever made.

Massive, moody, and — as usual for the video game auteur — weird as hell. The open-world experience has enough contemplative moments to make it feel like a “Grand Theft Auto” sequel directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and it’s the greatest achievement yet from the most eccentric and forward-thinking designer of a medium in which virtually every large-scale project is created by committee.

But what I’d like to draw your attention to is where Kojima’s vision intersects with fashion and design. As Ryan Epps says at TheGamer, Death Stranding Is A Tangled Web Of Designer Collaborations.

Kojima not only intends on reshaping the landscape of conventional open-world gaming (and redefining the meaning of genre itself), but has his eyes set on revolutionizing narrative design and video game cinematography by way of listless immersion.

The motorbike is a collaboration with Norman Reedus’ television show The Ride, glasses are designed by French eyewear brand J.F.Rey, and some of the better looking clothing is designed by Errolson Hugh’s Acronym. While it edges (perhaps goes over for some) into product placement, it goes further, being co-designed for the game and each informing the other. The collaborations span the globe and form a mix to draw in more fans.

As so exemplified by these varied artists, designers, and thinkers, Kojima’s project will boast some of the most interesting forms of immersive insight. Much like how the gameplay itself finds players drawing the world back together in a time of hardship and desolation, the game’s own creation has been a global project that will, in essence, capture the hearts and minds of so many gamers just by the sheer amount of worldwide influence present in its DNA.

For my part, the collaboration with Acronym ( Hypebeast has a few details and pictures about the collaboration ) is especially of interest with Hugh’s design already being so adjacent to near-future fiction and cyberpunk aesthetics. According to GQ, he Sees the Future and he has been having this same kind of bidirectional influence with William Gibson for years.

Please dig through some of the links above if you like this aesthetic and keep an eye on these kinds of collaborations in world building, which are bound to multiply and “attach” more domains of gaming, movies, design, and architecture together.