Of COURSE I Pre-Ordered Death Stranding



Yesterday, I asked Sean to write about his anticipation of Death Stranding. I’ve never seen him so anxious for the release of a game and wanted to know how he got here, the day before release, wondering when the UPS delivery person would actually show up with his game.

Anyone that has read our long running—occasionally glacially paced— Codec Logs series about Metal Gear knows that Sean and I have very different histories with Hideo Kojima as a game director, producer, designer, and writer. Sean is relatively new to his work while I’ve been following it, at times obsessively, since high school. While Sean is working on his blog, I figured that it was only fair that I also get my pre-release thoughts out there before tomorrow’s big launch.


I’ve been a Kojima fan since I played Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. I was a Metal Gear Solid fan before that, but had never put a lot of thought into the people that make games until I played its sequel. Obsession with MGS2 led to obsession with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which led to me purchasing a PS3 just to play Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. And then I fell off. MGS4 tied a bow—albeit a messy bow—on the franchise I loved and I didn’t really feel the need to play Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker on the PSP.

“Who wrote this stuff?” (Me in 2001)

It wasn’t until Metal Gear Solid V was revealed that I started to pay attention to Kojima again, but things were different this time around. My relationship with the franchise had changed and it seemed like Kojima’s might have too. David Hayter was out, replaced by Kiefer Sutherland. Odd choice, but fine. Quiet was revealed… a disappointing character design, but not unexpected based on what had come before it in the series (I’m sure Quiet will dominate future Codec Logs entries). Then I played the MGSV prologue, Ground Zeroes, and was VERY turned off by something that happens at the end. As far as I was concerned, Kojima had ventured out of his depth and had gone too far in an attempt to be edgy and shocking (another thing we’ll get to in a future Codec Logs entry). I told Sean I would not be playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain when it came out.

Somewhere in all of this P.T. came out. I haven’t read Sean’s blog yet, but I’m guessing P.T. is an important part of his journey with Kojima. I actually don’t have a lot to say about P.T.. I think it is brilliant. It is a master class in suspense and horror and the thought of that becoming a full Silent Hill game was both exciting and frightening.


As the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain approached, it became VERY clear that something was wrong between Kojima and his employer, Konami. With this, it was obvious that MGSV:TPP would actually be the last (real) Metal Gear game. I messaged Sean “I think I’m going to get the game after all.” With a real conclusion to the franchise in site, I felt like I might as well see it to the end and get some kind of closure on it.

I played The Phantom Pain and I liked The Phantom Pain. Did it redeem Kojima for me? No. I still think the ending and other parts of Ground Zeroes are gross and unnecessary. I still think Quiet’s character design is bad and poorly justified (I was not ashamed of my words & deeds). But it was also a good game made by one of the few AAA designers that can (is allowed to?) inspire real conversations about philosophy, politics, etc. I don’t always agree with the man, but I don’t have to to enjoy his work.

There IS a reason for it… It isn’t a good one.

So that leads me to today. Death Stranding comes out tomorrow. From the start, I feel like I’ve been fully prepared for the game to be terrible. I’m not saying it is, but I’m ready to not like it. However, for me there is a line between not enjoying a piece of art and not appreciating it. I already appreciate Death Stranding. Kojima has been given the means to release something that is the closest to a singular vision a AAA game can be. Despite what the internet will tell you, I’m going to say that almost all AAA games are a solid 7/10 or above. They are built to be. They are built to be appealing to as many people as possible. Death Stranding is a game built to be appealing to one person: Hideo Kojima. I’m not afraid of hating it. I’m not afraid of loving it. The worst thing Death Stranding could do is leave me feeling nothing, and I doubt it will.

See what Sean had to say:

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