In the world of d-pads and "Press X to start", Hideo Kojima is a big deal. A really big deal.
The creator of the absurdly successful Metal Gear Solid series, Kojima is renowned for being something of an auteur in the production on his video games. It's his way or the immensely less profitable way. He's the Kanye West of gaming: ego the size of a tectonic plate, you're fascinated to see what he creates next, but good lord you're glad you're not involved in producing it with him.
Kojima recently had a big bust up with his long-standing publisher Konami, resulting in the creative hurricane spiralling off on his own path to establish independent studio 'Kojima Productions'. Its first game? The PlayStation exclusive, Death Standing - the first trailer for which was shown off at this year's E3 games festival...
Right. Okay. Well that's... Actually, no - not okay. What the hell is going on with Death Stranding? Here's everything we know so far.
It stars Norman Reedus
Yes, that was Norman Reedus you saw in the trailer - or rather his electronic likeness. The Walking Dead star (and only man to ever make the name 'Norman' credibly cool) is the central character, but we've no idea what he's going to be doing. Hopefully finding some clothes to start with...
Guillermo del Toro has a hand in its creation
See this adorable little doodle above? Hideo Kojima teased it in a presentation given at the recent Tokyo Games Show without much explanation. Centre right is Kojima himself, while centre right is aforementioned Reedus. On the far left is Guillermo del Toro, Mexican film director with a particular knack for the Gothic and twisted.
Del Toro had previously been slated to be working with Kojima on Silent Hills - a horror game that was set to be developed for publisher Konami but was axed when relationships soured and Kojima departed. We don't know what capacity del Toro is involved in, but given his strong grounding in all things horrific, it would suggest Death Stranding may spawn a few nightmares.
Oh, and that chap on the right? While nothing has been confirmed (little has), fans are speculating with wild abandon that it's this terrifying chap...
Yep, Mads Mikkelsen. In addition to the above doodle likeness, Mikkelsen was spotted wearing this orange hoodie in a selfie with a fan, which looks awfully similar to a post from Kojima which contained an anonymous actor working on Death Stranding also wearing an orange hoodie.
Yep, it's as tenuous a reason as to why Kojima was able to include a practically naked woman as a major character of Metal Gear Solid V, but it's all we've got.
It's about a stranding
Kojima gave a hint of a Death Stranding's story during Sony's conference at Tokyo Games Show.
"This title refers to something from another world stranded in our world," said Kojima. The 'Death Stranding' parallels 'Live Stranding', where aquatic life (think whales or dolphins) beach themselves, flailing uselessly until humans or the tide drags them back into the ocean. But there's also a play on the term 'Strand', with Kojima stating "in Death Stranding, there is story, game, and world view, all connected by strands."
So - a game about strands, connections, an overlapping of 'other worlds'. We're beginning to see why Konami might have struggled working with this guy...
It's an open world game, but...
Kojima has described the game as an "action" title, in "open world with a degree of freedom" - which sounds a bit like the open world experience of Metal Gear Solid V.
The creator also hinted at "online elements"... but that's it. Jeez, Kojima, throw us a bone here.
The weapons involve ropes
"The stick is the first tool that mankind created to put distance between himself and bad things – to protect himself," Kojima told IGN. "...the second tool mankind created is a rope. A rope is a tool used to secure things that are important to you.
"Most of your tools in action games are sticks. You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these ‘sticks.’ In [Death Stranding], I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes… But of course you will be able to use the sticks too."
Sticks, stones, ropes, connections, dead whales, Walking Dead actors, a Mexican horror director... are we all clear? Good.