At this point, all eyes are on Death Stranding, the newest project to come from the mind of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. Ever since its initial reveal at Sony's E3 2016 conference, the Internet has been abuzz with rumors, speculation, and theories behind the game's plot and characters. And who could blame them? With each new trailer that Kojima put out for the title, the questions only piled up more. But with an official release date now slotted in, and new trailers that introduce the characters and their names, the game is starting to make sense... if even just a little bit. This could be no truer than with the arrival of the latest trailer, shown off for attendees at the recent San Diego Comic-Con before making its way to the public via PlayStation's official YouTube channel. Unlike past trailers, this trailer tightens its focus on one specific Death Stranding character: Heartman.


Heartman was first unveiled in the big release date trailer that Kojima put out just ahead of E3 2019. To add to the game's already huge cast of famous actors and directors, Heartman is portrayed by Danish movie director Nicolas Winding Refn, whom you would know best for movies like Drive and The Neon Demon. As the trailer reveals, Heartman lives his life in 21-minute intervals. Every 21 minutes his heart stops due to a medical condition, forcing him into "the world of the dead" for approximately 3 minutes. While there, he searches for his family. Once the few minutes are up, he's revived by an AED device he wears strapped to his chest. Due to this condition, Heartman dies 60 times a day. As he discusses in the trailer, he tries to fill in those 21 minutes with basic needs and entertainment, such as old movies and music. When not entertaining himself, Heartman is a member of BRIDGES, conducting research on the Death Stranding. What exactly that is is still up in the air.

During the same panel the trailer was unveiled, Kojima and Refn themselves took to the stage to discuss the project. Kojima being the film buff he is, he's always been a big fan of Refn's movies, particularly Valhalla Rising and Drive. Valhalla Rising just so happened to star Mads Mikkelsen, a famous actor who portrays another major character in Death Stranding. It was for this reason that Kojima first got into contact with Refn, in order to meet Mikkelsen. The two hit it off, leading to Refn's inclusion into the game's cast. Funnily enough, Refn first recommended Keanu Reeves instead of Mikkelsen for the game. While Kojima didn't go through with that, Reeves is most famously starring in another high profile video game: Cyberpunk 2077. In any case, Death Stranding is featuring quite the star-studded cast. Refn is lending both his motion capture and voice performance to Heartman.


Death Stranding is set to release exclusively for PlayStation 4 on November 8th. That'll be right before the holiday season hits. With the game so close to release, we know a lot more about its gameplay and characters, all of which were shown off in the more recent trailers. The game is set in a very vast open world, and a lot of it looks to take key ideas from what worked in Kojima's most recent game: Metal Gear Solid V. Death works differently in the game than most, and will also include multiplayer elements with other players, whilst still being a primarily single-player experience. Death Stranding marks the first game for Kojima at his new development studio, Kojima Productions, which formed under PlayStation's wing after the director's falling out with Konami following the release of MGSV. For the longest time, it felt like the game was still so far off. Hard to believe it's only a few months away now. Make sure to watch the Heartman trailer below; it's a short, yet intriguing snippet on Death Stranding's increasingly bizarre world.


Tanner is a freelance writer. He enjoys all things video games, particularly the weirder ones, and can often be found drinking coffee and trying to get through his backlog.

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