Death Stranding trailer Norman Reedus NUDE Hideo Kojima

Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus appeared in the buff at E3. The actor voices his anatomically correct counterpart in Death Stranding, director Hideo Kojima’s (Metal Gear) first independent work since publicly parting ways with Konami. Reedus had his fully clothed body scanned to capture his precise measurements.

“Hundreds of photos were taken to cover everything: the actor’s hands, facial expression, full body, etc.,” explains a behind-the-scenes look by Kojima Productions. “The actor’s performance was recorded through performance capture, in order to simultaneously capture voice, expressions and movement.”

The result is a heartbreaking scene with Reedus clutching a newborn baby in his arms. You can feel him fighting back tears as his face contorts.

Kojima was reticent to reveal any specific details including the release date of Death Stranding, which has yet to even decide on the game engine. Likewise, the genre was also unspecified but Kojima said it will have “action elements” suggesting that won’t be the focus of the game. The eerie atmosphere is reminiscent of the psychological horror game P.T., which served as a teaser for the unreleased Silent Hills. Both Kojima and Reedus were set be involved in the cancelled game; however, Kojima insists there’s no connection to the Silent Hill franchise by published by Konami.

Kojima gave an ambiguous explanation as to the game’s title. He juxtaposed it to a whale stranding itself on the beach. Unlike living creatures stranding themselves this is a stranding by the dead.

“Something from some world comes and is stranded,” said Kojima’s translator.

The antagonist seems to be an otherworldly death represented by five ominous figures hovering over the mass beaching. Are they supernatural or extraterrestrial? Zombie aliens would definitely explain the casting Reedus.

There’s a powerful theme of connection that seems to be a metaphor for the loss experienced in death. It appears as if the character was handcuffed to another person who vanished. He’s also attached to the baby by an umbilical cord which disappears with the child, symbolically cutting the cord. The whales have cords leading into the ocean from whence they come. Even the game’s title features umbilical cords descending to the Earth. Death Stranding will clearly be a thought-provoking game whatever it’s about.