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SYFY WIRE Death Stranding

Gaming: Death Stranding plot finally revealed; Skywalker rises in Star Wars Battlefront II; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Norman Reedus in Death Stranding

For all the trippy trailers we’ve gotten featuring babies in jars, snake-like wisps that suck people into a hidden dimension, and uncanny CGI renders of famous faces like those of Guillermo del Toro, Mads Mikkelsen, and Norman Reedus, the plot of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has concealed itself behind a wall of impenetrable weirdness. At least, it had until this week.

Kojima has been a big presence at Germany’s Gamescom event this week, giving the gaming press by far its closest look yet at what lies behind all those strange layers from the past two years’ worth of Death Stranding teases. And thanks to an in-depth report from Gamesradar+, which spent some quality time with a late build of the game, we finally know what it’s all about.

Death Stranding, the outlet reports, is essentially a map-expanding, cross-continental journey that Sam, Reedus’ character, undertakes on foot. In short, the report summarizes, the game’s story is “about a pilgrimage, about activating communication relays, and about delivering parcels to isolated corners of America in an attempt to establish social strands — building bonds with your fellow man in an effort to inspire hope in a dying society.”

Hoofing it across an entire continent makes it sound as though Death Stranding will be a hugely-scaled game, but the underlying gameplay concept is one that’s probably comfortable for most players. For anyone who’s watched entire sections of game map open up after clambering up one of Horizon Zero Dawn’s lumbering giraffe-bots, scaled a tower in an Assassin’s Creed game, or uploaded a fresh set of waypoints to their Sheikah Slate in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the idea should feel familiar. 

Why must Sam make such a long journey? To retrace the steps “of Amelie, daughter of the President of the United Cities of America,” who made the same trip in the past to “establish a network of communication relays across the country, a network that could deliver a message of unity from her mother, Bridget, who also happens to be on death’s door.”

And just like that, Kojima’s story starts sounding as dense as anything you’d expect from a Metal Gear game. But the basic outline, at last, makes sense: Death Stranding appears to be a game about walking from place to place, fighting enemies, and making one connection at a time to unite a fractured country. We’ll take the first step starting on Nov. 8, when the game arrives at last for PlayStation 4.

Star Wars Battlefront II is heading toward its second birthday, but the game’s still going strong thanks to fresh content that’s rolling out just in time for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker this December.

Game Informer reports that an all-new update will bring J.J. Abrams’ saga-ending story to Battlefront II in a new expansion timed to coincide with the movie’s release in theaters. Details from developer EA DICE are light, since the new content likely holds spoilers that could carry over for movie fans, but the update reportedly will be “based on the film.”

EA has continued to publish enhancements to the original 2017 game, and is even pledging a separate update, ahead of the Skywalker expansion, that will reportedly bring a “special event” to the sci-fi action shooter sometime in October.

The Skywalker content for Battlefront II hasn’t been given a firm release date in December, but the movie is slated to release on Dec. 20. Star Wars Battlefront II is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

She may not be an MCU regular just yet, but over in the world of video games, Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel) is beginning to stir. 

In the lengthy gameplay footage Square Enix debuted at Gamescom from the upcoming Avengers game, eagle-eyed fans spotted a glimpse of someone who bore a striking resemblance to a certain Captain Marvel-idolizing teen. After letting the fans buzz for a while, developer Crystal Dynamics confirmed to US Gamer that yes, the backpack-wearing character caught up in the mayhem around the 11:30 mark in the clip below indeed is Kamala Khan.

The first Muslim-American character in Marvel’s comic universe, Kamala Khan has only been around since her debut in 2013’s Captain Marvel #14, so her screen appearances have so far been few, limited mostly to a handful of animated TV appearances in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. But Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has also said Ms. Marvel could show up in the MCU, now that Captain Marvel has introduced Carol Danvers (Kamala’s idol) on the big screen. 

In the game footage, a “young Kamala Khan” is present at the ill-fated A-Day event at the Golden Gate Bridge, when tragedy strikes San Francisco and turns public opinion against the Avengers, Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos told US Gamer. Square Enix isn’t saying yet whether Ms. Marvel will end up becoming a playable character, but thankfully, we won’t have too long a wait to find out. Marvel’s Avengers arrives on May 15 of next year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and — eventually — Google Stadia.