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SYFY WIRE Death Stranding

Gaming: Norman Reedus geeks out over Death Stranding; Anthem teases endgame; Microsoft’s soft rebrand

By Benjamin Bullard
Norman Reedus in Death Stranding

Norman Reedus isn't just the star of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding; he's also one of several creative talents who've fallen head over heels for the long-developing mystery game from the iconic Metal Gear creator. And while the trailers we've seen so far suggest a whole new level of delicious weirdness from the same gaming auteur who brought us off-the-wall characters like Raiden, Gray Fox, Vamp, and Psycho Mantis, Reedus assures we still don't know the half of what's in store.

Kojima “keeps telling me people will watch all these trailers, they’ll come up with these ideas and look for all these Easter eggs, and they have been doing that,” Reedus told Metro during a previously-embargoed interview last year. “The trailers show you an aspect of it, but not a whole picture of what the game will be. That’s like a whole other thing. It’s complicated, it’s a crazy complicated game.”

Describing Kojima as “such a genius,” Reedus said Death Stranding carries a thread of optimism and cooperation amid all the bleak and dystopian imagery we’ve seen in the previews.

“The concept is so far out into the future. Instead of eliminating everyone around you, it’s bringing everyone together. It’s a very positive video game, but scary and depressing at the same time,” he explained. 

“It’s kind of a new movie. I’ve never seen anything like what we’re doing. Guillermo del Toro introduced me to [Kojima], who is also working on the game;  [del Toro’s] also a character in the game.”

We still have no idea when Death Stranding is coming out, but whatever state it’s in, it’s got the handful of people who’ve played it freaking right out. Kojima recently let would-be Metal Gear movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) have a turn at the controls, and the experience left Roberts sounding like a guy who needs to check into postgame therapy — in a good way:

With Death Stranding still in development as Sony begins to eye the next console generation, we're growing less and less certain about whether the game will end up calling only a single current-gen platform home. But for now, we're still expecting to see it wash ashore exclusively for the PlayStation 4. 

Anthem has been in development for years, but despite multiple trailers and previews, it’s hard to know quite what to expect from BioWare’s next big thing after living for so long inside the well-realized RPG world of its previous franchise, Mass Effect.

But as the game’s release date draws near, more details are emerging, with the latest trailer from BioWare zeroing in on how Anthem aims to keep the gameplay fresh long after the main campaign has ended. The new endgame preview shows off a variety of postgame diversions (including a free to play mode that’s becoming almost obligatory in the Fortnite era) — as well as an option to make everything up to six times more difficult.

The preview also teased Anthem’s postgame “Cataclysms,” timed events that’ll see a spike in difficulty as the weather changes and tougher enemies spawn, opening a momentary window to better rewards. Study up below, because the long wait’s almost over: Anthem rings out beginning Feb. 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

From Nintendo’s old-school Banjo-Kazooie developer Rare to Fallout: New Vegas makers Obsidian Entertainment, Microsoft has collected a pretty impressive array of studios for its in-house skunkworks over the years. Now, they’re all being consolidated under a single new title: Xbox Game Studios.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the rebrand, which affects all 13 of the company’s first-party studios, saying the change helps gamers identify more readily with the people behind first-party Xbox games.

“Today, Xbox is our gaming brand across all devices, no matter how or where you want to play, or who you want to play with,” Xbox Game Studios VP Matt Booty wrote in the announcement, name-checking all the studios affected by the change.

“The teams at 343 Industries, The Coalition, Compulsion Games, The Initiative, inXile Entertainment, Minecraft, Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, Undead Labs and our Global Publishing group are working hard to deliver incredible exclusives, original IP and all-new chapters from your favorite franchises,” Booty added. 

The rebrand was accompanied by the debut of a website for the newly-christened Xbox Game Studios, which still lists all 13 members under their familiar names and logos — at least for now. It’s not clear whether those will fade away over time, but Microsoft assured that each will be toiling away, the same as before, on new projects — like Obsidian’s upcoming The Outer Worlds — that’ll continue to bear the unique gaming hallmarks their development teams are already known for.