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Gaming: PS4 sets sales milestone; how del Toro roped Norman Reedus into Death Stranding

By Benjamin Bullard
Death Stranding Del Toro Reedus

The six short years that the PlayStation 4 has been on the market seem to have flown by, but the system — which still has plenty of new games on the way before its replacement arrives late in 2020 — has finally eclipsed every other gaming console in history except its own PS2 predecessor to become the second-biggest seller of all time.

Sony’s most recent sales figures, reported widely this week, show the PS4 sliding into the number-two spot on the all-time best-seller list with 102.8 million systems sold as of September 30, according to VentureBeat. That’s enough to slip it past the previous number-two unit — Sony’s original PlayStation — but still far behind history’s all-time biggest seller: the PlayStation 2, which racked up a seemingly unsurpassable 159 million sales over its nearly 13 years in production.

While the PS4 has pretty much sold at the same pace as the PS2 (slightly faster, in fact), it’s due to be eclipsed by the PlayStation 5, which Sony expects to roll out in time for the holidays next year. That means it’s unlikely that the PS4 will hang around for as long as its older sibling, so the PS2’s sales title is probably safe for years to come. 

At least the PS4 will be going out with a bang. Console and release-day exclusives like Death Stranding (Nov. 8), Shenmue III (Nov. 19), Final Fantasy VII Remake (March 3, 2020), The Last of Us Part II (May 29, 2020), and Ghost of Tsushima (sometime in 2020) all still lie ahead — as well as multiplatform blockbusters like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Nov. 15), Doom Eternal (March 20, 2020), Cyberpunk 2077 (April 16, 2020), and Marvel’s Avengers (May 15, 2020).

Death Stranding must have a ton of story to tell, because Sony and Kojima Productions just dropped a launch trailer ahead of the game’s long-awaited release next week that’s eight minutes long and crammed with new cutscenes. 

Even a week from launch and filled to the brim with exposition for Hideo Kojima’s first post-Metal Gear game, the epic trailer, which mixes cinematic footage and gameplay, says a lot without really giving us a sense that we’ll be seeing the whole picture until we actually play the game. One thing we finally know for sure is that all those celebrities who’ve lent their voices and likenesses — including Guillermo del Toro, Léa Seydoux, Mads Mikkelsen, Lindsay Wagner, and of course protagonist Norman Reedus — are all playing for the same side. 

Check it out below:

Speaking of del Toro, Reedus revealed this week how he owes the Oscar-winning Shape of Water director full credit for first recruiting him into Kojima’s sci-fi gaming orbit. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Reedus said he knew nothing about Kojima before agreeing to be part of the director’s now-abandoned Silent Hills horror game — but that he took a total leap of faith that eventually would lead him to Death Stranding, after del Toro called him up and told him to just do it.

“I first met Hideo when Guillermo del Toro called me [for Silent Hills] and said, hey, there’s a guy who’s going to call you and wants to do a video game with you. Just say yes,’” said Reedus. “I said, ‘Who is he?’ And he said, ‘Trust me, just say yes.’ Guillermo gave me my SAG card and my first acting job and I trust him with everything. I knew this guy would be good if Guillermo was saying this.”

The trailer may be the best explanation yet of Kojima’s high-concept theme: Whether America really means anything as an idea, even when, in the post-apocalypse, there’s no social platform to argue the point — in fact, there’s hardly any America left at all. “More than a nation: A symbol of freedom and hope,” says Seydoux’s character, Fragile, early in the trailer — before former U.S. president Bridget (played by Wagner) comes along near the end with the hot new take: “America is a lie.”

Based on Reedus’ task of fighting his way to the far corners of Death Stranding to get a dead communications network back online, we’re guessing that not every character in the game agrees on how hopeful people should be about remaking their dystopian world. And we still don’t know exactly how those jar-babies fit in, along with the dead spirits they’re meant to bridge, in the overall story.

We’re more intrigued than ever, though, and we’re only days away from diving in headfirst: Death Stranding arrives for PlayStation 4 on Nov. 8 (with a PC release heading our way next summer).

Critics fell all over themselves praising the original Nioh when the Dark Souls-inspired action-RPG hit the PlayStation 4 in 2017. Now developer Team Ninja is back with a new trailer for the sequel — along with a release date. 

Even though it’s gone on to sell nearly 3 million copies, the original Nioh flew under the radar for many fans of From Software’s immersive Souls (and now Sekiro) games, which Team Ninja openly admired for their brutal difficulty and an RPG combat style that’s more action-heavy than by-the-numbers. And with Nioh 2’s open beta demo coming to the PlayStation Store on Nov. 1 (via the PlayStation Blog), there’s no time like the present for PS4 owners to get a sneak peek at what they might’ve missed the first time around. 

As for when we’ll get our hands on the full game, Team Ninja has finally revealed a release date: Nioh 2 arrives for PlayStation 4 on March 13 of next year.