You want a divisive video game this holiday season? Hideo Kojima is here with his indomitable casting couch from Death Stranding. Criticized for its so-called "stunt casting"—which is the inclusion of a famous actor as a guest in order to garner publicity—this trailer shows the single-tear-rolling-down-the-cheek actors of Kojima's newfangled social stranding genre.
Let me just clarify that use of the term "stunt casting" is probably a misnomer when it comes to Death Stranding, simply because these are the main characters. Nobody is walking on and off for a quick shot of publicity. In fact, you'll get nice and cozy with these characters over the course of the game, via in-game emails, hologram videos, and extensive cut scenes. You could perhaps make the argument that the inclusion of, say, video game journalist Geoff Keighley's likeness in the game is a form of stunt casting, but he doesn't feature in this video at all.
We've got Lea Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color, Spectre) as Fragile, rocking her dope leather jacket that spikes out when she makes contact with the other side. There's Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood, Fosse/Verdon) as Mama, who had the most breakout performance of the entire game. Nicholas Winding Refn (the gosh dang writer and director of Drive, my dudes) as Heartman, the man that wears an AED strapped to his chest and it's amazing. Guillermo Del Toro (spooky director of Pan's Labyrinth/a million other movies you like, and collaborator on the infamous P.T. demo on PS4.) as Deadman, whom you'll find very hard to trust. And finally putting a face to the prolific voice of Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite) as bad guy Higgs.
Oh we're not done. Tommie Earl Jenkins (Pandora, The Politician) is Die-Hardman, and Kojima double dares you to call him out on naming an entire character "Die-Hardman." Mads Mikkelsen (the Hannibal TV series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is Cliff, bringing modern warfare to this otherwise inexplicable science-fantasy. Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman from the 1970s, The Paper Chase also from the '70s) as Amelie, who's been de-aged and stuck on the beach.
And last but not least, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints) as the grunting, contemplative Sam. Just Sam. Well, actually, Sam Porter Bridges, formerly known as Sam Strand, so he fully went through the Hideo Kojima Name Generator, too.
Death Stranding [Gaming Nexus score 9.5 out of 10] is out on PS4. Only play it if you want to confront yourself and your expectations of what you're supposed to be doing in a video game and/or with your life.