A strange scene in Innsbruck, Austria, yesterday saw Death Stranding bleed into the real-world as fears over the coronavirus mount.
Whether you were taken by Hideo Kojima’s apocalyptic walking simulator or not, Death Stranding has left some lasting imagery in its wake that is sure to echo throughout the gaming industry for years to come.
Sam Bridges, laden with cargo, trudges across inhospitable terrain. An overworked delivery man knocks back cans of energy drink as he ferries vital supplies to remote hermits. Deliveries latched to his limbs and hunching his back make even walking an arduous task.
That very image has spilled over into the real world, spurred on by the coronavirus outbreak.
A video was posted late yesterday by Twitter user @zinnaglism. It depicts a scene snapped at what appears to be the exit of a supermarket in Innsbruck, Austria.
A shopper sits perched on a scooter. Bags of goods surround him, strapped on in makeshift fashion. They obscure his body. A cardboard box housing more supplies wobbles perilously on top. The shopper struggles to dislodge the scooter’s stand due to the weight of the haul.
The tweet suggests fears over the coronavirus reaching Austria have sparked panic buying.
Prompted by the desperate attempts of our hero, a passerby intervenes to offer a helping hand. Free of the stand, they ready themselves to dart off. In almost comedic fashion, the scooter leans evermore perilously to the side, before crashing to the tarmac below. The rider tumbles off.
For anyone who’s sampled Death Stranding, falls and tumbles are part of the experience. Most players will have thrown caution to the wind and optimistically loaded an extra piece of cargo. Then set off and almost immediately hit the ground.
Yesterday’s scene in Innsbruck is a bizarre meta clash between video games and real-life. And it hints at Hideo Kojima’s well-documented prescience. It’s not the first time the Japanese creator has foretold future events in his games.
Metal Gear Solid 2 offered a chillingly prophetic take of our postmodern world defined by fake news and social media that, 19 years later, feels disturbingly apposite.
There are unassailable differences between the calamity afflicting the world of Death Stranding and the tangible, frightening advance of the coronavirus. Yet, seeing the two bleed into one another sure is fascinating.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.