Death Stranding is a beautiful-looking game. Why doesn’t its box art emphasize that?

Hideo Kojima unveiled Death Stranding’s cover art at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 this weekend. While fan reaction is mixed, there’s certainly nothing wrong with either edition. Focusing on Norman Reedus’s Sam is a smart selling point.

With that said, however, there’s so much more that can be done with Death Stranding‘s visual presentation. Kojima is legendary for his unique aesthetics in game creation. While some fans appear pretty high on the Steelbook Edition of the game, the Regular Edition is a little bland. Given that Kojima has released several stunning posters for Death Stranding, the Regular Edition complaints certainly have some validity to them.

While we still don’t know exactly what Death Stranding is, Kojima’s released a lot of stand-out visuals thus far. Sam cradling his baby in a barren wasteland is one, while the “tomorrow is in your hands” character posters are another. Having Higgs, the Man in the Golden Mask, on the front of a cover would really make it pop.

Kojima is legendary for his unique aesthetics in game creation.

It’s not necessarily that the Death Stranding cover art is explicitly bad. It’s serviceable, and the steelbook edition is actively enticing. The problem is that Death Stranding has already captured our imaginations with some striking visuals. Cover art might not be the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still memorable. As fans, we tend to remember really impressive art on game covers years after we’ve played them. Here’s hoping that will be said about Death Stranding once it releases in November.

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Cody's Take

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I don’t think cover art is something that Death Stranding needs to do to thrive, and I’ll stand by that choice now that I’ve seen the visual. Gameplay and design are always more important than how the game looks on the shelves. With that said, though, the current implementation of Death Stranding box art is a major missed opportunity.

The way I see it, Death Stranding could have used those gorgeous character posters as cover variants. Having a game release with several different cover variations suits Kojima’s off-the-wall take on the industry. It also gives collectors one extra thing to chase after, creating buzz for the game without milking it for money in a consumerist way.

The current implementation of Death Stranding box art is a major missed opportunity.

If not cover variants, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a reversible cover on the regular edition. There are too many exciting characters to leave out from the game’s art. Mads Mikkelsen isn’t even there! Frankly, that’s close to inexcusable.

Maybe we’re just starved for more Death Stranding, and maybe Kojima Productions and Sony are focused on the bigger picture beyond cover art choice. That’s fine, but as someone who fondly remembers amazing video game covers like Shadow of the ColossusHeavy Rain and Final Fantasy VI, it would’ve been nice to have something a bit flashier from someone who has made a reputation delivering just that in his games.

Now that Sony PlayStation is back, an exclamation point on its big fall exclusive would’ve been incredible. Guess I’m pre-ordering the Steelbook edition!