Fractured Worlds: The Art of Death Stranding

Fractured Worlds: The Art of Death Stranding

by Tyrese Spruill

From November 4th to the 9th, the game Death Stranding held an art exhibit in the meatpacking district titled Fractured Worlds: The Art of Death Stranding showcasing the artwork of the game, made by art director Yoji Shinkawa, behind-the-scenes production photos and fan art made in support of the release of the game which was released November 8th.

For those unaware, Death Stranding is the newest title and first title to be released by the newly made, Sony funded game developer Kojima Productions. The director of Death Stranding is renowned legend Hideo Kojima who has been in the game industry for over 25 years, notably as the mastermind behind the classic Metal Gear game series. The game has garnered many eyes, both new and old with its cast, including The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Bionic Woman’s Lindsey Wagner.

The gallery was separated into 5 different sections: The Art of Yoji Shinkawa featuring sketches, concept art and character pieces made during production. Pre-production work photos with recreations of how their work stations were at their production house. The music of Death Stranding, showing both the music used within the game and the music that inspired the world. It ended with a large showcase of fan art made in anticipation for the game’s release.

My time there  did not feel short as I perused each area of the gallery. Yoji Shinkawa has been known for his artwork in games for over 30 years and was very known for his machine and mecha designs. His work shines here, having worked with Kojima in the past on multiple projects. Their relationship is shown through Kojima’s vision within Shinkawa’s masterful illustrations. 

Within the fan art portion of the gallery, I saw a litany of different art styles depicting scenes from the trailers previously released. They all don’t try to catch Shinkawa’s thin sketch design, but create somewhat timeless pieces that stand all on their own. 

 At the beginning of the tour, we were introduced to a message from Kojima talking about how games differ from any other media and deserve a shot to be commemorated in the same way other art has been in the past. By the end, I felt I got a glimpse into what it took to build a captivating piece of entertainment. Kojima explained it as a collaborative art effort, and it shows. From Kojima’s direction, to Shinkawa’s art. From the acting of Reedus to the use of the game’s music, the final game is a collaborative effort which comes together to make the experience playing and engaging with it worthwhile.