Kojima games are never straightforward. Games start well before you pop in the disk these days (or more likely, download the file), because marketing is so loud and aggressive and total. We all already know what to expect from Ragnarok, with its bombastic trailers and colossal review scores, but Kojima has been playing with expectations in far more interesting ways than just loading coal into the hype train. Kojima teases are always cryptic, layered, unpredictable. The reason the Kojima-Abandoned link seemed so strong was because Abandoned's bizarre updates seemed like something only Kojima could do. In the end, it seemed to be a developer out of depth, scrambling frantically, either intentionally mimicking Kojima to buy time or unintentionally recreating the chaos Kojima offers by just not having a clue what they were doing. Abandoned is not Kojima's next game – Overdose is. Now that we know, what happens from here?
Overdose leaked a few months back, with all we knew of it being that Margaret Qualley, who previously appeared in Death Stranding, would be in it. There was some plausible deniability with the leak back then – Kojima's hobby seems to be scanning celebrity friends, and Overdose back then could easily have been a concept for the future, an idea Kojima had that might one day see the light of day, or a rejected concept. This was complicated by Norman Reedus leaking in an interview that Death Stranding 2 was underway – Kojima is famously hands-on, and games take far longer to make today than they ever did. He couldn't possibly be making Death Stranding 2 and Overdose. Let's all just forget about it and get back to being excited for whatever comes next!
And so we did. Kojima unveiled a Who Am I poster, and even though we all knew it was Elle Fanning immediately, it was still vaguely intriguing. In fact, the Overdose leak made that a little more fun. After all, it could be Qualley. It was definitely Fanning, but there was a spark of mystery. Of course, it was Fanning, but then the second poster was revealed and was neither Fanning nor Qualley. No one had much idea, until it was revealed to be Shioli Kutsuna from Deadpool 2. Interesting. What's his game here? Then there was a third poster, just text. No face at all. Could this one be Qualley? Is this Overdose? Exciting! Except now we know it is Overdose. It just leaked. So, what now?
I don't follow spoiler culture or get all that excited over upcoming games too much. Are the copious exclamation marks here ironic? Maybe! I don't really care that these things have leaked, I'm not personally upset by it. But now we have screenshots of Overdose (again with Qualley) in the wild, we know that's what this game is. The marketing so far has spun on the mystery of it all, with strange posters and slogans asking questions without answer. When we know the ultimate answer to 'What Game Am I?' is 'Overdose', this strategy loses a little bit of the mustard.
There's still some mystery, if you really want to look for it. With Reedus' leak and Qualley's involvement, this could be a sequel or spin-off to Death Stranding, or it could be a completely new game. But when all Kojima has given us is Who Am I? and the presence of Elle Fanning and Shioli Kutsuna, we seem to be a little further ahead of the curve if we already know the game's name, it's protagonist, have seen several screenshots, and have a strong suggestion it is linked to Death Stranding.
Overdose is where the two strands of internet hype culture collide. On the one hand, people are desperate to soak up leaks in the form of datamines, screenshots, and game listings, but on the other, they are fiercely loyal to marketing and parasocial engagement with creators. We cannot do both here. And leaks always win.
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