Could Death Stranding be about a new form of human life?
The line “From Sapiens to Ludens” leads to a message on the website that mentions Homo Ludens [Those who play], how playing is not simply a pastime, and new evolution. The words in the message are interesting, and with a little bit of digging it brings a bit of light into an otherwise unknown plot.
The first line of the message, “We are Homo Ludens [Those who play]”, is key to my theory on Death Stranding’s plot. The word Homo Ludens is Latin term that would loosely translate to playing humans, for those curious Homo sapiens (you and me) can loosely translate to knowing or wise humans. The term Homo Ludens is best known from the book “Homo Ludens” written in 1938 by Dutch Historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga. The book, which I can only pretend to fully understand, is a study of how play is an important part of culture and how these playing humans have adopted it. The book also references Homo Faber (also seen in the message), which is a concept that human beings are able to control their fate and environment through tools.
Homo Ludens also appear in the Noon book series created by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Ludens first appear in the novel “The Time Wanderers“, and are described as born human, but possess latent mental powers far beyond those of normal humans. They view themselves as a distinct race and claim to have “different interests” from humanity at large, in some instances claiming to be above traditional human morality. Basically, Ludens in the Noon book series is akin to inhuman people (kind of like X-Men).
Therefore, in Death Stranding we could see three forms of humanoids fighting for control. Homo Sapiens, Homo Ludens, and Homo Faber. Now, do we see them in any of the two teaser trailers? Well at the end of the first teaser, we see multiple people floating in the air, this could be Ludens simply floating and “playing” with the wildlife as we dead sea creatures throughout the trailer. Now, in the second teaser, we potentially see Homo Faber. The Homo Faber we see is the man controlling the dead soldiers through a wire since Homo Faber are those who create, the man could very well be giving life to those who died.
Now what about the regular humans, the Homo Sapiens, well I believe they are people caught in the middle. The homo sapiens are those trying to survive as their numbers begin to dwindle, after all, the Homo Faber and Homo Ludens are potentially next levels of evolution. This also might explain the baby in the incubator as it could be could be an attempt to stop evolution.
Therefore, what could Death Stranding be about? Well, it could be Homo Sapiens trying to survive in a world where two new forms of evolution fight for control, with Homo Ludens playing with the world with their powers, and Homo Faber creating technology.
In the end, this is just an off the cuff theory that popped into my head after seeing the new Death Stranding trailer, I could be completely off in my assessment, but I like the idea of humanity trapped between two different ideals, play and creation.