The game was officially named at Sony’s Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 conference in June 2016. Hideo Kojima described the game’s genre as a sort of action game, but with new and different elements; he compared this to how his earlier game Metal Gear (1987), which now is classified as a stealth game, was called action at the time of its release because the stealth genre did not exist yet. He explained one of the game’s main themes through a short story by Kōbō Abe, in which Abe says that the first tool created by humans was a stick, meant as protection by putting a distance between oneself and “bad things”, and that the second tool was a rope, which is used to secure things one finds important. Kojima compared the main “tools” in action games – punching, shooting and kicking – to sticks, and said that in Death Stranding he wants people to communicate through the game equivalents of the ropes.
Kojima announced the game at Sony’s conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 through a trailer, using the song “I’ll Keep Coming” by the Icelandic band Low Roar. The trailer featured American actor Norman Reedus, who will serve as the basis for the main protagonist. According to Kojima, one of the key aspects of the trailer is the idea of a connection between life and death. The trailer also featured themes and visuals of cetacean stranding.