With more details on Bandai Namco’s upcoming action RPG Scarlet Nexus coming out, we’re starting to notice something. After watching a special press presentation, we couldn’t help but wonder: Is Scarlet Nexus the next “strand game”? Of course, strand games refer to games like Death Stranding, which Hideo Kojima describes as having a social strand system. In a way, Scarlet Nexus has this as well, and we thought we would explore it a bit.
Scarlet Nexus, according to the developers, means “red connection,” which is symbolized by large red tubes emerging from people’s backs during an event known as SAS. In the game, everyone is connected to a network known as Psynet. This connection makes everyone’s brain connected, but the game also explores if this connection is a good thing. It also questions what loneliness is, and if we’re ever truly alone when we’re all connected.
In Scarlet Nexus, the protagonist Yuito will utilize the SAS system, building stronger bonds with his partners like Hanabi. It seems painful, though it might be relieved further with more connections. Even so, these connections allow him to have access to powerful abilities to use against the Others. His own psychokinesis might seem like enough, but there will likely be moments where he’ll need abilities from his teammates. These connections with his teammates also seem to build up over time as Yuito bonds with them.
The developers tried to coin the name “Brainpunk” with their overall brain theme. While that may still work, we can’t help but wonder if Scarlet Nexus technically qualifies as a strand game. It might not have the same type of gameplay as Death Stranding, but the themes are very similar. In a world where every brain is connected, everyone is sort of on a mental network. In Death Stranding, Sam travels across the country to unite people and connect them to the chiral network. The biggest difference is that in Scarlet Nexus, everyone is already connected from the start. It’s up to Yuito and the player to determine if that’s a good thing.
While we’re still finding out more information about Scarlet Nexus, it’s still an interesting question. The developers likely won’t call it a strand game, and Kojima himself probably won’t either. Either way, it’s an interesting consideration now that it exists. Scarlet Nexus is coming out for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. There is currently no release date but it will likely come out sometime next year. For more details on the game, you can check out our hands-off preview. Do you think Scarlet Nexus qualifies as a strand game? Let us know in the comments below!
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