Death Stranding ‘Social Strand Challenge’ Rewards Japanese Players With PSN Avatars

Video game auteur Hideo Kojima‘s first independent title is rapidly approaching its hotly anticipated launch, though fans in developer Kojima Productions‘ homeland of Japan currently have more reason to be excited than most. The country is currently playing host to the Death Stranding “Social Strand Challenge,” an alternate reality game (ARG) which once solved grants players a redemption code for several exclusive PlayStation Network Avatars.

The Social Strand Challenge is, once again, exclusive to those based in Japan and challenges players to find a number of deviously hidden clues in order to figure out a secret website URL and there claim a prize. It’s a fun marketing stunt—much like the recent world record attempt for the most consecutive high fives—that also serves to maintain the air of mystery that’s been surrounding Death Stranding since it was originally announced more than three years ago now.

Clues to solving the Social Strand Challenge are concealed in special Death Stranding event footage and were quickly cracked by collaborative players. Together they pieced together the URL “stickorrope.jp” and at that address discovered a video message from game director Hideo Kojima; unfortunately for us English speakers, it’s in Japanese, but presumably, he congratulates successful participants on a job well done.

The novelty is slightly diminished when you haven’t taken part and only click the link for a slice of glory, of course, but it’s no doubt worth it for some shiny new Death Stranding PSN Avatars. Players will be allocated a PlayStation Store redemption key, but it’s important to note that these keys will only work when redeemed through a Japanese PSN account. There are methods of creating one of those whatever your location is and then ferrying the Avatars over to your main account, but we’ll leave that option in your hands.

Death Stranding is scheduled for release on Friday, November 8, 2019 on PS4. It’ll also be coming to PC in the summer of 2020. Review embargoes will be lifting on November 1, so get ready to hear more about the game from early critics then.