Death Stranding Explained: Story, Characters, Gameplay, and More


Death Stranding is the following massive recreation from Hideo Kojima following his departure from Konami and the Metal Gear franchise, and ever since its 2016 reveal, it has been a recreation shrouded in thriller. In the years following its announcement, Death Stranding has in some way grow to be way more perplexing and off-kilter with each passing trailer and interview with the creator. With so many uncommon characters and plot threads having been launched, even by Kojima’s requirements, it has been particularly difficult to maintain up with the sport’s distinctive narrative and fashion.

Fortunately, the latest showings at GamesCom 2019 and Tokyo Game Show 2019 handled followers to a few of the deepest dives into the sport but. Along with laying out the stakes, Kojima revealed what’s driving Norman Reedus’s character, Sam, as he makes his approach by way of the ruins of North America. We realized what the child within the capsule is for, and simply what the deal is with oddball characters just like the masked Die-Hardman. We can now safely say that we have now a greater thought of precisely what sort of recreation that is. With its launch developing on November 8, we figured it was time to share our notes. Here’s GameSpot’s breakdown of what Death Stranding is all about–so far.

Hands Across America

Set 10 years after an occasion often called the Death Stranding induced giant segments of the North American inhabitants to vanish, you play as Sam Porter Bridges, an agent of the group often called BRIDGES. Sam is tasked by the President of the United Cities of America to assist rebuild the nation and its infrastructure, and he should work with different BRIDGES members to discover the fractured stays of civilization and re-establish a connection often called Strands. These numerous Strands will bolster the Chiral Network, permitting extra individuals to remain related and depart their fear-induced isolation. During his mission, Sam will cope with supernatural entities and rebel forces that now inhabit the land. In the aftermath of the Death Stranding occasion, the road between life and dying has blurred, permitting creatures and people as soon as thought useless to cross over into the actual world–and the opposite approach round.

The recreation’s title is a reference to the phenomena the place aquatic animals–such as whales and dolphins–wash alongside shores en masse. During this weird occasion that solely impacts cetacean animals, the ocean creatures die a sluggish dying in locations which can be overseas to them. The recreation’s narrative evolves the idea, presenting a state of affairs the place giant parts of the human inhabitants are swept away and introduced into the realm of the useless. All the whereas, supernatural entities begin to roam about, corrupting remoted areas of the nation to take the remaining people again to the realm of the useless. Another facet impact of their presence within the waking world comes within the type of Timefall, a supernatural rain that immediately ages anybody that is available in uncovered contact with it.

“I make deliveries. That’s all” — Sam Porter Bridges

This unusual strategy narrative and the setting shouldn’t be solely a technique to justify how Sam re-engages with a fractured world, but it surely additionally serves because the framework for Death Stranding’s exploration and social gameplay. By establishing extra bonds with civilians and the remoted cities, which create new Strands, it is possible for you to to progress additional into the world and advance Sam’s capabilities in ways in which weren’t attainable with fewer connections. If he ventures too far exterior of the prevailing community’s attain, you will get disconnected from advantages it could actually offer–which embrace map information, secure homes, and provides. While this can be a vital a part of Sam’s mission, it is in your greatest curiosity to discover when most ready.

According to Hideo Kojima in a submit on social media, it focuses on the act of bridging the divide with characters and different gamers on-line. All set in a world the place isolation is commonplace, and the place the weird is the brand new regular.

“People have constructed ‘Walls’ and grow to be accustomed to residing in isolation. Death Stranding is a totally new sort of motion recreation, the place the participant’s aim is to reconnect remoted cities and a fragmented society. All parts together with the story and gameplay, are sure collectively by the theme of ‘Strand’, or a connection.

As Sam Porter Bridges, you’ll try to ‘Bridge’ these divisions, and in doing so, create new bonds or ‘Strands’ with different gamers across the globe. Through your expertise of taking part in the sport, I hope you will come to know the significance of forging connections with others.”

The Characters

Much like Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid collection, the ever-stoic Sam interacts with a wide range of characters who’ve weird backstories and even weirder call-signs. The members of BRIDGES, specifically, cope with all method of unusual circumstances inside the Death Stranding, and as a collective, they assist Sam–in their very own way–with making sense of the peculiar world he explores. Kojima has a widely known love of Hollywood movies and TV, and that is particularly noticeable in Death Stranding’s solid.

Here’s a fast rundown of the important thing gamers in Death Stranding:

  • Norman Reedus as Sam Porter Bridges, an agent of BRIDGES.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff, a spectre from the previous who controls a military of the useless.
  • Troy Baker as Higgs, chief of the Homo Demens separatist group.
  • Léa Seydoux as Fragile, firm govt for Fragile Express.
  • Tommie Earl Jenkins as Die-Hardman, the commander of BRIDGES.
  • Guillermo Del Toro / Jesse Corti (voice) as Deadman, a BRIDGES scientist with intensive information on Bridge Babies.
  • Margaret Qualley as Mama, a BRIDGES scientist with a connection to the BTs.
  • Nicholas Winding Refn / Darren Jacobs (voice) as Heartman, one other BRIDGES scientist who repeatedly lives for 21-minutes earlier than quickly returning to the seashore within the dying realm.
  • Lindsay Wagner / Emily O’Brien (voice) as Amelie, the daughter of the previous UCA President. She started the westward expedition that Sam should end.
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Into The Wild

When Death Stranding in motion, it is onerous to not assume again to Kojima’s earlier work on Metal Gear Solid V. However, it leans much less on stealth-action and extra on survival-action. In order to outfit himself with the required provides, equivalent to a Bridge Baby, a power-loader go well with to spice up his power, and weapons, Sam’s stock should be used successfully whereas out within the wild. Sam additionally has entry to gear that may assist him cross tough terrain. These embrace extendable ladders and climbing gear, and traversal choices like a bike and a cargo hoverboard–which Sam can leap on for sooner journey.

The survival factor encompasses a wide range of various factors, together with stock administration, monitoring Sam’s well being and stamina, and even crafting gear. The power-loader permits Sam to hold giant quantities of cargo–almost to comical ranges. This additionally means you will have to be conscious of what number of bins he has stacked onto his again. Along with being conscious of carry limits, gamers may also have to make sure that Sam’s cargo is balanced evenly. Too many objects stacked on high of each other can topple when traversing uneven terrain. Sam can even get injured, and his gear can whittle down after intensive use. His boots, specifically, can break down, which is able to have an effect on his motion velocity and health–sam may even find yourself with bloody, broken ft if he does not take care. To ease this hazard, you’ll find numerous supplies and provides within the wild, which may internet you crafting components to create new objects and gear upgrades.

When push involves shove, Sam is a resourceful man, and he can deal with himself nicely. He can relaxation up whereas out within the area, restoring his stamina and the Bridge Baby’s sense of calm, whereas additionally saving his progress. Sitting all the way down to take a relaxation additionally permits him to examine himself and guarantee his Bridge Baby is doing OK. It’s additionally pretty much as good a time as any for Sam to alleviate himself when vital. If you wait too lengthy to urinate, it can trigger Sam some discomfort because it builds up, which has some opposed results on his efficiency. During the latest TGS gameplay demo, Kojima confirmed off Death Stranding’s distinctive peeing gameplay, permitting you to manage Sam’s stream. In an odd transfer, Sam’s urine could be aimed toward vegetation within the space to assist them develop into usable objects.

“I know not everyone shares our vision for the future. If we Americans don’t come together again, humanity won’t survive.” – Amelie

Growing Influence

Sam’s mission to rebuild America hinges on his capability to assist others. By finishing requests and minor objectives from the assorted side-characters, you acquire a set of rewards and further likes for Sam. Similar to your presence on social media, the extra likes you get, the extra pronounced your footprint in-game can be, thereby attracting extra consideration from people out on the earth. You cannot earn any dislikes from characters, however you possibly can garner fewer likes for those who flip in broken cargo. In addition to incomes kudos, a few of the characters can provide Sam particular objects. In one mission from the TGS demo, Sam was given a harmonica from a quest giver. When taking part in the instrument at a relaxation level, Sam will earn additional likes.

While the expedition to rebuild the nation could be lonely, you will not be utterly alone in your mission. Death Stranding connects gamers in a fashion just like Dark Souls’ asynchronous on-line infrastructure, the place gamers can depart messages for others whereas exploring. If you’ve got a specific supply that appears too daunting, you possibly can ship it over to a different participant on-line to finish in your stead. In addition to leaving the occasional notice or giving different gamers a optimistic affirmation, you possibly can even construct constructs for others to use–such as shelters or rampways extending over rivers. However, in accordance with our interview with Kojima, the Timefall will erode player-made creations.

The Road Warrior

One of the extra frequent enemies you will face are people that roam the land or have arrange base camp. While you possibly can keep away from them, you will typically have to defend your self. Sam can use close-ranged assaults powered by his exo-suit, however he can even use his cargo as weaponized objects. However, utilizing these objects as a weapon can harm them, placing a possible Strand in danger for those who fail to ship it intact. Sam additionally makes use of a number of firearms that are available deadly and non-lethal varieties. In addition to pistols and machine-guns, he can even use a non-lethal bola gun to ensnare enemies in an electrified wire. In a wierd twist, Sam additionally has entry to weapons that use human blood, which is a great tool towards BTs. In the TGS demo, Sam encountered a harmful BT creature, however with particular grenades laced with human blood (and amongst different organic supplies like urine, sweat, and even feces), he was in a position to take it down.

Any combat, whether or not they’re with people or BTs, is usually a little bit of a problem for Sam, particularly if he is packing quite a lot of gear. Though the human enemies aren’t serious about stealing your gear, put on and tear is sure to occur. Sometimes, the very best plan of action is making a clear getaway. In the latest TGS demo, Sam was in a position to steal enemy automobiles to run away. However, if there are not any automobiles, Sam’s personal two feet–and his exo-suit–are greater than sufficient to make a clear break. With your go well with working at peak energy, Sam’s working and leaping energy grow to be considerably enhanced. This permits him to leap nice distances and run at excessive speeds. It can turn out to be useful when combating towards roaming packs of insurgents, however they’ll imply all of the distinction between life and dying when dealing with off towards BTs.

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The Beached Things

Following the cataclysmic occasion, entities often called Beached Things (typically known as BTs) have grow to be a typical menace. Taking the looks of people or giant wild creatures, they’re extremely hostile to the residing, and they’re going to instantly drag them into the dying realm. This alternate realm is parallel to our personal, nonetheless, colours are muted, and the one factor is sight is an ominous seashore staring out into the void. The one factor that may assist Sam towards the BT menace is his fixed companion within the daunting job to rebuild America–a Bridge Baby. In a story trailer specializing in Deadman, the BB is a residing device birthed from the womb of “still-mothers,” as soon as pregnant ladies who’re in a catatonic state because of the arrival of BTs. Their new child youngsters understand each the residing and useless realms, which is a useful asset for the members of BRIDGES. However, they do not have a protracted life expectancy, and they have to be cared for always. Sam’s BB is nestled on his torso, just like a front-mounted child service.

When Sam encounters close by BTs, his go well with’s systems–plugged into the BB–will alert him of close by threats. In many circumstances, Sam can rigorously keep away from contact by slowly maneuvering round them and the troubled panorama. The BTs that Sam encounters are sometimes often called Gazers, who seem as floating darkish ghosts that loom over the sector, related by their very own strands to the realm of the useless. Getting too shut will alert them of your presence. Once that occurs, footprints will seem within the troubled land as they strategy Sam. If you are unable to flee, then Sam can be dragged down into the poisonous BT substance, and into the realm of the useless.

“My body may be present, but my soul is on the beach. I’m already dead.” — Heartman

Death Stranding has a really unfastened idea of life and dying, and this additionally carries into the sport’s respawning mechanic. While Sam’s dying can spur some losses, it isn’t the top, and you will quickly end up again into the realm of the residing. Why this happens exactly has but to be revealed. However, there may be the likelihood that it has some connections with the Bridge Baby in Sam’s possession.


Back on the BRIDGES base or within the numerous secure homes scattered all over the world, Sam can recuperate and calm down following a tricky trek. In these secure havens, you possibly can observe your present progress and examine in your collection of gear. This permits you to customise Sam’s look, his gear loadout, and even beautify his room. In the TGS demo, we noticed some unusual selections in how one can manipulate the room and let Sam unwind. In addition to letting him pose for footage with a wide range of totally different hats and sun shades, Sam can even drink beer and take heed to his collection of music. Staying in a secure home additionally presents a wonderful time to let him bathe up and relieve himself within the toilet. Kojima additionally confirmed off the free-look possibility for the digital camera. If you let the digital camera’s imaginative and prescient linger too typically on Sam’s groin, nonetheless, he’ll get aggravated and punch the digital camera.

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Beyond Death Stranding

Death Stranding has but to be launched, nonetheless, it is already inspiring an excessive amount of dialogue on-line in regards to the nature of what Strand gameplay is all about. In our latest interview with Hideo Kojima, the sport director will rely quite a bit on participant belief when exploring the land, which may result in conditions the place you will must put questions what’s in entrance of you, and probably put religion in full strangers on-line. So far, Kojima is optimistic that gamers can be trustworthy in how they play the sport, and how they’re going to talk with others.

“We do a lot of playtests in the office. So sometimes there’s a bridge that crosses a deep river, and people feel grateful, but it only goes to the middle of the river. Of course, you don’t give that bridge a thumbs up, but it probably wasn’t intentional. I pretty much feel that there won’t be much intentional evil. I want people to think about that as well if they fall [off that bridge]…”I will not try this to somebody.” And you might make the same mistake. “

Kojima said that he desires to proceed exploring this fashion of gameplay, which duties gamers to attach with numerous elements of the sport world, and with a group of gamers themselves. The largest takeaway from his work on the open-world recreation is the Social Strand system, which he hopes to see evolve additional within the years forward. Whether he desires to proceed pursuing this fashion himself with a direct sequel, or one other recreation fully stays to be seen. However, the sport director has actually ready a recreation that contains a dense quantity of experiences therein to unpack, which is able to little doubt have individuals speaking.

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