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Shack Chat: What is Death Stranding's story?

The Shack Staff share their theories on what, exactly, Death Stranding is all about.


Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there. 

Question: What is Death Stranding's story?

Amazon will likely be the only company left in the Death Stranding setting. Hail Bezos!
Amazon will likely be the only company left in the Death Stranding setting. Hail Bezos!

You're an Amazon delivery guy - Asif Khan, Has one product review on

You are an Amazon delivery guy in a post post post apocalypse. Jeff Bezos is still alive and figured out a way to live forever with babies or something. If you look closely, the baby in the Death Stranding trailer looks a lot like Bezos. Basically you got to deliver these packages. There are demons too. It might also be a parallel universe. Whatever. Buy it. 

Babies are a precious commodity - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

Death Stranding is one of the biggest games I’m looking forward to playing, but unfortunately I’m always left wondering when it is I’ll actually get my hands on it. Kojima, master of suspense and intrigue as he is, has kept me guessing about what it is the game will actually be about as well. I’m down for just about anything in terms of what Kojima has in terms of the game’s grand design. I’m not really thinking outlandish theories here, because I want to try and pinpoint the story and approximate as much as I can of it.

Obviously we know Sam Porter of BRIDGES (Norman Reedus) has been seen with what appears to be an artificial womb and even an umbilical cord in many of the trailers. Kojima has noted many times how the game’s name comes from the idea of cetacean stranding (beaching), but strands also refer to ropes. I believe the story will rely heavily on some sort of tether either to time or reality and Sam as well as other parts of the organization BRIDGES will have to protect life created and nurtured by the artificial wombs seen in the trailer from some sort of nefarious forces. We know about the Timefall, a sort of rain that can age or deteriorate what it touches, so perhaps there are no children left in the world and they’re precious commodities.

The “underwater” world Sam goes to when he dies is likely some sort of alternate mirror dimension seeing as the damage done in the game world is persistent even when you die. It’s likely tied in some way to Timefall, and perhaps its aquatic nature has interdimensional properties.

Mads Mikkelsen’s character is likely related in some way to the strange figures seen at the end of the first Death Stranding trailer, possibly some sort of “horsemen” of the apocalypse. He might be using the babies (or baby) grown in the womb for some sort of nefarious purposes.

But we saw a scar on Sam’s stomach originally implying he gave birth to a baby somehow. It’s possible the human race is so scarce that even men have to carry children in this barren world. The babies also seem to be used as some sort of detection device along with the radar-like machines we’ve seen on Sam’s back and others in trailers, to protect them from whatever the creatures are that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

There are too many plot threads and potential ideas to parse. But I’m hoping this is the most insane we’ve seen Kojima at yet.

Ah heck, we opened another portal to Hell.
Ah heck, we opened another portal to Hell.

We Opened a Door to Hell...Again - Josh Hawkins, Some rage guy

Sometime in the future, humanity has managed to open a rift between the world beyond ours. What some would call hell is just another spectrum of our world, a darker spectrum. With the veil between life and death torn, the creatures that live within this other spectrum run rampant across our world, wreaking havoc and leaving death in their wake.

As the years wear on, the world falls further into a new dark age, an age where humanity lives in fear that each day could be their last. As cities fall, factions form and the various military powers of the world soon find themselves as some of the only survivors left. In order to communicate between the factions, a special division of highly trained men and women is formed with to traverse the dangers of the world and deliver intel.

Sam, one of these highly trained messengers, soon finds himself responsible for the world’s most important cargo, a baby that scientists have infused with the power to close the rift between our world and the next. He must traverse the dangerous roads of the world and make his way to the place where it all began all those years ago. Along the way Sam learns that his close proximity with the baby, and his connection to it, have given him the power to step through the thin barrier that connects our world and the next. With this power he must make his way to the rift and close it before the world is completely enveloped by death.

It’s like DOOM, but without all the brutal action and cool weapons.

Obviously, this isn’t anything close to the actual story, and all joking aside, I’m very intrigued to see where Kojima is taking Death Stranding. The small clues left within the trailers and gameplay that we’ve been shown are all there to tease us and get us thinking, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out when we finally get our hands on the game.

Important Death Stranding meeting.
Important Death Stranding meeting.

It's the year 3142 - Kevin S. Tucker, Afternoon Correspondent

Titan outpost, Earth year 3142. After depleting all of the planet's natural resources, humans ventured deeper into the solar system in search of a new home. What they discovered was that in order to survive on a galactic scale, humans had to shed their weak organic bodies and find digital analogs for their key biological components. Now, hundreds of years after colonization of Titan and the biomechanical reassembly of the human race, an entirely organic human baby has been born.

Able to live in extreme deep-space conditions, this superbaby grows into an interstellar dictator, conquering planets and enslaving their populations. In just a matter of centuries, because the baby is also immortal, this child-grown-man (played by Mads Mikkelsen) finds a weapon able to turn all organic life into pudding. Two star cadets at the space espionage academy hack into a retro Japanese BBS and inadvertently learn of his devious plan to turn the universe into goo, and must pilot their robo-pterodactyl spaceships through the interstellar jungle and disable the switch, which is for some reason an eight-legged turtle. Meanwhile, Norman Reedus in a ninja spacesuit wields a sword forged of the spirit of nature or something bonkers like that, and there's also a scene where some nerd pees himself.

If there isn't a sweet car chase in this game...
If there isn't a sweet car chase in this game...

It’s a heist. I know the family… - Chris Jarrard, Smells like cabbage

A grizzled cop is sent out into harlem to do undercover work and after an altercation, becomes involved in a madman’s scheme to blow up stuff in Manhattan. By random chance, he is paired with an electronics repairman named Zeus and the two of them must speed around the city defusing bombs and solving children’s riddles.

The pair soon discover that the madman is actually the brother of a man the grizzled cop killed some seven years ago and that the bombings are actually a diversion for the actual crime — stealing the gold bars from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Can the two unlikely heroes work out their differences or will the overconfident German thief get away with the ultimate heist?

Death Stranding's baby thinks you are doing a great job.
Death Stranding's baby thinks you are doing a great job.

You’re doing great!  - Blake Morse, Reviews Editor

In the future, wars are fought by a complex and difficult to follow web of military organizations. One group, led by an evil clone of David Bowie, has learned to harness the power of imaginary friends to hunt down their enemies and take over the world. The only way to fight off these invisible monsters is with the help of motivational babies cloned from the DNA of Tony Robbins. These babies have been genetically designed to let people know they’re doing great even when death is stranding right in front of them. These babies are the ultimate weapon against evil David Bowie’s scary monsters and super creeps, but sadly there are no Diamond Dogs because Konami would have a fit.  

Players will take on the role of Norman Reedus. After the cancellation of The Walking Dead series, his career has taken a plummet and he now has to walk around delivering stuff to people and apologizing for Boondocks Saints 2, but David Bowie is always on his trail. Meanwhile, Guillermo Del Toro is on a mission to find Reedus so he can cast him as Scud in his new Blade movie (yes, I know Scud died in Blade 2, but this is going to be a prequel, so it works.)

From there, an even more complex plot of military coups and shadow governments evolves over the course of several years and multiple installments in the Death Stranding franchise. By the end of it all, (the series ends with “Death Stranding 7: I’m Still Stranding”) you still have no idea what’s going on or who is who because it turns out everyone is a Tony Robbins baby clone or something like that. Hideo Kojima laughs maniacally as he is declared the greatest storyteller of all time and is given a crown to wear while he sits on a throne made of your money. Several years later we find out that Hideo Kojima is actually a clone of Big Boss aka Gaseous Kojima.

from I Dont Know GIFs via Gfycat

AI and Biotechnology? - Bill Lavoy, Digs Norman Reedus

I’m not entirely sure anyone besides Kojima knows that, and I’m suspicious about how well he could explain it to common folk like me. I mean, I’ve read all the articles, watched the trailers, and talked about it with friends, but I really don’t have a firm grasp on what this is going to be about.

If I had to guess, and Shack Chat demands that I do, I’d say that Death Stranding is about AI and how it mixes (or doesn’t) with biotechnology. How it’s all going to go horribly wrong. Not unlike Terminator, but with less Arnold and more Norman Reedus. That’s a very simple way of looking at what is likely a very complex narrative, but it’s the best I can do in this case.

I’m also not entirely sure it matters what it’s about. Not knowing is probably half (or more) of what has people intrigued. I’m not even sure if I’ll like it, but I know I’ll play it, so in that sense Kojima is making the right moves.

Death will be stranded.
Death will be stranded.

A trek across the United States - Sam Chandler, Grossly Incandescent

Death Stranding. It’s all in the name. After a horrible incident where humanity tried to fix the environmental disaster we’re causing, things got far worse. Life died, vast areas of the world became uninhabitable, and not because of the environment, because we tore open reality and now death is stranded in our neck of the woods.

But life must go on, and people still need gear, and so we must trek across the vast United States (I wonder if the rest of the world is okay?) delivering goods. But the most important delivery is a partially developed baby who could very well be the answer to death and this limbo we’re now in.

Much like how Mario (a simple plumber) finds himself saving the day over and over again, Sam Bridges (an ex-vet turned delivery man) is thrust into solving humanity’s greatest problem: the inability to truly die and pass on.

Kojima, call me, I’ve got more ideas.

Saving The Game Awards - Greg Burke, Head of Video

The year is 2020 and The Game Awards show is struggling with viewership & ratings. In a desperate act, mankind's last leader of Gaming award shows, Geoff Keighley, seeks out a close friend to bring back awards shows from the brink of extinction. However; his long time friend Hideo Kojima, has gone missing. Geoff hires one of the Boondock Saints to travel across enemy territory to locate his missing friend, and save The Game Awards from total annihilation.

Definitely a time travel game - Donovan Erskine, Intern

Somewhere in the distant, post-apocalyptic future, you play as man trying to save the world. Through some cross-dimensional shenanigans, Norman Reedus’ character is now in custody of a younger version of himself. Knowing that the past is the key to the present, the player will embark on a dangerous journey through the post-apocalyptic lands to keep his younger self safe until he’s returned to his rightful place to fulfill his destiny. I’m thinking that Death Stranding’s time travel will follow Back to The Future rules, rather than Avengers: Endgame rules. Hey, I know my idea doesn’t make a ton of sense, but neither does the marketing for this game!

Norman Reedus seen here with unacceptably long bangs.
Norman Reedus seen here with unacceptably long bangs.

Solid Kojima and Solid Keighley - David Craddock, Long Reads Editor

What is Death Stranding’s story? Well, I’ll tell you, but you risk spoiling the four-hour intro cinematic.

Once upon a time, Death was born and subsequently stranded. Daryl put down his crossbow and went looking for death--not the walking death; the other kind--and he found them. Now Guillermo del Toro is involved, and he and Daryl are planning to raise Death from infancy to adulthood with the help of Solid Snake’s dad, Solid Kojima, and his platonic life partner, Solid Keighley. Death’s first word is SNAAAAKE, which makes Papa Kojima and Papa Keighley smile.

Disagree with our takes? Think we're a bunch of clowns? Let us know what you think Death Stranding is about in the Chatty thread below.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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