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The Secret Meaning Behind Death Stranding

Death Stranding is one of those games where you either love it or hate it because while the gameplay is often called a walking simulator, the story means more than just delivering packages, it is a product of Ragnarok due to guilt.

(Image credit: Myles Goldman)

There is no doubt that Hideo Kojima is one of the most touted figures in video game history; going all the way back to 1987 when he released Metal Gear, which evolved into one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. After all of that success, it would make sense for him to want to dive into an entirely different type of game and he sure did with Death Stranding.

Death Stranding is often criticized for being boring, but the game has such a deep meaning that it almost is a secret because you aren’t really given a chance to think about it while you are playing, you’re often busy trying to maintain balance so Sam Porter Bridges doesn’t accidentally slip and drop a necrotizing body down a river.

(Image credit: Myles Goldman)

Later on in the game, we learn that BB is Sam and the father of BB was a war hero, Cliff Unger who was eventually shot multiple times by Bridges’ security but finally killed by Bridget Strand. Originally, Die-Hardman was supposed to do the dirty work in the first place but would have felt guilty as Cliff saved Die-Hardman many times during the wars they fought together, therefore forcing Bridget to pull the trigger.

Following the murder of Unger, Bridget unknowingly killed BB when Cliff was cradling it outside of the amniotic fluid-filled pod while bullets swarmed him. After the accidental murder of BB, the guilt overwhelmed Bridget, which lead her to the beach to revive the BB version of Sam and raise him. While Sam is brought back to life on the beach, he is given the ability of repatriation and the ability to sense BTs as he also now suffers from DOOMS. However, while Sam was revived, the rest of the dead were as well, causing the Death Stranding.

Early in the game, Sam meets the President of the United States, but before he approaches her, Die-Hardman tells him that she is Sam’s mother. Die-Hardman knows Sam as they had worked together in the past, so by telling him that, Sam no longer approaches the President of the United States on her deathbed, he approaches his mother on her deathbed.

(Image credit: Myles Goldman)

While the two reconnect after years apart, more emotion is presented to Sam by Bridget acknowledging his hatred towards her. Bridget then begs for Sam to help reconnect America with his sister, Amelie. After Sam shuts down the fact that America can be saved, Bridget slowly sits upward from her bed then eventually falls off the bed and while Sam watches his mother slowly die, she points to a photo of Sam, Bridget, and Lucy, Sam’s wife who committed suicide after learning that all of her nightmares were real.

Just before Bridget passes away she says tells Sam she loves him and that she’ll be waiting for him on the beach.

As Deadman and Die-Hardman rush into the Oval Office with nurses, Sam sits on the floor, holding the photograph, engulfing himself with guilt over his wife’s suicide. It is at this point in the game where Sam feels the only way to forgive himself for Lucy’s suicide is by going to the beach and the rest of the story follows.

Death Stranding is a game that carries many themes, such as isolation, love, paranormal activity, but it’s not until you dig deeper into Hideo Kojima’s ambiguous third-person game that makes you realize that Death Stranding is an apocalypse created from guilt.

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