At The Game Awards 2022, Japanese game designer Hideo Kojima presented the sequel to the adventure game Death Stranding, running under the working title DS2 (Death Stranding 2).
The developer did not reveal almost any details, urging fans to watch the game’s debut trailer closely and try to disassemble it on their own.
Despite the overall messiness of the video and the deliberate inconsistency, the DS2 trailer does have a lot of interesting details, especially in the context of the original Death Stranding. Some of them we’ll try to find in this material.
The trailer is described.
Most of the video is devoted to a scene from the lives of Fragile (Leah Seid) and Louisa, characters from the first part of Death Stranding. Fragile is Sam’s ally and companion from the first game, and Louise is a grown BB-28 released from her capsule imprisonment.
The trailer shows Fragile and Louise living in one of the underground bunkers until their peace is disturbed by unknown armed men. Not wanting to give up, the heroine takes the child and decides to escape, but they are pursued. The girl is wounded, and then apparently killed. The same fate befalls Louise.
The next scene shows the return of Sam Porter Bridges, who appears before the players with gray hair. The protagonist of the first Death Stranding watches a giant machine rise from a tar lake, and standing nearby Fragile informs him of the need to go on a new adventure.
The closing section of the film shows a group of six unknowns led by a character dressed in unfamiliar armor, with Amelia’s mask on his face. His hand-strumming on a futuristic guitar translates the trailer to the final part with the central tagline and a small passage with an octopus in the BB capsule.
Absolutely all the footage in the video indicates that DS2 is a direct continuation of Death Stranding. Theories of prequels or narrative lines that occur parallel to the original game can now be discarded. This is evidenced by the status of the characters shown, as well as by the various details that inform about the past time.
If we assume that Louise’s age is correct, and that she is growing and developing like a normal child, it could not have been more than two years since the end of the first Death Stranding. The appearance of Sam, now gray-haired, is deliberately misleading in this case.
The tagline “Should we have connected?” also suggests that DS2 will be a continuation of the ideas and themes established in the first part, the narrative core of which was the question of isolation and its overcoming through the literal and metaphorical connections of people and society as a whole.
– What ?
The identity of the child shown in the trailer is not difficult to establish. This is actually Louisa from the first Death Stranding. The same “baby in the can” that Sam spends most of his time traveling across America with. At the end of the original game, the hero frees the girl.
It’s almost impossible to predict Louise’s role in the narrative now. According to a popular theory, the girl will appear in the game not only as a two-year-old child, but also as an adult girl.
Elle Fanning, who plays one of the key characters in DS2, can bring to life the adult version of Louisa. This was previously hinted by Kojima himself, who published photos of the actress from the motion capture studio. They were directly referencing the facial expressions and postures that Lucia had taken while still in her capsule.
This is supported by the fact that Louise has blond hair and eyes like Fanning.
Notably, at the end of the trailer, Louise returns to her capsule in the form of BT with a fuzzy silhouette with small wings behind her.
There’s no question about Fragile appearing in the DS2 trailer. Except for one thing, and it’s the most obvious.
In the first part of the game, the heroine wore a completely closed overalls, hiding her body, disfigured by the temporal rain. In the video, Fragile’s skin is perfectly normal. It could mean that the acid rain effect has been reversed in some way. How and why remains to be seen.
In the trailer, the heroine is under the gun, and then there’s a scene with Lou in someone’s body with tar tears. Another interesting point is the video editing, which makes it seem that Fragile was able to come back to life. In the first Death Stranding, Sam’s resurrection process was always accompanied by the same visual imagery.
Given that Fragile is not a repatriate, her “immortality” may just be a big trailer trick. On the other hand, perhaps the resurrection also explains her re-grown skin.
Sam , please .
Sam doesn’t get much time on the video. The most striking moment is his hair, now almost completely gray. You might think that it’s been years since the end of the first part and the hero has just aged. But if you look closely, his face hasn’t changed much, which means that the graying is caused by other factors.
The easy answer would be temporal rain, but as the original game’s ending established, water from the sky no longer stinks what it interacts with, so that theory is being dismissed for now.
Also, note that Sam no longer wears the UCA bracelets that were burned in the first-half finale. It’s obvious that the hero doesn’t want to maintain ties with his former boss.
Higgs is a difficult character to talk about because he doesn’t appear in the trailer. It’s clear that he’s going to play a big part in the plot.
To start with, DS2 is being developed by actor Troy Baker, who played Higgs in the first film. He also sings the vocals for the “BB’s Theme 2022” track in the trailer, a new version of the original “BB’s Theme” track written by Ludwig Forssell for Death Stranding.
For the first time in the DS2 trailer, Higgs recalls himself in the scene where an unknown man shoots Fragile. The frame is intentionally blurred, but the unknown figure is easily recognized as the silhouette of Higgs from the original Death Stranding the same shape, cape and shades.
In the closing scene of the trailer, an unknown character turns to the camera, holding a guitar in his hands. The mysterious hero (voiced by Troy Baker) is singing the cult’s lullaby. Clearly, we have a Higgs here, albeit in a somewhat unfamiliar interpretation.
First, the hair and the mask. They’re exactly the same as Amelia’s. There’s also a hint of Amelie in the kippah necklace, but that’s for later. Next, the character’s chest and abdomen. They’re transparent and look like BB capsules. In other words, his body is either completely mechanized or structurally different from that of a normal human.
The character has an OdraDeck sensor on his back, but it’s not in a standard configuration. It reacts to something behind the camera as if it recognizes the presence of someone alive (or dead).
It’s important to remember that in the finale of the original Death Stranding, Higgs was still alive, but cut off from the world of the living. The bad guy was left in isolation forever on the beach, where he eventually made it back. If not physically, then at least spiritually.
So far, the characters described above are the only ones whose return can be contemplated with complete confidence. However, it is highly likely that the DS2 cast includes other familiar faces.
For example, shortly before The Game Awards 2022, Kojima had time to meet actress Lindsay Wagner (Bridget) and Tommy Earl Jenkins (Dehardman), so their appearances in the game cannot be ruled out.
There’s also actress Siori Kutsuna, who plays a completely new character, but we’ll have to meet her in the future.
Old and new organizations.
There’s not a single direct mention of Bridges in the entire trailer. The only reference to the organization is in Louisa’s little toy in the form of a company truck. Considering that the Bridges are the UCA’s primary working tool, their disbandment in such a short time after the end of the first Death Stranding seems highly unlikely.
Which leads us to believe that Sam and Fragile are deliberately avoiding any contact with Bridges. In the case of Sam, this makes perfect sense, as his actions in the original game’s finale are a gross violation of UCA laws, which the character honestly warns Deadman about in one of the closing cutscenes.
Sam’s lack of support for Bridges could potentially have a strong impact on the narrative, and also on the gameplay itself. In the first part, virtually all of the equipment and infrastructure that the main character interacted with was owned by the “Bridges” in one way or another. It’s reasonable to expect new systems, resources, and gadgets to appear in DS2.
The cult of Amelia / Higgs.
The faction is only clearly visible in two scenes of the trailer.
The religious subtext here is read both in the presence of a vivid symbol, a figure depicting a woman similar to Amelie, and in the general mood of the event. The presence of a sarcophagus also strongly distinguishes these people from everything we’ve seen in Death Stranding before.
The connection between the mysterious cult and Amelie is indicated not only by the symbol created in her likeness, but also by the kippa necklace that Higgs wears on his chest in his new incarnation with the guitar. In the first part of the kip belonged to Amelia, later the necklace received several copies, which took the key figures of the new UCA. The original of the relic at the very end is in the hands of the saved Louise.
All of which suggests that after the end of Death Stranding, Higgs was able not only to escape from the Beach, but also to gather around himself a religious sect that worships Amelia as an extinction factor – an entity destined to bring about the world’s last, mass extinction of all living things.
It’s possible that the cult will function as the central antagonists of DS2.
A completely new organization that didn’t appear in the first Death Stranding. The name literally translates as “lifting bridge” or “divorce bridge”. Tagline: “Rod and Rope. For protection and unity. Together for the future”.
The leader of the organization seems to be Fragile herself. The body of the giant machine rising from the tar has the Drawbridge logo on it. In this scene, Fragile invites Sam to “meet her team”.
This is all relatively understandable and logical, given that Fragile had previously informed Sam of her plans to further develop Fragile Express with UCA’s support.
Symbolically, the Drawbridge logo also has an interesting meaning.
While the first game’s Bridges were figuratively bridges across disparate people and regions, Drawbridge’s bridges allow a new interpretation: Global unity leads to risks, which makes it better to be selective about new connections. “Should we have connected?”, DS2 asks us.
Another unknown name. He says in a mysterious voice at the very end of the trailer: “The final decision was not for UCA, it was made by APAC. A private company”. It remains to be seen whether more details about the organization will be revealed later.
What else to look out for ?
The ocean, the water, the symbolism.
In the first Death Stranding, the ocean was one of the defining thematic and visual aspects of the game. Big water has been given a lot of attention primarily as the literal birthplace of all life in general, as well as a portal to the afterlife.
Judging by the teaser, the developers are going to continue the same motif in DS2. Among Louise’s toys are a crab mould and a dolphin roller coaster. The BB capsule is used as a coral aquarium. A large machine rising from the tar lake looks like a deep-sea exploration tool.
Don’t forget also that DS2 was rumored to be codenamed Ocean, which adds to the argument that water in the game will be removed a lot of attention.
The dream catcher.
The Dream Catcher is the coffin Amelia gave to little Sam as a token of their friendship. In the first part, Sam wears it on his backpack, when traveling, and on his chest in the break rooms.
The new cryptobiotes.
cryptobiotes in DS2 look markedly altered. The color has changed to pale green, and along the body are now placed sharp formations. It’s possible that the global changes in the world of Death Stranding have caused the cryptobiots to mutate or change their properties.
Escaping from the pursuers, Fragile and Louise use a single-wheeled motorcycle parked near their bunker. In the first Death Stranding, there was no such vehicle the invention was completely new. It’s possible they could be manipulated in gameplay.
Remarkably, the transport has a small luggage compartment at the rear there, probably, will be allowed to store cargo and equipment.
Unknown device on Fragile’s chest.
In the scene where Fragile is standing with Sam, the virtual camera operator deliberately does not show that he is holding the heroine on his chest. The most affordable option is a capsule with BB. If you look closely, you can even see a small yellow glow.
If you try to piece the puzzle together, it looks like Louisa’s “death” put her back in the BB capsule that Fragile is holding.
The BTs are still there.
As the Drawbridge rises from the tar, one can for a moment see one of the “tar men” Sam had to face in the original Death Stranding fall off the hull. The presence of resin and BT suggests that even with Amelia and her beach isolated, the game world has not returned to “normal”.
The hull of the aforementioned vessel, in addition to the Drawbridge logo, also features the “Magellan” inscription with the octopus logo. Fernão Magellan was a Portuguese navigator who was the first to circumnavigate the globe.
Along with the thematic focus on the ocean, this reference can be read as a rather thick hint that DS2 will be set outside of America.
The music .
The soundtrack and soundtrack for Death Stranding was curated by Swedish composer Ludwig Forssell. Last year, the musician announced his departure from Kojima Productions to become a freelancer.
Many assumed that this would be the end of Forssell’s creative partnership with Kojima, however, the composer returned to work on DS2 The new version of the BB theme, dubbed “BB’s Theme 2022”, was assembled by Forssell, as stated in the trailer.
It’s possible that the composer will work on the rest of the DS2’s musical accompaniment.
It is also reasonable to expect that licensed compositions from third-party artists will reappear in DS2. In recent months, Hideo Kojima has seen indie pop group Chvrches, who wrote the closing track of the original Death Stranding, and French artist Woodkid, whose songs were featured in the extended edition of Death Stranding: Director’s Cut.
Not to be forgotten is the Low Roar team, which is an integral part of the original Death Stranding. In October, its lead singer and founder Ryan Karazia passed away, which caused an emotional reaction from Hideo Kojima.
The sequel to Death Stranding is being developed for the PlayStation 5. The game’s release date has not yet been announced, but it has been in active production for many months.