'Death Stranding' Plot and Gameplay Revealed at Tokyo Game Show 2019 Demo

The mysterious game is coming into focus.

The 2019 Tokyo Game Show is in full swing and right out of the gate the yearly expo offered an in-depth look at this year’s most mind-boggling game: Death Stranding.

Creator Hideo Kojima, best known at the mastermind behind the Metal Gear series, spent nearly an hour on stage Thursday explaining the gameplay for his first solo project since parting ways with Konami in 2015. The open-world action-adventure has been shrouded in mystery since its 2016 announcement, but gamers now have a much better idea what to expect from its November 8 release as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Kojima debuted another cinematic trailer that revealed Sam Porter Bridges’, the futuristic delivery man played by Norman Reedus, primary mission. That was followed by a 49-minute gameplay session with Kojima talking through the game’s features and mechanics. The presentation was all in Japanese with no translator, but the footage was enough to understand the strange and desolate world of Death Stranding.

Here are six things we learned about the latest Kojima game from its TGS 2019 trailer and gameplay reveal:

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6. The Game’s Main Objective

Death Stranding features a multi-dimensional baby, spirits, and a plethora of science-fiction tropes. But Sam’s first priority will be a cross-country trek to reconnect a splintered United States by persuading cities and settlements to join the “Chiral Network.”

The Chiral Network is a kind of communication channel and social media hybrid that Sam can add people to it by helping them with supplies or tasks. But the TGS 2019 gameplay made it clear that the real thrills will come during the journey and not at the destination.

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5. Sam Is a One-Man Garage

Sam’s coast-to-coast mission will involve a lot of walking, running, climbing, hi-jacking vehicles, and hover-boarding. So he won’t be packing lightly.

The gameplay begins with players’ picking Sam’s loadout, players can lug around cargo, boots, a bungee cord weapon, and provisions. Sam is equipped with an exoskeleton allowing him to carry an obscene amount of supplies, but even with that players need to balance how they stow cargo on Sam’s massive backpack.

Sam’s main tools for travel are his extendable ladder, climbing anchor, and rope. But he also has a floating cargo pallet that he can use as as hovering skateboard. Same is essentially a warehouse on two legs.

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4. Don’t Forget to Catch a Breath and Make a Plan

Going on a cross-country hike with hundreds of pounds of cargo on his back will naturally take a tole. Sam has nine stats: Movement speed, balance, rugged terrain resistance, sync level, battery capacity, stamina/fatigue resistance, carrying capacity, resistance to falling unconscious, and lung capacity.

Players will need to take all of these into account if they don’t want Sam to injure himself, so pausing to rest or use the bathroom will be key to a successful journey. Players can use this downtime to scout the area with their pulse scanner to investigate the surrounding area.

This tool is by far Sam’s most useful. It highlights items, points of interest, and even calculates the danger of taking a specific route. Kojima uses it on a river and it highlights the body of water in blue, yellow, or red to indicate hazardous currents.

So don’t rush and plot out your next move.

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3. You Might Feel Lonely, But Your Not

Ironically, Sam’s journey to reconnect the U.S. seemed like a lonely one, but there will be two ways different players will be able to interact with each other throughout their journeys.

Partying up with friends and tackling Death Stranding together doesn’t seem to be an option, but gamers can kind of run into other players as they’re also hiking across the country. Other players appear as white apparitions and can help you in times of danger. One is seen in the TGS 2019 demo while Sam is battling a giant, tentacled dog creature made of mud.

They were safely watching the battle as a ghost, but could still throw Sam items to help him defeat the monster. It’s still unclear how this multiplayer aspect will work, it seems like players can interact with each other in certain ways. Almost as if they were different Sams in parallel universes.

Other players’ items that were left behind will also appear in the world. The demo features Sam finding a ladder someone left behind to help him cross a whole in the ground.

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2. Strategy Is Key to Combat

The TGS 2019 review featured two battle sequences that were approached in vastly different ways based on Sam’s enemy.

The first was a camp of people that Sam scouted out with his pulse scanner before using a rope to stealthily incapacitate an enemy. He then steals a Bola Gun, which fires wires that tangle people’s legs and incapacitate them.

After knocking out a few bad guys, Sam uses his Power Skeleton to boost his running and jumping abilities to make an escape. This armor is battery-powered and should be used sparingly, but Sam can find beacons in his travels to quickly juice it up again.

The second type of enemy Sam will encounter are BTs (or Beached Things), which are supernatural beings stranded in Sam’s dimension. Sam can sense BTs because of the Bridge Baby (or BB for short) strapped to his chest. The infant’s mother died during childbirth, which means they are connected to the being in another dimension.

Sam has to use biological weapons to battle BTs, which spray “condensed body fluids collected from the shower.” But he can also use blood-based grenades to fend them off. BTs are apparently immune to any other sort of weapon.

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Which will you choose?

1. Even More Bathroom Features

Once Sam makes it to larger cities, he can rest to fully restore all of his stats and freshen up.

This won’t only stop Sam from smelling but it’ll provide the body fluids to create anti-BT weapons, which you’ll want to have on hand at all times — But that won’t be the only thing you’ll be able to do in the bathroom.

Kojima revealed that Death Stranding will have a urination system and that it’ll even track how much pee Sam’e bladder is holding (in milliliters if you were curious.) But the TGS 2019 demo revealed that players will be given the choice to use the bathroom standing up or sitting down.

Talk about a choose your own adventure.


Death Stranding will be released on November 8 exclusively on PlayStation 4.

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