Death Stranding has a mysterious story and ending. Some cutscenes bring up more questions than answers and it can be confusing to make sense of it all.
After spending 100 hours with the game, here is my summary of Death Stranding’s Gameplay, Story, Ending and a full Synopsis.
First, Death Stranding’s Gameplay will be explained, then a Story Synopsis, third is the Story Explanation and lastly the Ending Explained.
This section discusses only the basics what the gameplays is like in Death Stranding and is spoiler-free:
- You play as Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man. Sam is his first name, Porter his job (delivery), Bridges his affiliation (government agency. Sam is a “repatriate”, it means he can return from the afterlife when he dies. He has supernatural abilities (DOOMs) that allow him to do this.
- The gameplay consists of bringing packages from Point A to Point B. Each facility has a terminal where you accept delivery jobs. They are split into story deliveries and optional side deliveries.
- You carry a baby in a yellow pod, the “Bridge Baby” (BB) that lets you see “Beached Things” (BTs). The BTs are souls of dead people that are entangled in the world of the living. People without a BB can’t see BTs.
- When it rains, BTs appear. Then you must be extra careful to sneak past them. They can’t see you, only hear you. So you must hold your breath and crouch to not attract these ghosts.
- Every facility has 5 levels. The more you level them up, the more crafting recipes you unlock. You start out simple with ladders and climbing ropes, but later you can craft vehicles.
- Later on, you get weapons. Against humans you can only use non-lethal weapons (assault rifles, pistols etc. that shoot rubber balls). Against BTs you use those same weapons but infused with Sam’s blood. Because Sam has supernatural abilities his blood hurts the BTs.
- Sam can carry blood bags with him, which is how he regains health and infuses weapons with his blood.
- If BTs detect you, they will drag you to their boss, a so-called “catcher”. These are massive BTs that are harder to kill.
- If you die, you “repatriate”. Sam’s supernatural abilities allow him to come back from the dead. He can jump between the world of the living and the dead like this.
- The goal of the story is to visit all facilities by going from America’s east coast to the west coast. You must do deliveries for every facility to make them join the government network. This shall broadcast messages of hope to them and allow for digital data exchange, in an effort to rebuild America.
Spoiler Warning: It’s recommended to finish the story first, or if you didn’t understand something in a chapter you can read it chapter by chapter as you go through the game.
- Prologue: Porter
- The game starts with our hero “Sam Porter Bridges” transporting a delivery on his bike. He jumps over a cliff and crashes the bike. We must pick up the cargo that fell off. Because it’s raining, Sam goes to find shelter in a cave. Here we meet a woman named “Fragile”. She signals us to stay quiet and not move. In the cave there are invisible beings leaving footprints on the floor, missing us by just a hair. As the rain clears up, the invisible beings disappear too. Fragile and Sam are talking a bit about what DOOMs level they are (=supernatural abilities) and she mentions that the “Timefall” (rain) has let up. She also reveals that she’s the person in charge of Fragile Express, a delivery company. Sam receives a call from the people waiting on his delivery. Fragile teleports away (yes she can teleport) and the player gains control of Sam. We must now deliver a shipment of smart drugs to the nearby settlement “Central Knot City”.
- After Sam makes the delivery, he meets Igor from corpse disposal. Igor wants Sam’s help to dispose of a corpse. We learn that after someone dies, they become a ticking time bomb and their bodies turn into a BT. If the BT consumes a living person (matter and antimatter coliding), it causes a voidout – leaving behind a big crater and destroying everything nearby. This would wipe out all of the people living in Central Knot City, so we must get the corpse away quickly before it becomes a BT. We also see that Igor carries a “BB” (Bridge Baby), which is a little baby in a tank of yellow liquid that allows people to see the invisible beings. We leave with Igor on his truck and drive the corpse away. Along the way, we learn from Igor that the world of the living and the dead are entangled in Death Stranding and that’s where the invisible beings come from. We spot a rainbow which indicates it must have rained (Timefall), and wherever there’s rain there’s the invisible beings. Sam and Igor get attacked by the beings. First their driver and gets consumd by BTs, thus starting a voidout. Igor stabs himself before the voidout explodes. He gives Sam his BB (Bridge Baby).
- A Voidout (massive explosion) happens from the BTs having consumed the driver. It wipes out Central Knot City and all of its inhabitants and also kills Sam. However, we learn Sam is a “Repatriate” – a person that can come back from the dead. This is because he has higher DOOMs levels (supernatural abilities) than normal people and he’s special in that regard. Sam is reborn.
- Episode 1: Bridget
- After dying and coming back from the dead, Sam wakes up in a bed at a different town “Capital Knot City”. He’s greeted by a hologram of doctor “Deadman”. He gives Sam a special bracelet that connects to “Bridges”, a government agency that tries to bring law and order to America. He also tells Sam that his BB is fine and survived the blast (that’s because BBs have high DOOMs supernatural abilities and are not affected by voidouts). Deadman has a job for Sam, he needs him to bring some morphine to Madam president Bridget who is on her deathbed. Sam spent most of his life in the wilderness and didn’t know there was still a president, because all the other outposts were disconnected from the network and don’t have functioning communication systems in place, so nobody knows what’s going on in other cities anymore.
- Sam brings the morphine to the Contamination Ward in Capital Knot City. There he meets the president Bridget – turns out it’s the woman that raised Sam. He didn’t even know she was president or where she was for that matter. They talk – the president tells Sam she’s dying. She brings up Amelie, Sam’s sister. She went west 3 years ago to reconnect other facilities to the UCA Network (United Cities of America). Bridget grabs for Sam and falls out of her bed, in her last breath she asks of Sam to pick up where Amelie left off and reconnect all the United States by going from city to city and outpost to outpost, and lets him know they will meet again on the beach. The president dies.
- As you will remember, corpses need to be burnt or else they explode and wipe out everyone in the vicinity. A fact that Deadman, and the president’s successor “Die-Hardman” (a guy in a mask) make Sam awfully aware of. No other Porters are available – so it falls onto Sam to carry the dead corpse of his mother to an incinerator on a mountain and burn her before she explodes.
- After Sam burns his mother’s corpse, it starts to rain (Timefall) and the invisible beings “BTs” (Beached Things) appear outside the incinerator facility. Sam has a call with Deadman (doctor guy) and decides to connect to the BB (baby he carries in a tank). The BB “Bridge Baby” is a bridge between the world of the living and the dead. It allows Sam to see the invisible BTs. As Sam connects to the BB he sees a flashback of a currently unknown man. Sam must move slowly between them to not attract their attention (they can only hear, but not see humans). Sam must make it all the way back to Capital Knot City.
- Episode 2: Amelie
- Upon his return to Capital Knot City, Sam goes to sleep in his private room there. In his sleep he has a flashback of when his sister Amelie gave him a dreamcatcher at the beach “to keep the nightmares away”. Sam takes a shower, then he meets up with the now acting director of the UCA (United Cities of America) called “Die-Hardman” (masked guy). They are joined by a hologram of Sam’s sister “Amelie”. We are currently at the east coast of the USA. Amelie tells us she and her troops went from east to west 3 years ago and convinced all facilities along the way to join the UCA (the new government). However, Amelie was captured by a terrorist group “Homo Demens”. She’s still being held by them on the west coast of America, in Edge Knot City. They do allow her to communicate via hologram though. She wants from Sam the same thing his mother asked of him – to connect all of America again, and reach the west coast to rescue Amelie from the terrorists. The network cables are still in place, it’s just a matter of reconnecting everyone. For this purpose, Sam is given a silver necklace “Q-Pid”. This special necklace allows him to connect other facilities to the Chiral Network. Once connected, they can communicate and exchange information, even holograms of people can be beamed between connected outposts. This lays out the premise of the game – our job is to reconnect America by visiting all facilities and rescue Amelie.
- Sam doesn’t want to have anything to do with all of this and refuses. Amelie (his sister) comes to him in a dream. It reminds Sam of how much he loves her and that he’d do anything for her. The next morning, he agrees to reconnect America, but he’s driven by rescuing his sister from the terrorists.
- Sam now embarks on his journey. Along the way, there’s a problem with his BB. While BBs look like babies, they are treated like a piece of equipment and this one has malfunctioned, says Deadman over the radio. When Sam reaches the Distribution Center West of Edge Knot City, he will talk to Deadman’s hologram and puts his BB in an incubator. This connects the BB to its stillmother in Capital Knot City and soothes it, so that it recovers and can be used again. Deadman explains how it all works – BBs (Bridge Babies) are the bridge to the Beaches (afterlife/world of the dead), so whoever carries a BB can see BTs. And BTs are the dead people’s souls that are stuck in the world of the living. BBs are extracted from the womb of braindead mothers. That’s why they are special, they are in between the worlds of the living and the dead (they are neither fully alive nor fully dead). Deadman reminds Sam that BBs are just equipment, and warns not to get emotionally attached with them. Amelie appears to Sam again and tells him if the Chiral Network isn’t rebuilt by Sam, people will eventually go extinct. Rebuilding the network will give people hope for the future, she says.
- Sam must do a few more deliveries to connect facilities until he reaches Port Knot City. A port settlement where he’s supposed to take a boat to Central America where his journey is to continue.
- After Sam arrives in Port Knot City, the place gets attacked by Higgs. He’s a high level DOOMs and can manipulate BTs, summon them and command them. Higgs wears a golden skull mask and black cape. He uses his supernatural abilities to summon a catcher (a huge aggressive form of BT). This is our first boss fight. Sam must kill the catcher. Higgs will leave, for now.
- With the danger defeated, Sam and Fragile are ready to leave for Central America. They take a boat to get there. Sam falls asleep. Amelie comes to him in a dream and shares a past memory of when Sam visited her at the beach (her afterlife instance). It becomes clear that Sam could jump to and from the beaches at his will, because he’s a repatriate. Sam wakes up and we arrive in Central America.
- Episode 3: Fragile
- Sam and Fragile arrive in Central America by boat. Sam must carry the supplies they brought to the nearby Lake Knot City and connect it to the Chiral Network.
- Amelie and Die-Hardman let Sam know that Bridges (government agency) doesn’t have the resources to link up everyone, so they need Sam to get the support of everyone in the region.
- Sam goes to sleep in Lake Knot City and is visited by Amelie in his dreams again – this time a memory where Sam gave his sister Amelie a golden necklace, that she frequently wears to this day.
- When Sam wakes up, Fragile is already in his room. She gives him a bracelet that members of Fragile Express wear, so that preppers in the area won’t attack him. Fragile explains that she is able to teleport and leaves one of her umbrellas in Sam’s room – we can use this going forward to request “fast travel” from Fragile to jump immediately to any facility that has a private room in it.
- This is by far the longest episode in Death Stranding’s story. The rest of the episode (about 10 hours) is spent connecting all the facilities in the easter half of Central America to the Chiral Network. Until Sam gets a contract to deliver a “fragile package” from Lake Knot City to South Knot City (the southern-most facility). Turns out, it was Higgs (main villain) in disguise giving Sam the package, and it contains a nuclear bomb. As Sam enters South Knot City, the bomb explodes and wipes out the city – which results in a Game Over Screen. The player must reload the previous save to reset the mission. The solution is to find Fragile in the private room of Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City. She will realize it’s a nuke. Sam will then throw the Nuke in a tar lake near South Knot City, which absorbs the blast. Fragile teleports to him and reveals her personal backstory: Higgs (terrorist leader), once forced her to walk through Timefall (the rain that is acid to humans and burns their skins) or else he would nuke a city. Fragile chose to save the city and had her entire body burned by the acid rain. She hates Higgs for that, he’s her arch-nemesis.
- Sam can now safely enter South Knot City and takes a rest there.
- Episode 4: Unger
- When Sam tries to leave South Knot City, a massive storm starts and he gets whirled in the air. The storm brings Sam to another spacetime. It throws him into World War I. Clifford Unger, the mystery man seen in earlier flashbacks, is also there. Sam must defeat Clifford Unger and his soldiers here.
- Episode 5: Mama
- After defeating the mystery man, the storm stops and Sam is thrown back into his world. Mama (a technician) calls him and is in disbelief when Sam says it felt like he was gone for hours – but Sam’s connection was only lost for 1 second. She notes that Chiral Density in the atmosphere had quickly changed where Sam is, our first hint at what causes the phenomenon. Sam must go meet Mama in her laboratory now.
- When Sam meets Mama, he sees her carrying a BT baby (which is just a black shadowy figure like other BTs). Mama explains how it happened. She went to a hospital to get a C-section, the place was attacked by terrorists (Homo Demens / Higgs) and the ceiling collapsed. Mama was trapped under the rubble for days, and gave birth to her baby girl. But instead of bringing life into the world, she brought death into the world. The baby had already died from the heavy rubble that fall on it, what came out was a BT baby. The shadowy BT baby is still connected to Mama by the umbilical cord to this day.
- Mama also explains to Sam that connecting more facilities to the Chiral Network, increases Chiral Density in the air. When the Chiral Density gets too high, it leads to Chiral Storms, like the one Sam got whirled into at Episode 4 that brought him to a different spacetime. So connecting facilities just got more dangerous, but Mama has a fix – a new Q-Pid necklace with a limiter built-in that is supposed to prevent these side effects. The trouble is, Mama is a hardware engineer not a software engineer. While the new Q-Pid hardware is done, it still requires a software patch for the limiter to work. If not done, it could result in a Death Stranding (mass extinction). She sends us to go find her sister Lockne in Mountain Knot City, she’s the software engineer and will know what to do.
- When Sam arrives in Mountain Knot City, he is not well received by Lockne. She straight up tells him to leave the city alone, they want no part of the Chiral Network, she’s aware of the increased Chiral Density that comes with it and the dangers it can pose. We have to find a way to change her mind. Sam hurries back to Mama. She asks Sam to cut the umbilical cord and kill her Baby, because she realizes it can’t go on like this. She also reveals that it wasn’t really her baby – because she couldn’t get pregnant, her sister’s eggs (Lockne’s) were used and Mama was just carrying out the baby. So technically, it was Lockne’s child.
- Then Sam carries Mama to Lockne in Mountain Knot City, in hope that a family reunion will change Lockne’s mind about joining the UCA. Mama dies when we arrive. Having the umbilical cord cut by Sam killed her and she passes away. The reason being that the BT baby was what kept her alive. Mama actually died under the rubble many years ago in the hospital, with the child still inside her. Her “Ka” (Soul) passed over to the other side, but her “Ha” (Body) remained in this world. The BT baby was a connection between both worlds, but with it gone she too faded away. In her dying moments she tells Lockne to help Sam. Lockne honors her sister’s wishes, joins the UCA and helps Sam to fix the software in his Q-Pid. The limiter now works and we can proceed with expanding the UCA network. End of Episode 5.
- Episode 6: Deadman
- Sam sleeps in Mountain Knot City. Deadman arrives in Sam’s room. He tells Sam there’s a problem with the BB – it starts to become self-aware and grows into an actual child. As he explains, BB’s are just a tool designed for a specific purpose, but Sam disagrees – he has become attached and sees BB as a partner. Deadman must take the baby away for a while to reset it and erase its memories.
- Deadman and Sam disconnect their bracelets and hide in the shower where the water makes it hard to hear what they say – they need to talk in private without anyone listening. Deadman is suspicious of Die-Hardman and mystery surrounding the BB experiments done in the past by former president Bridges. He warns us that he doesn’t even know who Die-Hardman is because he’s always wearing a mask but now the acting director of the UCA.
- Without the BB we can’t head west (we are told the region is infested by BTs). So while we wait for Deadman to repair the BB, we must connect the rest of Central region to the Chiral Network.
- After delivery Number 53, Sam is told to meet up with Deadman on top of a mountain, he had enough time to repair the BB. When Sam gets there, another Chiral Storm happens.
- Episode 7: Clifford
- Sam and Deadman get thrown into another spacetime, World War II era. Clifford Unger (the mystery man from flashbacks) is there again. We must defeat him and his soldiers. Afterward, Sam and Deadman are put back into their world again.
- Episode 8: Heartman
- Our mission can continue – but before we can reach Edge Knot City where Amelie is being held, we must connect one more Knot. Die-Hardman tells us that a scientist called “Heartman” will help us get this done. We must pay him a visit. Heartman’s Lab is in the middle of a snowy mountain range.
- Sam meets Heartman, a beach researcher. Heartman explains he has a specially shaped heart. His family died years ago. His special heart (hence the name Heartman) allows him to self-induces cardiac arrest every 20 minutes of real time, then he stays on the world of the dead for 3 minutes before being revived by defibrillator. He started this practice to find his dead wife and daughter in the afterlife, and when he does find them, he plans on dying for good to stay with them. The rule is 1 person per beach so everyone is alone in the afterlife, except when many people die at the same time together. Heartman tries to trick how afterlife works by finding the beach (afterlife instance) where his wife and daughter ended up, then staying together with them for all eternity.
- Heartman wants Sam to connect 3 nearby scientist facilities on the chiral network before going to Amelie.
- After Sam has connected the Scientists he returns to Heartman. A hologram of Deadman relays a message – among Sam’s cargo for Heartman, he hid the umbilical cord of president Bridget. It doesn’t necrotize and doesn’t age. In other words: the president’s cord was somehow connected to the beach and that allowed it to escape the flow of time.
- Heartman shares a theory of his: There were 5 mass extinctions in the past: Trilobites, Ammonites, Dinosaurs, Mammoths, the Iceman. 5 Death Strandings that ended all life on earth and allowed new lifeforms to rise from the ashes. Heartman’s data suggests we are in the middle of the sixth extinction.
- Heartman shares another theory: Living beings with intact umbilical cords (=Strands) are Extinction Entities (EE). The EE can end all life on earth. EEs are connected via their strand (umbilical cord) to the beaches and it is through this connection that they can somehow bring about the Death Stranding.
- They theorize that because president Bridget had a strand (umbilical cord) that didn’t age, she was an EE. And Higgs mentioned that Amelie (the president’s daughter) is an EE too, and that’s why he and his terrorist group kidnapped her to bring on the next Death Stranding.
- At last, we can resume our journey to the west. Sam reaches a tar lake. To cross it he needs to get creative – he intentionally must get caught by some BTs so they drag him away and call a catcher (a bigger BT). Along with the catcher, an old city gets pushed up the Tar, so Sam can jump from one building to the next to cross the lake and reach the west.
- Episode 9: Higgs
- Once Sam arrives in the west region, he’s “greeted” by Higgs, the terrorist leader. Higgs wants Sam to race him to Edge Knot City where Amelie is being held. Of course Higgs is a higher-level DOOMs person and can just teleport but that doesn’t stop Sam – he came all this way to rescue his sister and will stop at nothing.
- Higgs gets there first and captures Amelie. He summons the biggest BT yet, a colossus that Sam must defeat. Higgs teleports Amelie away to the beach before Sam can get to her.
- Sam meets with Fragile in Edge Knot City’s private room. She teleports him to the beach where Higgs is.
- Sam and Higgs fight it face to face. Sam wins. He hands Higgs over to Fragile, who wants her vengeance for everything Higgs did to her.
- Sam rescues Amelie. They run on the beach together, but then Amelie acts all mysterious and wants Sam to wait while she wanders off. Sam doesn’t hold still and goes after her. Instead of Amelie, he can’t believe his eyes when he sees president Bridget on the beach talking to Clifford Unger and Director Die-Hardman. Unger and Die-Hardman clearly got some history too, because Die-Hardman falls to his knees and begs Unger for forgiveness when he sees him. Unger doesn’t really care, he’s after his BB and Bridget points him towards Sam.
- Amelie suddenly appears, pushes Sam into the ocean. Deadman pulls Sam back to the real world. Out of harm’s way, for now.
- Episode 10: Die-Hardman
- Sam is back in the world of the living. Die-Hardman says they have been operating under the assumption that Higgs was controlling Cliff. But now that Higgs is gone and Unger is still after his BB, it would seem Unger is the one in charge. He thinks Unger is holding Amelie and director Die-Hardman hostage at the beach.
- Our friends are all at Capital Knot City in the east where the game started. They want us to return there to make plans how to rescue Amelie – rescuing her and stopping the sixth extinction are one and the same. But Fragile has teleported too many people lately, she’s too weak to teleport Sam. The Chiral Network has also gone dark, the reason being that expanding the network has caused Chiral Spikes and it made the whole network unstable. So Sam cannot teleport back, he has to walk all the way back to the east.
- Episode 11: Clifford Unger
- On our way back to the east, the first target is Lake Knot City so we can take a boat over to the east. But when we reach Lake Knot, a big Chiral Storm sweeps up Sam and throws him into a different timespace – this time Vietnam War time. Clifford Unger is also there. Unger is still going on about wanting his BB back. Sam defeats Unger and his soldiers. It becomes apparent that Unger is stuck in the past, and his only interest is to get back his BB. By this point we’ve seen lots of flashbacks of Unger interacting with his BB (whenever we exited a private room at a facility). Unger asks Sam to give him back his BB. Sam gives it to him. Unger is hesitant – he puts his hand on the BB but quickly gives it back to Sam. Unger gives Sam a dog tag necklace, and a hug. Then he disappears. The chiral storm is over.
- Episode 12: Bridges
- Sam is back in the world of the living and wakes up in the private room of Lake Knot City.
- Deadman plays back a hologram recording of Director Die-Hardman before his disappearance. Die-Hardman notes that nobody has ever seen Amelie in the flesh, not even the Bridges I group that went to reconnect the UCA facilities 3 years ago. The only way anyone has ever gotten in touch with Amelie was through hologram. Nobody actually knows who she is or where she is.
- Die-Hardman reveals after president Bridget died, he tested out his access privileges and found that president Bridget couldn’t have children. She couldn’t possibly have had a daughter (Amelie) or a son (Sam). He starts to question if Amelie is even real.
- Die-Hardman went to the beach, in case Amelie was really the EE (Extinction Entity) he had to confront her. He took a gun with him, filled with Sam’s blood. This gives him a connection to Sam.
- Fragile appears via hologram and reveals she had a chat with Higgs back at the beach. He said Amelie was behind it all – the voidouts, the extinction agenda. It was Amelie pulling the strings and controlling Higgs. She also reveals that she found a doll inside Higgs’s pod, not a BB. It’s clear now that the terrorists use dolls to connect to Amelie’s beach, which is different from Sam’s BB that allows him to see BTs.
- Sam makes it back to Capital Knot City in the east region. There a giant whale BT blocks the path. Sam defeats this giant BT and enters Capital Knot. He meets up with the others. They say their best shot at stopping Amelie (thus the extinction) is that Sam goes talk to her at the beach to change her mind. So Fragile teleports him back to the beach.
- Episode 13: Sam Strand
- Sam arrives at the beach. Amelie explains what’s really been going on: Amelie = President Bridget. They are one and the same. Amelie never existed in the real world. What “they” are is an Extinction Entity (EE).
- The EE presents Sam with two choices: To stay with her at the beach and watch the world burn, or to cut the EE and her beach loose and thus stop the Death Stranding.
- Amelie (the EE) encourages Sam to stop her.
- Amelie (EE) reveals that she is the beach. She doesn’t just stay there, she is everything (time and space) and controls everything. Nobody can hurt her, not even Sam.
- Amelie (EE) agrees to sewer her connection to other beaches and the world of the living, to shut herself in to stop the mass extinction.
- Amelie (EE) explains she died at age 20 in hospital. “Bridget”, her “Ha” (body) remained in the world of the living, but “Amelie” her “Ka” (soul) went to the world of the dead (beach).
- Amelie (EE) pushes Sam out of her beach and shuts herself in to prevent the Death Stranding. But the Death Stranding had already begun and cannot be stopped – a massive explosion of flames can be seen, likely consuming Amelie’s beach. Amelie has sacrificed herself.
- Episode 14: Lou
- Sam repatriates and returns to the real world. Die-Hardman is being inaugurated as the new president of the UCA (United Cities of America). He takes off his mask for the first time. After the inauguration, he has a private talk with Sam – falling in tears as the reveals his backstory. He feels terrible because he was forced by President Bridget to kill Unger. You see, Unger was actually Die-Hardman’s commanding officer in the war and saved his life more than once. The last thing he wanted was to kill his long-time comrade, but he was forced to do it and feels horrible about all of it.
- Deadman has some bad news. The BB is no longer functioning, it appears to have died. He felt it’s only right to let Sam do the final trip to the incinerator to burn the baby before it causes a voidout.
- Deadman deactivates Sam’s bracelet so nobody can track him. Sam can use this to escape from society and get away from it all, live a simple life by himself. He says his goodbyes to Deadman and Fragile.
- The last delivery – Sam brings BB to the incinerator where he burned President Bridget’s body earlier.
- As he arrives at the incinerator, he connects to BB one last time – now the full sequence of flashbacks with Unger is played back, Sam remembers it all now. Clifford Unger’s wife Lisa became braindead during pregnancy. A BB was extracted from her womb (BB’s require braindead mothers). Unger was a decorated war veteran, he agreed to the BB experiment to help his country but didn’t quite realize that they’d put his child in a pod and treat it like equipment, to be decommissioned when it had served its purpose. He was locked into a room with his braindead wife and his child in a pod. Die-Hardman warned him they’d take his BB away and told him to flee. Unger then killed his wife to not leave her suffering, took his BB and tried to escape. But he was caught. President Bridget forced Die-Hardman to kill Unger (remember these two were long-time comrades in the war and good friends). It’s also revealed that Unger’s BB was a boy.
- He takes his BB, which is female and named Lou, out of its carrier pod. It doesn’t show any signs of life at first, but Sam manages to revive it. The last cutscene shows him caring for the child and saying the full name “Louise”, revealing its a girl and not at all the BB seen in the flashbacks.
Major Spoiler Warning: This section contains major spoilers and revelations, don’t read until you’ve finished the story.
Hideo Kojima has created a whole new and unique universe with Death Stranding. It’s a dystopian earth where the world of the dead (Beached Things = BTs) and the world of the living have overlapped. So called “Timefall” (rain) makes these BTs appear. If a person gets consumed by BTs, they explode in a voidout – a big explosion, because matter (person’s body) and antimatter (BT) get mixed. When people die their souls go to Beaches (Afterlife). The Baby (BB / Bridge Baby) that Sam carries helps him connect to the afterlife and see the souls of the dead (BTs).
Kojima plays a long con with Death Stranding. There are two things to trick the player:
First, we are actually working for the terrorist leader the entire time. In Episode 2 we are told Amelie (Sam’s Sister) is being held by a Terrorist Group called “Homo Demens” (led by Higgs). When in fact, Amelie doesn’t even exist. Nobody has ever seen her in the flesh, she has only ever been seen as a hologram. In Episode 1 we see the acting President “Madam Bridget” dying and are told she’s Sam’s mother. This is also a lie! She raised Sam because he was the first BB experimental child, and she killed his parents Lisa and Clifford Unger. She never had any children of her own.
Bridget and Amelie are one and the same person. They are the Extinction Entity “EE”. Bridget died at age 20 (she tells us this in Episode 13). Her soul went over to the beach (afterlife) and her body remained in the world of the living. Because she’s the Extinction Entity, she has a special umbilical cord “Strand” that lets her connect to the afterlife. In the afterlife she appears in her 20-year old shape, from when she originally died at age 20. In the real world she rules as President of America and she can jump between both worlds at any time. She tricked everyone into believing she had a daughter.
Bridget / Amelie / The Extinction Entity is Kojima’s version of a god. She controls life, death, afterlife, time and space. She can bring people back to life (this is seen in a cutscene at the end when she revives baby Sam after he got accidentally shot and died), can give people powers (Higgs), commands everyone as president in the real world and as Amelie in the afterlife, and because she’s the Extinction Entity can end all life on earth at once when she wants to. So while we are trying to rescue our sister in distress, she’s actually the president and commands the terrorists. We are running a fools errand the entire time!
In Episode 1 she in the form of Bridget begged us to rebuild the Chiral Network, then in Episode 2 she again tries to convince Sam to do this in the shape of Amelie by playing the damsel in distress.
In Episode 13 she admits “In expanding the network, you brought people and their Beaches together, integrating them into a greater whole. But in doing so you also bound them to my Beach — the very Beach where I opened the gates to the other side. You can’t stop what’s coming (Death Stranding)“. This was all part of her extinction plan, we were just a puppet.
What happens from Episode 2-13 is completely inconsequential for the end of the story. Amelie/Bridget decides not to wipe out humanity after all.
The second of Kojima’s tricks: with constant flashbacks he makes us think the mystery man “Clifford Unger” is the father of the BB we are carrying around. We are led to believe that these are memories from the BB we carry, because whenever we connect to it we see those “memories”. The fact is that these are Sam’s memories. He is Unger’s son and the BB we see in flashbacks is him as a baby! Connecting to the BB just helps Sam remember these things from when he was in a pod. He was the first BB, the experimental prototype. The BB we carry around is just some random one, it’s in fact a girl that Sam names Louise in the final cutscene. Unger’s BB was a boy, which is all revealed in Episode 14 during the final story moments.
Major Spoiler Warning: Goes without saying, the ending is very spoilery. Beat the game yourself first before reading.
In Episode 13, Sam visits Amelie at her beach. It’s revealed that she is the Extinction Entity and the leader of both the Terrorists (Homo Demens / Higgs) and was President of America at the same time. She played both sides to advance her Extinction Plan and wipe out all life on earth. She admits “In expanding the network, you brought people and their Beaches together, integrating them into a greater whole. But in doing so you also bound them to my Beach — the very Beach where I opened the gates to the other side. You can’t stop what’s coming [The Death Stranding / Mass Extinction]“.
She seems to believe this is her destiny, but she didn’t choose to be the Extinction Entity. She was chosen but never asked for any of it. She doesn’t want to wipe out anyone if it can be prevented, so she cuts off her beach from all the others, and sacrifices herself. As she pushes Sam away from her beach, a massive explosion can be seen setting her beach in flames. The extinction didn’t happen because Sam was able to change her mind.
In Episode 14, the whole Clifford Unger / BB / Sam connection is revealed. The entire string of Unger flashbacks is played back as a full cutscene. The gist of it is that Clifford’s wife “Lisa” became braindead during pregnancy. He agreed to have the developing baby taken from her womb for experimental purposes. Thus the “BB” experiments began. He didn’t like that they put his kid in a pod and locked him in a room with his braindead wife, so he tried to escape, but was caught. Die-Hardman (who previously fought in wars with Unger) was ordered by President Bridget to shoot him. The cutscene shows him recognizing Sam. Sam was that first BB and Unger’s child all along! The BB we carry was just a random one. The memory flashbacks throughout the game are Sam’s own memories from when he was a BB in a pod. That’s why he has supernatural abilities and can come back from the dead. President Bridget raised him and made him think he was her son, but his entire life is a lie. The woman that raised him (which is also the Extinction Entity) killed his parents. Sam takes the baby he carried throughout the story out of its pod. The final cutscene shows him naming her Louise, a baby girl with supernatural abilities like his own. He will raise her.