“Death Stranding” Theories: Why I’m Obsessed

“To see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wildflower. / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour.” William Blake’s ‘Auguries of Innocence’

Ever so often a game comes along where I closely follow its development from announcement to release. Currently, that game is Kojima Productions “Death Stranding”. Ever since its odd and intriguing E3 2016 announcement I have patiently waited for any news, teasers, or theories to come along. Cryptic and captivating, “Death Stranding” has revealed very little about its plot and there has been no gameplay footage. However, it has become the biggest mystery that my 90s kid, Scooby Doo era heart is obsessing over. Since its last teaser was released at the 2017 Video Game Awards, my brain has been reeling to put together the puzzle pieces. Here are a few things that I think I know about “Death Stranding”.

I am not trying to pretend to be an all mighty game theorist, nor is this a definitive list theorizing every single detail of the teasers (some things I just can not wrap my head around), but it is fun to think about this nonetheless

This is some weird, purgatory/Hell

Honestly, this is Hell. That is one of the speculations that I am most certain of. It seems that the characters that have been depicted have all suffered some type of surgical trauma and are now linked to these infants (babies represent life). There are also the corpses that are reanimated in the second teaser as well as the team collecting corpses in the third teaser in what seems to be an effort to keep them from a fate even worst then death.

There is also the phenomenon of cetacean stranding which is when aquatic mammals beach themselves on land – basically causing theirselves to be stranded. There are images of dead sealife in all three teasers. This makes me feel like this Hell is reserved to those who kill theirselves in some way or submit themselves to be potentially killed (Norman Reedus’ character has a cross shaped scar on his stomach. Del Toro’s character has a scar going across his forehead like a lobotomy. Mads Mikkelsen’s character leads dead WWII era soldiers.)

Basically, they have stranded theirselves in Hell.

This Could be Dante’s Inferno-esque

Keeping with the theory that these characters are definitely in Hell, there seems to be multiple levels to Hell. There could potentially be several levels to Hell with this first level being the “Limbo” circle. These floating, demonic type creatures (note: They’re demons to me! ‘Sup demons.) are trying to drag these unwitting characters to deeper levels of Hell, but they are fighting back or attempting not to go.

There is also an experience of an upside down rainbow, or circumzenithal arc, in the second trailer. A little research has led me to discover that this phenomenon is when sunlight is refracted through ice crystals instead of raindrops. The Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante’s inferno finds Dante in a large frozen lake with sinners trapped in the ice. At the end of the third teaser, we see Reedus’ character plummeted through water only to wake up to find him at what appears to be a dried out lake. Am I reaching here? It is just interesting to find these connections!

There are technology elements tying them to Reality/Life

Ok, stick with me on this because this is the point my brain goes whaaaat. There is obvious technology being utilized in all three teasers. So somehow in Hell, technology has come to exist to tether these characters that have stranded theirselves in Death to reality or life. The fetus/infants that are kept in those incubator type, portable tanks are tied to the characters via a mechanical umbilical cord. As I stated earlier, babies represent fresh, new life. They seem to also be able to connect with the babies to help aid them from these demonic, invisible oil creatures. Mads Mikkelsen, however, is tied to skeletal corpses which seems to mean he has resigned himself to Death and has taken a role to help the demons.

In the third trailer, there is also a blinking, fluttering light fan worn by the characters that helps detect the invisible presences as well as a meter that goes from green to red upon death. The baby carrying tank can be passed between characters as well.

We are all connected – in life and death

There are cords, cables, and strings tying everything together in this world. Planes fly over head as cables dangle from them. Babies are connected via umbilical cords. Undead soldiers are controlled like puppets with strings. Not to dive too far into things that I can not possibly grasp, but Quantum mechanics has denoted that everything is connected, entangled together across space and time. To quote Carl Sagan, “We are all made of starstuff.” This likely ties into the equations on the dog tags Reedus’ character wears in the first teaser which I can not really begin to understand or explain. There have been theories about time travel however I feel that it is not necessary about the characters traveling time, but that Hell exists outside of time and reality as living beings know it.

Things I am unable to explain (yet)

There are some things in the teasers that I have yet to be able to explain – which I am fine with. Everything I have thought about the game so far has been pretty heavy…so heavy that I really do not know whether I am on the right track or went way off! One key thing that a lot of theorists have touched on that I can not seem to understand is the pin Del Toro’s character wears in the second teaser. It says something along the lines of “Bridges: United Cities of America” and has a map of the United States with lines (cables, ropes) coming from a carved out Washington, DC. Theorist have said that this could be some fictional government or organization within the game which does not really help my “this is Hell” theory. If we are indeed still in a living reality then my theory is blown to…well…Hell. I could obviously adjust my theory though. I would say if this is a living reality then the denizens of Hell have come to claim living entities and the technology has been invented to help prevent that.

It is just not as fun to think of that way.

What do you think about my theories or do you have any of you own? Are you anticipating “Death Stranding”? Let me know in the comments below.


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