Death Stranding 2: What To Expect From Kojima’s Daring Follow-up

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Put your Bridges Boots Back On Porters, We’ve Got One More Delivery To Make

Legendary game director Hideo Kojima’s promises of a genre-defying experience with Death Stranding weren’t so wholeheartedly received when launch day arrived. While the story and graphics were praised, the gameplay was showered with taunts of “walking sim“, “it’s only a movie“, and “where’s the gameplay“. But we all know how sometimes gamers go overboard with criticism, and  when things finally calmed down a bit, Death Stranding was widely hailed as one of the greatest games ever made.

Fast-forward to The Game Awards 2022, when Kojima Productions unveiled their next AAA project after years of silence, Death Stranding 2 (DS2). Ironically, this time around, the majority was celebrating that they’ll get to revisit the franchise in a new entry. There’s a bit the studio has already revealed about Death Stranding 2 and a lot that remains shrouded in mystery, but all in all, there’s plenty to talk about, so here’s everything you can expect from Hideo Kojima’s daring strand-type sequel.

When is Death Stranding 2 Getting Released and What is It About?

There’s no official word on the release date for Death Stranding 2 at this moment, but this wouldn’t be the gaming industry without a few leaks happening. The most solid lead fans have had so far was when Frank Aliberti, a senior character artist working on the title, listed its release date for 2024 on his ArtStation profile.

Many news outlets were quick to cover it, and what do you know, Frank later takes the listing down. I would say it was a mistake, but history has taught us better. 

A 2024 launch window seems like the perfect time as well since it aligns with PlayStation’s mantra of putting out two first-party games every year. 

Stellar Blade, and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will have launched for the PS5 by the end of 2023. It’s rumored that Insomniac’s new Wolverine game is scheduled for Fall 2024, so Death Stranding 2 easily fits as the other piece of the puzzle. If that indeed is the case, then it should arrive before Wolverine launches, and by my estimate, that puts it somewhere around Q2 2024. At any rate, two PS5 first-party exclusives are right ahead of us, and since time flies, it won’t be long before we’re back making deliveries again.

The Sequel Is Beyond A Video Game 

Death Stranding 2

Now with Death Stranding 2, we’re again eyeing what’s in store. Will Kojima perhaps predict another pandemic? Well, no, because Hideo exclaimed during The Game Awards that he rewrote the entire script for DS2 to make sure that doesn’t happen again — bummer, I was looking forward to another vacation.

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They’re trying not to give the story away with the trailers and interviews, and that’s fair, but we have still got some hints. Like what Elle Fanning said during Hideo’s Brain Structure Podcast:

It’s completely like an immersive movie in my eyes……it’s so beyond a video game”

Beyond a video game is pretty much what Kojima stated last time *chuckles*, and then the reviews on launch day buried the game six feet under before it slowly made a recovery into our good books. Sequels aren’t as tricky to make since most of the foundation has been laid. The story part was already good and if Kojima makes that better, that’ll be a dream come true for fans. As for gameplay, sure it was bland, tedious, and highly repetitive. Death Stranding 2 will be bringing along some brand-new gameplay innovations, so that should be enough to lift it.

Oh, and before I forget, Elle Fanning’s been cast in Death Stranding 2, but Hideo hasn’t let us in on who though. My guess is that she’s playing Louise (Lou), the BB Sam had throughout the whole game who’s apparently now his adoptive daughter — at least that’s what the ending implied. 

Death Stranding 2

A Very Cryptic Reveal

The teaser trailer for Death Stranding 2 is unsurprisingly cryptic, but Hideo said he sprinkled many clues about the story in there, so that’s what I’m going to base my speculation on. The trailer opens with Fragile caring for Louise in an abandoned bunker of sorts. What’s bizarre is that Fragile doesn’t have aged skin anymore, it’s all healed up, probably thanks to some Kojima magic that’ll be explained later on.

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A perpetrator is suggested to be entering the bunker, so Fragile escapes carrying Lou on a unicycle which will most likely be a new vehicle in Death Stranding 2. The unicycle gets shot, Fragile passes out, and something weird starts happening with Lou. I’m betting she’s repatriating somehow. Then it cuts to a glimpse of Sam, who now has white aged hair, standing beside Fragile as both look at her ship ascending from an ocean. The final scene that plays is of a mystery figure playing guitar, singing in Higgs’ voice, but having the body features of Amelie.

Lou’s Always At The Heart of It All

Death Stranding 2

Let’s commence theory time, shall we? In Death Stranding, it was insinuated Fragile shot Higgs, but we never saw him die on-screen. Sam convinced Amelie to delay the extinction, and she instead remained on her beach, contemplating her purpose. 

Troy Baker, who portrayed Higgs, is indeed back in Death Stranding 2, and a hunch of mine says that Higgs never died, but instead, chose to remain on the beach. In the events that will follow, odds are that Higgs somehow takes control of Amelie and tries to start the extinction once again. 

He eventually needs Lou for some reason, maybe she has powers as she could be the reason why Fragile’s aging was cured, and so Higgs, now fused with Amelie, tracks down Lou. And afterwards, Sam gets wind of it and hunts down Higgs. Even if what I just said turns out to be true, it’s most certainly less than the tip of the iceberg of what Death Stranding 2 will actually entail.

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Things We Want To See In Death Stranding 2

Death Stranding 2

It’s a given that Stranding 2 will be bustling with many never before seen features, but let’s talk about the things we’d really like to see, and things that are fated to be present. More interactive NPCs for one is right on the top of the list. The original game had lots of cameos from industry icons like Remedy Studio’s Sam Lake, and renowned mangaka Junji Ito, but they were all holograms.

Getting to exchange words with them directly would be a major step up for the sequel, and generally speaking, the open world felt too dead at times, so more random NPC encounters and variety rather than slapping B.T. hordes at every nook and cranny would be a terrific addition.

Lou As The Protagonist

I have a strong suspicion that one of the major changes in Death Stranding 2 will be the inclusion of Lou as a playable character. While many would assume that Fragile would be playable, based on the gameplay reveal, I have a hunch that Elle Fanning will portray a grown-up Louise after a significant timeskip. It’s possible that Sam may meet his demise halfway through the game, making way for Lou to take his place, but that seems a little too far-fetched for now.

Can We Get A Challenge For Once?

Calling Death Stranding easy would be an understatement. The boss battles were a huge letdown, you could beat them with one eye closed and one hand tied behind your back, or maybe that’s just an accessibility feature. In any case, boss fights were a joke in the first game, and they need a massive overhaul in direction.

More Terrains, Even More Transport

Death Stranding 2

Another aspect that needs reworking in Death Stranding 2 is the weather system. The first game played out entirely during the day, which was really weird for a realistically toned game. Adding new weather mechanics like hurricanes, and a day-night cycle would definitely amp up the experience tenfold. 

The diversity of the terrain didn’t quite leave me awestruck. It seems like a no-brainer to incorporate desert landscapes and oceanic regions, which I’m certain will be included in the sequel, given the glimpses of a desert area in the trailer and Fragile’s ship emerging from the ocean. Interestingly enough, the codename for the sequel during development was Project Ocean, further solidifying the likelihood of such environments. In addition, a few new modes of transportation wouldn’t go amiss, particularly aerial options, since I’m not keen on scaling Everest ten times just to deliver a meatloaf to the First Prepper – again, anyways.How About We Actually Connect?

For a game so deeply reliant on “connecting people”, Death Stranding sure did have an underwhelming multiplayer system. But all things considered, the first game already had a lot to juggle in the innovation department, so I can’t hold this against it. The concept about loot teleporting into your world from other players’, and you being able to utilize the structures they build is awesome, although, it can be improved. Actually having some multiplayer side activities or races dawns on me as an epic idea.

Death Stranding 2’s release is still a way out right now, but a bunch of narrative-driven PS5 exclusives will come out before it, so we have something to ease the wait with. However, if you’re more of an RPG person, here’s something to keep you busy.


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