Every quirky thing we know about Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding 2

Sam (Norman Reedus) cradles baby Lou in close-up in Death Stranding 2
Image: Kojima Productions/PlayStation Studios

In short: it’s out in 2025, it’s called On the Beach, and it looks wonderfully weird

In 2019, Hideo Kojima — Metal Gear Solid creator, and perhaps Hollywood’s favorite gaming auteur — released his first game as the head of his own independent studio, after parting ways with Konami. Depending who you asked at the time, Death Stranding was either a visionary work or completely incomprehensible — or both. It’s an unforgettable experience though, and subsequent editions have converted their fair share of skeptics.

Now Kojima is set to return with Death Stranding 2: On the Beach (yes, it’s really called that). Like its predecessor, it’s set to combine unique hiking gameplay with exposition-heavy cutscenes, Yoji Shinkawa’s striking character designs, and a deeply strange sci-fi plot about building connections between people in a lonely, hostile world where the veil between life and death has been torn down.

Read on for everything we currently know about Death Stranding 2.

What’s Death Stranding 2’s release date?

Death Stranding 2: On the Beach is due to be released on PlayStation 5 in 2025. That’s as much of a date as we have at the moment. Where it will fall in the year is anyone’s guess, and it may well depend on the eventual release date for Grand Theft Auto 6, which will probably send other games publishers scattering to get as far away from it as they reasonably can — perhaps even into 2026, although Sony will be keen to avoid delays to PlayStation exclusives after a quiet year in 2024. If it’s any indication, the original game had a release date of Nov. 8 in 2019.

Death Stranding 2 is just one of the reasons next year is set to be such a packed year for big games, even if firm 2025 release dates are few and far between right now.

Is Death Stranding 2 a PS5 exclusive?

At least to begin with, yes — but a later PC release is almost certain. Like the original game, Death Stranding 2 is the result of a partnership between Kojima Productions and Sony, and in all likelihood will remain a PlayStation console exclusive. So far, it has only been confirmed for release on PlayStation 5.

However, Death Stranding got a later release on PC, courtesy of publisher 505 Games. It would be surprising if the same didn’t happen for the sequel — either via an independent publisher like 505, or indeed via Sony itself, which has recently been releasing its biggest first-party exclusives on PC after a period of console exclusivity.

Lea Seydoux as Quiet with a wooden puppet on her shoulder in Death Stranding 2
Image: Kojima Productions/PlayStation Studios

Why is it called On the Beach?

Oh boy. Right. In the game’s world, an apocalyptic event known as the Death Stranding has caused strange creatures called Beached Things (BTs) to roam the Earth. These haunting monsters are created from the dead, and if they consume a living person, they cause a devastating explosion. BTs are said to originate from the Beach, a strange dimension that’s a kind of afterlife, or purgatory. There’s a whole lot more to it than that, but those are the basics.

Why is this metaphysical realm called the Beach? Good question. Perhaps because it’s a transitional space between two different states: land and ocean, life and death. Also… it looks like a beach.

Who’s in the cast?

The main cast for Death Stranding 2 features three returning stars and two new faces.

  • Norman Reedus returns as the main player character, Sam Porter Bridges
  • Léa Seydoux is back as Sam’s coworker, Fragile
  • Troy Baker reprises the role of Higgs, the antagonist from the first game
  • Elle Fanning plays an unnamed new character who seems to have some kind of connection to the Beach
  • Shioli Kutsuna is in an unnamed role that has yet to appear in the trailers

It also wouldn’t be a Death Stranding game without cameo appearances from some of Kojima’s favorite film directors; the first game had quite substantial roles for Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn.

This time, Mad Max creator George Miller will appear as an unnamed Drawbridge operative, and Turkish-German director Fatih Akin (The Edge of Heaven, In the Fade) appears as a living puppet. But in both cases, it’s just the director’s scanned likeness; the motion-capture and vocal performances are by Marty Rhone and Jonathan Roumie, respectively.

What’s the story?

Kojima Productions has actually revealed quite a lot about Death Stranding 2: On the Beach across two lengthy trailers stuffed with cutscenes — but as often happens with a Hideo Kojima game, the more you take in, the less it feels like you understand. That’s part of the fun!

The game’s first teaser-trailer shows Fragile looking after a baby. This is Lou, the BB (Bridge Baby) that Sam released from her sarcophagus-like pod and revived at the end of the first game. Then there’s a new scene in which Sam and Lou are attacked in their bunker and flee, but Lou is killed, reemerging as a BT (Beached Thing) version of herself in her old pod.

In the second trailer, this BT version of Lou is seen accompanying Sam on his adventure as a BB once again. The trailer lays out the general setting of the game, which apparently is set some years after the events of the original. The chiral network Sam set up in Death Stranding is working and human porters are no longer needed to connect the UCA (formerly America), and Sam’s former Bridges co-workers have gone their separate ways.

But a new organization called Drawbridge, led by Fragile and funded by a mysterious private benefactor, is working to connect areas outside the UCA. Sam goes to work for Drawbridge; his hair, which had turned white, turns brown again for some reason. They have a cool mobile base, the DHV Magellan, which appears to be able to travel through the black tar from which BTs emerge.

Higgs, the antagonist from the original game, is back, too. Despite having been left on the Beach at the end of the first game, he’s alive — sort of. He’s being carried around in a red coffin by a team of robots. He wears a creepy mask over an even creepier face, and has a weapon like an electric guitar. Lou takes control of his robots to fight him. The scene makes no sense, but is simultaneously ridiculous and absurdly cool in classic Kojima fashion.

Back aboard the DHV Magellan, Fragile has a mask that looks like a pair of blue hands, and — in the company of a character that has the likeness of movie director George Miller and who is dressed a bit like a Nazi — she rescues a nameless character played by Elle Fanning from another sarcophagus-like object filled with the black tar.

As well as Lou, Sam is accompanied on his travels by the Living Doll, who genuinely appears to be a talking wooden puppet animated in a stop-motion style. This extremely strange character isn’t really explained in the trailer.

Introducing the second trailer at the 2022 Game Awards, Kojima said he had rewritten Death Stranding 2 to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the first game’s prophetic visions of lockdown and isolation have often been commented upon, it will be fascinating to see how these themes play out in the story.

A long shot of Sam Bridges walking along the top of a desert dune in Death Stranding 2
Image: Kojima Productions/PlayStation Studios

What do we know about the gameplay so far?

The trailers are much lighter on gameplay details compared to plot, but what we do see looks pretty familiar. It seems as though Kojima Productions is iterating quite gently on the hiking, load-carrying, open-world exploration of the first game. Given how unique a prospect it remains, that’s no bad thing.

The trailers do reveal some new biomes (desert and barren, black, rocky outcrops) and dynamic landscape effects (flash-flooding and an avalanche-like rock fall). There’s a new vehicle, too: a four-wheeled, tank-like buggy, with open seating high up on the body and arm-like suspension at the front.

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