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The Creepiest Things We Found In Death Stranding

Famed video game producer Hideo Kojima shook the world when he revealed his newest project at E3 2016. Death Stranding looked weird and unsettling. Three years later, the game launched in November 2019 — and it continues to look weird and unsettling.

The world of Death Stranding, despite all the fantasy, has its roots in the real world. This is post-apocalypse America, and Monster Energy drinks still exist somehow. Yet, right off the bat, it throws a lot of creepy ideas at you. Invisible monsters hunt people down, and rain somehow ages people now. The sheer emptiness of the open world has an eerie, lonely vibe to it, too. When you get down to it, though, those things barely scratch the surface when it comes to all the disturbing things Kojima concocted for the game.

From the terrifying bosses to the odd things you can do with urine, let's cover all the creepy things we found in Death Stranding. Of course, we'll be spoiling bits and pieces of the game's gargantuan story, so if you haven't completed it yet, you've been warned!

Combat Veteran's tethered minions

Kojima spared no expense to get top-tier actors to work with him on Death Stranding. Mads Mikkelsen's character, Cliff (aka the Combat Veteran), acts as one of the earlier bosses in the game. His entrance, however, can be described as nothing short of spooky.

He has complete control over his minions, and he lets you know that from the start. Four of them walk side by side, each of them tethered to something beneath the tar that runs rampant in Death Stranding. It makes you wonder what they could be pulling on—and then you regret wondering. On the other end of those tethers, you find Combat Veteran, attached to his minions by his own navel.

Those cords then detach from the minions, and Mikkelsen's character sucks up all four of those tethers right back into his stomach. The ghastly sight is enough to make anyone wince, even Cliff, from the looks of it. He even vomits some more of that tar, which might be something players can relate to in the moment.

The origin of Bridge Babies

On a basic level, the idea of a Bridge Baby already makes us uncomfortable. For all the crazy stunts we make Norman Reedus perform, it's unsettling to think he goes through all of that with a baby strapped to his chest. This human being in the earliest stages of life is being used as a tool rather than being nurtured and cared for.

But beneath the surface, the lore surrounding a BB can send chills up anyone's spine. These babies were taken away from their brain-dead mothers, called Stillmothers. Because of that unique condition, the baby can see into the world of the dead, where BTs come from. However, they can only see that world when they're still in their mother's womb.

That means the jar strapped to Sam's chest is meant to simulate the feeling of being in a mother's womb. By tricking these babies into that comfort, they allow the ones connected to them to sense BTs. In other words, Bridges, the company Sam works for, manipulates babies using artificial wombs and proudly displays that on its operatives' chests.

Combat Veteran's obsession with babies

Throughout Death Stranding, you'll see Sam experience flashes of someone else's memories. That other person seems to be a Bridge Baby, and they see Mikkelsen's character in various scenarios. Clearly, he's in a bad situation, as he laments over his bedridden wife, Lisa. Yet the BB that we're seeing through is important to Combat Veteran. In some memories, he fondly talks to the BB, promising to show him the world. In others, he's on the run with the BB in hand.

Essentially, Kojima continuously drops hints regarding Combat Veteran's obsession with his BB. This manifests later in the story when we meet him in a creepy way. After his disturbing entrance into the battlefield, we see him surrounded by a web of barbed wire, which he leans on like it's nothing. You might have also noticed all the baby dolls caught up in the web, and that they're all pretty mangled and terrifying to look at. It's a chilling scene that harkens back to the 2016 Game Awards trailer that introduced Combat Veteran, which also had a baby doll motif running through it.

Sam's scarred skin

Between the showers and the various cutscenes, we see Sam's naked body more often than you'd expect in Death Stranding. Even if you're comfortable with nudity, there's something about his skin that might make you wince. For one, his feet and shoulders seem permanently scarred red. After all, years of walking with a heavy cargo load on your back will do that to you.

More importantly, though, what's up with all those handprints? The thing about handprints is that they're so uniquely human. Your mind automatically connects the shape to the act of touching someone. In other words, we can't get the image of people grabbing at Sam out of our heads, especially when those people are likely BTs.

This ties into the story, so at least there's an explanation. Sam's aphenphosmphobia gives him the fear of being touched or connecting with others. Furthermore, his skin bruises when people touch him, hence the handprint-shaped marks all over his body. Still, even with an explanation, his skin gives us the chills.

Carrying a body on your back

Most of the time in Death Stranding, you'll be playing a weird form of Tetris with the cargo on your back. Large packages lay the foundation for the smaller ones to stack on top of, and there's something almost comical about seeing Sam run around with a tower of packages on his back. Occasionally, though, the story will ask you to carry something far more unsettling: a human body.

In some cases, these people will be alive. They're just cocooned in a body bag to keep them safe from the aging rain known as timefall. It may be an uncomfortable sight to look at, but at least it stems from a place of pragmatism. We wouldn't want the person on our back to age before our eyes.

Things get creepier when that body on your back is really a corpse. Things get tense, too, considering how dead bodies work in Death Stranding. If left alone for too long, the body turns into a BT. So if you don't move quickly enough, the corpse on your back could eat you alive.

One man's waste is another man's research

In the private rooms that are scattered around Death Stranding's open world, Sam can take a load off and relax. It's a much needed break from all the crazy trips he has to make. He can even take a shower and use the bathroom here, which seems all well and good.

Trips to the restroom don't set off any alarms until Heartman reaches out to you and says he collects data from your waste. Whenever you shower, he collects the chiral matter that washes off your body to study it. Chiral matter also gets extracted from your waste, both number one and number two. It makes you feel a bit like a lab rat in your own private room.

These extracts eventually become grenades that you can carry with you in the wild. They can help you get around BTs by distracting them, but that also means you have to carry something that used to be in your urine or feces. It's a pretty icky thought, and it'll make you think twice about chugging Monster.

Cryptobiotes (urine for a surprise)

If you already have a fear of creepy crawlies, cryptobiotes surely won't help you get over it. These little white creatures look a bit like fat maggots, with six wriggly legs to boot. We're first introduced to them by Fragile, who eats one in the early hours of Death Stranding. She claims that eating one will help keep the harmful effects of timefall at bay, but in the game, it replenishes your blood. However, the idea of putting a cryptobiote in your mouth can be hard to swallow.

To make things weirder, let's talk about where you can find more cryptobiotes. You'll find them in little nests around the map, and when you approach one, you can probably grab a handful before they scatter. If you want to farm cryptobiotes, you'll have to work with other players to create artificial nests. How, you ask? By using your own urine, of course.

That's right, when Sam pees in one spot enough, it creates a new nest for cryptobiotes to swarm around. In other words, to heal yourself, you'll need to urinate to spawn a creature, and then put that creature in your mouth.

The bigger BT minibosses

Sneaking around BTs can be some of the most tense moments in Death Stranding. They're hard to see and even harder to avoid. Every step counts, because when you get caught, everything goes from bad to worse. They'll drag you into the ground, which has now turned into black tar, and pull you to a remote area.

Here, you'll come face to face with what can only be described as a Lovecraftian nightmare. A giant BT will spawn in the arena, often shaped like either a lion or a dolphin. Regardless of the shape, this creature will have a horde of tentacles for a face. It's disturbing to look at, any way you slice it, and its erratic movements make things all the more unsettling.

Your first instinct when seeing one of these creatures, called Catchers, might be to run away. We don't blame you either, as killing one would take up a lot of resources.

The first Higgs fight

Throughout the game, you'll hear a lot about a character named Higgs, portrayed by Troy Baker. He's one of the major antagonists in the story who seeks pure chaos in the name of extinction. Because of him, an entire city has been lost lost to a nuclear attack, and another one was almost destroyed in a similar fashion. Sam doesn't confront him until later in the story, but the first fight with him is definitely one to remember, purely because it made our spines shiver.

He summons a giant humanoid made of the black tar we see the BTs spawn from, and by giant, we mean as tall as a skyscraper. However, this thing doesn't have a fully formed head; instead, only the bottom half of it remains intact. The rest is just... open. This opening lets black jellyfish fly out en masse, giving Sam more stuff to shoot at while trying not to get crushed underfoot. All in all, Higgs' creation is terrifying to look at, made worse by the fact that you have to kill it somehow.

Sam's nightmares haunt our dreams

Sam suffers from an affliction called DOOMS. This gives him an allergy to chiral matter, which flares up around BTs. Though he can sense those from the other side more easily, he also goes to sleep expecting terrifying nightmares every night. These aren't just run-of-the-mill, apocalyptic nightmares, either. They get personal and mess with the few people he holds dear.

In one of them, he sees Amelie, his sister, with Higgs sneaking up on her from behind. The antagonist then grabs her from behind and ever so slowly drives a small, golden dagger into her collar. The whole scene paints a good picture of Higgs' insidious nature, and unfortunately, Sam can't escape from him, even in his dreams.

In another example, we see Higgs take off his mask, only to reveal Amelie underneath. The way her face smiles as blood streaks from her eyes is unsettling to say the least, and the heightened tension in the music only makes it even more distressing.

Mama's baby BT

Partway through your journey, you'll meet a character named Mama. She's one of two geniuses that helped build the Chiral Network that eventually spans the nation, and she mostly communicates with you over the airwaves. She often hints that she can't leave her post, too. When Sam eventually meets her face to face, you find out why she's stuck where she is.

Mama lives up to her code name, as she actually nurtures and takes care of a baby BT. It's alarming at first, but Mama assures Sam that the BT is harmless. Nonetheless, watching her breastfeed an invisible baby is a little discomforting. Things get a little eerier when you find out that the baby can't even drink the milk, despite her continuing to produce it. If anything, breastfeeding feels more like a hollow ritual the two perform to be at peace with one another.

After spending most of your time in Death Stranding avoiding BTs, the idea of a baby BT doesn't really cross your mind. Seeing a human nurture and take care of one is even more perplexing.

The terrifyingly huge whale BT

In the final stretch of the game, you have to return to Capital Knot City. After your lengthy journey to the west, things finally seem to be coming to a head. Hopefully no more big hurdles show up, right? Well, Kojima disagrees, and he proves it by challenging you with one of the biggest BTs in all of Death Stranding: a whale-shaped BT.

This thing could intimidate even the most grizzled of deliverymen. Watching something that big fly through the air is terrifying, and in the cutscene that introduces it, we get a haunting glimpse at its gaping maw. The "mouth," which opens in a creepy way, looks like a pit no one would want to fall down. Coupled with its slimy skin and tentacle-like appendages, you're looking at a boss you don't want to look at anymore. Unfortunately, unlike the catcher BTs, you can't run away from this challenge. You have to take it down, one way or another.