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    Sam Porter Bridges
"I make deliveries. That's all."
Played by: Norman Reedus
Voiced by: Kenjiro Tsuda (JP), Alfredo Gabriel Basurto (LatAm)

Formerly Sam Strand, Sam was a major figure in the first iteration of BRIDGES. After the organization went into decline, he became disillusioned with their mission and left. He now makes a living as a freelance courier, braving the dangerous wastelands between surviving settlements to deliver his packages.

  • The Ace: He's considered the best porter alive (or even in existence), because he can deliver ridiculus amounts of cargo (120 kilograms, and that's without an exoskeleton!) in mint condition, in a very short amount of time. Other characters even call him "The man who delivers" or "The great deliverer". He's also quite skilled in hand to hand and armed combat, able to single-handedly clean MULE and terrorist camps (about 15-20 enemies in one place) and go toe-to-toe with Higgs, who can teleport and summon BTs, and Cliff, a ghost of a veteran who fought, among others, in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and win.
  • Action Survivor: Sam is no soldier, and yet he crosses territories riddled with hostile MULEs and BTs every day with dozens of kilograms of cargo on his back, and can even defeat veteran soldiers like Cliff.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: One of the few times he drops his stoic demeanor is with Higgs, of all people. After their fight, Higgs jokes that for all his fear of touch, Sam really got touchy-feely with him.
  • The Aloner: To go along with his Hates Being Touched, Sam is one of those on the continent who would rather remain isolated.
  • Animal Motifs: Has a minor sea otter one.
    • You can get a hood shaped like an otter head from The Cosplayer, that allows you to swim better.
    • Sea otters are a symbol of maternal/parental love and devotion, since they spend long hours on fluffing their young's fur to keep them afloat and one of the most common immages people associate with them is the mother, floating on her back, holding her young on her stomach.
    • Another one is two otters holding paws, so they won't drift away while they sleep; it's especially interesting, because Sam is afraid of touch, but he also cuffs himself to the bed whenever he falls asleep in the private room.
    • Sea otters are a keystone species, which means that without them, their ecosystem would collapse sooner or later, reminiscent of Sam's mission for BRIDGES.
    • A slightly morbid one, but sea otters who lost their pups sometimes hold onto them for days at the time. While BB-28 is, thankfully, alive, it was marked for disposal before the game begun, but Sam adamantly keeps it and refuses to give it up.
    • Sea otters also tie in into imagery of marine animals, very prominent in the game.
  • Back from the Dead: As a repatriate, Sam can return to life regardless of how he is killed, whether it be because of something as stumbling off a cliff and breaking his neck or being eaten by a BT. His first "resurrection" actually occurred when he was a Bridge Baby, having been unintentionally killed by Bridget when Cliff attempted to escape with him from Bridges and was brought back to life by Amelie, this time as a normal human being.
  • Badass and Baby: With BB 28/Lou. Unlike most examples, the baby is also a badass.
  • Badass Normal: Played with. Sure, he can come back from the dead and his bodily fluids are deadly to B Ts, but other than that? He's just a normal dude. He's good at hand to hand combat and can use an assortment of weapons against human enemies, but he can still get knocked out/killed by them. He can use an array of items, such as exoskeletons, ladders, anchors and 3D printed structures to aid him in his travels, but he still treks through mountains, snow, rivers and valleys mostly with the strenght of his own muscles. He cannot teleport like Higgs or Fragile and can't summon or control B Ts (he doesn't even see them, he can just sense them), and despite all that, he's STILL considered a legend and the best in his field. This seems particularly visible in his last bossfight with Higgs, where he only has his fists, his strand and lost cargo thrown around the arena that he can straight up throw. And he still wins.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: After a particularly nasty engagement, Sam may collapse back in his Private Room covered in gunk, BT tar and blood. (The twist in the latter is that it's usually his own blood since he has to spray it around at BTs.)
  • Boots of Toughness: Wears all-terrain hiking boots as a deafault, and can get two upgraded versions.
  • Broken Pedestal: In the ending, when he learns that Bridget originally intended to use him as a BB and killed his real parents in the process, which contributes to him leaving the UCA.
  • Brutal Honesty: Doesn't hide his lack of faith in America's future during his meeting with a dying Bridget.
    Sam: Bridget, you're the president of jack shit.
  • Character Development: Sam starts off being cold and distant from others because of his aphenphosmphobia, but overtime, he formed personal bonds with others (including his own BB, Lou) to the point that even some of the main antagonists, such as Amelie and his father, Clifford, pulled a So Proud of You moment. Apparently, this was also one of Bridget's goals with Sam as well, to have him forge bonds and personal connections with others.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Sam seems less intimidated by the monsters than his cohorts, most likely due to having to deal with them on a daily basis.
  • Cool Bike: He can gain access to a reverse trike that can change between a fast two-wheeled mode and a slower three-wheeled mode to navigate difficult terrain.
  • Cool Shades: Has the "Ludens" model since the start of the game, and gets the "Sam" model after connecting The Filmmaker to the chiral network. Both can be changed to Specs of Awesome in the private room.
  • Courier: His occupation as a "Porter". He's even known specifically as "the man who delivers". Given he's tasked with carrying some truly ridiculous amounts of cargo, on foot, across a Death-Stranded World, it's actually quite a feat.
  • Covered in Scars: Sam suffers many small injuries over the course of the game. In particular he's got permanent bruises on his shoulders from always carrying around heavy cargo without a break.
  • The Cynic: Tying with Knight in Sour Armor below, he's not exactly too keen on the idea of helping Bridges reconnect a fractured America, believing that the mistakes people made when they first attempted to tie everything together with cable will happen again. The only reason he even agrees to try to finish what Amelie started is because he wants to see Amelie again.
    Sam: Covering the world with cable didn't bring an end to war and suffering. Don't act surprised if it all comes apart if you try to do it again!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Sometime before the events of the game, Sam lost his pregnant wife when she died under unknown causes and caused a voidout, completely destroying their hometown. Being the only survivor thanks to his repatriation abilities, Sam was made the scapegoat of the disaster, with people thinking he'd hid his wife's body on purpose. He subsequently becoming a social pariah and forced to leave Bridge. Even when Deadman confronts him about it, Sam curtly feigns ignorance, eventually telling Deadman to "shut the fuck up".
  • Defrosting Ice King: Keeping with the theme of reconnecting and rebuilding, as the journey of reconnecting America goes on, Sam slowly but surely warms up to his fellow Bridge members, even offering emotional support to Fragile while she relays how Higgs forced her into a Sadistic Choice
    Sam to Fragile: "Well there it is, you are a goddamn hero. You did the right thing."
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Sam is a "repatriate," one of the rare few who can return to the land of the living upon death. This even includes being captured by "Catcher"-type entities, which trigger voidouts and leave behind massive craters in the process. As such, Sam's superiors in BRIDGES advise him to avoid dying to BTs, especially if he is near a vital facility.
  • Determinator: Jesus tap-dancing Christ, is he ever. Despite his relentlessly cynical personality, Sam utterly refuses to give up. Ever. It's kind of apparent that a courier kind of has this as a job requirement.
  • Doomed Hometown: Mentioned by Deadman, Sam used to live in "the Satellite Town of UCA-01-002", located near Central Knot City, with his wife Lucy. This town was destroyed when Lucy suddenly committed suicide and caused a voidout, "leaving nothing but a big crater, and [Sam]".
  • Distinguishing Mark: The handprints covering his body, which represent how many times he came back from the Beach. He also has a cross on his stomach where his belly button should be, which is where Briget shot him when he was a baby. Amelie healed it and sent him back, which marked his first repatriation.
  • Driven to Suicide: In "Report #7" by Sam's then-therapist Lucy, she describes how Sam calmly took out a syringe full of poison, injected himself with it, died in front of her, then repatriated. This was Sam demonstrating how the world of the dead literally would not allow him into it.
  • Earned Stripes: For every settlement that achives connection level of five stars you get a star that Sam attaches to the leg of his uniform.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Sam might be an antisocial deliveryman, but even he wouldn't urinate/defecate while other people are around. And he sure as hell won't do it around dead bodies, so stop trying to make him do that.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Sam's been Porter for an unspecified amount of time, but enough for everyone to hold him in high regard. Fragile even calls him "The Man Who Delivers" when they first meet at the start of the game.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Once Sam agrees to help BRIDGES and Amelie, he ties his hair back in a ponytail. After deserting the UCA and saving Lou, he lets his hair back down.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Sam bears a cross-shaped scar in his abdomen, where his belly button should be. It was made by a gunshot wound when Bridget shot him and his father as a baby, and he only survived due to Amelie's intervention.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Sam exposes his injuries to Timefall to accelerate his body's ability to heal them (ex. ripping off a dead toenail and then exposing the gash to the phenomena so he can grow a new one). This also ages him in those areas, but he's rather cynical about the prospect of living a long, natural life anyway.
  • Guttural Growler: Courtesy of Mr. Reedus.
  • Happily Adopted: Zig-Zagged. Sam isn't actually Bridget's son (who couldn't even have children thanks to her uterine cancer), as he was originally a Bridge Baby. His actual parents were his stillmother Lisa and his father Cliff, who attempted to take him away from Bridges after he learned what was going to happen to him. Sam originally had no idea he was adopted and appeared to have had a good relationship with Bridget before things turned sour between them, changing his surname from Strand to Porter.
  • Hates Being Touched: Sam suffers from aphenphosmphobia, the fear of being touched. It is especially noticable early on, where he responds to people holding out their hand to him in greeting with an awkward stare. Other members of BRIDGES speculate that this is why he chose to become an independent courier, as the job requires little if any close human interaction. This may be one of, if not the greatest of, his reasons he only ever interacts with people through holograms. It's noted that chiralium can induce negative effects ranging from phobias to suicidal behavior; indeed, Sam's aphenphosmphobia was born from this. His chiralium allergy also makes some contact feel like poison ivy, leaving a red handprint on him.
  • Improvised Weapon: He can use cargo he is carrying in his hands as a blunt instrument. This will wreck the cargo, but anyone on the receiving end will really feel it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Looks completely identical to Norman Reedus.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Sam is a pretty interesting example, because there's nothing outwardly "feminine" about him. With time, however, the player may notice some specific traits:
    • Sam can fight, and will do this is pushed to, but he doesn't find any joy in it. His first instinct is escaping and avoiding confrontation. He even exhibits this during cutscene conversations; during the one where Fragile tells him about her past, he actively tries to keep distance from her and avoids her gaze by turning his head away. He really doesn't want to dominate anybody, physically or mentally.
    • He isn't emotional, exactly, but that's mostly due to his negative past experiences, and not his gender. He becomes more and more open as the game progresses, comforting Fragile when she tells him about being forced to run through Timefall, shows empathy when Heartman tells him about his family and when he brings Mama's corpse to Lockne. He openly shows care and affection towards Lou pretty much from the start. His empathy is what convinces Amelie to not go forth with the extinction.
    • He immidietly bonds with Lou and never tries to pass her to another character to care for (one exception is when he's preparing for his final confrontation with Higgs and asks Fragile to look after Lou is something happens to him). There's plenty of male characters with a child under their care, but Sam's case is unique, since Lou is just an infant; father's role in taking care of a child is associated with teaching them skills and rules of life, not really something you can do with a baby. At this point of life you can only really cradle and cuddle them, something Sam is more than willing to do.
    • Sam is heavily tied to the imagery of pregnancy and childbirth; he carries Lou in a pod strapped to his stomach, and is connected to her with a synthetic umbilical cord, potentially nourishing her with his blood. The end scene, where Sam takes Lou out of her pod is somewhat reminiscent of childbirth, with the broken pod and amniotic fluid spilled onto the ground.
    • Many of Sam's accesories and tech is reminiscent of futuristic jewelery, the cufflinks and micanga Fragile gives him look like bracelets, while the q-pid and dreamcatcher look like necklaces.
    • Sam if frequently shown crying, most often due to chiral allergies, but still.
    • He's physically delicate, simple touch causes him to bruise.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Fully believes that America is irreparably damaged and people can't reconnect to each other again. Yet he still goes out and makes the deliveries to try to change that. Even when Bridget, Die-Hardman and Amelie try to convince him, he's still not entirely sold on the idea.
  • Knows the Ropes: Sam's first and primary weapon is just a bunch of climbing rope he keeps at his side called a "Strand." He can't lasso enemies like a cowboy, but if he sneaks up behind a bandit he can hog-tie them, or use it as a counterattack against an attacking enemy and then hogtie them. Later he gets a bola gun that ties up enemies automatically from a distance. These weapons are all non-lethal so the enemies don't die and transform into BTs or cause a voidout.
  • Living Battery: This is what he would've been had it not been for his father's attempts to save him. After accidentally getting killed in said attempt, he was no longer viable as a potential Bridge Baby.
  • Man of Kryptonite: As a "repatriate," all his bodily fluids are anathema to the BTs, and being covered in them additionally makes BTs vulnerable to conventional weapons. This later gives him and Heartman the idea of just bottling up all his waste products from showering and going to the toilet to throw at the ghosts, as well as using his blood as a weapon. His Strand and his bola ropes are also woven with his blood so they can be used against BTs (the strand even works as a stealth kill on Cliff's skeletal soldiers!). Later on Mama infuses his cuff-link with a combination of his blood and chiralium so he can slice their umbilical cords.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: His body can be covered in handprints—each marks a "voidout" as a result of being captured by the BTs.
  • Meaningful Name: Sam Porter Bridges is a porter whose deliveries bridge the scattered remnants of human civilization. Formerly, he was a Strand—reflecting his disconnect from humanity. By the end of the game, he leaves the UCA, effectively burning his bridges.
    • His first name, along with his duty of getting cities to join the Chiral Network, brings to mind the image of Uncle Sam.
    • Likely unintentional, but "Sam" means "alone" in multiple slavic languages.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Quite muscular and with the face of Creator/Norman Reedus, you get to watch not one, not two, but THREE separate cutscenes of him naked if you decide to use the shower in the private facilities. It gives you EX granades nr 0, which can be very helpful in getting past BTs, so you're motivated to shower every time you take a break. There are moments in the plot where showering is required, and if you skip the cutscene, you might miss on important informations. There are also his dreams where he's naked on the Beach, but due to everything else going on around him, these are much less appealing in a usual sense.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Less literal than other examples. The placement of the pod on his body and the cord he's connected to it by certanly gives that impression. Other characters seem to view him like that too, to an extent; during the second bossfight with Cliff, Deadman places his hand on the pod connected to Sam's body in a way reminiscent of someone touching a pregnant person's belly. Every time Sam plugs the pod to his suit (when he leaves the private room for example), he visibly flinches. Due to the pod lacking a placenta, it's safe to assume the cord saps blood from Sam's body and feeds it to Lou, taking the pregnancy metaphor further.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He doesn't care about American Reconstructionism and is annoyed by the almost cult-like faith in the idea. The mission to help reconnect the Knots is pushed onto him, and his only motivation is to rescue Amelie.
    "Fuck America."
  • Not So Above It All:
    • He can make goofy faces in the mirror.
    • He can sing a silly song while in a hot spring.
    • After his first meeting with Heartman (which ends with him going back in cardiac arrest), Sam does a record scratch on Heartman's antique record player before leaving.
      "Yeah, boyee."
    • He loses his ice-cold stoicism in the brawl with Higgs. His beatdown is downright brutal and he taunts him throughout.
      "Beg... Scream..."
      "Carry this—Deliver that—"
  • Outliving One's Offspring: In the past, Sam had a child who he was going to name Lou. Sadly, Sam's child died with his wife when the later died, resulting in a voidout. Upon learning this fact, Deadman apologizes to him for being insensitive when he calls the baby by the name Sam would have given his child.
  • Papa Wolf: He gradually becomes attached to the Bridge Baby that he brings with him throughout the game. In the end, he decides to raise the baby as his own after taking the infant out of the pod.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Sam is able to lift 120 kilograms on his person (almost more than twice his weight), unaided, and go hike with it for significant distances, to the point his backpack looks and functions like a loading pallet.
  • Power Armor: He has a low-grade version of this in the form of a few exoskeletons he can equip. One just massively increases his carrying capacity, another makes him run at incredible speed, and the all-terrain skeleton helps him move through snow drifts and up mountainsides quickly.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Sam was originally a prototype Bridge Baby, just like the one currently in his care, and would have been used to power the chiral network. Luckily for him, Cliff wasn't having any of that and tried to take him away from Bridges. The results of Cliff and John's actions were... Mixed, but ultimately, they and Amelie spared Sam from this fate.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He unintentionally delivers one to Die-Hardman when he tries to convince Sam to help reconnect what's left of America. It has a lot more meaning when you learn that Bridget and her team did try to do just this and caused the Death Stranding.
    Sam: Covering the world with cable didn't bring an end to war and suffering. Don't act surprised if it all comes apart if you try to do it again! 'round and 'round it goes... Connect, reconnect—it ain't that simple!
  • Resurrective Immortality: If he dies, he can come back, from nearly anything. We're not sure what it would take to permanently kill him off besides old age, because he can even come back from being at ground zero of a voidout (which normally disintegrates your atoms). Time travel may be involved with this ability, as he will "revive" from a game-over caused by a critical mission failure as well (the tips screen says this is the only way to undo the damage caused by an NPC-BT-voidout).
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He saved Lou from incineration when he realized that the BB was a living being, and also when he pulled her out of her pod at the end of the game. Like father, like daughter.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After finally learning the truth about his parentage in the Good Ending, Sam elects to disconnect himself from his chiral network bracelet, so that he and Lou can live free of government surveillance and control.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • He has two: a picture of him with Bridget and his wife, and a dreamcatcher Amelie gave to him when he was a child.
    • In the ending, his father Cliff gives him his dog tag necklace.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Unlike the Snakes before him, Sam relies on the type of wild, force-filled strikes you expect from a practitioner of Good Old Fisticuffs. It doesn't stop him from punching guys the hell out when it comes to it. And as far as "strong," he carries around an incredible amount of cargo on foot, all the time.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Sam appears completely naked in the first teaser. Subsequent trailers show that whenever he enters the limbo between life and death, he appears this way as well. He'll also undress for showers and hot springs.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: His phobia of being touched is pretty strong, so ghosts that attack you by getting very grabby and covering you with their oily handprints is probably the worst thing for him to encounter.
  • Working-Class Hero: Word of God has described Sam as a blue-collar worker, a stark contrast to the likes of heroes with military backgrounds, such as Solid Snake.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After learning to open up to others and helping to reconnect people for much of the story, Sam leaves the UCA with Lou in disgust after seeing how Bridget/Amelie was manipulating him all along.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In spite of Cliff's best efforts, Sam ultimately becomes crucial to growing the chiral network just like how Bridget intended for him when he was originally going to be just another Bridge Baby.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Sam's hometown was destroyed by a voidout, and he himself was scapegoated, leaving him to wander the post-Stranding wasteland as an independent porter.
  • You're Not My Father: Zig-Zagged. His relationship with Bridget, his adoptive mother, had already deteriorated at present. However, when Sam learns of who his real parents are and Bridget's involvement with them, he accepts the truth about his biological parents but completely rejects Bridget for good by leaving the UCA.

    BB-28 / "Lou"
"We owe the kid our lives."
"Sam, I owe you an apology. Lou was the name you were going to give your own baby, if he'd have made it... I should have pieced it together sooner."

Previously belonging to a Corpse Disposal specialist named Igor Frank, Lou becomes Sam's constant companion in the post-Death Stranding world, named for Sam's dead child. A Bridge Baby, or BB for short, Lou's connection to the "other side" allows Sam to sense and avoid the Beached Things that stalk the landscape.

  • Badass Adorable: Shown to have a temper when they think someone's threatening their owner, like when they flip off Deadman for describing them as "equipment", and does a boxing pose at least once to other offenders. Comes to a head when Sam encounters Higgs at Edge Knot City, when she spins the lights of the Odradek to parry Higgs's gunfire!
  • Cuteness Proximity: While explaining to Sam that Lou is a tool and to not develop an emotional attachment, it appears that not even Deadman can resist, as he starts cooing and waving at them.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after Sam's unborn daughter who died when Lucy died.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Higgs when he tries to hurt Sam.
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: The kid is not able to communicate with you verbally and instead is used as a warning system (by connecting to the Odradek, which makes warning noises and flaps in the direction of BTs).
  • Extremely Protective Child: Sam's main defense against the BTs starts with BB and its ability to warn him about their presence and proximity, but that is mostly unconscious on BB's part. Later on in their confrontation with Higgs, BB/Lou uses the odradek to defend Sam from Higgs' machine gun fire, showing conscious thought to protect her 'father'.
  • Flipping the Bird: If you look closely, Lou does this to Deadman when he dismisses it to Sam as "equipment".
  • Gender-Blender Name: Sam names this BB Lou after his own unborn child. Deadman incorrectly assumes it to have been his son, but it turns out that Lou was short for Louise, which Sam makes BB-28's full first name in the ending.
  • Heroic RRoD: Near the end of the game, Lou nearly dies after she pulls Sam and Fragile back to the world of the living. Fortunately, Sam is able to revive her once he removes her from her pod.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Bridge Babies are physically removed from the wombs of their braindead "stillmothers", and are placed inside portable chambers that BRIDGES personnel connect to in order to sense Beached Things. Needless to say, this is not a pleasant thing for unborn children to experience, so measures are taken to mitigate stress on the BBs, lest they become unpredictable and more prone to failure.
  • Red Herring: The memories of Cliff that Sam experiences when he plugs into Lou's containment unit aren't Lou's. They're Sam's own memories during his short stint as a prototype Bridge Baby.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Not apparent at first, as Sam does occasionally get frustrated with Lou's "malfunctions" and treats them as Deadman once suggested, but Sam does truly care of Lou as they remind him of his deceased child.
  • The Reveal: Once Lou is finally taken out of the pod at the end of the game, it turns out that she's a girl, just like Sam's child turns out to have been.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Bridge Babies remain in service for about a year before they start to suffer from "malfunctions" that render them useless for detecting BTs; since they usually can't survive outside their pods this means that they're euthanized (via incineration) afterwards. Lou was scheduled to be "disposed of" during the prologue after they failed to detect Higgs and the giant BT that ate Igor and destroyed Central Knot City, but formed a unique bond with Sam that allowed them to continue functioning. Lou is officially decommissioned at the end of the story, but the trope is subverted after Sam frees her from the pod.

The United Cities of America / Bridges

    In General 
"Sam, if we don't all come together again, humanity will not survive."

The last remnants of the American federal government, reorganized into a network of loosely aligned city-states across the eastern seaboard. Bridges is the organization dedicated to establishing the UCA and reuniting its people.

  • Authority in Name Only: Despite their pretensions of being a legitimate continuation of the United States, the United Cities face constant threat from terrorists and separatist factions, barely holding on to what little territory they control. Sam bluntly tells Bridget that she's "the President of jack shit."
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Joining the chiral network is optional, but once those cufflinks that connect you to it are attached, you're prohibited from ever taking them off. For your own safety, of course.
  • Big Good: They're one of the few forces in the post-Stranding world trying to rebuild society and change things for the better. This doesn't necessarily mean that they're good guys.
  • Disaster Democracy: A post-apocalyptic continuation of the US government.
  • Fallen States of America: The US has been reduced to a wasteland with the occasional city and town, and apparently not all of these are in good communication with each other. The huge craters left by voidouts in the Midwest seen in the Gamescom 2019 footage have essentially cut off the UCA from the western side of the country.
  • Hereditary Republic: With most of the nation utterly annihilated and the majority of surviving settlements isolating themselves from outside contact, elections and the line of succession aren't exactly a priority. When Bridget dies, Amelie takes over.
  • Properly Paranoid: While many don't appreciate the level of surveillance the UCA keeps on its citizens, this is all but a necessity in the post-Stranding world since a dead body can become a BT within 48 hours and cause a destructive voidout. The fact Central Knot City is destroyed because a dead body was discovered too late is a grim reminder of this.
  • The Remnant: They're all that's left of the old United States.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: While their intentions are noble, their methods aren't always as clean. This is most notable in their borderline-dystopian surveillance policies; citizens are required to wear cufflinks that serve as both a digital multitool and a monitoring device, and are only offered privacy from surveillance when they're in the bathroom. In the end, this and several other revelations drive Sam to desert from their ranks.
  • You Killed My Father: Discovering that Bridges murdered his father and wanted to use him as a battery for the chiral network is what ultimately solidifies Sam's decision to live apart from the UCA in the Good Ending's epilogue.

    Bridget Strand
Played by: Lindsay Wagner
Voiced by: Emily O'Brien (English, young), Kikuko Inoue (JP), Cony Madera (LatAm)

Sam and Amelie's ailing mother, the first and last female President of the United States of America. In the decades following the Death Stranding, she worked to restore the devastated nation, but is now on her deathbed.

  • The Atoner: Her administration spearheaded research into the Other Side in an attempt to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. These experiments ultimately triggered the first voidout and ushered forth the Death Stranding; she has spent her entire life trying to undo the damage she caused. Furthermore, the Epilogue reveals that after Amelie saved him, she raised Sam as her own son as penance for accidentally killing him when she executed his real father (Cliff) for attempting to escape.
  • Big "NO!": Lets one out when she inadvertently kills Cliff's BB, followed by an agonized scream.
  • For Science!: Her intentions with Sam when he was an infant involve this trope. And her reaction when she accidentally killed him isn't only because she murdered a child, but because she also lost a vital research subject.
  • Ill Girl: She has cancer. The Oval Office has more or less been converted into a hospice room for her; when she meets with Sam she's lying in bed, hooked up to life support with a headwrap covering what is presumably treatment-induced baldness.
    • Die-Hardman discovers she can't bear children because she had uterine cancer, which makes him realize that she couldn't have biologically conceived Amelie.
  • Last Request: In the prologue chapter, Bridget, on her deathbed, pleads with Sam to rejoin Bridges and help rebuild America before succumbing to her illness.
  • Literal Split Personality: Something related to her experiments of chiral energy when she was 20 led to her Ha and Ka getting separated, leading to the creation of Amelie. She then created the cover story that Amelie was her daughter.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: She was the previous owner of Die-Hardman's mask, which she used to conceal how badly her degenerative disease was marring her looks. Many of her morally reprehensible deeds were performed while wearing it.
  • Meaningful Name: Bridget. Also, "bridge it".
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • While she had few scruples about killing Cliff, she shows instant remorse when she inadvertently shot and momentarily killed the infant Sam in the process, to the point of outright adopting him as a proper son after Amelie saves him.
    • More generally, her role in the Death Stranding clearly horrified her.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Die-Hardman actively covers up her death out of fear that it will shatter the morale of the UCA.
  • Playing God: After the discovery of the Other Side, she pushed the nation's scientists to research it in an attempt to unlock the collective memories of all life, dating back to the creation of the universe. As it happens, These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, and the experiments ultimately triggered the Death Stranding.
  • Posthumous Character: She dies in the prologue chapter, but her legacy and past actions continue to be a major factor in the story.
  • President Evil: Not actively malevolent, but it takes a certain kind of ruthlessness to personally gun down an otherwise loyal military veteran who had legitimate issues with having his infant son used as a Living Battery. Furthermore, her actions also inadvertently triggered the Death Stranding to begin with and Amelie, her counterpart on the Beach, is an Extinction Entity driven to carry out the Last Stranding.
  • President for Life: The chaos of the Death Stranding saw the suspension of elections; Bridget has been president for decades and remains in office until her death. She also was not elected in the first place, the president died and she was his vice president.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her administration's experiments with the Other Side are what caused the Death Stranding.

Played by: Tommie Earl Jenkins
Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), Gerardo Reyero (LatAm)

The director of Bridges since its first incarnation. Die-Hardman acts as Bridget Strand's second-in-command, carrying on Strand's project following her death. He gives instructions to Sam throughout the game and advises him on how to fulfill his missions.

  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Die Hard-man? However, we later learn this is a codename; his real name is John. Though after you beat the game, you'll receive an interview collectible which details his past, and his full name is listed as John Blake McClane, making the codename appropriately fitting.
  • Badass Normal: In his "If I Don't Come Back" message, he confesses that he's an ordinary human. He doesn't have DOOMS, he doesn't have special powers like Sam and Fragile, and never once has he died and gone to the world of the dead.
  • Casting Gag: Death Stranding has Akio Ohtsuka playing a character who is unfailingly loyal to the kind of legendary soldier he used to voice in previous Kojima games.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: While Die-Hardman's loyalty to Bridget and the UCA is absolute, he is also extremely and equally loyal to his commanding officer Cliff. This causes him to try and help Cliff smuggle his BB away from BRIDGES, even though it would be a major setback to Bridget's project.
  • Cool Mask: Wears a dark navy-blue skull-like mask. It seems to be attached to his face, as the jaw moves with his mouth when he talks; but given how he can take it off it with ease, it's not a surgical addition. It was previously Bridget's mask, granted to him with his identity as Die-Hardman.
  • Expy: Bears a striking resemblance to Black Mask.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: He earned his nickname due to how he always came back alive after seemingly impossible military missions. He confesses at the end that it was his commanding officer, Clifford Unger, who "wouldn't let" him die and brought him back home after every operation.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • He reveals that Bridget had uterine cancer when she was young, meaning that Amelie can't be her biological daughter. He doesn't say what this means for Sam, though...
    • Him emotionally confessing to Sam about how he killed Cliff seems rather open of him... because he's confessing to a certain grown-up ex-BB that he killed said BB's father.
  • Forgiveness: He doesn't understand why Cliff forgave him, believing that he doesn't deserve it after what he's done.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: A very serious example. He sobs loudly after confessing his guilt over Cliff's death.
  • I Owe You My Life: Cliff was his commanding officer and saved him multiple times in the battlefield, something he came to love him for. Die-Hardman's loyalty to America and Bridget is shaken only by his debt to Cliff, leading to him trying to help his former boss escape from BRIDGES with BB.
  • It's All My Fault: Tells Sam that he killed Cliff. This is not actually true: He did literally everything he could to help Cliff and distract his men, but Cliff ended up dying anyway. Cliff's death still eats away at him, and he's blamed himself for it ever since.
  • Karma Houdini: Played With. He never faces any legal repercussions for his complicity in Bridget's unethical BB experiments, eventually becoming the President of the UCA. The rest of the senior BRIDGES staff acknowledge that despite his crimes and now questionable integrity, he's still necessary to keep the UCA going, and they'll work with him if that's what it takes. The reason it is is played with, is that while the world let him off the hook for his crimes, his conscience sure as hell did not.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Describes himself as having been this in his youth, which led to the Reality Ensues of this trope in that his behavior nearly got him killed multiple times and he needed to be saved time and time again by Cliff.
  • Manly Tears: He utterly breaks down while telling Sam about his guilt over Cliff's death.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is a reference to his past military service, where he managed to come back from all of his missions alive no matter how dangerous they were. He admits to Cliff that he'd thought of himself as an action hero, but declares Cliff to be the real hero. His name is both a reference to Cliff "never letting" him die in the field, and that his real name is John Blake McClane.
  • My Greatest Failure: Failing to help Cliff escape with his BB, which he thinks of as killing him himself. Holding the gun that killed him certainly doesn't help.
  • Not So Stoic: He spends most of the game as collected and calm until the last few chapters when his past comes back to haunt him.
  • Secret Keeper: He knew that Sam was a former BB, was Cliff's son, and was adopted by Bridget.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: When an opportunity to invade her Beach appears, Die-Hardman ventures forth to exact revenge upon Bridget for how she made him party to Cliff's murder. It fails to accomplish anything outside of traumatising him further, but Cliff manages to bring him back from the Beach "one last time"; this action and Sam's words afterward both serve to nudge John in the right direction.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As befitting the director of a government agency, he dresses in a suit and tie along with a grey Waistcoat of Style.

Played by: Guillermo del Toro (likeness)
Voiced by: Jesse Corti (EN), Akihiko Ishizumi (JP), Pedro D'Aguillon Jr. (LatAm)

An Artificial Human coroner-turned-doctor in BRIDGES. He acts as one of Sam's advisors during his deliveries.

  • Acrofatic: Despite his plump size, he can move when he has to.
  • Artificial Human: Deadman was not conceived through a sperm and egg, but grown from genetically-modified stem cells. While his creation initially seemed successful, roughly 70% of his organs began to fail over the years, being replaced with transplants from cadavers; and the nature of his "birth" has left him with no connection to the Other Side whatsoever.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Downplayed for his second "visit" to the Beaches. Deadman's curiousity about afterlives and Beaches is not dampened by his experience in the World War II-era mass Beach, but he nonetheless found the experience "awful" and was clearly affected by it. The only reason he didn't "hate it" was because he knew that someone—Sam—was coming to get them out of this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Along with Lou, he crosses over to Amelie's beach to pull Sam back into the world of the living.
  • Character Development: He goes from being reluctant over Lou being spared as he believes they have outlived their usefulness, to coming to care for them and being reluctant to put her down when it seems she is dying. He also starts as being loyal to BRIDGES and the UCA to hinting to Sam on how to defy them.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: A slightly Downplayed mix of this and Ink-Suit Actor. The character's likeness was directly contributed by Guillermo del Toro, but the actual performance and voice were provided by Jesse Corti. This was consciously done as Del Toro was far too busy to do the performance himself, though Corti is very clearly doing a Del Toro impersonation.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: One who's better put together than most, being mostly created from artificially grown flesh instead of cadaver parts, but he's still a patchwork homunculus whose unnatural birth leaves him isolated from the people around him. He even directly compares himself to the trope namer, and his forehead has the stitches often associated with that character.
  • Friendless Background: Because his Artificial Human origins left him without a soul, not to mention alienating people who know about it and his replacement organs, Deadman has spent his life wanting for connections to others. Sam is his first real friend.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Sports a ghastly scar across his forehead, hinting that his head was literally cut open at one point or that his face is a transplant. Him being an Artificial Human and Frankenstein's Monster might have something to do with it.
  • The Lancer: The Otacon to Sam's Snake, if you will. They strike up an Odd Friendship over the course of the game and he's his staunchest ally throughout — notably, alongside Heartman, he's the only of Sam's associates to never lie to him or withhold information. His status is cemented at the end of the game, when he indirectly advises Sam on how to defy Bridges and Sam gives him a parting hug of his own volition, thanking him for everything.
  • Meaningful Name: Deadman's name is a reference to his former occupation as a coroner, the fact that up to 70% of his current organs were harvested from cadavers, and his existence as "a soulless meat puppet". Crosses over into Ironic Name, as he's never actually died himself.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: At the beginning of Chapter 6, he has Sam join him in the shower (just so you know, clothed) so that BRIDGES can't surveillance their conversation, but he gets awfully close to Sam while talking to him much to the other's discomfort.
  • Non-Action Guy: Deadman is a fat mature man with no training whatsoever, so when he's dragged into a Beach recreating a World War II-era battlefield, the best he can do is to run and hide. When Sam tells him to protect BB, Deadman scoffs at the idea of resisting the enemy.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Downplayed. At the end of the game, he won't outright turn against BRIDGES and the UCA, but he turns Sam's cufflinks offline before he goes to incinerate a dying Lou (he would try to see if Lou could survive outside its pod, but he refuses to do himself because that would be illegal) and tells him that the UCA won't know where he is until he activates the incinerator, after which his cufflinks will return online. He then tells Sam that he hopes he remembers what he said, which Sam realizes is a hint to burn his cufflinks so that he can desert with Lou.
  • The Soulless: Because he's an Artificial Human who was assembled instead of born, he doesn't have a Ka; thus, he cannot access the afterlife without outside assistance. Unlike most examples, this doesn't make him evil. Deadman is a perfectly well-adjusted guy — just lonely, alienated, and curious about souls and the afterlife.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: He works with BRIDGES, but he has suspicions about them, Die-Hardman, and Bridget. His suspicions turn out to be correct, although Die-Hardman is less of a threat than he knows.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Deadman warns Sam against getting attached to his Bridge Baby, because they only last a year and they know so little about how they "work". He specifically refers to them as tools, and cautions Sam against developing an emotional attachment to his BB. The colder aspects of this behavior are revealed to be something of a ruse to keep Bridges unaware of his investigations due to every member being under surveillance. Eventually, Deadman fully comes around to Sam's line of thinking about little Lou.
    • Deadman himself is an Artificial Human, who has no Ka or Beach of his own. Consequently, he's wanted to learn more about the connections and Beaches of others, but never had a chance before getting to know Sam.

    Samantha America "Amelie" Strand
"You have no idea who I am... do you?"
Played by: Lindsay Wagner (likeness)
Voiced by: Emily O'Brien (EN), Kikuko Inoue (JP), Cony Madera (LatAm)

"Humans weren't made to be alone. They're made to work together."

Sam’s estranged sister, who inherits their mother’s position as President of the UCA. She led an expedition west three years prior to the beginning of the game to reestablish contact with surviving settlements, but was captured by Homo Demens, held captive in Edge Knot City as a bargaining chip to ensure their independence. Sam is tasked with continuing her work and rescuing her.

  • The Ageless: According to her and Die-Hardman in the Briefing Trailer, Amelie hasn't aged since she last saw Sam ten years ago. This is because her physical body is on the Beach. But in actuality, she never had a physical body, being a disembodied half of Bridget’s spirit that never existed in the world of the living, being trapped on her Beach.
  • Anti-Villain: She's the sixth Extinction Entity, so she's destined to end the world/universe in the Last Stranding, but she has mixed feelings about it (on one hand, she wants humanity to be together and advance; on the other hand, she sees no point in delaying the inevitable, that is, death) and wants Sam to kill her to prevent it.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: She's the sixth Extinction Entity of Earth, destined to bring about the Last Stranding.
  • Big Bad: She is the ultimate villain of the game, being behind Higgs' actions and manipulating Sam to "rescue" her to complete the Chiral Network, which will allow her to fulfill her purpose and wipe out all life in the Last Stranding. However, she is also reluctant to end it all, and Higgs, while subservient to her will, is more evil than she is and much more willing to end the world, and is the main driver of the conflict, though Amelie is still the instigator and takes direct responsibility for the reason things unfold the way they do throughout the game.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Sam manages to talk her down from starting the Last Stranding, she explains that while the final extinction is inevitable, she'll hold off on doing it because this is what he's proven that this is truly what he wants, even if this means she'll be stranded on the Beach for however long it takes for the next extinction to come.
  • The Corrupter: It turns out that Higgs’s current insanity is due to Amelie corrupting him with her power, which led to the creation of the Homo Demens to assist her goal in activating the Last Stranding.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • She spends most of the game in Edge Knot City as a hostage by the Homo Demens. Sam's main goal is to rescue her. Turns out this isn't quite the case.
    • At one point, Higgs physically holds her hostage with a "controller" BT, requiring Sam to defeat it to save her, although she's still in Higgs' custody at the end of the battle. And later, Sam has to fight Higgs on the Beach to rescue her again.
  • Dead All Along: Or rather, Never Alive All Along. After investigating further, Die-Hardman finds out that Amelie as a person never existed. There are no records pertaining to her life, nobody has actually seen her in person, and anybody that could corroborate her existence have conveniently ended up dead. It later turns out she's only a spirit who has never left her Beach, only projecting herself into the world of the living as a chiral hologram.
  • Death Glare: She throws a haunting look (with Tears of Blood) at Sam if he doesn't stop her from ending the world.
  • Evil All Along: She initially maintains that she wants to take over the Presidency and carry on Bridget's legacy during Sam's briefing, and even after Higgs reveals she's an Extinction Entity, she insists that she doesn't want to fulfill that role and wants humanity to survive. It later becomes clear that her intentions are far darker when it's revealed that she corrupted Higgs to begin with and was always destined to unleash the Last Stranding so long as her Beach remained connected. In the end, it's Zig-Zagged as while some of the things she told Sam were flat-out lies (being imprisoned in Edge Knot City, or planning to take over the Presidency) she still shows a reluctance to unleash the apocalypse, and wants Sam to talk her out of it.
  • The Fatalist: She knows that the Last Stranding is inevitable and that knowledge, as well as her fate, makes her not want to delay it any longer. Sam eventually turns her into The Anti-Nihilist by showing that there is meaning in life and connecting.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Amelie's not lying when she says she wants humanity to survive, but she's so certain she doesn't have a choice that she works towards the Last Stranding anyway.
  • Gilded Cage: Homo Demens doesn't keep her locked up, and even allows her to freely contact the outside and continue governing the UCA - but she cannot leave Edge Knot City. It turns out she’s not really imprisoned there.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If told she should indefinitely delay the Last Stranding, she cuts off her connection to the mortal world, condemning her to And I Must Scream fate of being trapped in the Beach.
  • Lack of Empathy: Deconstructed. Her actions, while certainly manipulative and almost callous, are a result of her empathy for humanity breaking her. She dissociates so hard that she stops seeing the point of living.
  • Literal Split Personality: She's not Bridget's daughter. She's actually her Ka.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She’s the one who corrupted Higgs and created the Homo Demens, using them to set up a false narrative where she was the Damsel in Distress so that Sam would journey across the continent and connect all of the cities to the chiral network and unwittingly allow Amelie to enact the Last Stranding, knowing that Sam would be willing to do it for her sake. On the other hand, she selects Sam as the one to do it because of her conflicting desires to either end the world or see humanity come together, as he is the only one who can convince her to not go through with it.
  • Meaningful Name: The launch trailer reveals that her name is America—after Amerigo Vespucci, the man who first discovered the American continent, and who it was named after. Her nickname is also rather meaningful as it's made up of "Ame" (which is French for "soul") and "Lie" as in a lie.
    • Her last name, Strand, means "beach" in the Scandinavian languages.
  • Mercy Kill: She believes that the Last Stranding needs to be done sooner or later because death is inevitable anyways, so it'd be better to Face Death with Dignity as opposed to pathetically struggling to survive until it reaches a quiet death.
  • Morality Pet: Sam. She even decides to hold off on ending the world if that's what he wants, ignoring that this will strand her on the Beach forever and that she'll never see him again.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Amelie, along with Bridget, is the mastermind behind most of the events in the game, including the Bridge Baby experiments, the inadvertent unleashing of the Death Stranding, and the terrorist attacks committed by Higgs and the Homo Demens, and as the sixth Extinction Entity, she plans on causing the Last Stranding, believing that if the extinction of all life is inevitable, she may as well hasten it. However, Higgs serves as the direct threat for most of the game, as a result of Amelie giving him his DOOMS ability to control BTs, and the closest thing the player can get to directly fighting her is shooting her on her Beach, which only convinces Amelie to go through with her plan.
  • Powerful and Helpless: She has immense power - she can grant DOOMS powers and amplify them to intense levels and she can even resurrect people - but a lot of the game's drama comes from her interventions. And at the end of the day, she cannot permanently stop the Last Stranding - at best, she can delay it.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: She's the embodiment of the final end of the world, but she really doesn't want to be - she only works towards it to get it over with, and she's more than willing to be talked into a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • So Proud of You: When Sam talks her down from ending the world, she tells him that she's proud of him for connecting people and thanks him.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: In her youth, she's had nightmares of previous extinctions, which she later learned was signs that her destiny is to cause the last extinction. She doesn't want to decimate all life, but death will catch up with everyone at one point and she hates herself for prolonging it as opposed to doing it swiftly.
  • Tears of Blood: If Sam doesn't convince her to stop the Last Stranding, she looks at him while shedding tears of blood as the end of the world commences.
  • Time Abyss: When Sam talks her down from commencing the Last Stranding, she explains that this means she will have to wait on the Beach until the time is right, which could be tens of thousands of years, as she puts it.
  • Time Dissonance: She never ages, she can see every single Stranding and the Beach has no concept of time, where she spends most of her existence - and if she cuts off her Beach from the others to delay the Last Stranding, she will never experience it again. She admits to Sam that her relationship with time contributed to her gradual detachment from humanity and desire to just end it all.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: She shapeshifts into Higgs at certain points when he's confronting Sam, and also shapeshifts into Bridget when Die-Hardman finds his way to her Beach.
  • Xanatos Gambit: It's revealed that Amelie's ultimate plan to enact the Last Stranding relies upon the chiral network coming fully online. To achieve this, she creates the Homo Demens and fakes being a Damsel in Distress, which is the only thing that will convince Sam to travel across the continent and activate the network terminals on the way. However, due to her conflicting desires to both start and delay the Last Stranding, she chooses Sam as the one to make the journey since he's the only person that can convince her not to go through with it.
  • Walking Spoiler: Incase the numerous spoiler tags don't give it away. Amelie's true nature has a vast impact on the game's plot and late story events which makes it difficult to discuss anything related to her without spoiling the final episodes.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Lampshaded and deliberately invoked. Amelie outright calls herself Princess Peach and Sam "Mario." And just after this exchange, she is indeed put out of your reach by shoving you back into the physical world after some weird shit with Cliff, Die-Hardman and President Strand happens.

"Defecation, ablution, nutrition… most of life's basic functions can fit into a 21-minute time slot."
Played by: Nicolas Winding Refn (likeness)
Voiced by: Darren Jacobs (EN), Hochu Otsuka (JP), José Antonio Macías (LatAm)

A member of BRIDGES and one of the foremost researchers into the Beach and BTs. His heart stops every twenty-one minutes before he's revived three minutes later by an AED device strapped to his chest.

  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The cavalierness with which he treats his numerous daily deaths is frankly astonishing, given that minutes spent without any kind of blood flow can cause massive tissue damage throughout the brain and organs due to the lack of oxygen, and the suddenness with which it resumes would cause even more damage to the slowly necrotizing tissues. Suffice to say that he should have truly died a long time ago just from repeated brain damage caused by his numerous, predictable instances of sudden cardiac arrest. It's possible that the Death Stranding's effects—humankind being abandoned by the cycle of life and death—are what's keeping his body from shutting down entirely while he's dead, which would justify this predicament.
    • Him having a literal heart-shaped heart (myocardial cordiformia) isn't a real condition. It would be categorized as a cardiac malformation.
  • Blessed With Suck: How he views his condition, as shown by the above quote. Most people would've been driven mad with the knowledge that they will die every twenty-one minutes without fail and spend three minutes in the world of the dead, but he's gotten used to it now and uses his three minutes of death to look for A.) something on the other side that could aid in BRIDGES's mission, and B.) his dead family. Heartman even mentions that most of his hobbies and daily needs can fit into his "schedule" rather nicely. He does, however, mention that his condition makes sleeping difficult since he know he's going to be woken up by a shock to the heart every twenty-four minutes. There's also the matter of sexual intercourse, but being in his position, it's not something he has to concern himself with.
  • Crazy-Prepared: A close look at his quarters when Sam meets him in person shows that all his walls and surfaces are padded with foam in the event that he's standing up when he dies, so as not to hurt himself from falling over. Point proven when he "dies" at the end of their conversation after he forgets he muted his alarm, leading to him collapsing onto the floor, which fortunately is a padded air mat.
  • Death Seeker: He has elements of this. Heartman explains that his primary motivation isn't restoring America, but to find his family on the Beach and move on to the afterlife with them. He also admits that he treats the 21 minutes of life as just downtime in the search for his family.
  • Dying Alone: This is his greatest fear. Since it's already proven that every individual human has their own Beach, logic dictates that everybody has their own version of the afterlife, too. Heartman is terrified of the possibility that he may move on to a different afterlife than that of his family, which is why he is so focused on finding them.
  • It's All My Fault: He blames himself and his heart condition for the death of his family. While he was in the hospital to get his condition treated, his family went home to retrieve some of his possessions, and they were caught in a voidout.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Despite being precluded from extended bouts of enjoying said finer things, he has a great appreciation for music, film, the arts, and other aspects of the pre-Death Stranding cultures. He even has an extensive collection of short films and stories, everything he can enjoy in under his 21 minutes of life.
  • Meaningful Name: Crosses over into Ironic Name. Heartman's heart keeps stopping every 21 minutes, needing a machine to restart it. Heartman's eponymous cardiac muscle is literally heart-shaped due to a rare deformity, which explains his unusual condition.
  • Nice Guy: Heartman is extremely polite and nice to Sam, even giving him likes when Sam answers a question right. Just don't mess with his record player.
  • Not So Above It All: Double Subverted. When Sam does a record scratch on his antique record player, he somehow docks some of his likes for Sam despite being clinically dead at that moment. However, he immediately returns those likes by giving a thumbs-up over his chest. While he's still clinically dead!
  • The Smart Guy: Heartman is extremely knowledgeable about BTs and the Beach, as well as paleontology and biology. Thanks to his multidisciplinary knowledge, he's able to formulate concrete theories about the Death Stranding as Sam delivers the smallest clues to him.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He wears thick square glasses to denote his status as one of the smartest people Sam meets.

    Målingen "Mama"
"She's my daughter. And... I'm her Mama."

Played by: Margaret Qualley
Voiced by: Maaya Sakamoto (JP), Marisol Romero (LatAm)

An affiliate of BRIDGES who was part of the organization's first expedition to the west and who settled down in a personal lab near South Knot City. She's a genius engineer who designed the hardware for the Q-pid Sam uses to activate the chiral network, among other things.

  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Downplayed. When she dies, her soul gets absorbed into Lockne and tethered to her. This allows her to not only live on through her twin, but also to wander the Beaches, which proves instrumental in saving Sam at the end of the game.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: After she dies, Mama's body stays in perfect condition. Neither does her corpse decompose nor do the symptoms of necrosis appear on her. Heartman and Deadman discover that she has high amounts of chiralium in each of her cells, which causes her body to be preserved for eternity.
  • Dead All Along: Prior to the start of the game, Mama was in a hospital prepared to get a C-section but a terrorist attack resulted in her and her baby getting pinned under the rubble of the destroyed hospital. While she should've died normally, giving birth to a BT instead allowed her to appear alive (albeit, now tethered to the hospital along with her baby) and she hides this fact by keeping one of her cuff links off to hide her vital signs. Having Sam sever the umbilical cord between her and her baby allows her to finally pass on properly.
  • Disney Death: Right after her physical body dies, her consciousness is restored inside of Lockne when the sisters merge together. Her soul still retains a level of autonomy, as she temporarily separates from Lockne to search for Sam in the ending.
  • Emotionless Girl: Mama is extremely cold and the best reaction Sam can get out of her is a retort most of the time. Her lack of emotion is explained as her soul being technically dead and connected to a BT. However, Sam cuts off the link with the baby and she regains her ability to feel emotions again.
  • Extra Parent Conception: Mama was never pregnant with her own baby since her body can't produce eggs. Instead, she served as the surrogate mother for Lockne's child, being implanted with one of Lockne's fertilized eggs.
  • Foreshadowing: Her backstory has her drinking timefall rain with no issue because her child stabilized her body, with so much chiralium in her cells she will never decompose.
  • Irony: Acknowledges the irony that she works for Bridges, yet is scared of actual bridges, a fear she acquired with a terrorist attack literally dropped a bridge on her and her unborn kid.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Målingen is named after the Målingen crater found in Sweden, located near the Lockne crater, the namesake of her twin sister.
    • Likewise, her codename "Mama" comes from the fact that she's a mother of a baby BT.
  • Meganekko: The only female character shown to wear glasses.
  • Mercy Kill: She eventually instructs Sam to sever her connection to her BT baby, so that the both of them can move on.
  • Tragic Stillbirth: Her baby died in her womb after she was stuck under some rubbles, but the connection between her and her infant has remained. Thus, she's stuck linked to a baby BT who's roaming near her at all times.
  • Traumatic C-Section: Subverted. She was waiting to get a C-section, but then the hospital she was in collapsed from a terrorist voidout and she ended up giving birth to a BT baby while trapped under the rubble.
  • Twin Telepathy: Målingen and Lockne used to be able to feel each other's thoughts and emotions. But this connection was severed after the former was caught in rubble, but the latter didn't know that and assumed she had intentionally cut her off to run off with their child.


Played by: Margaret Qualley

Mama's twin sister who designed the Q-pid's software.

  • Meaningful Name: Like her sister, she's named for a crater in Sweden, which is located near the Malingen crater.
  • Mismatched Eyes: After Mama dies and her soul merges with Lockne, she has one blue eye and one green eye.
  • Two Siblings In One: Lockne absorbs Mama's consciousness after she dies, allowing her to continue living inside the same body.

"The timefall fast-forwards everything it touches... but it can't wash everything away."
Played by: Léa Seydoux
Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (JP), Annie Rojas (LatAm)

"I'm Fragile... but not that fragile."

The CEO of FRAGILE Express, a delivery company founded by her father. Once a major courier company in the midwest, the organization fell on hard times after a group of employees, led by Higgs, committed a terrorist attack on behalf of Homo Demens.

  • Best Served Cold: She finally gets her revenge on Higgs when he is defeated by Sam. Instead of just straight up killing him, Fragile presents Higgs with a Sadistic Choice of her own: Either commit suicide or stay stranded on Amelie's Beach forever.
  • Blood Magic: Teleporting uses up some of her blood, which is probably one of the reasons she eats the cryptobiotes like popcorn constantly.
  • Body Horror: She was drenched in the timefall some time ago, as a result she has the face of a young woman but a shriveled, elderly body.
  • Butter Face: Inverted. She has the face of a young woman, but her body from the neck down is withered and aged because she was soaked from the neck down in a timefall.
  • Catch Phrase: "I'm Fragile...but not that fragile." Also becomes a Survival Mantra she uses to psyche herself up when Higgs makes her run through Timefall in her underwear with a bomb.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mostly acts rather chipper in spite of the fact that the world has been subjected to an eldritch apocalypse. For starters, she walks around with an umbrella-like gadget like she's Mary Poppins, and she eats fetus-looking cryptobiotes like they're a delectable snack.
  • Commonality Connection: Seems to have one with Sam over their DOOMS condition—he gets unusually talky and she visits his quarters in person at least once.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Like Sam, she doesn't seem that very intimidated by the monsters, again, probably because she has to deal with it on a regular basis.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: She wears a black leather suit with a matching spiked jacket, but is on the side of good.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Appears to be one to Sam, being a package carrier who's gotten acclimated to the monsters she confronts daily.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Fragile wears a skintight leather suit which emphasizes her silhouette. Justified in that it's to cover her timefall-damaged body.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Non-lethal version. She broke her body by getting soaked in timefall to save South Knot City from a nuclear explosion.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Fragile is reviled by most of the populace for associating with terrorists and causing the destruction of Middle Knot City. However, it was Higgs' fault and she saved South Knot City at the cost of her body, ready to accept being seen as the villain while she carried a portable nuclear bomb away from the city through a timefall, without protection.
  • No, You: After Higgs is defeated, he calls her "damaged goods." After punching him, Fragile says "No, you're damaged goods."
  • Parasol of Prettiness: She carries a futuristic looking umbrella with her to protect herself from the timefall.
  • Sadistic Choice: Higgs presented her with one in the past: either be complicit in South Knot City's destruction by inaction, or destroy her body by running through timefall to save it. She eventually gets to gives him his very own: either be trapped on the Beach, forever, or commit suicide.
  • Shameful Strip: After Higgs betrayed her, he had her stripped of most of her clothes and gave her an ultimatum: run through the timefall with nothing but a mask to save a city from a nuke, or teleport away and leave the city to its fate. She chose the former, resulting in her condition.
  • Ship Tease: With Sam. At the end, it doesn't go anywhere, since even after reconnecting humanity and getting over his fear of touch, Sam is still too traumatized to remain in contact.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Very pretty, slender and carrying a Parasol of Prettiness. She's also an incredibly hard worker, who keeps delivering cargo to people who consider her a terrorist after she was framed and specifically asks Sam to not kill Higgs during their final confrontation, because she wants to do this herself.
  • Teleportation: Fragile can go to the Beach (or at least, her own version of the Beach), teleporting herself across long distances without having to cross the dangerous wasteland. As such, she specializes in light, fragile cargo that regular couriers like Sam can't reliably deliver.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She snacks on cryptobiotes like candy; this helps her recover from using her teleportation powers. She offers Sam a few of them over the course of the game, and when he finally accepts it's symbolic of their deepening friendship.
  • The Gadfly: She's a bit of a troll and likes to push The Stoic Sam's buttons, often while wearing a shit-eating grin.
  • Warp Whistle: Her teleportation also extends to transporting other people; after they team up she offers this service to Sam, allowing him to teleport to chiral network nodes.
  • Working-Class Hero: Is in the same delivery profession as Sam, though her cargo usual consists of less-durable objects.

    Igor and Viktor Frank 
Two minor members of Bridges that Sam encounters early in the game. Igor is part of the Corpse Disposal team, while Viktor is the Bridges member assigned to represent Port Knot City.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Igor tosses Sam his Bridge Baby so that it's not lost to the BTs.
  • Mauve Shirt: Igor's comments establish that he lived in America before the Death Stranding changed everything, before he is killed by a massive BT. Granted, he didn't mention his older brother Viktor.
  • Meaningful Name: Viktor and Igor's names are a Shout-Out to Frankenstein. Igor's in particular is appropriate for someone who handles dead bodies, and Viktor Frank is missing the "-enstein", which would have made the reference very obvious. That said, they have little to do with Deadman, himself a Frankenstein's Monster reference.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Aside of being the one who gives Sam his BB, Igor's death establishes just how dangerous the post-Stranding world is when a massive BT devours him, turning Central Knot City into a crater. Sam talks about him to Victor when the latter recognizes the Ludens toy on his BB pod.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: If not for Igor, Sam and BB-28 would never have met, let alone forged their connection that persists throughout the game.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The Ludens keychain decoration, attached to Lou's pod. Igor and Viktor each have one, and it's thanks to this that Viktor recognizes the Ludens figurine and learns of Sam's involvement of his little brother's death.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted with Viktor, who isn't really mentioned after Sam departs for Lake Knot City. Viktor is mentioned by Deadman after Sam's final battle with Cliff: when Sam reappeared just outside of Port Knot, Viktor found him and brought him and BB to his assigned private room. Which was nice of him, considering the conditions outside.

    Lucy Strand 
Sam's therapist and later wife, who passed prior to Sam's return to BRIDGES.
  • Adult Fear: Your pregnant wife mysteriously dies, taking your entire town with her, and you return home to only devastation. And it was your manipulative mother's fault.
  • Driven to Suicide: Bridget told her the truth about the Death Stranding to goad her into committing suicide.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After becoming pregnant with her and Sam's baby, she started getting visions of the Last Stranding. Bridget told her what this meant, leading to Lucy killing herself to spare herself the pain and agony.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Lucy, the name given to a famous early human ancestor.
    • Her name is also derived from "light", which befits how she was a light in the dark for the troubled Sam.
  • Posthumous Character: She died before the events of the game.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She's a Posthumous Character, but the death of her and the baby weigh heavily on Sam's mind, which is why he left BRIDGES I ten years before the story and is why he's quick to attach himself to Lou.

Homo Demens

    In General 
"I've heard of 'em. Bunch of terrorists who go around towns killing people, leaving craters."

A domestic terrorist organization from Edge Knot City that fiercely opposes the United Cities of America. Notably, they are only united by a shared ideology; they lack a formal structure, and every cell is self-sufficient.

  • Apocalypse Cult: They are a smokescreen for Amelie who want her to usher the Death Stranding.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Their goal is to destroy what's left of the American federal government so that Edge Knot City can remain isolated and independent.
  • Meaningful Name: Homo demens is an obscure alternate name for Homo sapiens, meaning "mad man," in the original context specifically in the sense of humans being the only creatures who have irrational delusions. It also sounds like "demons".
  • Suicide Attack: Part of their modus operandi. They essentially "grief" the world by engineering voidouts, with its "bombers" taking their own lives and making sure that their bodies aren't found until it's too late.

    Higgs Monaghan
"No biggie. We can always tweak the rules a bit..."
Played by: Troy Baker
Voiced by: Satoshi Mikami (JP), Idzi Dutkiewicz (LatAm)

A former FRAGILE Express courier whose unusually strong connection to the Other Side drove him mad, leading him to betray his boss and join Homo Demens.

  • A God Am I: He's developed some delusions of grandeur, claiming to be “the particle of God that permeates all existence”.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He gleefully imagines himself as an unstoppable villain, though his actual influence is not as much as he thinks.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: He uses a golden chiralium assault rifle in addition to his gold mask. Completing a post-game delivery lets Sam use these weapons as well.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He absolutely revels in the destruction he causes. He wasn't always like that though, according to Fragile.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Exhausted and lying down on the Beach after Sam defeats him in his final boss fight, Fragile approaches him and, in spite of him insulting her, she reaches down to caress his face, to his shock. Only to get a face full of fist. Only his journal entries from postgame provide context: he used to be physically beaten by his uncle, so that reaction was partially because he wasn't used to being touched that gently.
  • Climax Boss: Sam finally gets to fight him near the end of the game and his final phase is a Good Old Fisticuffs No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and Fragile knocks him out cold.
  • Cool Mask: On top of giving Higgs a rather intimidating appearance, it also crosses over with Mask of Power.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Journals found in post-game reveal that he was raised by his abusive uncle after his parents died when he was very young. After he realized that his situation wasn't normal, he prepared to escape their bunker, but was caught. As his uncle beat him up, Higgs finally snapped and killed him in self-defense, then had to carry his corpse up to an incinerator. And of course, we know it gets worse from there...
  • Despair Event Horizon: Twice over, both times due to Amelie. First, his transformation from courier to terrorist mastermind was driven by knowing that Amelie was inevitably going to wipe out all earthly life. Later, after Amelie revokes the power boost she granted him, his final journal entry has him ruminating on the pointlessness of his own actions.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Higgs serves as the main antagonist for the majority of the game, finally being defeated on The Beach by Sam in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, before the rest of the game focuses on Sam's relationships with Amelie and Cliff. However, he is the closest thing the game has to a main villain, as unlike Amelie and Cliff, his goals are decidedly more simple and evil compared to them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: He made Fragile strip down to her skivvies and did permanent damage to her body (that is, aging her body to that of an elderly woman by way of Timefall), and brags about how she became "damaged goods" by his hand.
  • The Dragon: Late in the game, it's revealed that Amelie is the true leader of the Homo Demens, and Higgs was merely converted into serving her will to activate the Last Stranding.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: He's still the primary driver of Homo Demens' real purpose, and is far more actually malevolent than his ostensible boss; at several portions of the game, he seems to actively nudge Amelie back into her role as the Extinction Entity by putting his mask on her - it's later revealed she lets it happen, but she's still the one who has more doubts than he ever did.
  • Driven to Suicide: He kills himself after Sam and Fragile spare him to be left on the Beach.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: His natural DOOMS abilities are actually weaker than Fragile’s. He only became a Level Seven after meeting Amelie.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He honestly does not understand why anyone else would, faced with inevitable mass extinction of all known life, would decide to still delay it. Ultimately subverted in the end where Sam choses to convince Amelie to seal herself away, whereupon he does realize even a temporary stay of death is a worthy enough goal, and it breaks him to realize how pointless his actions were when he could have tried to seal away Amelie himself.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sam as a well-known porter who was chosen by Amelie to spread her influence across America, but when Sam keeps uniting the isolated cities and brings them into the UCA, Higgs sows destruction and chaos to bring about the Sixth Extinction and destroy what's left of the continent.
  • Evil Is Petty: In addition to his countless atrocities throughout the story, the post-game reveals that he's the one who kept sending you those incredibly-difficult pizza delivery missions, just to fuck with you.
  • Evil Wears Black: He's a member of the Homo Demens and he seems to find summoning Animalistic Abominations to kill Sam to be all in good fun, all the while wearing a dark coat.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He was once a successful porter who made deliveries to help people and build a community. He then met Amelie, and submitted to her after she broke him with knowledge of the Last Stranding.
  • Fan of the Past: In particular, Ancient Egypt. His shoulder has a pharaoh's crown symbol, the inner lining of his cloak is patterned after nemes (a striped head-cloth worn by pharaohs) and his room even has what looks like a copy of King Tutankamen's bust. This is probably a combination of his fascination with death and gold stuff.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Maintains a jovial attitude towards Sam, even when trying to kill him.
  • Foil: Both he and Sam began as porters. Higgs’ successes and admiration from the communities inflated his ego but made him susceptible to a fall to madness after he met Amelie. Sam managed to remain humble and remember the purpose of helping connect others, and chose to carry on living even after learning of Amelie's true nature.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: He spends much of the first phase of his boss fight teleporting away from Sam and spraying him with gunfire. After taking enough damage, he drops this tactic in favor of teleporting near Sam to slash him with a knife.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The truth about the Final Standing stranding utterly broke him. Realizing that a final extinction event was inevitable, he surrendered to his darker impulses and became a full-blown maniac hell-bent on personally driving humanity to the brink of oblivion.
  • Graceful Loser: Subverted. He seems resigned to his fate when Sam beats the shit from him and they lie together on the shore for a while. They even share a chuckle when Higgs tells sam that for all his fear of touch, he went really touchy-feely on him. Once Fragile appears, he immediately tries to pull a fast one with his DOOMS powers to no avail.
  • The Heavy: Higgs is the primary driver of the central conflict of the story; Cliff is tangentially involved and just wants to see his son one last time, and while Amelie is nominally the leader of Homo Demens and set the groundwork for the Last Stranding, her need to maintain her cover and her inner turmoil over whether to end the world ahead of schedule leaves her direct involvement as an antagonist minimal.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Downplayed. He doesn't show any interest in redemption other than minimal Heel Realizations that you would have to look very closely for. The closest you'd get to this is his surprised reaction to Fragile gently caressing his face after he namecalls her in the aftermath of his final boss fight... only for her to punch him down, showing that no, she doesn't forgive him and he got his just desserts.
  • Human Notepad: Higgs has an unidentified mathematical formula tatooed on his forehead.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: If you know what Troy Baker looks like, you will be immediately suspicious of the package given to you by the man in the Bridges uniform in Chapter 3.
  • In the Hood: His cloak has one that manages to hide that his mask only covers his jaw.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Post-game journals reveal that even though he was a "good guy" before he met Amelie, he still had issues to start with due to his Dark and Troubled Past, and that went From Bad to Worse once Amelie convinced him that life is pointless.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Among Higgs' character tics is his habit of pointing out how much the story looks like a videogame, with his summoning of BTs being linked to boss battles and him comparing the possibility of Sam failing to save the world being a "final game over".
  • Large Ham: Very boisterous and over-the-top, but no less menacing or dangerous.
  • Lecherous Licking:
    • Does this to Fragile when she gets held captive by them and has her stripped.
    • Also does this to Sam once they've both made it to Edge Knot City.
  • Mask of Power: His golden skull mask appears to be one, as it can be used to summon giant BTs. Unlike other examples of the trope, Higgs uses his mask by pulling it off and waving it in simple (easy-to-read) motions.
    • He can also make other people, like Amelie and Sam, wear his gold mask. And judging by Sam's reaction, it's a painful experience.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • He is named for the Higgs-boson particle. As he puts it, "The particle that penetrates all of God's domain!"
    • His alter-ego's name, "Peter Englert," is a portmanteau of "Peter Higgs" and "Francois Englert," two of the theorists who isolated the Higgs-boson.
  • Multilayer Façade: Underneath his golden mask is a black one that covers his entire face, seemingly for protection.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If anything, one of the things written on the walls of his shelter reads "Fragile, forget you ever met me."
  • Obviously Evil: The guy has serious grim reaper vibes going about him and actively revels in the carnage he creates.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: His main goal is to finish what the Death Stranding started and seize control of an Extinction Entity, coupled with the network Sam was building throughout the game, to usher the end of the world and more specifically mankind because he feels that our time is long overdue.
  • Psychological Projecting: One of his mocking questions towards Sam is asking if he's tired of the grind and would rather end it all instead, which turns out to be exactly how he feels.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The inside of his shelter resembles a conspiracy theorist's den, with his ramblings written on the walls, pictures of Sam and various reports connected by red threads on a giant map of the USA, a skull of a Neanderthal and a pharaoh's bust.
  • The Sociopath: Don't let the bombastic, jovial personality fool you. The man is an unrepentant mass murderer who gets his kicks from killing people in droves while tormenting those he's particularly fixated on. See the incredibly cruel Sadistic Choice he puts Fragile through for just how bad he can get. Though it's later revealed that he only became like this due to meeting Amelie.
  • Start of Darkness: Fragile reveals that Higgs was not always evil. When they first met, he was an ambitious but reasonable businessman. It wasn't until he met Amelie that he became the leader of Homo Demens. His journal entries go further in describing how he had a Dark and Troubled Past after being raised by an abusive stepfather, and after killing said stepfather in self-defense, he awoke to his DOOMS potential when disposing of the body.
  • Straw Nihilist: He fights against the UCA's attempts at reconstruction and welcomes the extinction of the human race since he believes it's going to happen eventually anyways, so why not speed it up?
  • Stupid Evil: He realizes he is this at the end of the game, largely having worked to speed the end of everything because he was mad the end of everything existed as a concept.
  • Summon Magic: A DOOMS Level Seven who is so connected to the Other Side that he can straight-up conjure or control BTs. As a terrorist he can use this to have one devour a human target so it causes a voidout comparable to a nuclear explosion.
  • Tears of Blood: He sheds tears of the same creepy black liquid that Cliff sheds. Although at one point, he just paints them on from some tar on Sam.
  • Teleportation: He can appear and disappear from and into thin air.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Despite the level of secrecy that wearing two masks and a hood would seem to imply about his true face, when he unmasks himself in front of Fragile during her backstory, he's revealed to look...basically just like a slightly scruffier Troy Baker. Though pulling his hood completely back reveals his head to be covered in disconcerting black stains and markings. The fact that he was barely shown unmasked by this point is how he manages to trick Sam into delivering a nuke by disguising himself as a BRIDGES maintenance worker.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza. He's the "pizza guy," Peter Englert. Post-game you can go to his bunker and it is littered with pizza boxes.
  • Troll:
    • In Chapter 3, he disguises himself as a BRIDGES worker to hand you a mysterious package for you to deliver to Fragile on your way to Lake Knot City... and it turns out to be a nuke. In his journal entries postgame, he expresses surprise that the heroes managed to figure it out and remarks that maybe he shouldn't have labeled it as a bomb, but ah, what the hell. He also mocks Sam in the same entry for not being able to tell it was him with his crappy Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • Those difficult pizza deliveries in postgame are in fact, not by a Peter Englert, by instead, Higgs!
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: His journal entries written from when he was younger show he used to be more idealistic and believed in helping people, although downplayed in that these entries don't start until he's already an adult.
  • Weather Manipulation: He can call up a Timefall storm at will. Since Timefall is usually a precursor to Beached Things showing up, it's probably related to his ability to summon them.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He used to be friends and business partners with Fragile until he betrayed her.
  • What You Are in the Dark: On the walls of his shelter, hidden beneath a bookshelf, reads "Fragile, forget you ever met me".
  • Villainous Breakdown: Suffers one after Sam kicks his ass and delays extinction, but more importantly when Amelie takes away his powers and reveals she played him like a fiddle. His final journal entry notes how pointless everything he did was and he doesn't hesitate to commit suicide when Fragile leaves him with his own Sadistic Choice.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Higgs has been defeated for the last time, Amelie, as the source of DOOMS, rescinds his ability to control BTs, leaving him powerless and stranded on her Beach, as his role in her plan is finished.

The Other Side

    Beached Things 
The main threat of the post-Stranding world, Beached Things (or BTs, as they're referred to most of the time) are otherworldly beings that started cropping up whenever people died. They're mostly responsible for the state of the world, having caused several hundred voidouts throughout America.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Catcher-type BTs that appear when you get grabbed by the oily humanoids in the ground can be defeated either by blowing them up with Sam's blood, or by running sufficiently far away. They don't move too fast (which is good, since they always appear in a sea of tar and shifting buildings popping in and out of existence).
  • Empathic Environment: BTs always only appear in rainy zones, and defeating a boss BT will actually cause the weather to clear up completely for a while, preventing equipment degradation and making passage easier.
  • Fantastic Nuke: If a BT gets its hands on a human and successfully brings them to the controller, and if said controller successfully eats said human, they will create a voidout—an antimatter explosion that leaves behind a massive crater and completely obliterates everything in the blast radius.
  • Footprints of Muck: The only visible thing a normal person can see of a BT are their handprints, which press into whatever surface they're passing over and quickly fill with a black substance. Note that the handprints appear over surfaces even if the BT's actual "hands" are nowhere near the ground.
  • Invisible Monsters: BTs cannot be seen by the naked eye. There are numerous ways to circumvent this—the primary two are contracting DOOMS and using a BB. Those who are afflicted with DOOMS can interact with the BTs in different ways. Sam, a level 2 DOOMS carrier, can sense BTs when they show up but still can't properly see them. In gameplay, this is represented by Sam stopping in his tracks momentarily and hearing a roar. The second way is to use a BB. By connecting themselves to the other side, BTs become visible if standing still, and the odadrek begins "flickering" in the general direction of the closest BT.
  • Made of Explodium: Catcher-type BTs have antimatter in their cores, so if they eat a live human, everything around gets annihilated. It is noted that voidouts caused by eating repatriates (like Sam) cause much smaller craters because of their resistance to death.
  • Meaningful Name: They're called "Beached Things" because, like stranded fish or whales, they are stuck in a world that is not their true home. The fact that actual fish and whales sometimes fall out of the sky during a nasty BT event is part Rule of Symbolism, part dimensional mish-mashery.
  • Metal Slime: When a BT is killed with a Hematic Grenade or other anti-BT weaponry, it leaves behind chiral crystals. Catchers, like the one Higgs summons in Port Knot City, offer up very large amounts of the stuff. So if you're feeling confident, you can wander into BT territory, let them catch you on purpose, then kill the Catcher to get a boost to your crystal supplies. This also carries the added bonus of preventing any more BTs from spawning there for a while, in case you need to clear a path for a delivery.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: It's unknown if Beached Things are necessarily ghosts of humans, per se, but it's clear that they're not from the world of the living. They're humanoids of about 6 to 7 meters, have semi-reptilian features (such as long limbs and claws) and float about while connected to "strands" that attach them to a massive "Controller" Beached Thing.
  • Undead Abomination: They're humanoid things from the world of the dead, with the desire to devour any living human they can find.
  • Undeath Always Ends: You can violently untether their connection to this world with Sam's blood, sweat, urine, or ecxrement. Later you gain the ability to cut their umbilical cords directly with your cufflinks. It's implied that the later method allows them to move on peacefully, since you get a tiny message "Likes received from BT".

    Clifford "Cliff" Unger
"Dividing people was all I was ever good at."
Played by: Mads Mikkelsen
Voiced by: Kazuhiro Yamaji (JP), Carlos Segundo (LatAm)

An unusually powerful and intelligent BT that takes the form of a mysterious soldier, encountered on beaches based off of 20th century wars. Sam experiences visions of him whenever connecting to his Bridge Baby.

  • Adorkable: If life was just a little bit more kind and fair to Cliff, he would've been a perfect archetype of the goofball dad. With the short amount of time he's spent with his B.B., he's demonstrated a profound lack of coordination when it comes to dancing, promptly falling on his ass while "practicing" dancing with his life, and there was also his childlike fascination of outer space. He frequently read picture books about planets to B.B., and even left him with an astronaut (Ludens!) keychain.
  • Affably Evil: If he can be even called "evil." Cliff just wants something Sam has, cares very carefully for his Bridge Baby, and he's otherwise a well-mannered and polite man and loving father.
  • Animal Motif: As with every BT, his is spiders, due to the spider web he's found in before every fight, with some Creepy Doll stuck on it as well.
  • Anti-Villain: Cliff just wants to be reunited with his child before he completely loses himself.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Every time Sam leaves his safe room, his Bridge Baby receives a vision of Cliff caring for it. These charming, tender episodes eventually give way to Cliff trying to escape with said Bridge Baby.
  • Arc Villain: He menaces Sam via certain "supercell" incidents; timefall storms that suck Sam into his own Beach so he can hunt Sam down and steal his BB. As it turns out, his motivations are actually sympathetic, and Higgs ends up displacing him as the much bigger threat, though Higgs is also defeated before he is.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Shortly before killing his wife, he says "I'm sorry." twice before putting her out of her misery. He even closes his eyes when he does the deed.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In the cutscene before his first boss fight he is completely naked and covered in a black substance. We get a full body shot of him, but he doesn’t seem to have genitals.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The vision of how Cliff truly died is witnessed shortly before the vision where Amelie brings the infant Sam back to life.
  • Cool Guns: Both his first trailer appearance and the Decima engine showcase has him armed with an incredibly decked-out assault rifle.
  • Cool Helmet: He's first seen with a night vision goggle-equipped helmet that dematerializes, almost as if burning away.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: In the release date reveal trailer, he lights a cigarette on a flake of burning ash falling around him.
  • Cowardly Boss: During his boss fight, Cliff will "fall back" and teleport away from Sam whenever he takes too much damage at once, forcing Sam to go seek him out again.
  • Creepy Doll: He is associated with them, and they're bald, have nails stuck in them, and have a shuttering eye that acts as a sensor. It's likely that this is his version of a Bridge Baby and an odradek. This is a Red Herring; the dolls are actually strongly associated with the Extinction Entity, and Homo Demens with her.
  • The Dragon: Shortly before Cliff's third boss battle, Deadman discusses the possibility of Cliff being Higgs's right-hand enforcer. Turns out this is not at all the case, with Cliff never having even met Higgs due to dying before Higgs was even born. His ties are closer to Die-Hardman and Bridget Strand.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In one of the memory flashes that Sam gets whenever he connects to Lou, Cliff is seen downing a bottle and talking to himself in a self-deprecating manner.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Though he's a major antagonist, Cliff seems to care about the Bridge Baby in his care greatly, often speaking to it like a father would to his own infant. That's because it is. It's his son, the person who would grow up to become Sam Porter Bridges.
    Cliff: I'll show you the real thing soon, I promise. [...] The whole wide world will be yours to explore. You'll be able to go wherever you want. Even the moon.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Look closely at his compass, and whenever he's about to fight, it starts spinning like crazy.
  • Evil Evolves: In a way, as every time you face him, its in a more modern war, starting in the first World War before facing him in the Vietnam jungle, with the combat clothes he wears being more modern as a result.
  • A Father to His Men: If what John says about him is any indication, Cliff always looked out for his comrades and would always do what he could and more to keep them safe and alive no matter what mission they were on.
  • Final First Hug: Before he dies in the present, he hugs Sam. After Sam sees his past and discovers the truth, he once again hugs Sam in the same way before he's gunned down by Bridget.
  • Flunky Boss: He commands a small squad of skeletal soldiers to help him in his boss fights, each of those four soldiers being relevant to the battlefield he's fought in.
  • Forgiveness: He forgives John, his comrade, post-death. This is because John helped him in his attempts to escape with his son, and while it failed, Cliff sincerely thanked John for his efforts anyway.
  • Foreshadowing: When Cliff first inspects Sam's BB he has a very obvious look of confusion on his face, and the 2nd time he observes BB he's more interested in the little toy attached to the tank rather than BB itself. After the 3rd boss battle he instead asks Sam a more pointed question. Who are you?" This is him slowly coming to the realization that Sam was the BB he was looking for, aka his actual Son the entire time.
  • I Die Free: In his dying moments, he released the infant Sam from his containment unit to spare his son from living out the rest of his life as an imprisoned Bridge Baby.
  • Ghostly Goals: Clifford is neither benevolent nor truly evil; his only goal is to reunite with his BB, heavily implied to be his child. Sadly, the other Bridges staff seem to think the worst from his actions and what little information they can find.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a cross-shaped scar on his abdomen identical to Sam's. They were both killed at once by the same bullet, in the same place. Implicitly, Bridget healed the wound on his Ka the same way she healed Sam's.
  • Hell Is War: He is encountered in "mass Beaches" where wars are waged endlessly against an unseen enemy by ghostly, skeletal soldiers and bio-organic abomination tanks. It is noted that Cliff never took part in these specific conflicts the Beaches seem to be based on (some predate his birth by decades). Deadman and Heartman theorize that mass human casualties can cause entangled Beaches to occur, making horrible mini-dimensions where the souls of the dead battle forever; Cliff, as a former soldier and a powerful BT, somehow manages to bring those "pieces of hell back with him".
  • Humanoid Abomination: He's a BT, but of utterly unique and powerful kind. He retains his human appearance (except for his black tears) and all of his identity. Other BTs invade our world from the Beach, but Cliff never appears in the 'real world' — instead, he abducts people from our world into his Beach. The presence of BTs correlates with timefall, but the presence of Cliff is signified by a powerful supercell storm that forms out of nowhere and vanishes just as quickly.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He is Sam's father.
  • Magic Compass: He's got what appears to be a simple, normal army-issue compass on his combat webbing, but it starts going screwy and spinning when he uses his powers to summon or control more skeletal soldiers.
  • Manly Tears: Weeps several times in the story.
  • Meaningful Name: As he puts it, his nickname is Cliff because he was always putting his life on the edge of danger before he finally settled down with his wife to have a child. A cliff is effectively a "dead end"—and a "dead end" is exactly where Cliff dies: in Lisa's hospital chamber, cornered, with no way out. A cliff can also be an obstacle, as he puts it; indeed, he impedes Sam's progress on three separate occasions.
  • Mercy Kill: He killed his comatose wife, Lisa, after John told him that his wife's condition is truly a lost cause and what the government planned to do with his son.
  • Monster Lord: Controls a group of skeletal soldiers who back him up in his boss fights. He himself looks like an upgraded version of them, being an otherwise human soldier whose only visible sign of his ghostly nature is his black tears.
  • Nice Guy: In life, Cliff was a kind and sweet man who was known for deeply caring for his men and looking forward to being a father. Even post-life, Cliff was nowhere near as malicious as your usual BT, even if his mere presence caused extreme, if unintended, destruction.
  • One-Man Army: If his service record is anything to go by, Clifford was an absolute badass who has toured and survived several theaters of war during his days. And not only that, he was famous for bringing the soldiers who served under him back from the battlefields. This trait has evidently carried over as a B.T. with both his skill and ability to effortlessly and efficiently command the soldier B.T.'s, being the most fearsome foe Sam encounters in his journey, even when compared to some of the...bigger ones. At one point in the story, Sam refers to him as a "born-and-bred warrior asshole."
  • Old Soldier: Has served in many wars to the point his beach connect him to battlefields he never went to,
  • Papa Wolf: Tragically averted. Most his actions in the game, both in the past and present, are driven by his love for his son, but he failed to save Sam from BRIDGES and died, and in death is consistently defeated by Sam in his efforts to reunite with BB. The irony is that Sam is the BB he was trying to protect.
  • Reality Ensues: A seasoned soldier whose attempt to escape from a government facility with his infant son fails almost immediately as he is cornered by security forces with much larger numbers and superior gear.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Cliff moves on to the afterlife for good after finally getting a chance to have a heartfelt one-on-one talk with his son after his third defeat. This encounter ends with the sound of a gunshot out of nowhere and Cliff disappearing for the rest of the game. It's revealed in the epilogue that this exact moment was when Die-Hardman reluctantly shot Cliff dead in his service to upholding the Strand administration's orders.
  • Recurring Boss: He's fought three times in the game, each time when Sam is sucked into a particular Beach. Each arena is actually a Beach recreating a battlefield from World War I's trenches, a city during World War II and the jungle during the Vietnam War. However, there is no notable gameplay shift and Sam must gun down Cliff in each fight.
  • Red Herring: Initially believed to be Higgs' Mysterious Backer, in the end he and Higgs both were tools of Amelie/Bridget.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Closely averted. While Cliff died trying to free his son from the UCA (which ended in vain), he was at the very least able to ensure that his son couldn't be used as a Living Battery. He would manage to have a proper - if brief - reunion with his son years later before dying again, to which after said son eventually deserted the UCA and live a free life with a (surrogate) child of his own.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Each of Cliff's appearances have him summon a cigarette out of nowhere and take a long puff before tossing it away, replace it with a gun, and order his squad to move.
  • So Proud of You: As a spirit, he tells Sam he's proud that his son became someone who connects people.
  • Tears of Blood: In the second trailer, tears of tar are on his face, but not all of it is moving downwards for some reason.
  • Tranquil Fury: Not so obvious in the first time when Sam sees a memory of Cliff calling out Bridget for being constantly dishonest with him. But when the memory is revisited from a third-person perspective, it's obvious that anger is all over his expression even as he calmly chews her out.
  • Wine Is Classy: One of the memory flashes has Cliff pouring himself a glass of Batard-Montrachet wine, which is likely a Shout-Out to one of Mads Mikkelsen's most iconic roles.

     Spoiler Character 

The Extinction Entity

A strange phenomenon in which a single creature will become linked to the concept of the Death Stranding. From this, they become a bridge between this world and the next, facilitating a massive Apocalypse How scenario in which all life on Earth is extinguished. There have been five throughout history, each becoming linked to an extinction level event.

For more information on the current Extinction Entity, consult both Bridget and Amelie's folders.

  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Extinction's Entities have two tell-tale signs: Insane amounts of Chiralium in their bodies, effectively preserving much of them for millions of years, and finally an umbilical cord. Finding these on primitive humans doesn't seem so strange, but on animals that don't have them, like ammonites? Slightly unsettling, that.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Though an usually subdued variant. Whatever Amelie/Bridget is, she is clearly not completely a human anymore. The powers she has as well as her link to the Death Stranding have turned her into a vehicle for all the weird stuff going on in the world.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Once Sam convinces her to stop with her Final Death Stranding, she leaves Sam and waits on her Beach. With the Death Stranding put on hold possibly forever, it's implied that BTs and the Timefall have disappeared from the world and humanity can finally begin to rebuild.


Independent outposts that aren't initially aligned with the UCA.

    In General 
  • The Aloner: Most of them live by themselves, usually by their own choice.
  • Everyone Calls Them Barkeep: They are just known by their moniker.
  • Divided We Fall: Your job is to try and get them to join the Chiral Network.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Many of them were preparing shelters before the Death Stranding.
  • Grumpy Bear: Not all of them will join the UCA. Some of them won't even join the Chiral Network at first.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Downplayed. They're surprisingly well-adjusted for people spending their entire lives in a bunker. Justified because one of the most common delivery is oxcytocin and other hormones made to make isolation bearable to a chemical level. So while they can be grumpy they'll never get cabin fever.
  • Impossible Task: The more bitter ones try to give you these to try to get rid of you. It's your job to prove them wrong.
  • Properly Paranoid: Combined with Dramatic Irony. The Preppers are initially depicted as being unreasonable in their distrust of the UCA. By the end of the game, they turn out to have been rightly suspicious of the government and Sam ventures forth into the wilderness after learning this truth.
  • Weekend Inventor: They provide you upgrades for your tools as your bonds increase. Justified in that they usually set up their own compounds.

    The Craftsman 
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Hermen Hulst provides his likeness.
  • Technical Pacifist: He's explicitly noted for being able to convert lethal weapons into non-lethal weapons. It's more out of fear of void outs than any moral.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: One thing that pissed him off about Bridges' first expedition is that some of them were carrying guns and shot MULES, while he doesn't care about the MULES risking a voidout to get rid of them is just stupid. He therefore works to make tools that can restrain hostiles without killing them.

    The Elder 
  • Grumpy Bear: The first character in the game who outright refuses to join the UCA... at first.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm A Senior!: He is nice to Sam but he doesn't mince his words about having no love for governments and why he doesn't want to reconstruct America.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Although most players might choose to stop delivering the Elder's medicine and pacemakers once they max out his connection level, doing so will eventually result in a farewell e-mail from the Elder, thanking you for reconnecting him before he essentially commits suicide by stopping his medication. Instead, players can choose to continue delivering food, medicine and equipment to him well into the post-game mode to keep him alive and happy instead.

    The Junk Dealer 

    The Chiral Artist 
  • Happily Adopted: Revealed in an e-mail from her mother.
  • Happily Married: Subverted. After you reunite her with the Junk Dealer, they immediately get married. It quickly turns out that they are woefully incompatible living together and she eventually sneaks back to her mother on her own.
    • They get back together after the events of the main game, ultimately making this a realistic example of conflict and uncertainty in a relationship between two young, inexperienced young people
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Mala Morgan provides her likeness.
  • The Lost Lenore: To the Junk Dealer. Subverted in that she's still alive.

    The Chiral Artist's Mother 
  • My Beloved Smother: She used to be this, and originally didn't want the Junk Dealer and the Chiral Artist seeing each other. She's had time to cool down over the years, however.

    The Cosplayer & The Wandering MC 

    The Engineer 

    The Ludens Fan 

    The Film Director 

    The Musician 

    The Collector 
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Hirozaku Hamamura. the editor-in-chief of Famitsu, provides his likeness.

    The Veteran Porter 


Former porters and couriers who have turned to banditry, stealing packages to deliver for themselves. Some do this out of desperation, others due to having grown addicted to the emotional high the job gives, but all are unquestionably nuts.
  • Cargo Cult: Almost literally, as they are a bunch of nuts obsessed with cargo.
  • Entitled Bastard: Delivery dependence syndrome is a clinical case of this. The first generation of MULEs were porters that got their jobs back after fully automated systems were phased out due to mental health concerns (studies apparently found that it removed a significant amount of vital social interaction from people's lives). Many of these porters came to believe that the world depended on them — and when the Death Stranding made on-foot deliveries the only way to reliably transport supplies, their inflated egos escalated into outright delusions.
  • Piñata Enemy: Their territory is dangerous to cross, but it's also a good source of resources if the player needs a bunch for a project like a bridge or completing a highway. Conversely, the MULEs see you as the pinata; they will notably avoid you if Sam is carrying no cargo.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: They just want to steal your stuff, either for their own use or so they can get the rewards for delivery. They have no interest in Sam if he's walking around with no gear and definitely don't want to just attack for its own sake, unlike many post-apocalyptic raiders. It's mentioned that some even still do work as porters.
  • Scare Chord: The sensor ping from these guys sounds like a dreadful, inhuman shriek, letting you know that you are in serious trouble.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: For all the rush they get making deliveries they are said to be really bad at it, those that do hire them mentions they'll get their deliveries eventually but in really bad conditions.
  • Technical Pacifist: Even in their somewhat-deranged state, MULEs know better than to kill people and risk a voidout, instead utilizing electroshock weapons to incapacitate their targets. This does not apply to their terrorist counterparts encountered from Episode 5 onwards, who have gone so far off the deep end that they will shoot at you with live ammo to get your cargo.
  • Thrill Seeker: Some people become MULEs because they developed an addiction to the chemicals their brains secrete during the course of the job.


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