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Tear Jerker / Death Stranding

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Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.

Story

  • Sam waking up on the Beach after the voidout in the prologue, which also serves as the E3 2016 reveal trailer, is this. Awoken by the sound of Lou crying, all Sam can do is pick the poor thing up and cradle them against him. But the worst part is the otherwise stoic Sam's completely grief-stricken expression and quiet, whimpering sobs. Then we find out much later on just why Sam was so deeply affected by this moment.
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  • Fragile revealing her past to Sam: She was betrayed by her former business partner Higgs, who tricked her into delivering a nuke that destroyed a city and then presented her with a Sadistic Choice: run almost completely naked through timefall with another nuke until she can get out of the city or teleport away to save herself and let another city die. She chose the former, and she's obviously scared out of her mind as she does so. Though she saved many people, it was at the cost of her body's health and youth and people still think she was responsible for the other city's death, making her question if she should have saved herself instead.
  • Deadman revealing why Sam named BB-28 "Lou": it was the name Sam was planning to give his own child. However, at some point in the past, Sam's pregnant wife caused a voidout, completely wiping out Sam's hometown. Since Sam was the only survivor (due to being a repatriate), he was made the scapegoat for the incident, which eventually lead him to leave Bridges. As Deadman explains all this, an uncomfortable Sam tries to deny the event even happened, before finally snapping at Deadman to "shut the fuck up."
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  • Heartman's backstory. He was in the ICU getting surgery for his heart, but his wife and daughter temporarily left to get some of his stuff at their house, only for them to get caught in a voidout. When Heartman awakens on his Beach after the voidouts cause a power outage, he sees masses of people including his family walking into the shore, and as he's resuscitated in the living world, he's dragged out of the Beach by an invisible force while he yells for his family to wait for him. Ever since, he's been trying to return to them so that they can go to the afterlife together.
  • Mama/Malingen and Lockne's story. Lockne and her husband (who later died) couldn't have a baby, so her sister Malingen became a surrogate for them. However, when she went into labor, the hospital she was in collapsed from a terrorist attack and she was trapped in debris for days, all she gave birth to a BT baby. Afraid of what others would think of her, including her own sister, Malingen settled in a remote area to purposely cut off contact with Lockne. When the two reunite as Malingen is dying, the two make amends.
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  • The look on Sam's face when he's confronted with the revelation that Amelie isn't as alive as everyone thought. Everything he thought he knew about his sister was a lie, and he can hardly believe it.
  • Bridget/Amelie revealing that they don't want to end the world. She's been plagued with nightmares of past extinctions foretelling her destiny to carry out the final extinction of all life, all just because she wanted to find the collective memories of all life to the beginning of the universe.
  • Sam stopping Amelie, telling her that You Are Not Alone, just as she had been there for him. Amelie is relieved and tells Sam how proud she is of him for reuniting humanity, and because of that, she'll hold off on the Last Stranding. But the Last Stranding is inevitable, so the end will come one day, even if it takes tens of thousands of years, as she puts it. And until then, she'll have to stay on the Beach forever, never able to experience life or see Sam again. But if it's for Sam... so be it.
  • Sam gets stranded at the Beach after talking down Amelie, running around the limbo and getting a glimpse of her future. He gets saved by the concentrated efforts of his Bridges contacts: Die-Hardman suggests that his gun can be used to find him, Heartman and Mama's spirit search the beaches for Sam and finally, Fragile teleports Deadman and Lou to get Sam out. Later on, it's revealed that Sam has been on the Beach for a month. They really wanted him out of there.
  • The ENTIRE ending sequence, starting with Die-Hardman's breakdown, Lou dying, Deadman offering Sam a chance to be free, Sam carrying his decomissioned BB to the incinerator while a beautiful rendition of BB's Theme plays in the background, Sam not being able to burn Lou, then learning the truth about Cliff and then cradling the seemingly dead Lou to eventually find that she lives after all. Some will find the ending too melodramatic, while it will freaking haunt others for days.
  • Finally seeing Clifford's full story. After submitting his comatose wife Lisa and a prematurely born Sam to a government lab for treatment, he's continually strung along with false promises by Bridget, completely unaware of her true plans for Sam. When Die-Hardman—or rather, John—warns him about Bridget's true motives, Clifford has no choice but to Mercy Kill Lisa and try to flee with Sam, only to be gunned down by Bridget. Clifford dies with Sam in his arms, but is able to have one final reunion with a now adult Sam in his restored memories before passing on into the afterlife.
  • Meta-example: It's no coincidence that Cliff's wife shares her name with the ghost of a woman who was killed while with child. And with Cliff's tearful Mercy Kill of Lisa, any fan speculation that Silent Hills might still happen, far-fetched and wishful as it is, dies with her. True, there's no further official confirmation from either Konami or Kojima, but Sam's journey through the silent post-Stranding countryside will likely be the closest we will ever get to Kojima's original vision for Silent Hills.
  • During the scene where Sam witnesses Cliff's death, he without a word puts himself between the wounded Cliff and his BB, and John aiming the handgun at them...to protect Cliff. Yes, Sam is clearly terrified out of his mind—he's shaking, and he'd just tried (and, due to the nature of the memory, predictably failed) to stop the other soliders a moment ago. But without a second thought, Sam was willing to defend Cliff in any way he could again, probably because after all that he's been through with his own BB, and seeing the truth here, he can understand Cliff on a different level.
    • Cliff and Sam—revealed to be father and son—having one final talk and embrace...an embrace brought to an end by the memory continuing, shooting Cliff twice in the back.
  • Post-game, after being the butt of Higgs's trolling, you find his journals that delve into what he's been thinking throughout the story and his Dark and Troubled Past, as well as his bunker. Turns out his parents died when he was very young and he was raised by his abusive uncle. Not only that, but when he was caught preparing to run away, he finally killed his uncle in self-defense. After sitting emptily next to his uncle's corpse for some time out of despondency over what he had done, he eventually snapped out of it enough to carry the body up a mountain to an incinerator. Even before Amelie got to him, he was always messed up, which almost certainly contributed to his mental deterioration. And when he learned that Amelie was using him, he realized that no, his attempts to bring about the end of humankind could have been better spent trying to prolong it after all. Alas, Poor Villain.
    • Troy Baker's reading of it is also equally depressing. He bitterly forces a chuckle when describing how he killed his uncle.
    • If you look closely around his bunker, hidden beneath a bookshelf is a message of remorse: "Fragile, forget you ever met me."
    • One of his earlier journal entries is about his first meeting with Fragile, where he remarks that her DOOMs is much higher than his, both admiring and being quietly jealous of her natural abilities, and he expresses hope that they'll become good friends.
  • You can let Sam take a nap during your travels. What would usually be a sweet moment turns sad quite fast, because Sam starts to mutter "Nobody's home" and "No more". While it's unlear what exactly he's dreaming of, it can't be anything peaceful. Even his most "neutral" voiceline, "Just a little longer", is somewhat sad- you really get the feeling he's exhausted and just wants to sleep.
  • Take a close look at the way B Ts group together, and all too often you'll see two adult-sized ones near a tiny, infant-sized BT. That's right, more often than not you're either fleeing from or fighting through the ghosts of parents and their children.
  • You can unlock a series of interviews called "Lucy's Report". Lucy was Sam's wife. The first few are about how she's the therapist assigned to Sam and how she doesn't really believe in the Beach. Then she quits to begin a relationship with him. When she's pregnant with Lou, she starts having nightmares about the end of the world. Then Bridget tells her they aren't nightmares, they're visions of the Last Stranding and how Sam is supposed to fix it. The Beach and the whole Bridget/Amelie/Sam thing becomes very real to her. Report #12 is an account of her suicide, mentioning how she just swallowed every pill she could find and is about to shoot herself up with tranquilizers until she passes out.
  • The epilogue. Sam looks at his photo with Bridget and Lucy, thinking about everything that has happened in the story and how Nothing Is the Same Anymore, but Lou's hand joins his, reminding him that he is not alone.
  • The Director's Cut introduces a few new missions in an empty factory, where we are eventually introduced to a new Posthumous Character via her final message: Fragile's mother. She'd learned the Awful Truth about how Bridges was saving America and decided to do something about it, leaving a husband, a daughter, and an adopted son (Peter, the man we know as Higgs) in pursuit of stopping Bridges and saving the B Bs. Her efforts ended in failure: she did save one Bridge baby, but that child's days were numbered.
    • When Sam passes through the door that opens after this, he comes outside to find a graveyard, presumably for the Bridge babies in the factory. One lone BT—implied to be Fragile's mother—floats over one of the gravestones.


Meta

  • An interview reveals that Kojima Productions and Death Stranding were born from Kojima's protective desire to his mother, as his father passed away when he was 13. Unfortunately, he was never able to tell her about this aspect of the game, as she passed away while Death Stranding was in its infancy. This, on top of the Metal Gear series, which was Kojima's way of working through his relationship with his father... One can only imagine how painful this turn of events was for him.
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