Death Stranding, the first new game from Hideo Kojima since his very public divorce from Konami, is due out on PlayStation 4 this November. For how close that is, very little is known about the game, beyond the perplexing, haunting details revealed by the rare trailer here and there.
But today, during the big opening night shindig at Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany, Kojima appeared on stage to introduce some new characters, and to explain some of the more bizarre imagery that we’ve seen in past presentations. It was finally time to talk about the baby that Norman Reedus has strapped to his chest.
So, it’s a “Bridge Baby,” or “BB.” Based on what Deadman (Guillermo del Toro’s likeness, voiced by Jessi Corti) says in the below footage, Bridge Babies are children born to “Still Mothers” — braindead women held in an ICU in the capital city. During a conversation between Reedus’ character Sam and Deadman, Sam’s Bridge Baby is connected to an “incubator,” which updates the conditions inside of the BB’s pod to match the current conditions inside its Still Mother’s womb.
“A Still Mother’s womb facilitates a connection between the world of the dead and the B.B.,” Deadman explains. “And you in turn connected yourself to a BB, granting you the ability to sense BTs.” For the record, BTs are the invisible, otherworldly enemies in Death Stranding, and no, we don’t know what “BT” stands for yet.
Periodically updating the baby’s pod is key to keeping it going — this appears to be a mechanic that players will have to manage during the game, though Kojima didn’t explicitly say as much. “Returning your BB to the womb in this manner will temporarily reduce its stress levels,” Deadman says.
“You should remember that BBs are just equipment,” Deadman says to Sam. “Try not to get attached. Each one has been physically removed from its Still Mother’s womb; a process that renders them unpredictable, and prone to failure. No BB on record has remained in service for over a year. It may need to be retired before this expedition is over.”
“And then?” Sam asks. “You sayin’ there’s no way to keep my BB alive?”
“You must understand,” Deadman sighs. “There is still a great deal we don’t know about BBs. As we expand the Chiral Network and recover more past data, perhaps we’ll find our answers.”
Expanding that “Chiral Network” (sorry, no idea what that means either) is the player’s responsibility, as they ferry cargo between the remaining, isolated settlements across a ruined United States. Later in the footage, we see Sam make a delivery to a holographic Geoff Keighley, whose hidden mountain abode is added to a country-wide Chiral Network map as a “new strand.” What that actually means, in either a narrative or gameplay sense, is anybody’s guess.
Earlier in the presentation, we met Mama (above), a character whose baby was born “on the other side.” Sam first senses the child as a BT, but Mama assures him that “she doesn’t bite.” A ghostly umbilical cord can be seen stretching from Mama’s stomach, up to the floating after-image of an infant’s silhouette. Mama and Sam share a brief exchange about breastmilk, which Mama’s body continues to produce, even though her spectral daughter can’t drink it. There is no further context.
So! That’s uh, that’s what we found out today. Death Stranding comes out on November 8.