Death Stranding 2 received a grand reveal trailer at The Game Awards, and many notice the distinct age difference for protagonist Sam Bridges.
The reveal of the long-rumored Death Stranding 2 at The Game Awards 2022 was punctuated by the confirmation of several returning cast members. Although the trailer focused heavily on Lea Seydoux’s Fragile, it also gave fans a brief glimpse at new looks for Norman Reedus’ Sam Bridges and Troy Baker’s Higgs. What caught particular attention was Sam’s apparent age difference between Death Stranding and its sequel, leading many to speculate why he appears so much older than the rest of the cast.
Additional cast members listed in the credits but missing from the trailer include Elle Fanning and Shioli Kutsuna. Although Hideo Kojima had teased these actors’ involvement in the project on Twitter, their role in the game has yet to be revealed. As is typical of Kojima, the cryptic nature of this trailer leaves a lot of room for speculation on many fronts. However, the reasoning behind Sam’s drastic age difference could have a few causes leading into Death Stranding 2.
Timefall May Be Responsible for Sam’s Aging
Although it is possible that Sam aged due to the length of time between Death Stranding and its sequel, that seems like too simple of an answer for Kojima Productions. Fans of Kojima’s Metal Gear series will be familiar with the way in which Snake suffered accelerated aging as a clone. Death Stranding has its own in-universe cause of accelerated aging in the form of the Timefall phenomenon which is a mysterious rain that causes anything it comes into contact with to rapidly progress through time. Timefall has the power to decay machinery, kill plant life, and even age humans who are unfortunate enough to come into contact.
Death Stranding already has one character who suffered the effects of Timefall: Fragile, who had Timefall affect every part of her body except her face while attempting to prevent Higgs from destroying South Knot City. Given Fragile’s prominence in this reveal trailer, it is possible Timefall could play a larger role in the overall story of Death Stranding 2. Perhaps Sam’s overexposure to the phenomenon during the events of the first game caused him to age more quickly than he would have otherwise.
Sam’s Aging Could Be the Result of His Status as a Repatriate
Much like Metal Gear‘s Snake, Sam’s existence in the world of Death Stranding is not natural. He was one of the original Bridge Babies who died after his father, Cliff, attempted to rescue him from Bridges’ experiments. Sam was brought back to life on the beach by Amelie, making him a repatriate: someone who is able to avoid death by navigating their way back from the beach. With the ability to defy death, the cost of this repatriation may be accelerated aging. This would explain Sam’s age discrepancy while also adding to the lore of repatriation and the beach, two of Death Stranding‘s most mysterious inclusions.
Sam also suffers from DOOMS, a condition associated with a connection to the world of the dead. Although not a direct result of being a repatriate, his rapid aging coming from DOOMS could be another viable explanation. It is possible that the stress inflicted by the nightmares DOOMS creates could have caused him to look older than he actually is, much like the ways in which high levels of stress in the real-world can result in a similar appearance. Whatever the cause may be, it is certain to be an important part of Death Stranding 2.
Death Stranding 2 is now in development for Playstation 5.