Kojima loves celeb friends, whether that's film directors like Edgar Wright or Famitsu editors appearing as the Collector. There are Death Stranding cameos everywhere, with the digitally scanned faces of various famous people giving several characters life. That’s on top of the unmissable Death Stranding appearances of Guillermo del Toro as Deadman, Nicolas Winding Refn as Heartman and Lindsay Wagner (appearing both how she looked in the 70s and now), all donating their faces to major characters in the game.
Aide from those starring roles however there are ‘special appearances’ marked in the credits, a selection of notable celebs whose faces appear in the game. Curiously it's a much smaller list than people who visited Kojima Productions during development, so either some people said no, or their faces never made the cut. The rest of the game is mainly filled with key people from Horizon Zero Dawn dev Guerrilla Games who created the game's Decima Engine. Even Sony get in on the act with more than a few senior execs lending their appearance to the game. However, we're only focusing on the 'stars' so if you think you recognise someone check this list.
OBVIOUS SPOILER WARNING: Some of these characters aren't accessible until later in the game. There's no story spoilers but if you want to discover the cameos for yourself, clearly reading past here is idiocy.
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Death Stranding Cameos - Eastern region
There’s only a couple of Deaths Stranding cameos in Death Stranding's Eastern Region, the first area you're let loose in. They're also more or less impossible to miss as this narrow space makes it hard to slip by things. The Ludens Fan is definitely near impossible to find, although the Musician is tucked away and can pass by unnoticed on a first trek though.
1. Ludens Fan - Geoff Keighley
Video Game Awards host Geoff Keighley is one of the first preppers you meet in Death Stranding. Known as the Ludens Fan, his love for Kojima - referred to as 'the creator' - is thinly vailed and runs through his interactions as he emails you about Luden's figures and theories about the world.
2. Musician - Daichi Miura
Daichi Miura is a real life Japanese singer and song writer. He started life in a 1997 band called Folder, before going solo and releasing 7 albums and 22 singles as a solo artist. In Death Stranding he'll give you a harmonica if you can deliver enough stuff to raise his relationship with you.
Death Stranding Cameos - Central region
The Central region is where you'll find the rest of the Death Stranding Cameos. The bulk of these appearances are in the south eastern half of the map, if you want to maximise your star tour efficiency, with a couple of people appearing on the other side of a mountain range to the north west.
1. Engineer - Junji Ito
You'll find the Engineer in the opening plains of the Central Region in Death Stranding. He's created from scans of the legendary Japanese horror artist and writer, Junji Ito. At one time he was approached by both Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro to work on Silent Hills, but this digital cameo is all that remains of that encounter now.
2. Film Director - Jordan Vogt-Roberts
The Film Director is - gasp - film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The Kong: Skull Islands director is a big Metal Gear fan and currently adapting MGS into a movie. He and Kojima are good friends as a result so it's no surprise he makes an appearance here.
3. Thomas Southerland - Edgar Wright
When you get to the Distribution Centre South of Lake Knot City you find it run by a man called Thomas Southerland. However, look closer and you'll realise it's Spaced, Shaun of Dead and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright.
4. Collector - Hirokazu Hamamura
Nestled in a treacherous ravine you'll find the Collector, a kindly old man obsessed with collecting old video game consoles (PS1, PSP and the like in this Sony-only world). He's actually Hirokazu Hamamura, a former Famitsu chef editor who now runs Japanese publisher Enterbrain, which is responsible for a range of Japanese gaming magazines and websites.
5. Alex Weatherstone - Errolson Hugh
The man who runs the Weather station is called Alex Weatherstone (all the main cities and locations are run by someone with a helpfully descriptive name. He's actually a scan of Canadian born ACRONYM designer, Errolson Hugh.
6. Conan O’Brien - The Wandering MC
You'll find Conan O’Brien talking about otters at the home of the Cosplayer. It's at the bottom of a craggy dip where you'll often find stuck and abandoned trucks. After some bad jokes he'll give you otter hood that will affect your movement in water.
7. Veteran Porter - Sam Lake
Near the edge of the mountains at the bottom of the southern part of the Central region you'l find the Veteran Porter. His is a face that's no stranger to games, being a scan of Remedy's Sam Lake, who also gave Max Payne his original looks.
8. Phillip North - Tommy Wirkola
You'll find the Dead Snow and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters director lending his face to Phillip North, who runs the Centre North of Mountain Knot City. That's in the north, north west upper part of the map. North.
9. Novelist’s Son - Manabu Makime
The Novelist’s Son is just south of the Distribution Centre, in the flats on the other sides of the mountains. Despite the name he's actually Japanese novelist and long time Metal Gear fan Manabu Makime.