The Death Stranding TGS gameplay gave us our best look yet at Hideo Kojima's upcoming game yet, with almost 50 minutes of raw footage showcasing nearly every aspect of the game's systems and mechanics. It was, in short, a lot to take in, and could have been a little on the shorter side... but at least we now have a firm-ish understanding of what Death Stranding will play like once it's in our hands this November.
That said, there's so much to unpack from the Death Stranding gameplay demo that there's a good chance that you missed a few details. That's why we crawled through the footage, figuring out how many of the game's core systems work and finding a few new mysteries too.
Read on for all the things we learned about Death Stranding from the latest TGS stream, including Norman's Japanese song voice, shower grenades, standing toilets, harmonica lessons, and more. So much more.
1. Sam has a base of operations
Die-Hardman's operation to reconnect the East Coast of America to the West via a Chiral Network is being run out of Capital Knot City. There's a huge Distribution Center in the city and this is a central hub of sorts, a place where you can re-tool and re-group before heading out on missions.
2. Missions are accepted from terminals
Before you head out into the open world you'll have the opportunity to pick up new missions from Delivery Terminals in the basement of the Distribution Center. This device will let you view and receive new orders from citizens in range of the Chiral Network, as well as acting as a preparation station for Sam.
3. Mission preparation is essential
When taking on a new order, you'll be given all of the essential information that you need. You'll get an indication of the maximum number of 'Likes' that you'll receive for completing the order, an idea of how heavy the cargo is going to be, while an insert of the map will denote estimated distance.
4. You can create new gear
Once you have a sense of what you'll need for the order you'll be able to Fabricate Gear using a printer. You'll be able to create mission-critical items here and each will require a prerequisite number of resources. Gear also scales, with higher level gear requiring more resources to craft.
5. Gear isn't all you can create
While the gameplay video doesn't get into this explicitly, you'll also be able to craft other items for your journey outside of Shoes, Active Skeletons, Ladders and Ropes. You'll also be able to craft and print weaponry as well as vehicles.
6. There's a maximum weight allowance
Once you collect all of your gear, equipment, and cargo, you'll need to start dealing with the maximum weight allowances. Your max allowance is clearly noted on the screen, with everything that you add – from more boxes to a spare pair of shoes – ultimately pushing you a little closer towards being over over-encumbered.
7. You can distribute weight across Sam's body
Once you have everything ready to go, you'll have the opportunity to evenly distribute the weight the best that you can. In the demo, Kojima notes that you need to create a "centre of gravity" as best that you can to avoid falling over. Boots can be hung from your backpack, rope around your shoes, and items can be held in either hand, or all stacked on your back. It's up to you to best decide how to manage your loadout.
8. Weight affects movement
How you choose to outfit Sam will be reflected on-screen, and it'll impact your balance and stamina as a result. There is a button to help stabilise your balance if you begin to tumble over in either direction, but it isn't yet clear which one this is – were I to hazard a guess, I'd say L3.
9. The UI clearly denotes your condition
If you pop into the menu – an overlay in the world, in real-time – gives you clear information on your Movement Speed, Balance, Carrying Capacity, Stamina/Fatigue Resistance, as well as your Lung Capacity and Resistance to Falling Unconscious. It also denotes battery capacity, sync level, and rugged terrain resistance.
10. You can plot customisable courses
Before you head out into the world you will have the chance to plot a custom route to your destination and mark it out with waypoints. This gives you an early opportunity to avoid clear hazards or difficult to traverse terrain.
11. Customisation is more than cosmetic
Sam carries a lot of seemingly incidental items with him, such as sunglasses and hats. While some of these may be purely for looks, others will help you out. The Bridges cap can, for example, reduce stamina consumption.
12. You can scan for dangerous terrain
The scanner on your back isn't just used to denote the appearance of BTs or other otherworldly threats, it's also more commonly used to track hazards in the environment. For example, using it near water will indicate depth and tide flow.
13. It's easy to fall
Should Sam get caught in strong tides he'll quickly find himself floating downstream. Not only will this deplete your stamina, but it'll also cause you to loose equipment and cargo, and any that you are able to keep a hold of will become damaged.
14. Stamina is an extremely important resource
You really don't want to let your stamina fall in Death Stranding. As it decreases the weight of your cargo will take more of a toll. When Sam is in this condition you'll need to grip L2 +R2 for increased balance, or mash the 'O' button to catch your breath and regain a little stamina.
15. Energy drinks can regain stamina
If you're in need of a quick boost of energy, Sam can also consume energy drinks for a little boost. This will probably mean he will need to urinate more frequently, because of course that's a gameplay feature.
16. Side quests can be missed
While traversing the world, Sam can stumble across dropped cargo. Picking it up will start a delivery, a side-quests of sorts. While these can be missed or avoided entirely, it looks like they will be integral for gaining new items, resources, and for expanding the Chiral network to new corners of the world.
17. Use equipment anywhere
Equipment like ropes – to scale down mountains – or the ladder are limited to the amount that you bring with you on your mission initially. They are also incredibly heavily, so you'll need to mitigate your desire to lighten the load and keep them with you for when you really need them.
18. You'll need to pay attention to the network
When you're out of range of a Chiral network antenna, you will need to make a connection as fast as you can. Not only are you cut off from the world and therefore your overall goal, but you also won't be able to make use of printers at any safe houses you may stumble across.
19. The ladder has a weight allowance
While the ladder can also be used anywhere that the physics system will allow – be it to scale inclines or cross gaps – it does have a maximum weight allowance. This means you'll need to be careful not to step on it with heavy cargo, the results could be disastrous.
20. Dropping cargo damages it
If you drop cargo for whatever reason it can become damaged. Doing so will reduce the amount of 'Likes' it will get, as will getting the item wet or losing it.
21. Isolated groups can have affiliations
While many of the citizens outside of the Chiral network are isolated from wider society, there is a chance that they will have affiliation to other groups. It's worth keeping this in mind as you try to make connections.
22. You can see traces of other players
Equipment from other players can appear in the environment at random. While you won't see them directly, you will see traces of them via their footprints.
23. Your items can break
At one point we see Sam's footwear get damaged beyond repair, meaning that he's now walking the mountains with bare feet. This greatly reduces his stamina and bloodies up his feet, forcing him to take a rest and heal himself.
24. Fresh equipment is good for the soul
When Sam sits down to take a break he can rest, massage his shoulders, sooth his BB, and rearrange his Cargo. If you brought an extra pair of shoes with you, for example, you'll be able to unhook them from your backpack and get them on your feet – which will greatly replenish your stamina!
25. You can learn to play the harmonica
You can get hold of a harmonica in the game and can play it with the Touchpad when resting to play a "soul-soothing melody". This is something you'll be bad at to begin with and getting steadily better at playing over time, which your BB will love and give you 'Likes' for!
26. BB happiness is key
Your BB has its own happiness meter that must be managed, much like your cargo and stamina meters should be. Soothing your BB, playing the harmonica, and reducing its stress levels, will ultimately contribute to keeping your BB happy.
27. Take other player's cargo
If a player drops cargo (or leaves it behind, for whatever reason) you can actually pick it up and take it with you. This works in a similar way to shared-equipment, once you take it it's gone for everybody else all over the world!
28. Cargo can be repaired
Items called 'Container Repair Spray' can be sprayed onto cargo containers to repair them. These are less effective in 'Timefalls' but at least we know that cargo can be repaired when initially damaged. Of course, carrying these repair sprays will contribute to your overall weight and carry load.
29. Shared lockers exist in the world
You will occasionally stumble across Postboxes in the wild. These are shared and private lockers, structures that any player can build if they have the necessary resources. In here you can store items privately, you can entrust your cargo to other players to deliver on your behalf, leave items behind, and take on delivery quests – all of which earn you 'Likes' if you do a good enough job.
30. There's a delivery trolly
One of the new pieces of equipment found in the postbox is the Rotor drone, designed to "help carry the load". While it has other uses, its primary function is to dump cargo onto it to let you better traverse and navigate the spaces.
31. There are Shelters too
Player established Shelters can also be found in the wild too. These seem to restore cargo conditions and provide a moment of respite, increasing stamina recovery. You can leave 'Likes' as a way of saying thank you.
32. Something weird with music is going on
The harmonica isn't the only musical device in Death Stranding. The Shelter also plays music via a speaker, which seemingly denotes dangerous hazards and terrain the local area. Music plays a bigger part in this world than has been previously discussed.
33. You can use your rotor drone as a skateboard
Need to get downhill fast? Hop onto your rotor drone, normally used to carry some of your cargo, and catch a ride, skateboard style, to gain serious speeds.
34. Your sensor highlights all nearby enemies
All of the hard recon work you did in Metal Gear Solid 5 can be achieved in one button in Death Stranding, as your sensor can tag all nearby enemies and points of interest in an area without alerting them.
35. You can stealth kill enemies with Strand razor wire
Certain elements of Death Stranding will call for stealthier approaches to combat, and Sam can incapacitate foes by strangling them from behind with his potentially non-corporeal razor wire.
36. Hack enemy post boxes for extra gameplay advantages
Enemy camps are stowed with special "MULE Postbox" lockers that can be infiltrated to equip Active Skeletons, sort out your luggage, and provide other benefits.
37. The Bola Gun can incapacitate enemies from the feet upwards
One of Sam's many, many tools at his disposal in combat is that of the Bola Gun, which literally fires out metaphysical Bolas made of "strands to bind and immobilise or stun humans or BTs"
38. Sam's luggage can be chucked as a throwable weapon
Not just useful for transporting cargo from A to B, Sam's array of parcels and luggage are handy as a last minute combat tool, too, capable of knocking out an enemy with a single lob.
39. The Active Skeleton lets you outrun enemy vehicles and jump over long gaps
Though it's unclear exactly how this works, Sam can equip can "Active Skeleton" buff that increases his speed and agility for more effective traversal.
40. You can replenish Active Skeleton at player built charging points
These charging points look like tall, electrical nodes sprouting from the ground, and Sam simply has to stand near time for a brief amount of time before Active Skeleton is back at full power.
41. Weather can affect Sam's equipment, Breath of the Wild style
Timefall rain will degrade Sam's luggage and equipment, as it accelerates the progress of time, but Sam can ingest something called a Cryptobiote to avoid this hazard... or at least delay it.
42. Your sensor friend will alert you to the presence and location of BTs
As seen in one of Death Stranding's trailers, this flower-like robot pal will perk up when one of the game's otherworldly enemies, the BTs, are nearby, and will point in their general location to help you adapt accordingly.
43. BTs will pull you into other dimensions for epic boss battles
These are Death Stranding's biggest baddies, and introduce themselves by dragging you through interdimensional tar into a lengthy boss battle.
44. BTs are capable of destroying entire buildings in seconds
If you think about using a building for cover when fighting a Hunter, think again. The one seen in the demo makes an entire construction sink into tar with a terrifying laser beam.
45. Sam's grenades are made of his various body fluids
Hematic grenades consist of Sam's blood (if you don't have a blood bag equipped, you can create them from Sam's blood directly, at the cost of health), while Ex grenades are "capsules made of Sam's condensed body fluids collected from the shower."
46. Other players can help you during boss battles
They appear as pasty avatars appearing from the tar, throwing in useful items like ammunition and cheering you on from the sidelines.
47. You can bathe in hot springs to clean yourself
These can be found throughout the world, and will enable Sam to clean off tar and other environmental effects from his body.
48. Sam can sing in Japanese to his BB on command
While bathing in the hot spring, a button prompt allows Sam to start singing (rather awkwardly) to his floating BB unit. It's very odd.
49. You can create signs to alert other players to POIs, Dark Souls style
We see Sam set up a sign for the Hot Spring he bathes in, which other players will then be able to see from a distance.
50. Players can build large constructions together
One example we see in the gameplay is that of a bridge, which players can contribute materials too. The person who has contributed most to the effort will have their name flaunted across the construction.
51. Songs from Kojima's curated soundtrack play organically throughout your adventures
Similar to the iconic moment in Red Dead Redemption as you travel to Mexico, licensed songs will begin playing at select intervals throughout your travels in Death Stranding, such as when you're about to reach a significant landmark like a city.
52. Sleeping allows you to restore critical stats
These cities will often reward you with a place to stay for completing your deliveries, complete with a bed to sleep in, allowing Sam to restore his health, stamina, blood bags, and BB pacificity.
53. There is an in-game mail system
Upon waking up, Sam receives a notification saying he's received mail from Viktor Frank. It's unclear how we access this, what it's used for, or whether we can receive mail from other players too.
54. You can sit or stand when using the toilet
Kojima didn't clarify whether sitting or standing when visiting the golden arches hold any differentiating benefits/disadvantages, but the option is there, nonetheless. You can also use the shower, too.
Check out more Death Stranding gameplay below, or read up on all the other big new games of 2019 and beyond still on the way.