Death Stranding gets official ESRB rating, contains intense violence, seriously unsettling scenes, and... exposed buttocks

Death Stranding
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

Death Stranding has officially received an ESRB rating of M for Mature. While the rating itself might not be particularly surprising, it does reveal some of the violent scenes or mature elements we'll encounter in Kojima Productions' "Strand" game when it releases on November 8, 2019. 

On the ESRB website it provides a rundown of the players role and some of the more bloody or violent aspects of Death Stranding and lists that it contains "blood, intense violence, partial nudity, and strong language." Be warned, some of these scenes could potentially contain some spoilers, although without context, we don't know why this scenes occur. 

"Players use machine guns, grenades, and shotguns to kill enemies; firefights are highlighted by realistic gunfire, large splashes of blood, and cries of pain," the rating states. We already knew Death Stranding would involve some shooting action, with scenes in trailers showing Norman Reedus holding a gun. We've also seen the footage of how you can customise your arsenal, which showed off different guns and some explosives. 

Interestingly, though, the rating also details some of the cutscenes which go over some of the disturbing imagery we'll see. This is your final spoiler warning, by the way:

"Cutscenes contain more intense instances of violence: a man and an infant shot - the latter, accidentally (blood splatter appears below the infant)," this is likely referring to Sam being shot at, which in turn means BB will be shot at as well. Nonetheless, it's unsettling to say the least. It also goes on to list some other scenes of violence such as "a character shooting a comatose patient in the head, and "a man stabbing himself repeatedly in the distance." 

The rating also makes mention of nudity, noting that a "handful of scenes depict a character with his buttocks exposed." We've already seen protagonist Sam with his rear on display, so it's almost certainly referring to Norman Reedus' birthday suit in this instance. 

ESRB ratings are used to inform players of the kind of content they can expect to come across so you can make an informed decisions about whether or not you or your family members should play it. It's particularly useful for parents who might not necessarily know the nature of a game and whether or not Norman Reedus' bum is in it. 

For a game that has been shrouded in mystery for such a long time, it's almost funny to see the rating explain the role you'll play so simply, but it does shed some more light on what we'll be faced with when we dive into Death Stranding's world and get stuck into some postman-based action. 

Catching up on the latest news about Death Stranding? Read about how Death Stranding NPCs will be affected by your actions

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.