The Science of Death Stranding

The Science of Death Stranding

Though it features bizarre sci-fi with a supernatural twist, Death Stranding surprisingly sources its inspiration for other-worldly phenomena from real-world science

Few games in recent history have been as polarizing as Death Stranding. Fans – as well as critics – are split between hailing it as a masterpiece or labelling it downright boring. Whatever side of this debate you might be on, you have to agree on one thing: Kojima really gave his all to try something completely out of the norm, which is not a common sight in the AAA space.

As I noted in my review of Death Stranding, I was fascinated with the richly detailed world. After a round of exposition-dump in the game, I’d often pause and search for more information on the Internet. It is remarkable that many concepts which I initially wrote off as pure imagination turned out to be strongly rooted in real-world science. Here are five seemingly improbable ideas from the science of Death Stranding that have real-world counterparts or are based on known scientific knowledge.

1) Chiral Crystals

Chiral Crystals in solid form, resembling golden outstretched palms facing upward, as seen in Death Stranding

Chiral crystals as seen in Death Stranding
Image: Kojima Productions

Ok, I’ll be honest: I didn’t quite make the connection ’til I was on a Breaking Bad re-watch. In the season 1 episode ‘Cat’s in the Bag’, Walt explains during his Chemistry class: “So, the term Chiral, derives from the Greek word ‘hand.’ Now, the concept here being that, just as your left hand and your right hand are mirror images of one another, right? Identical? And yet opposite. Well, so too, organic compounds can exist as mirror image forms of one another all the way down at the molecular level.”

Sure enough, when the ‘Chiralium’ in Death Stranding manifests in its solid form, the larger deposits resemble a pair of outstretched palms. A neat nod to both the origins of the word and its meaning in chemistry.

2) Exo-wombs

While we haven’t quite got to the stage where you can see people walking about with BBs strapped to their chest, research into artificial wombs has been ongoing since as early as 1954, when a patent on the design for such a device was filed. The design included plans for a tank with amniotic fluid to house the fetus in and a machine connecting to the umbilical cord. Sound familiar?  

Sam Bridges with his Bridge Baby strapped to the chest, as seen in Death Stranding

Sam with his Bridge Baby (BB) in Death Stranding
Image: Kojima Productions

Though research seems to have progressed considerably over the last few decades, there are quite a few legal and ethical considerations that come with this field. Though this technology holds undeniable potential for same-sex couples and trans women[3], along with providing support during complicated pregnancies, we are nowhere close to creating a perfect exo-womb as seen in Death Stranding.

3) Chiral Network

This one’s probably the easiest to connect with its real-world counterpart; the Chiral Network seems to be a futuristic version of the Internet. In Death Stranding, you travel from one coast of post-apocalyptic America to the other, connecting survivors to the Chiral Network which gives them access to unlimited information, both past and present. It also allows them to communicate with others in the country. This is similar to the internet infrastructure we have at present, which helps us connect and form bonds with people living thousands of miles away.

Conan and Norman Reedus in Death Stranding

The chiral network in Death Stranding allows communication via holograms.
Image: Kojima Productions

4) Timefall

In Death Stranding, natural rain has seemingly been replaced by Timefall following the Death Stranding. This dangerous variant not only heralds the arrival of BTs, but also rapidly ages anything that comes into contact with it.

While there is no (known) natural counterpart to Death Stranding’s unnatural aging rain, environmental test chambers are often used to test the durability of industrial products. This means exposing items to extreme weather and temperature. Under the right conditions, these chambers also hold the potential to run accelerated aging tests. Artificially induced heat and cold simulate rapid cycles of day and night[1], ‘aging’ the product faster than it normally would.  

5) The Big Five

A mass extinction is an event where a majority (~75%) of all species on the Earth are wiped out in a short amount of geological time (less than 2.8 million years)[4]. In Death Stranding, the latter half of the game changes gears and Heartman’s efforts to uncover the mysteries of the Death Stranding (the fictitious sixth extinction event) take up a considerable amount of screen time. Theories surrounding previous mass extinctions, referred to as ‘The Big Five’, are formulated based on data and items retrieved by Sam.

Heartman explaining his theories on the causes of the past five mass extinction effects at his lab.

Heartman explaining his theories on the causes of the past five mass extinction events
Image: Kojima Productions

There have indeed been five major extinction events in the history of the Earth. The third one, the Permian Mass Extinction, is infamous for having decimated 96% of all life; accordingly, it is called ‘The Great Dying.’ The fifth and final mass extinction occurred over 65 million years ago due to a suspected meteor strike. As more wildlife species continue to go extinct due to indiscriminate human attacks on nature, many scientists have come to believe that we might be witnessing a sixth extinction event.

What did you think of Death Stranding? Was it imaginative and bold or a pretentious bore? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re here, why not check our Twitter and latest YouTube video? If you’re looking for something different, here’s a guide on what makes for a good character creation system in video games.  

References:

  1. “Accelerated Aging.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 June 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_aging .
  2. “Artificial Womb.” Eindhoven University of Technology, www.tue.nl/en/research/research-groups/cardiovascular-biomechanics/artificial-womb/.
  3. “Artificial Womb.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 July 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_womb#Research_and_development.
  4. Dutfield, Scott. “The 5 Mass Extinction Events That Shaped the History of Earth – and the 6th That’s Happening Now.” LiveScience, Purch, 17 May 2021, www.livescience.com/mass-extinction-events-that-shaped-Earth.html.
  5. Scoville, Heather. “The 5 Major Mass Extinctions.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, www.thoughtco.com/the-5-major-mass-extinctions-4018102 .
  6. “Sixth Mass Extinction of Wildlife Accelerating- Study: Earth.Org – Past: Present: Future.” Earth.Org , 4 June 2020, www.earth.org/sixth-mass-extinction-of-wildlife-accelerating/.  

 4,622 total views,  2 views today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *