Death Standing is a game that's all about connecting people across a fragmented America after the apocalyptic event known in universe as the Death Stranding. In order to make sure that the theme of "connection" is really ingrained into the gameplay, Death Stranding also boasts a unique type of multiplayer that allows players to affect each other's game worlds without directly interacting.
According to a number of interviews, Kojima's goal with the game's unconventional multiplayer was intended to give players a way to interact that is completely positive, with no way of being negative or mean-spirited to each other. The game director has even gone so far as to say that the cultural negativity brought on by the Trump election and Brexit vote were what inspired him to focus so heavily on building bridges and connecting people.
While some of the best community involvement to appear online is fan art and memes, there is plenty of evidence of Kojima's goal coming through as players help each other on their way through the game world. Between the community coming together to reconnect America with a vast freeway that stretches from one end of the open world to the other, and the little structures sprinkled around the map to aid travelers, there is plenty of evidence that the unique multiplayer experience in Death Stranding is doing its part.
Building Roads Across America
Not every player's goal is to connect the NPCs and complete the complicated and unique narrative of Death Stranding, but instead connect other players within the shared game world. This is evident with player lemonrations' claim that they are only on chapter 3 of the game, and yet they've dumped over 100 hours into building the roads that stretch across the world. While this volume of playtime being dedicated to such a tedious task is outside of the norm, giving up at least a little free time and resources to build the road isn't too out of the ordinary according to some comments on the post.
The roads that these players speak of specifically are the long stretches of pavement that can be laid down via the Autopavers that litter the Central Region, where the majority of the game takes place. Building the roads is no simple feat, however, as each stretch of asphalt can take thousands of units of metal and concrete in order to complete. With limited resources scattered around the game world, it's likely that both players featured above have either been pulling resources from friendly Preppers and Distribution Centers, or ransacking Mule Compounds.
However, roads aren't the only way of getting around the world of Death Stranding.
Zip-lines Over Rough Terrain
Rather than building roads, other players have dedicated their time to building intricate zip-line networks that carry players quickly through the roughest terrain of the game. One of the above examples can take players across one of the most treacherous rivers in Death Stranding, with a waterfall at the end of it that instantly kills players and destroys any cargo they may have been carrying. On top of providing a helping hand across the water, the trip through the zip-line shows off how breathtakingly beautiful the world of Death Stranding is when players stop and enjoy the scenery for a moment.
In some cases, zip-lines can actually be preferable to roads in Death Stranding, especially considering areas where the roads can't reach on their own. One such location includes the Timefall Farms location, where players can be tasked with some of their heaviest and most important pieces of cargo: beer. It's places like this that zip-lines are most useful, as the only way in and out of the valley that the farm is settled in is through a massive Mule compound and BT territory.
And sometimes cars and bikes just won't cut it when trying to blast through the rugged terrain without a little help.
Earning That Surname Bridges
One player's bridge has proven to be so helpful that it had earned itself over 2 million likes only a few days after the game's release. This is an incredible feat for anyone's bridge, considering that the common ceiling for voted on constructs tends to hover around the tens of thousands range, rarely even breaking 100,000. However, clearly not all bridges are measured evenly, as made evident by the player whose ladder bridge is completely out-shined by a nearby construct.
If only likes had some sort of monetary value, then that player would be rolling in virtual dough right now. Unfortunately that's not the case, but that doesn't mean that all of that attention will wind up meaning nothing. With that many likes, that player will quickly be racking up tons of bridge links with anyone who passes by their bridge, making their world connected to even more players.
Although, not every construct is quite as deserving of likes.
One Part Safe Haven, One Part Troll
Not every player has been placing new constructs with the intention of helping everyone who passes by. While a safe haven like the one shown in the Reddit post above seems like it would be welcome when players are looking to get away from the surrounding BTs, it can actually be more of a hindrance. Unlike an ordinary Timefall shower, there is no way to wait out BTs, since they will essentially stay in the same place until Giant BT, or BT Beast, is dealt with.
To make matters worse, BTs respawn after a short amount of time, meaning that this area will almost always contain BTs. This means that whoever left this Private Room here has essentially invited players to a perpetual game of Hide and Seek, with no actual way to effectively fight off the surrounding enemies. On top of all that, this will also add the safehouse to the fast travel list of any player who rests here, meaning they could accidentally pop into BT territory with no gear to help them survive.
Kick Back and Enjoy the Music
The music selection quickly became one of the many features that fans latched onto when trying to explain their rabid fandom for one of the most divisive games of the year. Thanks to a mechanic for building and upgrading structures, it's even possible to listen to some selections of music outside of scripted segments and the Private Rooms. However, the music can only be heard when nearby a structure that has been upgraded to level 2, allowing for customizations such as playing music or showing holographic characters looking to get players' attention.
Some players, like Twitter user @123Hurts, have started adding their favorite songs from the list of calm, mood setting pieces available to structures all over the world. In the case of the safehouse pictured above, players approaching to find a safe haven out in the open field that it occupies will be graced with some soothing tunes as they arrive. Other examples seen online include players leaving lockers outside of hot springs so they can have some music to relax in the bath with.
However, not every interaction among the community is confined within the game.
A Cavalcade of Fan Art
Fans had already been creating their own art based on Death Stranding from way back in 2016 when the first trailer launched at E3. A lot of the most dedicated fans seem to have latched onto the more emotional aspects of the story, such as Cliff's arc or the re-connection of twins Lockne and Mama. However, there is also plenty of representation for Sam and his BB, Lou on the hashtag #deathstranding.
But wait, there's more, including crossovers:
With so many fans scrawling out new pieces of their favorite characters, there's almost too much to keep track off, which is the best problem for fan art lovers to have. However, there is still another step to connect the fans' love of the game into real life, and as always, there's an app for that.
Bonus: Instagram Filters
Created by Twitter user @egorinogore, this filter gives fans an odradek along with a Higgs style makeup treatment, complete with running mascara in the Timefall. Seeing the filter in action is breathtaking, made all the more clear by how much @egorinogore looks like Higgs once he applies the effects. This particular fan creation has actually gotten enough attention to earn itself a shout-out from Tommie Earl Jenkins, the actor who plays Die-Hardman.
Considering that Death Stranding only released a little over two weeks ago, it should be a surprise that there is such a strong community backing up the title. However, with all of the mystery surrounding the game since 2016, along with the anticipation for Kojima's first foray into game development outside of Konami, it makes sense that it gained such a follow on release. All of this makes for an exceptionally deep experience when connecting the community with such unique gameplay.
Death Stranding is available now on PS4, with a PC release expected in Summer 2020.