Death Stranding: Kojima Explains Nicolas Winding Refn's Heartman Character

At the Hideo Kojima Storyteller panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, film director Nicolas Winding Refn joined the visionary director of Death Stranding. Some good time was devoted to let Refn talk about his friendship with Kojima, projects he has worked on, and his feelings about games, but things kicked off with a discussion of Refn’s character in Death Stranding, Heartman.

First, the panel attendees were treated to a short cutscene in which Sam (Norman Reedus) is looking upon an unresponsive Heartman, with an electronic metal box attached to his torso. Heartman then wakes up and explains that he can only be awake for 21 minutes at a time before he dies. As a result, Heartman likes to cultivate a library of music and movies that can be consumed in less than 20 minutes.

Following the short clip, Hideo Kojima explained that Heartman in Death Stranding is alive for 21 minutes and then he dies for 3 minutes. During this time, Heartman searches for his family, who were lost during the Death Stranding event, on the other side.

For the moment, that was all Kojima is willing to reveal about Heartman in Death Stranding, which the director has said is a game about building connections. It might be a little hard to make any connections with Heartman since he lives his life 21 minutes at a time, but based on that brief tease, he certainly seems like a character out of a Kojima game.

box art for death stranding

It is important to note that while Death Stranding is using Nicolas Winding Refn’s likeness for Heartman, the game is not using his voice. Instead, a different actor is bringing the character to life through motion capture and voice work. Death Stranding is doing a similar thing with Deadman, Guillermo Del Toro’s character in the game. Kojima has got a lot of his friends and some of his idols in the game but didn’t force them to commit to anything more than a body scan.

In addition to the Heartman scene, Kojima also debuted the box art for Death Stranding and the art for the steelbook version. He also discussed how Death Stranding’s ladder mechanic is influenced by games like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.

Death Stranding releases November 8, 2019 for PS4.

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