Death Stranding ESRB Rating Details Numerous “Intense Instances of Violence”

In trademark Hideo Kojima fashion, his upcoming independent debut has been veiled in mystery since it was announced during E3 2016. Although an extensive 49-minute gameplay demo was released last month during the 2019 Tokyo Game Show (TGS), players have still been left with an abundance of unanswered questions about the game, its story, and its overall mechanics. Through the recent announcement of an M for Mature Death Stranding ESRB rating, however, curious fans can be somewhat sated by a few new snippets of information.

*Spoiler Warning* If you want to go into Death Stranding without knowing certain major story beats, know that the ESRB description of the game contains some spoilers for moments that occur in the story.


With the November 8, 2019 release date fast approaching and the game having “gone gold,” final preparations are taking place before Death Stranding hits physical and digital storefronts next month. One such important step is to secure an age rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and the organizations have deemed Death Stranding to be appropriate for a Mature (17+) audience due to the presence of:

  • Blood
  • Intense Violence
  • Partial Nudity
  • Strong Language

The ESRB continues to elaborate on their findings, citing that the action game in which players assume the role of courier Sam Porter (The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus) features many notable “intense instances of violence.” Though there are stretches of time where players passively transport packages across the game’s post-apocalyptic setting, it’s stated that encounters with “human settlers and ghostly apparitions” can prompt realistic firefights in which enemies emit “large splashes of blood and cries of pain.”

More interestingly, we also get a sneak peek at the contents of some of the game’s cutscenes; an element of game design for which director Hideo Kojima is perhaps best known. The ESRB reveals that an infant is “accidentally” shot and the audience then sees a resulting blood splatter “appear below the infant.” In addition to this reportedly shocking scene, a defenseless “comatose patient” is also shot in the head as another man stands “stabbing himself repeatedly in the distance.”

Could the unfortunate infant in question be Sam Porter’s Bridge Baby? We certainly hope not, but only time will tell. Additionally, the ESRB notes some scenes show an unnamed character with their “buttocks exposed” and that there’s swearing during dialogue.