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Death Stranding Has An Alfred Hitchcock Easter Egg

Though the plots aren’t at all similar, Death Stranding’s Amelie and Vertigo’s Judy share surprisingly similar character arcs with dire consequences.

Death Stranding may be a video game, but writer and director Hideo Kojima’s love of movies comes through in several ways, including an Alfred Hitchcock Easter egg. Numerous Hollywood actors have some famed video game roles in Death Stranding, but noted directors Guillermo del Toro and Nicholas Winding Refn lend their likenesses to the cast. The game’s narrative is incredibly unique – and frankly, exceedingly strange at times – but the influence of film on Kojima’s work is noticeable, especially in a scene that appears to be an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo that has lasting narrative parallels.


[Warning – Major Death Stranding spoilers to follow.]

Near the beginning of Death Stranding, after players learn how to walk, it is revealed that Sam’s mother, Bridget, is the terminally ill President of America. After she dies, Sam has to take her body to the nearest incinerator to avoid a Voidout, and when he returns to Capital Knot City, the director of Bridges, Die-Hardman, introduces him to the new face of the United Cities of America: Sam’s sister Amelie. After Die-Hardman’s preamble, only Amelie’s silhouette can be seen before she emerges from the light streaming in from a window. When she is finally in full view, she looks exactly like Bridget, being portrayed by the same actor, Lindsay Wagner.

Related: Death Stranding Almost Cast Keanu Reeves Instead Of Mads Mikkelsen

The scene immediately brings to mind one of the most iconic shots from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which released in 1958 and inspired an upcoming video game. In the midst of its mind-bending plot, Judy emerges from a bright green light to reveal her as the spitting image of Madeleine. The two scenes share a similar premise: The protagonist, who believes one woman to be dead, is suddenly brought face to face with her very-much-alive doppelgänger. The use of lighting elicits a similar reaction of suspicion from the audience in both as well, and the two plots will go on to conclude in a similar manner.

Death Stranding Uses False Doppelgängers Like Vertigo

Death Stranding's Amelie reveal seems like an homage to this Vertigo scene

The stories of Death Stranding and Vertigo aren’t even remotely similar, but these two characters – Amelie and Judy – have comparable arcs. In Vertigo, protagonist Scottie later learns that Judy was involved in a plot to cover up the murder of the real Madeleine. He never actually met Madeleine, and Judy was simply posing as the Madeleine he was hired to investigate. Following Judy dying her hair and pinning it at her neck, the pieces begin falling into place as Scottie and the audience realize what has happened, culminating in Judy’s death as a result of Scottie hopelessly trying to keep Madeleine alive even though she had been dead the whole time. Though the journey to Death Stranding‘s conclusion takes much longer, the path to revelation of Amelie as a false character culminates in much the same way.

Sam travels across the country even though he doesn’t necessarily believe in the ideals of Bridges, doing it only to keep Amelie’s dream alive. His eventual understanding of the truth at the end of Death Stranding – that Amelie and Bridget were one and the same, and Amelie is actually an extinction entity trying to precipitate the Final Stranding – evokes a feeling similar to that of Scottie in Vertigo, one of frustrated hopelessness at the prolonged manipulation. The idea of Amelie was a lie, just as Madeleine never actually existed – at least not in the way Sam and Scottie conceptualized them. In both Death Stranding and Vertigo, a doppelgänger emerges from an obscuring light to be presented as the final goal, only for the protagonist to chase that goal to its hollow conclusion and realize it wasn’t two people, but one manipulator the entire time.

Next: Hideo Kojima Explains Death Stranding’s Feeling of Fear

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