At the start of Death Stranding, players are asked to input their birthday. It supposedly affects a condition called DOOMS, which grants characters special powers. In practice, the date hardly matters in-game and doesn’t affect how your character plays. It does, however, unlock a fourth wall breaking birthday message for players.
The Metal Gear series sometimes asked players to list their birthday, such as Metal Gear Solid 2 or Metal Gear Solid V. In the latter, it led to a miniature birthday bash for Big Boss if he returned to base on that date in real life. Death Stranding’s request for players’ birthdays led me to wonder if the date would matter, but during the course of the review process players received an email back stating that “No, it won’t impact your play experience.” That’s true in the sense that you don’t gain extra abilities or special perks, but playing the game on your birthday does unlock a birthday scene starring Mads Mikkelsen.
Tipster Javi wrote in to Kotaku, sharing what he found when playing on his birthday and what some YouTubers had also noticed. Throughout the game, as Sam exits safehouses, there are strange cuts to scenes with Mads Mikkelsen’s character talking to a BB. The scene that unlocks on players birthdays is explicitly about the player and not about Mads’ character or the BB.
“A special day for a special someone,” Mikkelsen’s character says, looking into the camera. “You may have forgotten, but I haven’t.”
It’s silly stuff. There’s even a birthday cake that shows up in Sam’s safehouse. Death Stranding is equal parts absurd and and intelligent, and this leans into the former. If you’ve ever dreamt of having Hannibal wish you a happy birthday, then your highly specific and weird dream has finally come true.