Hideo Kojima never met a celebrity he didn’t want to include in Death Stranding. As such, his latest game contains all sorts of celebrity cameos. Talk show host Conan O’Brien makes one such appearance, as a prepper slash cosplayer. For reasons that are not entirely clear, players have covered his house in pee.
If you play Death Stranding online and approach the Cosplayer’s shelter, you’ll likely find large mushroom patches littering its entryway. This means that other players have recently piloted their Normans Reedus (correct plural) to that region and given them the command to whip out their own tiny Reeduses to fire defiant blasts of urine onto Conan O’Brien’s doorstep. This has been a tradition since shortly after Death Stranding came out in November, based on Reddit posts on the subject. Impressively, it persists to this day.
Over the weekend, a friend of mine escorted me to O’Brien’s international house of piss in his own playthrough of the game. My friend, Jack O’Connor, is an avid participant in the tradition, having gone so far as to fashion an in-game sign with an image of a person peeing and a line through it, so as to say “no peeing.” It has garnered over 500 “likes,” which players can use to signal approval of structures and other player-made creations. I like to think people appreciate the sign because they can imagine O’Brien erecting it himself, sobbing angrily and wondering if his home will ever smell like anything other than urine ever again.
Why, though? Why has O’Brien’s humble in-game domicile weathered a two-month-long piss storm? You might chalk it up to O’Brien’s “Clueless Gamer” segments or his other comedic dips into the gaming pond over the years, or maybe a distaste for his show in general. I asked Jack what compels him to relieve himself on a beloved talk show host’s digital property.
“My guess is that people, even if they love or hate the celebrity, feel a sense of gratification and freedom by being able to use the pee mechanic in a somewhat menacing/hilarious way,” he told me in a text, noting that he’s also come across mushroom patches outside Geoff Keighley’s in-game shelter. “It’s nearly impossible to troll other players in this game, so maybe people want to defy known celebrities or see how large a pee mound they can make for their entire server to see and relish in.”