Red Dead Redemption 2 and Death Stranding Share One Major Common Theme

Whether directly or not, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Death Stranding both deal with the theme of fatherhood in a major way. The settings of the two games are quite different from each other, with the former taking place in the American old west while the latter is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi game, but the main characters in both stories deal with fatherhood or father figures throughout the entirety of the games. The theme of fatherhood is also especially significant in the predecessor to Red Dead Redemption 2 and and other Kojima games before Death Stranding.

Rockstar Games and Kojima Productions have dealt with this sort of theme in the past. Red Dead Redemption was entirely about fatherhood with main character John Marston struggling throughout the entire story just to keep his family safe. The insanely huge and complex story of the Metal Gear franchise touches upon the theme of fatherhood throughout the multiple games connected to it. It’s clear to see that both developers enjoy writing around this theme in particular which has led to comparisons between Red Dead Redemption 2 and Death Stranding. In either case, dads are a big deal in these games.

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Fatherhood in Red Dead Redemption 2 might be a little more subtle as a theme than it was in the first game. Main character Arthur Morgan fights against time in many different ways throughout the story of the game, so it’s not particularly surprising that he doesn’t really have the chance to play the role of father in the game. Arthur actually once had a son, which he reveals through a missable side conversation in the story, but he and his mother were murdered in a robbery before the events of RDR 2.

Based off of Arthur’s description of the events, it’s clear that the murder-robbery had taken a deep mental toll on him which could partially explain why he eventually wanted to convince John Marston so badly to run away with his wife and son before their lifestyle finally caught up with them. He felt that John still had a chance to become a decent father, so he helped him out. Arthur was able to come to this decision much quicker after he realized how crazy Dutch had become.

Dutch was the leader of their gang, so he sort of served as the overarching father figure for everyone in the crew, especially Arthur who was his right hand man up until Micah nefariously replaced him. Arthur’s conflict, both with Dutch and himself, throughout the game has a few similarities to a “normal” father-son relationship. In RDR 2, when Dutch continually puts Arthur’s ideas down and constantly questions his loyalty, it starts to make Arthur doubt not only Dutch but also himself.

Fatherhood is explored in a different way in Death Stranding. Sam Bridges obviously goes through some form of it as he cares for bridge baby, Lou, as Sam has to explore the game world while carrying Lou in his pod which is attached to his chest. He develops a bond with Lou similarly to how a parent does with a child (he does carry Lou around like a mom). In fact, motherhood might be just as important a theme as fatherhood in Death Stranding.

Sam frequently has flashbacks and hallucinations which include Amelie, whom he sees as both a mother and a sister at times. Sam’s relationship with Bridget, another mother figure in the game, is also pretty complicated and drives a lot of his motivations as a character. Amelie, though, is one of the only characters, besides Lou, whom Sam holds great affection for and this family tree is made even more complicated with the inclusion of one of the antagonists of Death Stranding, Cliff Unger.

Cliff’s sections throughout Death Stranding revolve around him trying to take Lou back from Sam, as he is the biological father. The undying dedication that Cliff shows for his “BB” makes Sam witness an aspect of fatherhood that he was totally unfamiliar with. For the most part though, Cliff’s presence in the game is mainly to provide another angle in the BB story and to throw some extra twists that player may have not been anticipating. This is where it mainly differs with RDR 2’s story.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and Death Stranding may be similar in the fact that both games have a few characters which act as father, or mother, figures for the protagonist but they differ greatly in the theme’s execution. Basically, both games are about dads to some degree.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Death Stranding is out now for PS4, with a PC release coming this year.

MORE: 10 Hidden Secrets Many Still Haven't Found In Red Dead Redemption 2

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