Heartman began his studies of the Beach after losing his family in a unique manner; while he was at a hospital undergoing heart surgery, his wife and daughter returned home to retrieve something for him - only to find themselves caught in two simultaneous voidouts which left a heart-shaped crater. The hospital was not directly affected, but the shock wave caused the power to fail, and with it Heartman's life support. Heartman found himself on the Beach, surrounded by the souls of the newly deceased, including his family. However, the ICU's emergency generator activated, allowing the defibrillator to re-start his heart and forcibly return him to the living world.
Heartman never came to terms with the loss of his family, so he began purposefully repeating that experience; obsessively searching the other side for his wife and daughter, seeking to "move on" with them.
Every twenty-one minutes, Heartman's heart stops and the automated external defibrillator (AED) on his chest re-starts it three minutes later. During this time he is clinically dead, so he thus visits the Beach sixty times each day. When he first meets Sam, having requested Mama's body for research purposes (as it is not in necrosis), he reveals to the courier that he has been to the Beach 218,549 times.
Heartman sees his condition as something of a blessing in disguise; his ability to regularly "visit" the other side and then return to the living is relatively unique, and it allows him to effectively (if slowly) research phenomena related to the Death Stranding in addition to searching for his family. This process has gradually deformed and weakened his heart, but after roughly a decade he has become America's leading expert on the Beach.
Heartman generally keeps an alarm that warns him of his impending death, but can and does switch it off occasionally.
Post Death Stranding
After the end of the Death Stranding, a final interview with Heartman explains what became of him. After countless trips to the Beach, he reasoned that with each person's Beach being unique, not even death would allow him to be reunited with his family. He gave up his quest, realizing that it would change nothing.
Moving on with his life, he later met a woman named Samantha Spade, suggesting a future romantic partner.
- 3 - BT hologram, Lightning Blue "Ludens mask" sunglasses frame and backpack color
- 4 - Lightning Blue Cap color, Cryptobiote accessory
- 5 - Lightning Blue "Sam" sunglasses frame color
- Given his condition, Heartman dies approximately 60 times a day.
- According to Heartman, he has been to the other side 218,550 times as of his first meeting with Sam. When calculated, 218,550 of Heartman's "cycles" equal to just under one decade (approximately 3642.5 days, or 9.97 years).
- Heartman has made changes to his lifestyle to accommodate his life-death-revival cycle. In his room, the floor, walls, and other surfaces are all covered in a thick layer of padding, likely to reduce the chance of bodily injury should he lose track of the time and die before getting into a comfortable position. Heartman also maintains a collection of various short pieces of media (short films and stories, TV shows, music albums, etc.), all of which can be enjoyed in 21 minutes or less.
- Heartman has a rare genetic deformity called "myocardial cordiformia," which caused his actual heart to develop in the shape of a symbolic heart ( ❤ ). This condition is purely fictional.
- Heartman categorizes himself as a "Homo loquens", a "linguist", for understanding the world around him through the language of science and logic.
- Heartman takes heart medication periodically due to his condition.
- Heartman tends to make a heart "icon" pop up when he does a "thumb up" sign. He can also make a broken heart pop up, like when Sam messed with his phonograph while leaving his lab.
- He was the last known person to have Mama's body, but it is not explained what he did with it after he was finished studying. However, it can be presumed that he preserved the body for future study and examination given it’s unique lack of decay or necrosis such as a normal body would have.
- If you mess with his turntable, Heartman will take 20 likes from you.
- At the end of the game, Heartman has started dating a “spirited Hispanic woman" named Samantha Spade whom he nicknames Sam. Samantha is most likely a reference to the “spirited Hispanic woman” Yaritza from Refn’s tv series Too Old to Die Young.
- Samantha "Sam" Spade is also the name of the fictional FBI Special Agent on the CBS television drama Without Trace.
Characters and groups in Death Stranding
|Bridges||Sam • Die-Hardman • Deadman • Mama • Heartman • Lou • Igor Frank • Nick Easton • George Baton • Benjamin Hancock • Jake Wind • Viktor Frank • William Lake • Thomas Southerland • Owen Southwick • Alex Weatherstone • Charles Khan • Phillip North • Aaron Hill|
|Homo Demens||Higgs Monaghan|
|United Cities of America||Amelie • Bridget Strand|
|Preppers||Chiral Artist's Mother • Collector • Cosplayer • Craftsman • Doctor • Elder • Engineer • Evo-devo Biologist • Film Director • First Prepper • Geologist • Junk Dealer • Ludens Fan • Mountaineer • Mountain Guide • Musician • Novelist's Son • Paleontologist • Peter Englert • Photographer • Roboticist • Spiritualist • Timefall Farmers • Veteran Porter • Wandering MC|
|Other characters||Cliff Unger • Lockne • Lucy Strand • Lisa Bridges • Bridge babies • MULEs • Stillmothers|
|Entities||Beached things • Extinction entity|
|Manufacturers||Cicada • Solstice • StrandWolf • WellMax|