I make deliveries. That's all.
Samuel "Sam" Porter Bridges is a legendary porter and member of Bridges who plays an integral role in expanding the Chiral Network and making the United Cities of America whole by embarking on a westward expedition.
Sam was born on November 9th, to Clifford Unger and Lisa Bridges. In an effort to save his unborn son after Lisa was rendered brain dead in an accident, Cliff willingly placed Sam under the care of Bridges scientists conducting Bridge baby experiments, but did so unaware of their true intentions: to use Sam as a sacrificial foundation for a new communications network as the first proper bridge baby. Upon learning of such from an old comrade and friend, Cliff attempted to abduct Sam from a Bridges facility, but was gunned down in the process, resulting in his and Sam's deaths. On the Beach, Sam was healed and brought back to life by Amelie, who bestowed to him the ability of repatriation. No longer viable as a bridge baby by virtue of being a repatriate, he was taken into Bridget's care and raised as her son, Sam Strand. However, his revival upset the balance of life and death, triggering the Death Stranding.
In his youth, as a sufferer of DOOMS, Sam had severe nightmares and would find himself stranded on the Beach unable to find his way out. Always there for him in such moments, Amelie would arrive to calm Sam and help him make his way out of the Beach. Sam fashioned a quipu for Amelie in the world of the living, and was able to bring it with him to the Beach, where he gifted it to Amelie as a representation of their bond.
At some point, Sam joined Bridges, and due to his DOOMS and ability of repatriation would become an essential member of the core team as the organization's mandate expanded. He met a psychotherapist named Lucy, who tried to help him overcome his aphenphosmphobia. The two fell in love, married, and eventually conceived a child, a daughter whom they intended to name Louise.[expl 1] After being subjected to the nightmares of DOOMS sufferers as the bearer of Sam's child, Lucy committed suicide which took their unborn daughter with her. Her death caused a Voidout in the satellite town of UCA-01-0C, leaving Sam, a repatriate, as the sole survivor in the area and the primary suspect of the incident. Due to public pressure and guilt, he left Bridges and became a freelance porter, isolating himself from society and cutting himself off from the living. His former co-workers suspected that his resignation was Sam's own way of taking responsibility for the incident.
For 10 years, Sam worked as a freelance porter, gaining repute as "The Legend" and "The Great Deliverer". While delivering cargo to Central Knot City, he encounters Fragile of Fragile Express, who triggers his aphenphosmphobic allergic reaction by grabbing his arm when the two are hunted by Beached things (aka BTs) After fulfilling the delivery, Sam meets Igor Frank and another unidentified member of Bridges' Corpse Disposal Team, the former who asks for his help in the urgent delivery of a necrotizing suicide victim to the nearest incinerator. While en route, the three are ambushed by BTs and wreck in a shower of Timefall. When Igor and his partner are overcome by BTs, Igor throws his Bridge baby to Sam, before he is devoured by a colossal BT summoned by Higgs, triggering a large-scale Voidout. Sam repatriates and returns to the site of the massive crater left from the Voidout, where five floating figures briefly float above the crater before disappearing.
Later, Sam wakes in a private room in Capital Knot City, where he is tasked by Deadman with delivering morphine to Sam's dying mother, President Bridget Strand, for one last parting moment with the woman who raised him. In the Capital Knot City Isolation Ward, Bridget attempts in vain to convince Sam to continue in Amelie's footsteps on a westward expedition to reconnect America, but Sam shows no interest in America's future. In her dying moments, Bridget lunges from her sickbed onto Sam, establishing a contract with him binding him to the task of embarking west.
To prevent the creation of a BT from necrosis, Bridget's body is carried by Sam and burned at the Incinerator West of Capital Knot City. The subsequent increase of Chiralium density in the area causes BTs to manifest nearby, prompting Sam to trance connect to Igor's bridge baby in defiance of a decommission order for it to be burned with Bridget's corpse. Able to see BTs while connected to the BB, Sam sneaks past the BTs to escape the area and returns to Capital Knot City.
Meeting with Die-Hardman and a holographic Amelie, Sam is briefed on the situation they find themselves in – Amelie has been captured by the Homo Demens in Edge Knot City while on a westward expedition. They plead with him to continue on Amelie's journey connecting cities from east to west to the Chiral Network, and bringing her back to Capital Knot City so she may assume the role of President of the United Cities. Sam is dismissive of their aspirations, but takes up the task in order to save Amelie nonetheless. Before he sets out west, he is fitted with standard issue Bridges delivery gear and given a Q-pid to connect terminal "knots" to the Chiral Network.
Port Knot City is the first city Sam is tasked with connecting to the Chiral Network, which he does by using the Waystation West of Capital Knot City and Distribution Center West of Capital Knot City as relay points. Before readying to set sail to Lake Knot City, Sam is confronted by Higgs and told of Amelie's status as an "Extinction entity" before being forced to overcome a BT summoned by the terrorist. After defeating the BT, he and Fragile board a Fragile Express ship and sail for Lake Knot City.
Arriving in Lake Knot City in the central region of America, Sam sets out to connect three nearby Preppers to the Chiral Network – the Engineer, Craftsman, and Elder – and then the Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City to the Chiral Network. While preparing to make an aid package delivery to South Knot City, a Bridges member brings Sam a Fragile Express cargo container, claiming it was lost in transit and is to be delivered along with the aid package. Sam realizes the Bridges member was Higgs in disguise and that the container houses a thermonuclear bomb. Rushing to a crater lake east of South Knot City, Sam is able to dispose of the bomb.
After delivering the aid package to South Knot City and connecting the city to the Chiral Network, Sam is swept away in a supercell and transported to a World War I-era battlefield. Escaping the immediate battlefield into trenches, Sam is hunted by the Combat Veteran and his reanimated soldiers, and manages to return to the world of the living after defeating the soldiers and making physical contact with the Combat Veteran.
Connecting Mountain Knot City
Returning from the supercell, Sam learns from Mama that no time has elapsed since he was swept away by the storm. He heads to Mama's lab, where she informs him of the defective limiter in his Q-pid. Mama presents him with new Q-pid hardware, but tells Sam he must meet with her sister, Lockne, in Mountain Knot City to have the Q-pid's software updated. Sam first connects the Waystation North of Mountain Knot City and Distribution Center North of Mountain Knot City to the Chiral Network, and then journeys to Mountain Knot City.
When he arrives at Mountain Knot City, he is met by Lockne, who denies him permission to connect the city to the Chiral Network and dismisses him. As suggested by Mama, Sam uses cord cutters given to him by her to sever the umbilical cord between Mama and her beached daughter. Though briefly forced to escape a BT summoned and sicced on him by Higgs, Sam manages to transport Mama to Lockne in Mountain Knot City, where the two sisters are reunited and made whole again. Lockne later updates the software of Sam's Q-pid and allows him to connect Mountain Knot City to the Chiral Network.
Inside Sam's Mountain Knot City private room, Deadman convenes with Sam and informs him that his BB – who Sam begins affectionately referring to as "Lou" – is veering too far towards the world of the living as the infant becomes more attached to Sam, and requires a realignment procedure to position it back in-between the worlds of the living and dead. In Sam's private room shower stall, Deadman divulges to Sam classified knowledge of BB technology, and what he has managed to discover regarding Bridget and Die-Hardman's questionable history. Sam is left without Lou to create distance between himself and the infant for the realignment procedure's efficacy, and works to expand Chiral Network coverage in the area surrounding Mountain Knot City by connecting nearby preppers to the network: the Doctor, Roboticist, Mountaineer, Photographer, and Spiritualist.
After expanding the network to the area surrounding Mountain Knot City, Sam travels to a cabin in the mountains to meet Deadman and reunite with Lou; just as he nears the cabin, a supercell sweeps over the area and transports the three to a World War II-era eastern Europe battlefield. After rendezvousing with Deadman in a sewer and reconnecting to Lou, Sam is able to again defeat the Combat Veteran. When Sam again makes physical contact with the Combat Veteran, he, Lou, and Deadman are subsequently transported back to the world of the living.
Finishing network expansion in the central region
Approaching completion of his mission to make America whole, Sam travels to Heartman's lab, bringing the researcher Mama's non-necrotizing corpse as well as dog tags taken from the Combat Veteran. To expand the Chiral Network to the region near Heartman's lab, Sam connects three nearby preppers to the network: the Geologist, Paleontologist, and Evo-devo Biologist. The expanded network coverage from having connected the aforementioned preppers to the network allows Sam to expand the network to a waystation construction site in the deep southwestern part of the central region near the shore of the western tar belt. Once Sam brings materials to the site, the waystation-to-be is connected to the Chiral Network, providing the final push necessary for the network to reach the West Coast.
To cross the vast tar belt west of the central region, Sam allows himself to be dragged across the tar by BTs, which causes the tar belt to transform into more suitable ground for him to trek across on foot as the tar belt is animated by surfacing and submerging buildings, objects, and leviathan BTs. Deep across the tar belt, he encounters an image of Amelie, who leaves him to sink into the tar.
Emerging from the tar, Sam wakes on the outskirts of a decimated Edge Knot City, where he is briefly harassed by Higgs about Amelie's status as an extinction entity. He first brings the Distribution Center North of Edge Knot City onto the Chiral Network and then journeys through a ruined Edge Knot City and connects the city to the Chiral Network, finally expanding the network across the entire continent. Sam is eventually attacked by Higgs, who puts Amelie under his control and manifests a colossal BT form to combat Sam. After felling Higgs' colossal BT form, Sam has Fragile jump him to Amelie's Beach, where he engages in hand-to-hand combat with Higgs in a tar pit, incapacitates the terrorist, and rescues Amelie. As he promised Fragile he would do, he leaves Higgs alive for her to do with as she sees fit.
Following Amelie's rescue, she confirms to Sam her status as an extinction entity who can "end it all". Furthermore, she confesses to him that she slipped out of the Beach to visit him on one occasion while he was still back east, having lied to him about being held hostage to coerce him into embarking west – a plan concocted by Die-Hardman. The two then briefly run blissfully along the Beach's shore, before stopping to witness Die-Hardman attempt in vain to shoot down Bridget, and Cliff's subsequent arrival and advancement towards Sam's position in search of his BB. Amelie pushes Sam away into the Seam, where he repatriates into a private room east of the tar belt. To work towards averting the Sixth Extinction, his allies in Capital Knot City urge him to return east.
Making his way back east, Sam is swept away in another supercell as he nears Lake Knot City wherein, he battles the Combat Veteran once more, this time in a Vietnam War battlefield. Upon defeating the Combat Veteran, he approaches the fallen man; the Combat Veteran whistles a lullaby to Lou, to which Sam whistles along with the soldier, knowing the same lullaby himself. No longer hostile, the Combat Veteran rises to bestow his dog tags to Sam and embraces Sam as his "bridge to the future", before disappearing at the sound of a gunshot.
Sam wakes in a private room in Port Knot City, having been brought to the city by Viktor Frank after being found unconscious on the other side of Ground Zero. Deadman shows him a pre-recorded message from Die-Hardman in which the director reveals his doubt regarding Amelie's physical existence, the impossibility of Amelie being Bridget's biological daughter, and his intent to accept Amelie's invitation to the Beach and attempt to put her down with his revolver and hematic rounds.
After being briefed on Fragile's worsening condition from having excessively jumped across the Beach, Sam sets out to deliver a stockpile of cryptobiotes to her in Capital Knot City, defeating a leviathan BT along the way. In the Capital Knot City Isolation Ward, Fragile tells Sam what she learned from Higgs after the terrorist's defeat: that Higgs was seduced by Amelie's extinction entity powers and made her "agent of extinction". Soon after, Fragile jumps Sam to Amelie's Beach so he may attempt to talk Amelie out of initiating the "Last Stranding".
Averting the Last Stranding
Arriving on Amelie's Beach, Sam searches for Amelie until she appears to him. She reveals to him that "Amelie" and "Bridget" are merely names of the two halves of the single extinction entity she is – her "ka" (soul) and "ha" (body), respectively. Furthermore, she reveals that Sam's expansion of the Chiral Network has bound all connected to the network to her Beach, thus enabling the Last Stranding, as has always been her plan. She presents Sam with two choices: watch the swift ending of the world together with her "until the last flame winks out", or use Die-Hardman's left behind revolver to sever his connection to her and her Beach and postpone the Last Stranding. Sam chooses instead to embrace her, assuring her he would always be there for her as she has for him.
Amelie reveals that as an extinction entity, she has been fated to usher in the Last Stranding, and that after an agonizingly long span of solitude on the Beach, she opted to set the Last Stranding in motion in advance by utilizing the expanded Chiral Network as a catalyst. She chooses to remain on the Beach, to spare humanity the worst of the inevitable Last Stranding and in the hope of providing life an opportunity to come out stronger from the extinction. After sharing one last embrace with Sam, Amelie pushes him out of her Beach and into his own to return to his allies.
One last delivery
Upon returning to the world of the living, Sam attends Die-Hardman's presidential inauguration as the United Cities of America is formally recognized as a nation made whole. As the inauguration concludes, Sam meets with Deadman, who explains that Sam's allies searched for Sam for a month in the world of the living, and were only able to bring him back from his Beach by following Die-Hardman's revolver – a "stick" which effectively became a "rope". Deadman additionally discloses to Sam classified information regarding Die-Hardman's past as "John", relation to Cliff Unger as the man's killer, and resurgence as the masked director of Bridges after faking his death. Shortly after, Sam converses with Die-Hardman, where the guilt-ridden president confesses to his actions and breaks down in tears before Sam. Sam helps Die-Hardman up from kneeling and asserts that the old ways will have to die hard for a better America to be built before leaving the president with his returned revolver.
When a decommissioning order comes through for Lou to be incinerated, Deadman mentions that Sam may try removing Lou from their pod to see what happens, in direct contravention of an executive order. Sam opts to take Lou to the nearest incinerator, to which Deadman turns Sam's cuff links offline and tells him removing them would thereupon make him invisible to the Chiral Network, though they will reconnect him after he uses the incinerator. Before setting out to the Incinerator West of Capital Knot City, Sam meets with Fragile and is asked if he wants to work for her UCA approved private delivery company. Claiming to harbor no ties to anyone or anything, Sam expresses his continued detachment from the world of the living, in spite of the connections he has formed throughout his journey, and states that there is no place for him in the newly reconnected America. He leaves a disheartened Fragile with the parting remark that everything he touches he loses before setting out with Lou to the incinerator.
At the Incinerator West of Capital Knot City, Sam places his cuff links and Lou on an incinerator but retrieves Lou before the infant can be cremated alongside the cuffs. He trance connects with Lou, triggering an experience reminiscent of repatriation wherein he follows a strand to join his soul with an infant carried by Cliff in chronic visions he has had since first connecting to Lou. Experiencing the full breath of the events surrounding Cliff's death, an adult Sam is allowed an intermission of respite with Cliff, during which Cliff acknowledges Sam as his bridge to the future who unites people together rather than divide them, and embraces his son before being shot dead.
Following the trance connection's end, Sam removes Lou from their BB pod and frantically attempts to stimulate activity in the lifeless infant. With a spectral umbilical cord forming tethered to Lou and infant BTs floating above the two, a dejected Sam holds Lou in his embrace. To Sam's surprise, Lou lets out a fussy cry before playfully grabbing Sam's UCA quipu. Together with Lou, Sam leaves the incinerator and cradles Lou in an ending drizzle of rain bearing no effects of timefall, just as sunlight breaks through and an ordinary rainbow forms above them.
Sam has always harbored a disconnection from the world of the living. Growing up, Bridget never spent much time with him, leaving Sam feeling abandoned with only occasional visits with Amelie on the Beach. He was able to form a bond in the world of the living with a psychotherapist named Lucy, whom he would marry, but following her suicide, he became wholly distant from society and human connection – "living a lie, hung up on past regrets" and "broken" with the sole purpose of making it to the next sunrise. Throughout the course of his westward expedition, Sam finds solace in the people he encounters for their hope for the future and their faith in him, which compels him to continue making deliveries to provide them the opportunity to build something better, however vain their attempts may be in his eyes. Influenced by their hopes, Sam resolves to confront Amelie on her Beach in an effort to avert the Last Stranding, even if it means he will be stranded there with no hope of return.
Sam forms a close attachment to his bridge baby, BB-28. Their bond is fostered upon Sam's first trance connection with the infant, and throughout his journey, Sam takes to calling them "Lou", a nickname he had given to his unborn daughter. He sees Lou as a partner rather than mere equipment and expresses gratitude for the infant enabling him to confront BTs and thus saving his life on many occasions. However, Sam retains the belief that there is no place for him in America and claims to have no ties to anyone or anything.
Sam is pessimistic regarding America's future and the state of the world, telling Bridget "America's finished," and that "[they] don't need a country". He believes that unity will not solve humanity's current predicament, as it will not eliminate BTs. Even after coming to admire people's hope for the future and playing an essential part in uniting the UCA, he still regards the world as broken.
Sam suffers from aphenphosmphobia, a fear of being touched. As noted by his late wife Lucy, this condition was likely caused (or at least aggravated) by limited social interaction as a child. Sam initially overcame this condition through his relationship with Lucy but regressed upon her death. By the end of his westward expedition, he has begun to overcome his condition at least somewhat, initiating a hug with his ally Deadman and holding Lou.
A long-time porter, Sam is in peak physical condition. If necessary, he is able to carry towering stacks of cargo on his back and traverse vast distances on foot across treacherous terrain, all while keeping cargo in mint condition. Sam's natural carrying capacity and movement speed are enhanced significantly upon donning various active skeletons.
Sam is an adept hand-to-hand combatant and marksman. Even against the well-trained Combat Veteran and reanimated soldiers, Sam is able to hold his own against and even defeat them. He is capable of taking down encampments of MULEs and Homo Demens single-handedly. Furthermore, he is able to best Higgs in hand-to-hand combat, incapacitating the terrorist figurehead. As an alternative to outright violence, Sam is also capable of using stealth to achieve his goals against both the living and dead.
Mama later gives him cuff links fitted with Chiralium cord cutters, which can cut through BTs' umbilical cords and likewise send such BTs back to the other side.
Sam suffers from Level Two DOOMS. This condition allows him to sense BTs, although he is unable to see them without use of a BB. Placing his hand above a recently deceased person's body, Sam is able to discern how far necrosis has progressed in the corpse.
As a repatriate, Sam's "ka" (soul) always returns to his "ha" (body) from the Seam; he cannot permanently die, whether from being devoured by a BT (though he will still cause a voidout), falling from great heights, or even a deliberate suicide.
During his assignment to incinerate President Strand's corpse, he discovered that his fluids and bodily wastes (e.g. he witnesses BTs being repelled by his blood; further experimentation reveals that his urine, feces, and even the sweat and epithelial cells in his shower water have similar effects) can be synthesized into anti-BT weapons capable of driving BTs back to the other side. However, it is unknown if this trait is shared by other repatriates or unique to himself as a result of his origins as the first repatriate and/or initiator of the Death Stranding.
- Sam has no known fixed full name. As a freelance porter, after being referred to as Sam Porter by Igor Frank, Sam tells Igor, "It's Sam. Just Sam," the only instance of Sam expressing what he prefers to be called. Cliff said he was told his son's name was Sam Porter, but that to him he is Sam Bridges, which many others also refer to him as. He is widely recognized by his full working name as a porter, Sam Porter Bridges. As the adopted son of Bridget Strand, his legal name is Sam Strand, and though he forwent the surname Strand at some point in his adulthood, he is referred to as Sam Strand in several interviews and by Amelie during their final encounter.
- The handprints arrayed across Sam's body are said to be the amount of times he has repatriated, with a new handprint showing on him after each repatriation.
- Sam has never been able to visit his Beach of his own volition.
- Sam's aphenphosmphobia is mainly used to refer to Sam's aversion to physical contact. However, another trait of the condition (and one that was not mentioned in-universe) is a fear of emotional bonds, which Sam arguably displays more frequently.
- Sam's gray freelance Porter Suit has the numbers "0914-137" printed on the front of it. Congruent to this collection of numbers is Psalm 137:9, which is 14 words in length: "Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."
- Sam shares Norman Reedus' demon tattoo on his right inner bicep, and the "Big Bald Gallery" tattoo on the back of his right hand.
- Sam refers to his rescuing of Amelie as the two being Mario and Princess Peach, respectively.
- The in-game model for an infant Sam incorrectly has green eyes like Lou, despite Sam and his actor Norman Reedus both having blue eyes. An Infant's eyes don't have a fixed color though until they're roughly one year old, accounting for this inconsistency.
- ^ Deadman incorrectly surmises that Sam's unborn child was a boy. Lucy confirmed in her ninth report that their child was in fact a girl.