Death Stranding 2 PS5 PlayStation 5 MetaHumans 1

There’s no beating around the bush: Death Stranding 2 looks incredible. The first footage debuted at The Game Awards this week showed a noticeable upgrade from the first game, which already looked absolutely outstanding on PS4 (and, latterly, PS5). Kojima Productions is once again working within the framework of Guerrilla’s impressive Decima Engine, but it’s also leveraging Unreal Engine’s next-gen MetaHumans tech, as spotted by eagle-eyed fans in the small-print at the end of the trailer.

Death Stranding 2 PS5 PlayStation 5 MetaHumans 2

For those of you who missed the announcement of this last year, MetaHumans is package that’s part of Unreal Engine 5 that allows developers to add extraordinarily photorealistic NPCs to their games at a remarkably fast pace. It’s like the most complicated, realistic RPG character creator you could possibly imagine – but it’s obviously a tool designed for game developers, rather than consumers. While a lot of the main characters in Death Stranding 2 are going to be face-scanned, like Norman Reedus and Lea Seydoux, this suggests the sequel may feature a more dense cast of NPCs overall.

The first Death Stranding, despite its themes of connection and building bonds, was relatively light on NPC characters, with most restricted to simple silhouettes that you’d interact with in bunkers. While this was baked into the narrative, we’d quite like to see a larger cast in the sequel, and hopefully MetaHumans can help Hideo Kojima and his team realise that. Either way, we’re really interested to see how the studio puts this nascent technology to use.