505 Games has announced that Kojima Productions' Death Stranding (opens in new tab) is coming to Game Pass for PC on August 23.
In a press release, 505 Games stated that "The original version of Hideo Kojima's critically acclaimed and genre-defying epic lands on the Microsoft ecosystem for the first time, available to audiences who are subscribed to the PC version of Xbox Game Pass".
The crucial phrase in the above sentence is "The original version", implying that the Game Pass version does not include the improvements and additions made by Kojima Productions in Death Stranding Director's Cut (opens in new tab). This includes new story missions, weapons, delivery equipment, and combat mechanics.
This could be due to existing licensing agreements between Kojima Productions and Sony. Director's Cut launched on PS4 and PS5 in September 2021, and while the upgrade was made available on Steam in March this year, it's possible that there's an existing console exclusivity deal that prevents the upgrade being released on Microsoft's platform – the kind of deal that Microsoft rather provocatively referred to as blocking fees (opens in new tab). Alternatively, it could just be that Kojima Productions doesn't want to make absolutely everything Death Stranding available to Game Pass players.
Either way, vanilla Death Stranding isn't exactly light on things to do. Kojima Productions' epic, which sees you playing as post-apocalyptic delivery-man Sam Porter Bridges, is both vast in scope and incredibly mechanically rich, with all manner of systems and gizmos that help you build pathways and delivery networks across its stunning recreation of Icelandic landscapes (which is supposed to represent a shattered United States). PC Gamer alumnus Andy Kelly found its story a bit indulgent in his review (opens in new tab), but was fond of the game more generally, stating "every misgiving I have about it is ultimately snuffed out by the magnificence of hiking across that sweeping, rugged wilderness."
Kojima Productions will deliver Death Stranding onto Game Pass this coming Tuesday, specifically at 5pm Pacific Time. That's 1am for us Brits. Much as I like Death Stranding, I'd wait until a more sensible time to start playing, as you probably won't even finish the introduction before the sun comes up.