Skip to main content

What is aphenphosmphobia in Death Stranding?

death stranding aphenphosmphobia meaning
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

What is aphenphosmphobia in Death Stranding? In the opening hours of Death Stranding, Guillermo del Toro’s character, Deadman, mentions a condition that affects the game's protagonist. We're informed that Norman Reedus’ character, Sam, is affected by something called aphenphosmphobia. Deadman then moves right along with his exposition without the crucial bit of info.

Death Stranding on PC
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

The Death Stranding PC release date isn't until early summer 2020, but we're getting a head start with the console version to give you the best advice ahead of the PC launch.

If you're anything like me, you won't have encountered this absurdly long and complicated word before. So, well, what does it mean? You want to embrace the meditative qualities of delivering packages across a jaw dropping and beautiful world without such annoying questions burdening your brain, so I'm going to answer this question for you here with this quick primer.

Aphenphosmphobia meaning in Death Stranding

Aphenphosmphobia is the fear of being touched in both the physical and the emotional sense. It's also known as a bunch of other terms like Haphephobia and aphephobia. The reason why Sam has this fear is revealed over the course of the story—which we naturally don't want to spoil for you here—but in a world where getting attacked by enemies means pulling you under a thick layer of black tar, it's not surprising that Sam’s fear has stuck around. 

Aphenphosmphobia is also associated with victims of sexual assault and symptoms include, but are not limited to, trembling, sweating, chest pains, hot flashes, heart palpitations, and hyperventilating. 

If there's anything we know about Death Stranding, it's that the game is going to throw up an awful lot of questions over the coming weeks. It's a game that divided critics as you can see in our Death Stranding review round up, but queries will come from its innovative mechanics, too. For the other confusing things that Kojima has put in the game, here's whether you should fight or avoid Death Stranding BTs and whether your birthday affects your Death Stranding DOOMS abilities.