Mads Mikkelsen will not be returning for Death Stranding 2 confirms Hideo Kojima

Mads Mikkelsen close up in Death Stranding
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima has confirmed that renowned actor Mads Mikkelsen will not be returning for the upcoming sequel Death Stranding 2: On The Beach

Taking to Twitter, Kojima confirmed that Mikkelsen would not be reprising his role as Clifford 'Cliff' Unger, a United States Army Special Forces captain who finds himself embroiled in the metaphysical horror at the center of Death Stranding's plot.

"If you have played [Death Stranding] 1 to the end, you will understand," begins Kojima's Tweet. "Mads' Cliff will remain in the story of Death Stranding and in your memories forever. It is because we care about the character of Cliff that he will not appear in [Death Stranding] 2, Please understand."   

You can read the full post for yourself, below.

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Without spoiling too much, the end of Cliff's story in the first Death Stranding is conclusive and satisfying, with the game giving his character a full arc. However, the same can be said for Higgs (Troy Baker), Death Stranding's central antagonist. Unlike Cliff, however, Higgs appears to be returning in the upcoming sci-fi thriller despite being defeated by protagonist Sam Bridges (Norman Reedus) towards the end of the first game.

This led fans to wonder if Cliff would also be making a return. Kojima said in a previous Tweet that he has "received many enthusiastic messages" asking if Cliff will return in Death Stranding 2. However, in this Tweet, Kojima also confirmed that "Mads is not appearing in Death Stranding 2: On the Beach."

However, even without Mads Mikkelsen, Death Stranding 2 looks as though it'll be chocked full of great acting, supernatural mystery, and trademark Kojima weirdness, all shown off in a new trailer revealed at Sony's January 2024 State of Play event. From creepy puppets to the return of Higgs, the trailer provides plenty of new mysteries and a few Easter eggs for longtime fans. 

Death Stranding 2 On the Beach is slated for release in 2025 as a PS5 exclusive.

Want some immersive titles to play while waiting for Death Stranding 2? Check out our lists of the best single-player games and the best story games.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 


Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 


Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.