Now that Death Stranding is out at last, people have finally been able to start moving on from the years of pre-launch hype and towards getting a sense for what the game actually is. But that’s not going to be the easiest thing to do when one’s trying to make sense of a game about saving America by making deliveries and dodging ghosts while Norman Reedus has a baby in a jar strapped to his chest.

Anyone who’s seen even one of Death Stranding’s trailers can accurately guess that the game throws a lot at players. There are all sorts of unique terms that are casually brought up from the get-go, like Beached Things, chiral networks, and extinction factors. But one that might be hard to grasp is DOOMS, which the game suggests could be affected by, of all things, players’ birthdays.

In the game’s plot, DOOMS is the term for special abilities that emerged in people, including protagonist Sam Porter Bridges, as a result of the titular Death Stranding event that connected the world of the living to the world of the dead. As far as gameplay goes, this is what the game uses to explain away Sam’s ability to perceive the Beached Things, or BTs, the ghost-like entities he has to avoid at all costs. While these are tied to the narrative, the game suggests that players can actually affect Sam’s DOOMS abilities by entering a date of birth at the start of the game.

When they enter the date in Death Stranding, players receive a message that reads, “higher levels of DOOMS abilities have been observed in those born under constellations such as Cancer, Pisces, Cetus, Delphinus, and Gigas.” This is in reference to when the above-mentioned constellations are visible in the night sky, which can vary depending on one’s location, but here’s a rough schedule for folks in the Northern Hemisphere:

  • Cancer: June to July
  • Pisces: February to March
  • Cetus: November to December
  • Deplhinus: August to September
  • Gigas: November to February

Death Stranding Sam

Unfortunately, the game offers no clue as to the significance of these specific constellations, and so far it looks like no one has been able to tell if entering any of these dates actually has any affect on Death Stranding’s gameplay. It’s possible that there’s a secret or two hidden behind certain birthdates, and it’s probable given that Hideo Kojima has been known to hide some interesting gameplay tricks in weird places. But for now, players won’t know for sure unless someone stumbles upon one.

Death Stranding is out on PS4, with a PC release to come in Summer 2020.