The backstory on the MULEs is interesting and points at a frustrating ambivalence that turns through much of Death Stranding . The MULEs are couriers like Sam who got hooked on the “high” of fulfilling tasks and delivering packages, to the point where it is all they want to do and will steal cargo just so that they have more to deliver themselves.
This is…kind of awesome? Maybe it’s because I’m still fresh off venting about The Outer Worlds where its Marauders’ only backstory is that they were former workers who used a prescribed drug to the point of becoming “not human,” but this thing with the MULEs is actually interesting and makes sense. According to Emile Durkheim, when people don’t have a strong sense of personal belonging in society (be it professionally, spirtually, etc.), they can fall into a state of anomie. This can lead to social deviance in some form or other: from the outwardly violent (e.g. crime) to the inwardly violent (e.g. self-isolation, self-harm). To me, it makes total sense that there’d be some contingent of altruistic workers who get so much moral satisfaction out of having a purpose within this husk of a society that they take that completely overboard and end up being the world’s most well-intentioned (if very misguided) de facto bandits.
At the very least, I think it’s just refreshing that a AAA game justifies a major antagonist faction as something more thoughtful than “they’re the nameless, faceless, amoral baddies and they exist solely because you need something to shoot at.”