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What’s up with Death Stranding’s ‘bridges’ tease?

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Kojima fans have been speculating on the phrase for months

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Death Stranding - Bridges teaser Hideo Kojima/Twitter

Hideo Kojima might not be bringing Death Stranding to E3 this year, but he’s given fans plenty to work with anyway. A mysterious teaser showing only a spiderweb and the word “bridges” accompanied his announcement that the game would sit out of the conference this year, sending followers down the rabbit hole. But the poster may actually be less confusing than those less steeped in Death Stranding lore think.

“Here’s the only new information I can present at this time,” Kojima tweeted alongside the bridges teaser poster. The immediate reaction was one of confusion — and some very obvious jokes.

We’re not going to count out Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges from making an appearance in Death Stranding. We’re just not convinced that’s what Kojima’s referencing here. Instead, more astute observers point back to the game’s most recent trailer, which premiered at The Game Awards 2016.

Look closely at the lapel on Guillermo del Toro’s character. There’s a small pin with an image of the United States on it (or, rather, “United Cities of America”), and it’s got two important details. One: The U.S. is covered with what looks to be the tangles of a spiderweb. Two: It’s accompanied by the word “bridges,” all in capital letters and in the exact same font as the one used for the new teaser poster.

Death Stranding TGA 2016 trailer - Guillermo del Toro’s BRIDGES lapel pin
Check out that pin.
Kojima Productions/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Fans seized on this way back in December. There are unofficial pins for sale inspired by del Toro’s. There’s myriad theories on what “bridges” could represent, whether it’s an organization, acronym or something else entirely.

“Is it possible that ‘Bridges’ refers to the department [del Toro] works for rather than his name?” one Redditor speculated on the Death Stranding forum. “I.E. a division of The United Cities of America that specializes in building (metaphorical) bridges. Bridges across time/space. Bridges between consciousness. Seems to me that the connecting things together is a pretty prevalent theme so far.”

A YouTuber pointed out that Ludens, Kojima Productions’ mascot, has the Bridges branding on his spacesuit as well.

“It’s looking like BRIDGES might have been the organization that funded or created Ludens’ spacesuit,” said YongYea, who’s broken down various Death Stranding clues. “Maybe that’s why it’s labeled ‘bridges.’ ... Perhaps the technology of both the spacesuit and the pod [that contains the baby del Toro holds in the TGA trailer] originated from this Bridges organization, which may perhaps further suggest that Ludens does in fact play some significant role in Death Stranding.”

None of these theories necessarily bring us closer to understanding Death Stranding, but at least they clear up that teaser poster ... at least a little bit. Kojima will be at E3 this year, even if his game (allegedly) won’t be. We’ll see if he drops more teasers next week during the show.