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Small details you missed in the Death Stranding trailer

May 29, 2019 saw the release of a spectacular new trailer for Hideo Kojima's highly antipated PlayStation 4 exclusive, Death Stranding. Along with a few more story details and a definitive release date of Nov. 8, 2019, there were several other revelations about the game that could be gleaned from the trailer, as well as some neat new things on which gamers can be expected to speculate for months to come.

In classic Kojima fashion, the new trailer raises just as many questions as it gives answers, if not more. Many of these are obvious, like the big action set pieces that hint at crazy environments and some trippy-looking stealth mechanics. However, there are more than a few things you may have missed on your first or second viewing. With so much to take in with this massive (nearly nine-minute long) trailer, let's focus on a couple of details that might have slipped by, as well as some cool connections to other properties you may not have known about.

Where do Bridge Babies from from?

In the trailer's opening moments, we see Mads Mikkelsen's character, Cliff, singing a lullaby to one of the "Bridge Babies." These mysterious babies have been seen in Death Stranding's marketing ever since its very first announcement trailer, but we're still not any closer to understanding what exactly they are, other than the fact that connecting with one somehow allows the protagonist, Norman Reedus' Sam, to use his abilities. We don't even know if they're human-born or grown out of scientific experiments. 

However, if you pay close attention, you'll notice there's a spattering of blood on Cliff's face as he addresses the baby. While this could mean that he's recently been in a fight and the blood may be his own or an attacker's/victim's, this could also be a clue as to the origins of the Bridge Babies. Perhaps the blood is due to a recent delivery? Are the Bridge Babies born through natural childbirth? Even more pressing, is Cliff already there because he's the father? He makes comments toward the end of the trailer that suggest he plans on sticking around to see the little one develop. This raises some interesting narrative possibilities, as well as potential ethical dilemmas, especially if these babies are being bred to be used as instruments.

Timefall

Perched atop his bike, we see Sam staring at a gathering storm cloud. As the rain begins to fall and lightning cuts across the sky, we see some plants wilt and die, while others seemingly flourish from nothing. Birds fall from the sky; one lands right next to Sam, and just before the camera cuts away, the bird begins to decompose in the spot where it landed.

This is a really dark and cool visual, but more than that, this quick moment ties into earlier comments made my Kojima regarding the world of Death Stranding. Specifically, this further clarifies the concept of "Timefall." In a 2017 interview with IGN's Marty Sliva, Kojima explained that Timefall is "not of this world," while remaining somewhat vague on the idea that there may be a deeper connection between Sam and the Timefall. The only hint that Kojima let slip in that area is, "Most people in the game are aware of the rain — and well, [Sam] is quite unique in this regard." It's pretty wild to see the varying effects of Timefall, which can't help but make us wonder how it will effect the player's progression through the game. It looks like Sam had better bring an umbrella.

No exit

One of the more chilling moments of the trailer comes near the end, where we see Sam on his knees in what appears to be a desolate wasteland. You may notice something even more curious about this scene, however: not only are all of Sam's surroundings completely drained of life and color, but Sam himself has taken on a grey-blue hue, almost looking asphyxiated. Sam grabs a gun from the ground, puts it to his head, and … cut to black. What's happening here?

We may have a few ideas. In the IGN interview, Kojima mentions the idea that death is not the end in Death Stranding. "One of the themes of this game is life and death," he explained. "So I want people to realize that when they die in the game, that isn't the end."

Instead, players will be whisked into a purgatory-like area. Once there, you can explore the other side before presumably returning to the world of the living. What if this brief scene of Sam on his knees is him in this purgatory realm, battling with whether or not he wants to resurrect? Is that an option? And what would the consequences of such a decision even be? 

Apocalyptica-lly appropriate music

The music in the trailer is the song "Path" by Apocalyptica, which is an appropriately epic-sounding track that wonderfully underscores the mix of drama and action throughout. Kojima is apparently a huge fan of the Finnish metal band, taking to Twitter to talk about how "delighted" he was to finally meet them and use their song for the Death Stranding trailer.

However, what you may not be aware of is that there is another version of "Path," called "Path Vol. 2." This version, for which Apocalyptica enlisted Guano Apes' Sandra Nasić on vocals, features a few choice lyrics that may be of interest to anyone who has watched the latest Death Stranding trailer. 

The lyric "Are you still denying?" brings to mind the back-and-forth between Sam and the president at the beginning of the trailer. Sam insists that America is done for, seemingly accusing the president of being in denial when she insists that Sam "can make America whole." Another phrase in the song that seems to line up with the Death Stranding trailer is "I want to live in fire," which immediately conjures up the image of Cliff standing amongst his soldiers in the middle of a fiery blaze without a scratch, seeming to find peace in the chaos of war. "Path" is a fantastic choice of song for this trailer, considering all of the interesting ways its alternate version could tie into the motivations of the characters.

A deeper Bond

Death Stranding has a real star-studded cast, with two actors in particular being notable for their involvement in one of the biggest and longest-running film franchises ever. We're speaking, of course, of Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux, both of whom have played characters in James Bond films

Mikkelsen was the lead antagonist of 2006's Casino Royale, playing the sadistic mastermind known as Le Chiffre. With his eye that wept blood and his taste for torture, Le Chiffre as played by Mikkelsen is easily one of the most memorable villains in the franchise's history. Seydoux, on the other hand, notably played Madeleine Swann, daughter of international terrorist Mr. White, in 2015's Spectre. Madeleine was Bond's love interest in that film, eventually riding off into the sunset with him. Seydoux is currently attached to return to the role in the next movie, making her one of the few Bond girls to get a second appearance.

Beyond this neat connection, it will be interesting to see if Mikkelsen and Seydoux take on similar roles in Death Stranding. Could Mikkelsen's Cliff pose a threat to Sam's mission (it seems so)? And where does Lea Seydoux's character, named Fragile, fit into all of this? It's no secret that Kojima is a huge fan of the 007 movies, so it would certainly make sense for him to take some inspiration from them — heck, we even see Lindsey Wagner's Amelie bleeding from the eyes, just like Le Chiffre.

Deadman Del Toro

It's not just Hollywood actors that are getting in on the action in Death Stranding, however. In fact, Kojima has enlisted a few big name Hollywood directors to play a part in his latest opus. One of them is Guillermo Del Toro, the director best known for films such as Pan's LabyrinthThe Shape of Water, and the first two Hellboy films. In the trailer for Death Stranding, Del Toro is briefly seen as a character named Deadman. However, some of the folks viewing this trailer may not be aware that Del Toro's appearance in Death Stranding is only the latest chapter in a long-lasting relationship between the two visionaries.

A few years back, Del Toro and Kojima collaborated on a new Silent Hill game that would have starred Norman Reedus. Though the playable teaser for the game was well received, it was unfortunately canned amidst rising tensions between Kojima and Silent Hill publisher Konami. Afterwards, Konami scrapped any plans to produce a new Silent Hill game. Between this unpleasantness and Konami's rather public hostility toward Kojima, Del Toro had some choice words for the publisher, which won't be reproduced here. Let's just say that Hellboy would have been proud.

Only Heartman Forgives

Another notable director making a brief acting appearance in this trailer is Nicolas Winding Refn as Heartman. Yet again, there is a connection here between the performer and Hideo Kojima that folks may not know about. First of all, Refn is a massive fan of Kojima's work, particularly on the Metal Gear Solid series. Following the premiere of the trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5, Refn was quoted as saying, "Hideo Kojima is a master at portraying a wider and more complex view of human nature combined with breathtaking action sequences." This focus on human relationships in the midst of action is something that can also be seen in Refn's work with films like Drive and Only God Forgives, suggesting that the filmmaker may have been more than a little influenced by Kojima's work.

More recently, Kojima and Refn collaborated on Refn's new Amazon Prime series, Too Old to Die Young, in which Refn has apparently cast Kojima as a violent sword-wielding maniac. Time will tell if this is Refn's way of returning a favor, as Heartman seems like a rather studious character in the brief shots we see of him in the trailer. Still, this is a neat little behind-the-scenes friendship that some people may have missed out on.

A family name

While it's not entirely clear in the trailer, the company supplying Sam for his mission is called Bridges, seen briefly in a few shots. This is an interesting detail, considering we also know that Sam's last name is, in fact, Bridges. In addition to that, during his discussion with the president (with whom he appears to have a familial connection), Sam refers to her as "Bridget." Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like "Bridges," doesn't it? Well, "Bridget Bridges" certainly sounds like a less fantastical name than "Psycho Mantis." But what's going on here?

This raises a ton of new questions. Is this Sam's company? His family's? The Bridges logo is very briefly seen on the rug beneath Brigdet's bed, which lends further credence to the idea that this might, in fact, be Bridget's company. Are they related to one another, as the photograph seen at the beginning of the trailer would seem to suggest? Have they had a falling out, which is why Sam's reluctant to try to get into the field and save the country? Was the company started before or after whatever catastrophe caused time to become unwound? Were the Bridge Babies created to help Sam tap into his powers, or was it the other way around?

There are several moments throughout the trailer that could make one wonder just how much autonomy Sam has, as he certainly doesn't seem to want any part of going up against the unnatural forces at work. Why does Sam seem to be controlled by a company that shares his name? Is it just a matter of obligation toward his family? For such brief shots, the company name raises so many new and interesting questions.

A tangled web?

In addition to the company name, we also see a version of the Bridges logo for just a moment, which appears to resemble the web of a spider. This is interesting for a number of reasons, as it can be interpreted in a few different ways. 

It could be a reference to how tangled up the flow of time seems to have become. It's almost like all of time is happening at once, with different events bleeding in and out of one another. This is most obvious when we see the spectral outline of a tank phase into reality, surrounded by the ghostly echoes of a World War One battle. The past, present, and future seem to have quite literally gotten their lines crossed, which would make the weblike logo make plenty of sense. However, like all good mysteries, that's not the only theory that could be drawn.

Connecting the Strands

The web pattern of the Bridges logo could also be a reference to the interconnectivity that Death Stranding hopes to encourage. In one of his more informative and less mysterious moods, Kojima explained that the game will encourage players to work together, creating new "Strands" and putting the world back together. As Kojima explains it, "The goal of the player is to reconnect isolated cities and a fragmented society."

If the ultimate goal for Sam is to "make America whole," as said by the president, then what better way could he do than than to reconnect the cities of the country? Perhaps the logo is less a foreboding one and more of a symbol of optimism. The web could represent the "strands" that connect the formerly divided country. It's a much more inspirational logo in that context, as it gives the players something to strive toward, rather than representing a mess that they have to fight against. It's certainly not too far from the kind of wide-eyed optimism that Kojima has baked into previous projects, like when he included a secret ending for Metal Gear Solid 5's online mode that saw the world disarming all of their nuclear weapons and joining together to usher in a new age of peace.

The dreamcatcher

One final theory about the Bridges logo comes from a blink and you'll miss it shot featuring Norman Reedus' Sam falling into what appears to be the purgatory dimension we've seen elsewhere in the trailer (note Sam's blue-grey skin). In this shot, Sam is wearing a necklace that appears to resemble a dreamcatcher. In Native American folklore, dreamcatchers were intended to filter out bad dreams when they came to your mind. The good dreams would travel down the dreamcatcher and into your head, while the bad dreams would be caught in the web and destroyed by the sun. 

This detail is notable due to how closely the Bridges logo also resembles a dreamcatcher, which could also change the entire tone and goal of Sam's mission. We know he's supposed to help bring people together, but what is he supposed to do with the forces standing in his way? Does Sam need to trap these anomalies and send them back where they came from? Can time be repaired, or is Sam meant to fix time or destroy the aberrations as they appear? This could raise a whole new batch of ethical questions and confusing paradoxes as the plot of Death Stranding unfolds.

A never-ending war

Cliff is seen emerging from what appears to be oil or dark water during multiple points in the trailer, always surrounded by his own army. It's interesting to note the changes in dress during these sequences. When he arrives on the battlefield around the trailer's halfway point, his soldiers (what we can see of them, at least) look like they stepped right out of World War I, fitting right in with the trench warfare that follows. When they arrive on the scene near the end of the trailer, their garb appears more modern, suggesting that these soldiers may have been plucked out of different points in history.

Perhaps the liquid is some kind of conduit for their travel from battle to battle. Are there places were the Timefall has gathered, like rainwater in a ditch, allowing it to be used as some kind of portal? What is so important to Cliff that he might snatch these phantoms from different points in the time stream? 

And what of the voiceover from what sounds like Troy Baker as Higgs that we hear over the last scene with these skeletal soldiers? What is the "connection to the other side"? Is there a more spiritual element to this war than we realize? One thing's for sure: we have plenty of new questions to ask while we wait for Death Stranding's release.