During The Game Awards last night, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima released another weird trailer for his upcoming Death Stranding, because releasing weird trailers is kind of his thing. That, and trolling fans with cryptic messages and hidden clues.
Kojima was back to his usual form on the latter last night as well. “So how did you like the new Death Stranding trailer?” he asked Twitter. “If you rewatch the last [two] trailers, you may be able to find some clue.”
That was all the prompting Kojima fans needed to take deep dives into Death Stranding’s trailers and let their speculations run wild. One particular theory that a number of fans are currently running with is that the popular character Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear appears is in Death Stranding.
Right around the 2:56 mark of the new trailer, something spooks the main character portrayed Norman Reedus’ character. The camera pans around to show a shadowy figure, just barely visible as it rises through the fog. It’s entirely possible that this figure could be literally anyone but Psycho Mantis, but anyone familiar with the character will have a hard time denying the imagery bears a distinct resemblance to Metal Gear’s psychic bad guy.
For starters, the figure is floating in the air, which Mantis has a habit of doing throughout Metal Gear. For another, the shadowy appearance that creeps out Reedus’ character is in keeping with Mantis’ tendency of playing mind games and using freaky imagery to scare Metal Gear’s Snake. Finally, the shadowy figure in Death Stranding has his arms dropping to his sides with bits of clothing trailing off them, which is in keeping with Mantis’ fashion tastes of wearing unwrapped straitjackets.
The character fully reveals himself a moment later in the Death Stranding trailer, and he doesn’t look much like Mantis at all. That initial appearance, however, looks very much to have been a nod to him.
Psycho Mantis, like everything else that’s part of the Metal Gear IP, is wholly owned by former Kojima employer Konami. Given Kojima’s publicly acrimonious split from Konami, it seems unlikely the company would give its former star developer the OK to borrow some of its IP for inclusion in his first post-Konami game. That means Kojima is unlikely to confirm the shadowy Death Stranding character’s appearance was a Psycho Mantis Easter egg, but the evidence seems to indicate that’s exactly what Kojima intended.