When PT — a playable teaser for Hideo Kojima’s reboot of Silent Hill — left the PlayStation Store in 2015, it took on an urban legend status. No longer downloadable and with the larger game canceled to boot, only those who already had PT on their system could continue to play it. But after Sony’s E3 press conference earlier this week, some fans think that the legend isn’t entirely dead.
PT originally came out in 2014 and instantly became viral on social media. In a departure from most horror games, PT scared players largely by making them walk through a hallway over and over again; the appeal was in how even the mundane could be terrifying in the right hands. As players dove deeper into the game, they realized that there was a much larger mystery hiding within it. To solve it, fans from around the world had to cooperate and share knowledge about how to keep progressing. Once players reached the end, they were surprised to find that PT was actually a teaser for the upcoming Silent Hills. It was made by Metal Gear Solid designer Kojima and director Guillermo del Toro, and it was going to star Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus. Hype around PT exploded and then turned into disappointment after the game was canceled and Kojima left Konami.
Since then, Kojima has gone on to create his own company, and he has been working on a new game known as Death Stranding. Death Stranding has accumulated its own fans, partially because of Kojima’s cult of personality and partially because the enigmatic trailers for the title have their own alternate reality game. Fans regularly dissect any new footage, often finding clues that help explain what Death Stranding actually is.
The trailer that dropped Monday night is no exception: some hardcore fans believe that it contains imagery that harkens back to PT. Specifically, there are a number of paintings in PT that seem to look like the landscapes in Death Stranding, leading fans like Reddit user TheInvisibleOnes to pair the images up side by side.
According to TheInvisibleOnes, this isn’t the only time that Death Stranding appears to have used imagery from PT. Last year, fans noticed that PT has a film negative that once inverted what looks like a tunnel:
The claim is that this tunnel went on to be featured in a Death Stranding trailer:
Players also claim that a blurry painting in PT appears to connect with an official Death Stranding poster:
It’s possible that these are huge coincidences or that players are seeing things that aren’t there. It’s also entirely possible that Kojima didn’t make any of these connections intentionally. But there’s something seductive about the way Kojima fans spin a narrative and make you believe in conspiracies that turn a simple trailer into something larger than life.
Think about it: is it really so hard to believe that Death Stranding could have some ideas in it that didn’t make it into Silent Hills? We know that Death Stranding has some horror elements, as there are giant invisible shadow monsters in it that kill people. PT had baby fetuses, and Death Stranding also has babies in it. Reedus is involved in both projects, as is del Toro.
“While I don’t believe Death Stranding is PT / Silent Hills, I do think it’s clear that there are heavy visual references,” TheInvisibleOnes wrote back in 2017. The post goes on to reference dialogue from PT, where a character on the radio ominously says, “I will be coming back, and I’m bringing my new toys with me.” Fans have latched on to that quote, making it out to be Kojima breaking the fourth wall. As fans tell it, Kojima knew he was going out the door before PT was released, and he knew that things wouldn’t work out.
“Kojima is talking to the player of PT,” TheInvisibleOnes told The Verge. “Telling them directly, I’m about to leave Konami. But these ideas? These are coming along.”
The conspiracy theories are fueled by Kojima's own attitude toward Death Stranding. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the Japanese game developer said, “It’s not that I’m just putting random hints out there — everything comes together. I’m trying to make sure that all the pieces of the puzzle fit in ... The game hasn’t been completed at this point but we already have some sort of game going on with the fans already.”
“People are obsessed with the idea of the cancelled PT,” TheInvisibleOnes said. “Most people want to believe that Death Stranding is really secretly PT.”
Maybe none of this is true, or maybe people are seeing what they want to see. Death Stranding may turn out to be its own thing, free of any connection to Silent Hills. But even if that ends up being the case, it seems that PT will never stop haunting the players who walked through its darkened halls.