Death Stranding is full of product placements. We've known that about it since before it even came out. When it did release, players discovered a host of other, less obvious ads for real-world products, such as Norman Reedus' biker travelogue show.
But none was more blatant than Monster energy drinks, which not only show up everywhere in-game, they're tied into a game mechanic: drinking them boosts Sam's stamina. Given how the entirety of Death Stranding is about travelling vast distances to deliver packages, stamina is a crucial element.
The Death Stranding Director's Cut, which launches tomorrow on PS5, adds a host of new missions, new items, and refines existing mechanics. But there's more, because for some reason, Kojima and co. decided to axe Monster energy drinks from the game.
Monster cans have now been replaced with a generic, in-game brand called Bridges Energy - or more accurately Bridg<-s <-N<-rgy, just in case you thought the word 'bridges' wasn't being used enough in the game.
Hirun Cryer, who played the game for us, called the Director's Cut "Kojima’s most self-indulgent game yet", and grabbed a couple of screenshots of this unusual change.
It's not exactly clear why this was done. It was assumed that Monster benefited from being included in the original release; the company's stock price got a decent boost as a result. It may just be, however, that the contract has ended.
Nevertheless, it's another curious Kojima thing, though perhaps this means we'll be seeing Bridges Energy in the wild someday as a limited-edition release.