Last night, the official PC Game Pass Twitter account made a change to its social media profile that has set tongues wagging and made everyone a little bit dubious about what the hell is going on.
The account, with a message that said “sometimes we just like a good landscape picture #newprofilepic” leads you to look at the new icon – which has a landscape seemingly reminiscent of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.
If you click through to the picture and look beyond the Game Pass branding, you'll clock a landscape that looks quite a lot like the Icelandic-inspired landscapes you'll see in Kojima's latest sci-fi epic. The tweet below, for example, highlights some of the similarities to the image and what you'll see in the PlayStation and PC-only game.
But could this really be a hint that Death Stranding is coming to Game Pass? Is this a nod to Death Stranding, and maybe not some offbeat Starfield promo, or something? Could it be linked to Hellblade 2? If so, why did only the PC side of the Game Pass account change its icon?
You might think the idea that Death Stranding – one of Sony's most notable PlayStation exclusives of the past generation – coming to Game Pass is farfetched. Why would Sony put cards right into its erstwhile rival's hand, so to speak? But it wouldn't be the first time that's happened – in fact, we've already seen two Sony-owned games arrive on the Game Pass service in the form of MLB The Show 22 and MLB The Show 21.
And let's not forget this whole deal works both ways: Bethesda is now owned by Microsoft, and the publisher has given two exclusive games to PlayStation to use as timed exclusives (at least). Deathloop and Tokyo: Ghostwire both arrived on PlayStation after the Bethesda/Microsoft deal was formalised. When it comes to rights between the console platforms, nothing is as simple as it seems.It's also worth noting that PlayStation no longer sees PC as the enemy: Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has outright said that the company is making acquisitions with the explicit goal of bringing more PlayStation games to PC. Hermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, has also suggested that more PlayStation exclusives will make their way to PC as the company continues to examine the growing multiplatform market.
To complicate matters, it was 505 Games that published the PC version of Death Stranding – not Sony. This means there's an outside chance there's some other kind of deal going on here. On that note, it's also worth bearing in mind another PlayStation-first game – the meme-generating Forspoken – is coming to the Windows Store with Xbox achievements et al when it launches; not technically an Xbox game, but a game that works within the Xbox ecosystem. Is that what's going to happen with Death Stranding?
It's impossible to know at this point. Whatever this little update ends up being, it's going to result in something notable: either PC Game Pass has hoodwinked a whole fandom, or we're going to get a big Sony game on the service. Win-win, right?