I, like many others recently, am really disappointed with what I have been hearing about the fate of Kojima’s take on Silent Hill. PT (Playable Teaser) for the PS4 last year was an amazing experience and in many ways, despite not even being advertized as a proper game. In my opinion it managed to beat the snot out of many other horror games that are 9+ hours long in atmosphere, intrigue and being outright disturbing. For the first time in a very long period I was genuinely excited for a horror video game again. I’ve had so many disappointments over the years, including some of your own efforts at making a new Silent Hill such as with Homecoming and Downpour, which was entirely forgiven once I played PT. Finally there looked to be a direction and vision for Silent Hill, which wasn’t recycling the fantastic story, creatures and set up of Silent Hill 2 without understanding why those elements made sense.
I have been a huge fan of Silent Hill since the moment I played the first game in the series and was murdered by strange teddy bears (or burned children, depending on what version you had) in the alley. The oppressive fog, unsettling bizarre monsters and warping of ordinary places into a rusted strange hell-hole was astoundingly well done horror. Even the basic technology of the PS1 didn’t manage to hold back this atmosphere and I played that game numerous times. Then of course I played the incredible sequel, which I still believe has one of the greatest narratives in a horror video game to this day. Silent Hill 3 was also great, but then I felt the series rather lost its way with the fourth installment and of course, Homecoming and Downpour. Shattered Memories I felt was a really good reboot and I personally liked that one, but I honestly felt that Silent Hill needed new ideas and energy.
With Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, combined with what I saw in PT I thought you had that. Finally we were going to get the Silent Hill we needed and not just the Silent Hill we deserved. While I don’t always agree with everything that Kojima does and he can be a little too off the wall at times, I felt for the flagging Silent Hill series he was the perfect man to reinject some life back into things. Finally someone who might move away from trying to throw everything from Silent Hill 2 into every game without understanding what it meant. We could get some new concepts, a genuinely new story direction and reinvigorated a flagging genre.
And that last part is what makes this all the more disappointing. Horror games as a genre now are slowly but surely being dragged down into one trick pony shows. Soulless jump scare factories, which have no other purpose than to pop things up at people so LPers on youtube can react hilariously for views. Is this where we want the horror genre of video games to finally end up? Engaging narrative driven unique experiences like Silent Hill 2 are needed to revitalize and keep this fantastic genre alive. You had two of the best possible people I could think of for doing this and have apparently decided to give it away?
I know that game development is difficult and from the outside has many pitfalls, problems and similar issues that aren’t always apparent. Surely with this talent on the project, the immensely excited buzz that came about from PT and the response from gamers now you can see some degree of reason? Silent Hill needs a good swift kick in the backside and if that means doing things from scratch again, then that is what should be done! Whatever the problem with this project is, please reconsider what you are doing and find some way to continue to make this project work. Silent Hill needs a new injection of life and you have the perfect people for it: Please don’t squander it.
The Roleplayer’s Guildmaster