Two years ago Konami did the unthinkable, two years ago Konami broke our hearts, two years ago Konami cancelled Silent Hills. For those who may have lived in a rock or were not around, Silent Hills was the attempted reboot of the Silent Hill franchise. The game was being developed by the legendary Hideo Kojima, with involvement from Guillermo Del Doro, horror manga artist Junji Ito and staring Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus. The game was announced via a “playable teaser” called P.T. that was released in August 2014 that captured every gamer’s attention. This retrospective looks back on how much Silent Hills had made an impact on the industry, even though it was canceled.
Look Behind You
Before 2014, Silent Hill had remained in an uncertain limbo state. The latest game that had been released was a multiplayer focused game for the Vita. Titled “Book of Memories” the game was panned by players and critics, Silent Hill looked to be doomed. Nothing of a major Silent Hill game had ever surfaced in years, with a majority of the original creators Team Silent being disbanded by Konami. Much of Team Silent went to other developers, some stayed at Konami going to Kojima Productions.
As early as of 2012, Hideo Kojima had been noted as stating he has wanted to work on Silent Hill. Though he would love to work on the franchise, he was not certain if he could do it as he said he is a “scaredy cat”. Two years later on August 2014 at Gamescom during the Sony Press Conference, a mysterious short trailer for a game called “P.T.” was shown. No context, only that it was available to download and was free on the PS4 and it was a horror game. Within the next few hours, people began to download the demo and couldn’t leave it, even though they desperately wanted to escape the horror.
The Only Me is Me
P.T. presented the player with no context, no idea who or where they are. All they can interact with is a lone door that exists in front of them. When they enter the door they are presented with a hallway, hearing a radio playing discussing a news report about a recent murder. The murder is told in grisly detail even going into how the wife that was killed by her husband was pregnant when he shot her in the stomach. The hallway presents itself as a normal suburban home hallway at a perfect 90-degree angle. Pictures are shown on desks, possibly showing the former residents of the home who were killed.
When the player turns it shows at the end of the hallway another door that leads downwards. When the player goes through the door, however, they are brought back to the beginning of the hallway. This is where the horror begins, players are uneasy as they know they have entered the loop. From here on out the player will be haunted by a ghost named Lisa.
Lisa is an apparition of the wife that was killed mentioned on the radio. She is officially first seen when the player must look into the bathroom, with which the door is cracked open a little. While she is haunting you, the player hears her cries as well as the cries of her baby that was killed.
This is only a slice of what P.T. had to offer, once the player is able to pass through the horror they are rewarded with the true nature of the game. P.T. was an interactive teaser for “Silent Hills” by Hideo Kojima, Guillermo Del Doro and starring Norman Reedus. This realization created a sensation, many Silent Hill fans soared to the heavens with this reveal. However, all would not turn out to be in the next few months.
Forgive Me Lisa, There is A Monster Inside of Me
In the beginning of 2015, rumors had begun to rise that Hideo Kojima was going to leave Konami. These rumors started when people began to notice Kojima’s name had been removed from recent Metal Gear releases. This discovery led to people believing Kojima had been fired, and after Metal Gear Solid 5 he would leave Konami.
The rumors brought worry as to what was going to happen to Silent Hills. It wasn’t until April that Del Toro was asked at a film festival, saying it wasn’t going to happen. Then the next day, Konami had pulled the curtain and Silent Hills had been canceled and P.T. was going to be removed from the PlayStation Store. It’s best to say that many people were not happy about this.
For the rest of the year, Konami remained the most hated publisher in the industry. Hideo Kojima and his team were held away, not allowed to interact with fans or use the internet. After MGS5 was released, Kojima officially left Konami after 30 years and the industry was cheering. While Kojima and his team were free, the only thing that could not break free was Silent Hills. The only plan Konami apparently has for Silent Hill are pachinko machines in casinos, along with Castlevania and Metal Gear now.
While Silent Hills will never happen, it seems horror gaming has not forgotten the impact it left with P.T. because in 2016 Capcom announced Resident Evil 7. One thing people noticed was a striking resemblance to P.T. which originally threw people away from it. However, when the game finally released, it was seen as a surprise hit. Being a financial and critical success, the success gave gamers the void that was empty by the cancellation of Silent Hills. But to some, it will never be enough.
Retrospective That Will Never Go Away
Silent Hills and P.T. will forever remain in gaming history as huge influence for horror gaming. P.T. because of the unique nature of the game, no context or instructions, just enter the horror. Silent Hills, because of the anticipation many people hoped for the game, leaving many to still speculate to this day what it could have been. While I am excited for Death Stranding by Kojima, I can never stop thinking about what Silent Hills could have been by the man who made Metal Gear. This is why Silent Hills will never be forgotten.