The Death of Silent Hills and the Hope it Leaves Behind

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Posted June 29, 2015 by Chris White in Video Games

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When I played the P.T. demo for the first time, I was scared—terrified, in fact. I’d never played a game this atmospheric before: the repetitive nature of walking through the same corridor over and over again became increasingly tenser with every re-emergence, and as new terrors revealed themselves to me, I approached each and every new tell with trepidation. The foetus in the sink, the swinging fridge dripping blood, the silhouette between the bannister rails, the apparition barely ten steps behind me, the face that suddenly appears when you open the bathroom door—every little detail left me scared stiff. As I thought about it, a game hadn’t left me on edge this much since Silent Hill 2. The IP as a whole has had its issues—especially the latter entries into the series; however, the first two entries really did change the way we played games and introduced us to a new genre of gaming that wasn’t all chubby moustached protagonists and colourful environments. Silent Hills was going to be the future of horror. It had two brilliant minds working together to bring ingenuity to a flagging series; both Kojima and del Toro are experts in their own fields who had formed a great friendship whilst working on the game and playing P.T. gave me an almighty hope in the reimagining of the next game in the Silent Hill franchise.

Unfortunately though, the game got cancelled and we will never get to see it. I’m not going to talk in great detail about Konami or why I believe they ditched what could have been their crowning glory in the current gen of gaming (behind MGS V, of course) because I’ve already made my feelings known about them; however, in letting go of both Kojima AND del Toro, they will NEVER make a Silent Hill game anything close to what Silent Hills could have been. We all know the exceptional work that Kojima did with Metal Gear; there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the greatest gaming mind of our time is indeed Hideo Kojima and he could have written a fantastic story as well as bring a wealth of new ideas to how the game could have played and felt. The gaming mechanics differed greatly as Metal Gear evolved, and by MGS 4, we were spoilt as gamers; to be able to play something so well-honed and varied was a privilege. Throw the unique talents of Guillermo del Toro into the mix and I cannot even comprehend what the end product could have been. I adore Hellboy, and his vision and creativity in those films was second-to-none (they’d probably go down as my favourite superhero movies of all time). Don’t forget that he was also the mind behind Pans Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, along with sci-fi TV show The Strain and the forthcoming feature film, Crimson Peak (which looks super fun). I—like many fans of the demo and the Silent Hill series was angry and perplexed by Konami’s decision to cancel Silent Hills, and we may never know what happened to cause the reported friction between Kojima and Konami; however, I can’t help but think about what might have been.

There is still hope though, my friendsnot for Silent Hills, but for a Kojima—Del Toro collaboration. E3 was far too early to announce anything and obviously Kojima has his hands full with Metal Gear Solid V, but there is no reason why we still can’t see a game born from the ashes of the cancelled Silent Hills. Once MGS V has been released, there has so far been nothing announced by Kojima in terms of future projects. Guillermo del Toro is a busy man—I mean, we’re still waiting on Hellboy 3—I just feel that he isn’t done with the project somehow. In a recent interview, he said the following words and it sure seems that there is a future working with Hideo. “Hideo and I have been in touch, and he knows he would be the only guy I would follow to the ends of the earth on anything. I think if anything can be rescued, I will be more than happy.” Hopefully, some point down the line, a horror game will be released that involves both Hideo and del Toro. Read all the interviews, watch all the clips and soak up all those fond developmental updates from those surrounding the project and you can see that their motivation lay in the unique concepts they had for the project—especially Hideo. The main drive he had for the project was to create something new and have the gamer experience something that has never been experienced before—also wanting the players to “sh!t their pants” in the process. That can still happen!

I suppose one of the only concerns is the Fox Engine—technically, Konami own the rights to this. For those that aren’t sure what the Fox Engine is, Kojima started to create a brand new game engine after the release of Metal Gear Solid 4 in 2008. The visuals are a lot smoother as are the way it plays, and with this behind Silent Hills, development on the project would have been shorter, due to its ease of use. Unfortunately, as Konami owns the rights and relations between them both being pretty damn awful, don’t expect Konami to be taking the game engine with him.

Maybe we will never see anything come from the two of them. After all, Silent Hills is dead—forever. As long as Konami own the rights, Silent Hill is doomed. But this doesn’t mean that Kojima and del Toro will never work together again. It will take a lot of work to build a new game between them, but with the right backing (I’m sure there are a lot of companies willing to work with them), something could still be salvaged. I’m aware that it could just be a pipe dream.  A cancelled game can be a hard pill to swallow, but there is nothing wrong with believing in something and I for one am still holding on to hope.

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About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.