Silent Hill is Back

Mason Hoyt

On Wednesday, October 18, at 2 pm Pacific, Konami delivered a transmission regarding their acclaimed “Silent Hill” series of horror games. This marked the first time Konami would make a large-scale announcement about the series since their 2015 cancellation of Hideo Kojima’s “Silent Hills.”

 

Some of you may recall, of course, that I played the first “Silent Hill” last Halloween, and despite its obvious flaws, it eventually won me over. I’ve since played a large portion of “Silent Hill 2,” and have been following any news of the series that I can. Unfortunately, this has been largely an exercise in futility, as rumors have come and gone but nothing tangible has been actually shown.

 

Nothing, that is, UNTIL NOW!

 

During the transmission, Konami announced that not only would “Silent Hill 2” be remade by Polish developer Bloober Team, but that THREE brand-new games in the series were in development! It was also announced that Christophe Gans, the director of the first “Silent Hill” film adaptation from 2006, would be directing a film inspired by “Silent Hill 2.”

 

I will do my best to unravel what we know about each of these projects:

 

SILENT HILL 2:

The transmission opened with an announcement that Bloober Team—the developers behind “Layers of Fear,” “Blair Witch,” and “The Medium”—would be remaking “Silent Hill 2,” the most critically acclaimed entry in the series. The remake would be released on PlayStation 5, with a PC release to come a year later.

Bloober Team went into detail about their process, explaining their decision to shift from a fixed camera perspective to an over-the-shoulder view, as well as some of the visual changes made as a result of radically different hardware capabilities. It’s clear from the brief glimpses we’ve gotten of the remake that Bloober Team are passionate about doing this game justice, and it appears they’re relatively far along in development.

I am cautiously optimistic about the “Silent Hill 2” remake. Having played the original, I thoroughly enjoyed parts of it, but like the first game, it’s definitely begun to show its age (go figure, it’s 21 years old). Obviously, not everything about the original game can be preserved, and it’s basically guaranteed to alienate SOME longtime fans, but I hope that it can serve to provide a somewhat faithful experience while still enticing newcomers.

 

SILENT HILL TOWNFALL:

 

Next, Konami began unveiling their new concepts for games. The first of these was “Silent Hill Townfall,” which would be developed by Annapurna Interactive and No Code. Annapurna are known for their BAFTA-winning 2019 game “The Outer Wilds,” as well as their 2022 release “Stray.” No Code are known for their 2017 episodic horror series “Stories Untold,” and their 2019 sci-fi thrilled “Observation.”

Not much is known about “Townfall,” but No Code’s creative director, Jon McKellan, claimed that there were secrets to be unraveled in the game’s trailer. One such secret was discovered by Reddit user MilkmanEX, who put the audio from the trailer into a spectrogram analyzer, which revealed a message: “WHATEVER HEART THIS TOWN HAD HAS NOW STOPPED.”

We will have to wait and see what will come of “Townfall,” but considering the heavy-hitters heading the project, I remain curious.

 

RETURN TO SILENT HILL (FILM):

 

Christophe Gans announced his return to the “Silent Hill” series with the fittingly named “Return to Silent Hill,” a feature film inspired by the plot of “Silent Hill 2.”

The film still appears to be in pre-production, with only a few snapshots of storyboards and concept art, but Gans went in-depth on his understanding of the original game’s story, as well as his intentions in changing certain aspects of it.

“We decided to go back to the best of these stories,” said Gans. “The film tells the story of a young guy coming back to Silent Hill, where he has known a great love — and what he’s going to find is a pure nightmare.”

It’s clear Gans has a great love of “Silent Hill,” and though the original film received lukewarm reception, I have to hope that the 15-year interim has given him new ideas and allowed him to mature as a filmmaker.

 

SILENT HILL ASCENSION:

 

With “Dead by Daylight” developers Behaviour Interactive, as well as J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Games, at the helm, “Silent Hill Ascension” is certainly intriguing. The teaser showed chat bubbles, short glimpses of monsters, and text reading “Live 2023.”

Taking all of this together, it seems that “Ascension” may, in fact, be a sort of interactive livestream. However, details about the project are scarce, so we’ll have to wait and see.

 

SILENT HILL F:

 

The transmission then closed with what I believe to be the most intriguing of the new projects, “Silent Hill F.” The game is being written by Ryukishi07, creator of multiple acclaimed visual novels, including “Higurashi When They Cry,” “Umineko When They Cry,” and “Ciconia When They Cry.” The game is being developed by Neobard, who developed Resident Evil Re:Verse alongside Capcom.

The game appears not to be set in the titular town of Silent Hill, but instead in Japan. The “monsters” are also a departure; rather than the “soured flesh” of early entries, this game appears to be focused more on fungus, with the teaser showing fungal growths spreading over buildings, plants, and people.

The finer details of “Silent Hill F” remain to be seen, but I’m certainly invested. I look forward to seeing what comes of this game, especially considering how radical of a departure it is from the rest of the series. Perhaps these sorts of experimental titles are exactly what the series needs to keep from becoming stale.

 

Needless to say, I am THRILLED that so much is being done with a series long thought dead. I sincerely hope that these new releases work to revitalize the “Silent Hill” name, and that more people are able to enjoy one of the best psychological horror series as a result.