The other day I was daydreaming about a better Silent Hill. I even wrote a few ideas down.
I've always loved the idea of the Silent Hill games. Moody atmospheric works of art. Tense uncomfortable psychological themes. One of the most memorable and iconic settings you can name.
And terrible, terrible gameplay.
I've dreamt of a game that could take the themes and style that make Silent Hill great and marry them to a game that was worth playing. I've burnt up precious brain cells conjuring up my own take on what that could look like (think more Dark Souls and less tank-controls). Something that could be as satisfying to play as it was to think about.
Turns out maybe I should have just been paying more attention to The Evil Within.
Headed up by the grandfather of the horror survival genre, creator of the original Resident Evil Sinji Mikami, TEW has the potential to be everything I've wanted from the Silent Hill series. Trumpeted as a return to "pure survival horror" TEW supposedly is going to focus heavily on the meta-physical and psychological aspects of horror. A protagonist haunted by an unknowable terror, reality warping on it's head, the surroundings twisting into a grim reflection of a diseased mind and all that. Exactly what I enjoy from the Silent Hill games.
But, Shiji Mikami is the guy who made Resident Evil 4, the ur example of a game that successfully married fun responsive gameplay with horror. He's the fevered mind behind the hyperactive and buttery smooth Vanquish, a modern SHUMPers delight. He made the notoriously difficult and mechanically deep God Hand. This is a guy who knows how to make a gamers game. Hopefully that means there won't be any of this "the combat is supposed to be rough because the character isn't a warrior" nonsense in TEW. That we can have a horror game that is scary and distressing without relying on intentionally broken controls and poorly designed systems to artificially ratchet up the tension.
It's early of course and I don't want to get too excited. But looking at some of the early impressions journalists are having with the pre-E3 demo has me excited. When you start tossing around comparisons to The Shinning you have my attention. Hoping to see more from this title when E3 hits.
Speaking of references to The Shinning, Hannibal is pretty great. You should probably watch it.