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Silent Hill

Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Silent Hills team would have included horror manga creator Junji Ito

He of Uzumaki and Tomie fame
Sep 27
// Zack Furniss
What was that? You're finally ready to let go of what Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro could have brought to Silent Hills? Though you long to see what could have been, you've accepted that all you'll have is P.T., if you'r...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill 3

Sep 19 // Stephen Turner
At its heart, Silent Hill 3 is about a girl coming of age. From the opening nightmare sequence, we’re treated to very familiar horror iconography: blood red hues, a fascination with blades, of something foreign inside the body, and a cute mascot in disturbingly lifeless poses, all set in an abandoned amusement park. Heather’s journey home takes her through teenage hangouts and public places, their dark sides brought to the fore, all the way to Silent Hill and deep within. Little Red Riding Hood by way of Dario Argento, if you will. Her survival depends on a reconciliation between childhood and adult life, with her former selves being these literal, separate slices of life. By the end, Heather is not Alessa, nor Cheryl, but its through their remembrance that she ultimately becomes her own person, able to make her own decisions in life. On the other side of the coin, there's Claudia Wolf, the story's misguided antagonist; a colourless imitation of a reasonable young adult, preferring the comfort of blind faith over autonomy. Adulthood, or at least what we find of it in Silent Hill 3, is represented by the messes of men. Douglas Cartland is a walking list of mistakes, whereas Vincent Smith takes a perverse pride in belittling the ignorant few. One seeks redemption, the other deals in exploitation. The cast might be minimal, but it works for the duality on display. Lines are drawn and lesson are learned. Douglas, himself, finds redemption through parental guidance, something he thought he'd lost, a lifetime ago. [embed]311452:60439:0[/embed] As a direct sequel to a fairly obtuse original, past events are recalled and plainly deconstructed. Riddle speak is deftly cut down by barbed tongues, infallible fathers are shown to be weak and vulnerable (breaking down our own hero worship in the process), and The Order is explained in definitive detail. It's this clarity that ends up being vital to Heather's character growth. Particularly telling is how her descriptive texts turn from dismissive to thoughtful, reflective and empathetic, along with the bloodstains that are eventually splashed across her pure white jacket. The Otherworld returns to its original form, now a higher-definition of improbable locations, foetal-like defects and rattling heads (for his final game, Masahiro Ito's designs were part-freakshow, part-macabre fairytale). It's a harsher world, full of abattoir tiles and maddening works of art, an intensity that almost goes overboard in places; bringing back the surface level scares that were missing in Silent Hill 2. It's visceral, but it needed to be that way. The Otherworld doesn't adapt, it grows with its protagonist. And it's most obvious in the way the skeletal walls and beasts of raw flesh develop rippling layers of skin as you progress. The Otherworld is a fearful representation of pregnancy and birth, all of which ends with an abortion of sorts. For a series that prides itself on subversion, Silent Hill 3 is rather transparent with its humanist values. Both pro-choice and nihilistic towards religion, the messages come through clearly at the most shocking of times and even breaks the philosophical fourth-wall when needed (note how Vincent usually addresses the audience through POV angles). At one point, the player is asked to forgive or condemn Claudia's actions, and the answer doesn't lie in the usual act of altruism. Silent Hill 3 will always be most famous for the line, “They look like monsters to you?” but that's always been a sly misdirection at best, or a love letter by a dev team on their way out. Personally speaking, it’s a symptom of why Silent Hill 3 never crawled out from Silent Hill 2's shadow; the constant post-modern distractions took focus away from the bigger picture. But you could also argue that it was down to a waning interest in survival horror, or an emphasis on unrefined combat, badly paced locations, or even the re-use of assets for a quick turnaround. And none of these would be wrong, either. That said, especially after replaying it for this retrospective, Silent Hill 3 is a game in need of re-appraisal. The tired, introspective tone from the developers is actually more relevant now than on release. Heather Mason also manages to be a strong female character, one that earns that title, rather than put on a pedestal from the get-go. And this was in 2003, remember. The Otherworld was as close as we were ever going to get an HD remake, complete with so many hidden details and huge advancement in character design. And it's rarely said enough, the haunted house section is completely underrated in the way it pulls the rug from underneath the player. Hey, maybe, ironically, it's a reconciliation with the past speaking. In any case, no matter where you place it – best, mid-tier, worst (personally, mid-tier) – Silent Hill 3 signaled the dying days of "Team Silent," but there was one more oddity that would send us tumbling down the rabbit hole and into a realm of existentialism that hasn’t been explored in video games since.
Silent Hill photo
'It's about your birth.'
Silent Hill 3 is a mean-spirited game, but then that was always the point. In order to value her future, Heather Mason is dragged, kicking and screaming, through the muck and mire of her past. Yes, she’s given the tools...

Silent Hill photo
Silent Hill

Silent Hill Live coming to the UK later this year

One Night Only across five UK cities
Sep 09
// Vikki Blake
Konami is celebrating the music of Silent Hill with a live concert UK series, led by Silent Hill composer and producer, Akira Yamaoka. The show will be coming to five UK cities: Bristol (October 29), Cardiff (October 30), Lo...
Who asked for this? photo
Who asked for this?

New Silent Hill announced, it's a slot machine

Spooky buttons and horrifying coins
Aug 04
// Jed Whitaker
Remember that hot new Castlevania pachinko game featuring "erotic violence?" Well, I'm guessing the reception was so positive that Konami decided to announce a new Silent Hill slot machine. Hurray! Just what we hav...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill 2

Jul 18 // Stephen Turner
Silent Hill 2 was always more of a character study than any other game in the series. Whereas Silent Hill used its cast to drive the story forward, the sequel firmly kept its protagonist in focus. The world literally revolves around him, from location to creatures; a deconstruction of a seemingly infallible man. His quest is examined through existential conversation and perspectives, as Team Silent (or at least this iteration) comments on survival horror heroics and the audience’s passive tendencies towards empathy. At its core, Silent Hill 2 is about two adults dealing with loneliness and compromise. James is unable to move on from his dead wife as her sexualised doppelganger, Maria, adjusts to his ideals. You might not think it, but their companionship takes many of its cues from film noir. The broken man struggles with the femme fatale; a fate that can only end in destruction. For all its surrealist theatrics, one of Silent Hill 2’s most memorable scenes happens to be the sparsest. It’s a brilliant example of visual storytelling in a video game as Maria tells an uneasy story under a single light bulb and between bars. A schizophrenia plays out under washed features and fluid shadows. The duality on both sides of the room suggests two prisoners, not one. Without revealing too much, you completely understand the characters without being told what to think. [embed]296234:59589:0[/embed] Perceptions are constantly challenged in James Sunderland’s new world. The town draws in an eclectic cast of runaways, each with their own conflicted reasons for being there. And it’s through them that our protagonist is slowly shaded in and exposed, along with our own participating flaws. The brattish Laura recalls the parental fears of Silent Hill, but also provides a catalyst for Maria’s maternal instincts. Eddie Dombrowski, all sloven and immature, highlights our own dismissive stance towards imperfection. And then there’s Angela Orosco; a layered subject of meta-commentary and character complexity. Just because we save her from the Abstract Daddy, it doesn’t mean we’ve saved her from years of sexual abuse or the murder that finally breaks it. The best we can achieve is an understanding of her desperation and hopefully find genuine sympathy for her self-judgemental inabilities. For Angela, The Otherworld is a Biblical hell, quite unlike the world seen from James' perspective. The Otherworld is no longer the industrial nightmare of before. Gone are the obvious sirens, the collapsing machinery, and the reflections of a childlike mind. Now it’s just damp, moldy, and earthy, full of soil browns, fleshy whites, and dank greens. Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack deals in regretful synths and piano-led sorrows instead of blaring cacophonies as James pieces the world together. Instead of schools and fairgrounds, we find apartments and date nights; the little reminders of domestic life. Rather than being the outsider looking in, James is confronted by his own subconscious. Repressed images become disturbing manifestations of the self. They scream with distorted female voices and click their heels in the dark. The Pyramid Head – now a defanged mascot of the series – is this relentless, mysterious force, a puzzle that can only be solved at a distance. It’s as much as an embodiment of The Otherworld as it is James’ dark half. Silent Hill 2 is a flawed game by today’s standards; sharing the rough gameplay of its predecessor and the Japanese attempts at Americanised dialogue. But that does not make its success overrated. It’s like that one landmark album that influences a hundred more, each one a little more refined than the last. What Team Silent did, or whoever you deem this development team to be, was to introduce audiences to the idea of cinematic codes and keys. They highlighted the need for more complexity in our characters, to show relatable ideas in unfamiliar ways. Silent Hill 2 is a milestone in video game narrative. Sure, maybe not in dialogue, but in the mise-en-scène of every location, every dress code, and every creature. It’s a game that says a lot without actually saying much at all. That opening 20 minute walk into town was everything you need to know about Silent Hill 2’s intentions. At times you were apprehensive, reluctant, lost in the unknown. But you kept going because you had to know how it all ended. You were James Sunderland without even realising it.
Silent Hill 2 photo
In our special place...
It started with a worried look in mirror dimly lit. For Silent Hill 2, this was a statement of intent; a progression in not only hardware, but also in narrative. Out went the B-movie horror about gods and the occult, and in i...

Horror and secrecy need to be better bedfellows

Jun 08 // Zack Furniss
[embed]293479:58861:0[/embed] Don't Do This In this year's Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom felt the need to release videos that focused on the various beasties players would be facing throughout the episodes. Any surprise or confusion that should have been reserved for a first encounter is squandered by any fan wishing to keep up with a product they are excited for and have most likely already decided to purchase. Though some consumers make the decision to go on media blackouts to prevent this exact situation, it shouldn't be on them to decide not to watch. This effectively renders these marketing efforts useless. Another title that gave away too much before anyone played it is last year's The Evil Within. One of the bosses, an amalgam of limbs and hair, was arguably the most unique creature in the game. It could teleport from corpse to corpse by climbing out of their coagulating puddles of blood and your best bet was to flee. This made for a thrilling moment in a mostly monotonous survival horror, but by the time The Evil Within came out, anyone who had been following it knew exactly what to do to survive. So what do we about this? Publishers want to make money, and the best way to do that is by showing the most exciting, gruesome sections of their newest product. But is that the only way? There are a few successful games from the last couple of years that prove there are other viable methods. So What Can Be Done? This is the part where I talk about P.T. (you knew it was coming). On August 12 of last year, P.T. was released alongside a short teaser at Gamescom. The teaser only showed reaction shots of people afraid of whatever they were playing. I immediately downloaded it out of curiosity and found the best horror game of last year. That it ended up being a teaser for the now-cancelled Silent Hills was icing on the bloody cake (I can already hear DashDarwin fuming in the comments). P.T. diffused through gaming media like a drop of blood in a glass of water; even with (and, let's be honest, because of) its utter destruction by Konami it will be remembered for a long time. I'd be foolish to deny that P.T. being free had no bearing on how often it was downloaded. However, I think if a new game came out of nowhere for only a few dollars it would have a chance of replicating this viral success. It's worth a shot at least.  Next up, we have Bloodborne. Sony spared no expense with providing images and videos of From Software's latest, but players had no idea what was lurking in its back half. BLOODBORNE SPOILERS FOLLOW, SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH AND IMAGE TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE. Though Bloodborne started off with beast-like enemies and Gothic environments, its latter half brought enough Great Ones, cosmic horror, and tentacles to merit numerous comparisons to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Most players would likely have been content with fighting lycanthropes in their various forms throughout the dark descent, but this unexpected tonal shift provided an identity that separated it from the studio's previous work with Dark Souls.  Providing media only from the first half (quarter, eighth, whatever) could be a way for publishers to keep the horror skulking about in the shadows and allow room for players to be surprised. An example of the downside to this method would be Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and its Raiden fake out. Though I appreciate that surprise now, Hideo Kojima earned a well of ire for that back in the day. There's definitely a risk here, but Bloodborne is proof that it can pay off beautifully. The last idea I have isn't exactly for releasing new games, but for adding content to them. The wonderful Lone Survivor: Director's Cut added extra endings, a new enemy, and fresh music to the original, yet no one could find them upon release. Creator Jasper Byrne teased this, and mentioned looking forward "to hearing your thoughts about the new edition, and interpretations of the new content… especially the secret endings!" And so began a mad hunt to uncover anything new, and no one could find anything for a few weeks (and if they did, they didn't tell the internet). Byrne created more excitement by doing this than he would have if he had just said "here's how you get the new ending, and here's where you fight the new monster." Though it isn't explicitly a horror game, Batman: Arkham Asylum did something similar. Just around the time the sequel Arkham City was announced, it was discovered that there were hidden blueprints for the Arkham City itself in the original game. How cool is that? Rocksteady Games waited until time had passed to expose this and it made players go back to see it for themselves. I understand that developers want everything they've made to get some time in the sun, but this delayed gratification can be just as, if not more, impressive. I'm not a marketing expert, and I won't claim to be. But in a time where the Internet can be used as a tool to spread information via experimental methods, we may as well try to change things up. P.T. and Bloodborne show that these risks can be well worth taking. Here's hoping some of these ideas are implemented next week at E3. Please don't show us everything!
Horror games photo
We can do better
Horror games, as much as I love them, have a serious problem right now.   In the modern-day media maelstrom, almost every scare, monster, and plot twist is given away or hinted at before a game is released. Of course, us...

In a better world, these games exist

Jun 06 // Nic Rowen
Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat Released on the Dreamcast in 2002 to belatedly settle the fighting game rivalry that defined the 90's arcade scene, Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat remains a legend in the fighting game community. Still considered the finest example of 2D sprite art and animation from its era, the silky smooth and obsessively detailed characters of SF vs MK set an impossible bar to follow. The almost decadent use of special purpose one-off animations and frames only adds to the visual splendor. Vega's sublimely gory “Shadowloo Slicer” fatality still elicits screams from the audience at EVO. As fierce as the fighting between the World Warriors and the forces of Outworld got, the battle behind the scenes is said to have been even bloodier; a runaway budget, arguments over almost every aspect of the design, and frequent shouting matches characterized the prolonged five year development cycle. Despite the astounding success and popularity of the title, a sequel has never been attempted. Ed Boon and Yoshinori Ono refuse to even speak to each other to this day for reasons neither of them will discuss. The licensing snake-pit of copyrights and legal redtape has prevented any other ports or remakes from ever being produced, spurring a cottage industry of Dreamcast re-sales and custom made fightsticks for the console, supported almost entirely by SF vs MK's diehard audience. Alan Wake: The Fear That Gives Men Wings One has to imagine the lengths Sam Lake and his team at Remedy had to go to to protect their secret, their lips held firmly tight, unable to tell anyone what they were really up to. Keeping things under wraps despite the kind of scrutiny placed on what would be the flagship launch title for the Xbox One. The kind of pressure they must have been under to tease even a bit of what they had up their sleeves. But, somehow they managed it, and the fourth wall shattering reveal of Max Payne as a playable character in the second act of the game will go down in history as one of the most surprising and surreal moments in gaming history. Max is every bit as cynical and bitter as ever. But this time he isn't raging against an indifferent and unfair universe with a vague sense of living a cliché. This time he can direct his anger against the very man who wrote the script of his sorry fate. The scene where he crushes Alan's writing hand with the butt of his pistol is almost unbearable to watch. Reportedly, Sam Lake spent the night of the launch locked in his office suffering an intense panic attack, a crisis of artistic confidence. He spent the last five years of his life calculating this surprise, this single plot twist. If the game failed it wouldn't just be the end of his career, it would end his self-image as an artist and writer. Hideo Kojima, no stranger to pulling a controversial character rope-a-dope called him that night and consoled him in his hour of need. From that experience, the two men formed a bond that eventually led to them collaborating on Snatcher 2, another smash success. City of Heroes: Issue 25 “Messages from a world ending” In the waning days of City of Heroes' lifespan, most of the development and design talent in Paragon Studios carefully made their exit to greener pastures. As everyone else was jumping off, one man climbed aboard the sinking ship to take over as lead designer. There would be no budget, a small (and rapidly shrinking) team to work with, and low expectations from fans and critics already aware of Paragon City's impending doom. He was supposed to be just folding up the socks and towels, putting the game to bed. Instead, Austin Grossman created one of the most memorable final chapters to an MMO ever seen. Relying on his background as a writer, Grossman set out to recast the tone of CoH to better fit the looming ennui of a world coming to an end. CoH's final storylines were not the Silver Age dust-ups that characterized most of the game's lifespan. Instead, Grossman wrote introspective questlines laced with sharp humor about heroes and villains looking inward. What compels someone to point a laser at the moon? What drives someone else to put on a cape and jump in front of that laser? And who gives a shit about the moon anyway? Couldn't these miracle men born of science and magic be doing something better with their lives and isn't this all a little bit silly and embarrassing when you step back from it? With no money to craft new areas or other big gameplay draws, Grossman had to get clever to generate new content. Flipping the familiar Giant Monster concept on its head, instead of creating new and impressive Godzilla-esque monster for players to rally against, he instead turned a single random player into an unstoppable force of destruction. An artifact known as Mournblade, a cursed black sword, would be “gifted” to a player once a month, immediately giving them an exponential boost to their stats, constantly depleting health that could only be regenerated by killing with the sword, and flagging them as a PvP target no matter what zone they were in. When the player fell, the next nearest player would inherit the blade, and the carnage would continue until a heroic sacrifice was made -- the deletion of the character currently holding the blade. In the final hours of the game's life one lone hero remained, wielding the Mournblade against a cataclysmic invasion of blatantly overpowered alien invaders. The beauty and value of struggling against inevitable darkness was CoH's final message. A fitting tribute for the beloved and fondly remembered MMO. Springfield Rockstar has always played it's cards close to it's chest but no one could have guessed that the schoolyard based Bully was a testbed for a much more ambitious project several years in the making. When Rockstar announced it's partnership with Fox to make an open-world Simpson's game where nearly every single NPC in the game was a known and beloved Simpsons cast member, the response was a mixture of unbridled excitement and raised eyebrows. Those eyebrows stayed raised as Rockstar made design choices so bold they bordered on absurd. Rather than make Bart or any of the other predictable Simpson family members the protagonists, Rockstar reached back to its tradition with mute characters and allowed players to make their own avatar, a recent transfer student to Springfield Elementary known only as “The Kid.” The game was structured similar to GTA and Bully, but with a Simpsons twist with “The Kid” taking on all kinds of missions from notable Springfield residents. Hijinks ranging from helping Comic Book Guy try to woo a regular customer (it ends poorly), to covering up an accident at the nuclear plant for Mr. Burns (it ends poorly), to trying to elevate Bumblebee Man's stature as an actor (you guessed it, it ends poorly). 400 hours of dialog, quips and jokes make Springfield a real, living place filled with the characters you know and love. Most precious of all, though, were the inclusion of previously unused and forgotten recorded performances from the late Phil Hartman, allowing a final farewell for beloved characters such as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure. [embed]293426:58849:0[/embed] Those are games I see when I close my eyes at night. Games that I know could never have existed for a number of perfectly sound reasons, but still can't shake the feeling that we should have had them. Do you have any games like this? Titles that stick in your imagination and make you wish things had happened differently?
Dream games photo
All great ideas go to Heaven
Silent Hills was a dream game. Specifically, it was my dream game. If you asked me before P.T. crept onto the PSN servers what series I'd most like to see rejuvenated in a bold new way, I would have probably told you Silent H...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill

May 30 // Stephen Turner
Silent Hill was as much about crumbling economics as it was about night cries and picket fences. Much like Resident Evil’s Raccoon City, the dilapidated lakeside town was undone by greed. America losing its values to modernisation was a recurring theme in survival horror. It was a warning from those whom had lost their own traditions to capitalist growth, not that far removed from the J-Horror zeitgeist at the time. But more often than not, Silent Hill takes its inspiration from days gone by. Old Silent Hill's influences are worn on street names and ledgers, from Stephen King to Sonic Youth to Psycho. Even the intro pops to the sounds of vinyl, its theme song in equal parts Eastern tremolo and Western twang. These influences come together to create small-town America on the slide, full of “mom & pop” stores and tight-knit suburban mazes. But rather than a tourist, you’re a trespasser. Horror in all its forms has this element of invasion. Here, Harry Mason breaks into homes, schools, and hospitals, as he searches for his missing daughter. Though the overall plot ends up becoming more about the Otherworld, his parental fears are always at the forefront. Essentially, it's not Harry's story, but Alessa Gilesspie's. As the player, and as Mason, we're the outsiders looking in. Perception is the key to the story and scares. Memories are skewered to point where friendly faces are misjudged and emotional attachments lead to narrow-minded decisions. Harry falls through the layers of reality, like the waking waves of a bad dream, and sees the town for what it really is. The Otherworld is an abstract place, clearly a concept that reflects its tortured conduit. What could’ve possibly been a new paradise takes a horrific form because of Alessa's abuse and lack of care by her mother, Dahlia Gilesspie, and Dr. Michael Kaufmann. Later games would force the perspective onto the main protagonist, and at times would suffer for it, but few would capture that “traveller in a foreign land” feel of their predecessor. It's because of the Otherworld that Silent Hill is relentless and oppressive. It constantly toys with the audience, waiting to take shape, and gradually stripping away the safety nets. Harry is shown to be extremely vulnerable, early on. He stumbles off steps, puts out his hands as he crashes into walls, has to catch his breath, and is a terrible shot. Our first contact with the Otherworld ends in seemingly death. It’s a far cry from the shrug-it-off antics of S.T.A.R.S. or Edward Carnby P.I. Every attempt is made to obfuscate the audience, either by claustrophobic gaze, location, sounds, or virtual threat. Radio static is both friend and foe; warning us of monsters beyond the flashlight's reach and ramping up the tension just by letting us know that something's there. Ominous, hollow synths give way to industrial noise, punishing and overbearing. Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack is comparatively brutal to his later work, the kind of unsettling cacophony that would give a pre-Grammy winner John Congleton nightmares. Even at its most calm in the Fog World, the music still sets your teeth on edge. And yet, by the final act, where reality is in actuality nothingness, Silent Hill does an amazing job of drawing sympathy out of horrific circumstances. To many, Lisa Garland is the human face of Silent Hill (both town and title), and our perception of her stems from Alessa’s own memories. She’s seen as this kind and selfless nurse that only wants to help, but as we delve deeper, endure and learn, we discover what lies beneath. The bright smile, the homely uniform, and her position of warmth and care, are all her “picket fences.” By the end, we find out Lisa was a drug addict, terrified of her only patient. Through Harry, she finds the strength to push onwards, only to realise her own fate was already set in stone. Truth shatters the façade, breaks down her body, and we’re confronted with yet another disturbing subject of horror. For Harry, it's too much and he runs away. But for once, instead of the oppressive percussion of Yamaoka’s themes, we’re treated to the melancholic Not Tomorrow. These were people, not monsters. [embed]292927:58733:0[/embed] In a time of hi-five heroics, Silent Hill offered no such compliments. The best ending closes on a bittersweet note. The town is still lost to the Otherworld, though probably not as powerful as it once was, and Harry doesn't quite get his daughter back. In a shot mirroring the intro, and with his cop friend, Cybil Bennett, standing in for his deceased wife, there's the nagging suspicion that for all we've done, it might just happen again. Sure, we saved a young girl's soul, but we didn't really win anything. Only lessons and traditions were learned. Maybe that was the point, considering the start of this article. As a game, the first and only PSX release has undoubtedly aged in the last 16 years. But much like the low-budget horror movies and low-fi recordings it emulated, Silent Hill overcame handicap through inventiveness. The Otherworld, the town, the storytelling, they were all informed by thinking outside the box. Everything we know about Silent Hill – every fan theory, every femme fatale characteristic, run-down aesthetic, social commentary, urban quest, childhood memory, occultist lore, and personal demon – stems from this very title. So it might be a little frayed around the edges, and certain conveyances are needlessly obscure, but for a mainstream horror game that was intended, quite cynically by Konami remember, to chase after that sweet Resident Evil success, it really was a very unique and artistic beast. It's still wonderful to think how something like that could be produced by such a small group of rag-tag developers, left alone to their own devices in a fairly corporate environment. Of course, though we had survived our first trip through the dark side of Americana, the world had been left open for more lost souls and more horrific layers to come…
Feature photo
What's going on with that radio?
Western horror, Eastern eyes. That was what made Silent Hill memorable for a generation. It was visceral and relentless, oppressive and paranoid, and underlined with a tragic tale that hadn’t been seen on the normally e...

Allison Road photo
Allison Road

Is Allison Road the spiritual successor to P.T.?

May 29
// Vikki Blake
Though Konami wants to "scorch the earth" and deny that P.T. was possibly the best game reveal in the history of forever (do I still sound bitter?), there are some determined to keep the dream -- or nightmare -- alive. Christ...
Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Guillermo del Toro is torn up about Silent Hills' cancellation too

He's 'been in touch' with Kojima
May 15
// Steven Hansen
Director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) is sad about his second big video game project, Silent Hills, falling by the wayside. Konami recently canceled the del Toro x Kojima joint, presumably a victim of Konami's break w...

What would your Silent Hill look like?

May 03 // Nic Rowen
I'm preoccupied with dementia. It runs in my family, both my grandparents have it, their parents had it, and so on. It's a terrible disease, a spiritual vampire that sucks the light and life right out of its victims while dooming them to shamble on as shadows. I've written about it before, but I tend to read into games and movies that deal with instability and uncertainty as allegorical to Alzheimer's. The darkest thoughts that creep into my mind when I can't sleep are about my own parents someday showing symptoms of the disease, or the looming threat that it may (likely) happen to me as I age. Which is why my Silent Hill would have to be a shitty, confusing, dump of a place. A maze that was always fading and rebuilding behind you, filled with asshats you don't recognize, or recognize as someone else. It couldn't not be. Silent Hill as a series has always leaned heavily on the psychological aspects of horror. Sure, there are jump scares, dark corners, and sharp rusty blades like any other horror game, but the real terror of Silent Hill has always come from within. The town, or realm, of Silent Hill is a crucible of sorts that directly confronts its visitors with whatever nasty shit they have floating around their head. It tips the subconscious over and lets all the sticky neurological puss ooze out. Out of all that guilt, anger, fear, and trauma, the city rebuilds itself into a brand new personal hell for whatever unfortunate soul happens to be trapped within it. Silent Hill 2's James Sutherland had to deal with his sexual frustration and the guilt of resenting his ailing wife. These issues physically manifested as Pyramid Head and the grotesque/sexy nurse monsters. Heather in Silent Hill 3 had to deal with her split identity as the poor, tortured Alessa and her messed-up, unstable life on the run. Shattered Memories, a reimagining of the events of the first game, finds Cheryl struggling to reconcile her idealized memories of her father with the bitter reality of their lives. Murphy Pendelton had to fight weird ghostly blow-up dolls in Downpour (still not sure what the deal with that was). Those games offered a look into the minds of their protagonists, but I bet they also crystalized some of the deepest fears and uncertainties of the creative minds on Team Silent (and the lack of that honesty is probably why the series has fallen off so hard in recent years). It's one of the reasons I'm upset that Konami took the promise of a Silent Hill headed by Kojima and del Toro and dunked it in a bucket of horse piss. With auteurs like those two at the helm, I bet Silent Hills would have let us peek behind the curtains of their psyches. I bet they would have brought their own personal fears with them to Silent Hill; they would have brought back the honesty of terror. Yes, P.T. wasn't even a demo. It was a teaser, a shadow of a reflection of what Silent Hills might have been. But when I look at the themes and ideas in P.T. and I look at del Toro and Kojima's past work, I can see connections, overlapping ideas to work they've done before. P.T. was set in a home turned into hell. It hinted at dark family trauma -- domestic abuse, fathers committing murder-suicides on their entire family (and worse). Del Toro is no stranger to those horrors, and he's blurred the lines between the unfortunately all too real and common trauma of domestic abuse and the supernatural before. I look at his movies he's directed like The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth, or as an executive producer on Mama, all of which swim in similarly murky waters. There are also glimmers of Kojima's trademark post-Cold War paranoia to be found in P.T.. The unsettling voice from the radio, constantly repeating a sequence of digits over and over like a haunted numbers station, hypnotically spurring the listener to violence. There are possible allusions to mind control and manipulation, themes found again and again in his games. YouTuber RagnarRox recently posted a video exploring links between some of P.T.'s most disturbing elements with the real-life (and extremely chilling) MKUltra experiments conducted by the C.I.A in the 1960s. It may seem out there, but the material would certainly jive with other ideas Kojima has dove into with the Metal Gear series. [embed]291456:58421:0[/embed] We have no idea of knowing exactly what Kojima and del Toro's Silent Hills would have been like, in the end. However, I look at what those two men have done before and what we saw a peek of in P.T. and I feel like I can make out its shape behind the fog. Something disturbing and vulnerable, a Silent Hill that is at once deeply, uncomfortably personal, but also shrouded in conspiracy. How could either of them resist the chance to clean out their mental cellar spaces with the psychological dust broom of Silent Hill? It makes me sad to think of what we missed out on thanks to Konami's bungling, but it also makes me curious. I wonder about what other people's version of Silent Hill would look like. If you wandered into Silent Hill and the Otherworld was being built on top of the fault lines of your psyche (or if Konami lost its shit and suddenly tossed you the reins as the next creative director of the Silent Hill series), what would it look like? What would your fears made manifest be? Maybe I'm the only one who thinks of this kind of stuff, but I'd be super interested to know what kind of Silent Hill some of our community members would create. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments, or better yet, write a blog about it. We might never see Kojima and del Toro's Silent Hills but we can still speculate on our own dreams, or in this case, nightmares. They might be all we have if Konami keeps up like it has.
Your Silent Hill photo
Konami could probably use some ideas
My Silent Hill would be a place you couldn't trust. Doors would disappear behind you the moment you turned your back, hallways and staircases would loop back in impossible ways, main streets would abruptly end or lead to a pa...

Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Do you love P.T. enough to pay £1000 for it?

Because, really, that's what someone's selling it for
Apr 29
// Vikki Blake
As many/some/none of you may know, I'm survival horror survivalist. I'm a rubbish one - I scream and shout and lose my shizzle when anything remotely spider-like comes on the screen - but I'm a huge fan of horror games. And o...
Shout out to P.T. photo
Shout out to P.T.

P.T. scared me more than any other videogame

Don't look upstairs
Apr 28
// Jordan Devore
There was a moment in P.T. that terrified me. I mean truly terrified me. Between the endlessly looping hallway and the haunting cries of a disfigured fetus in a sink, I knew strange things were afoot. It's a disorienting game...
P.T. photo

PSA: This is your last day to download P.T., the playable teaser for Silent Hills

For free
Apr 28
// Chris Carter
P.T. was one of the most entertaining games I played in 2014. Even though it was just a demo, the "playable teaser" for Silent Hills was a perfect horror experience, nailing a lot of elements that current horror games complet...
Forgotten Memories Stream photo
Forgotten Memories Stream

Can a game on mobile fill the gap left in our hearts by Silent Hills?

Let's find out together!
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories recently released for iOS devices, and looks genuinely creepy. The game clearly takes a lot of influence from the Silent Hill series, going as far as including voice actors from Silent Hill 2, but can a gam...
Silent Hills, loud tears photo
Silent Hills, loud tears

I can't stop crying about the cancellation of Silent Hills

RIP sweet prince
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
I often film myself at random times during the day just in case anything cool happens -- like a funny joke or catching a ghost on film. Yesterday, I found out live on camera that Silent Hills was cancelled, and boy has it hi...
Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Konami talks Silent Hills and it's not good news

Looks like the game we were pitched has had its throat slit
Apr 27
// Laura Kate Dale
[Update: It looks like the game has been outright canceled, but there's this tidbit -- "In terms of Kojima and Del Toro being involved, discussions on future Silent Hill projects are currently underway, and please stay tuned ...
P.T. story photo
P.T. story

P.T.'s puzzling story explained in depth

That freaking fridge
Apr 07
// Jordan Devore
The timing on this video could not be better. As a new PlayStation 4 owner, one of the first games I knew I had to download was P.T., a playable teaser lead-in to Silent Hills. It's a weird game -- "experimental," if you lik...
Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories iOS debut on April 23, watch the launch trailer now!

Wii U, Vita, Android, and PC will have to wait an ickle bit longer
Mar 30
// Stephen Turner
As you may recall, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities came out of near-nowhere with its Silent Hill 2 cast additions, after several years off the development grid. If you're still wondering what Guy Cihi's delightf...

Tomm Hulett's unified Mario Timeline Theory

Mar 04 // Jonathan Holmes
If you're not in a position to look at this truly luxurious and expansive image at the moment, here are a few words from Tomm about the timeline: "This chronology begins with the Magikoopa Kamek attacking a stork carrying the Mario Brothers, causing the events of Yoshi's Island. It splits immediately, with one timeline depicting the events that follow Yoshi's rescue of Baby Luigi, and the other charting his failure. "Similar branches follow each Yoshi title to create three separate realities based on Mario's parents: Blue Collar Hero, Action Hero, and Storied Hero -- the latter of which creates two new sub-realities surrounding the babies in Partners in Time being left in the adult world: the Babies Era, where Wario and Waluigi replace the heroes, and the Adult Era, where the babies grow up to live lives of their own. Additionally, the timeline branches after Donkey Kong and any game that involves dreaming. Finally, the Action and Storied Hero timelines merge via the resolution of Mario Galaxy, leading directly to Super Mario 3D World." Brilliant stuff, Tomm. I wonder what Miyamoto and company would think of it?
Mario Timeline photo
The mighty multi-Marioverse explained
Game director Tomm Hulett has been working in the industry since he was a kid, starting with a job testing NES games. Since then he's worked on everything from Persona, Contra, Silent Hill, and Adventure T...

Silent Hill: Alchemilla photo
Silent Hill: Alchemilla

Fan-made Silent Hill game looks like a disturbing delight

Who could ever get tired of spooky hospitals?
Jan 19
// Nic Rowen
If you're looking for something spooky to hold you over between P.T and the full release of Silent Hills, you may be interested in this new, free, fan-made Source mod, Silent Hill: Alchemilla. For a fan effort, Alchemilla lo...
Promoted Blog photo
Promoted Blog

Fangs for the Memories: Silent Hill 3

Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Oct 26
// RainsOpacity
[Dtoid community blogger RainsOpacity talks about how for a horror game fan who has seen it all, sometimes the Devil in the details is the most memorable scare there is.  Want to see your own stuff appear on the fro...

Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now?

Oct 15 // Dale North
[embed]282542:55979:0[/embed] Survival horror games aren't that old. I did enjoy several of the early graphical adventures that had scary themes. Clicking around haunted houses wasn't nearly as interactive as, say, Resident Evil, but the chance for creepiness was still there and that was worthy of a play for this thrill seeker. Alone in the Dark still holds up, I'd say. Back in the PlayStation/Saturn era, the genre was still shaping up. Resident Evil got us rolling, Silent Hill started a sick craving, and games like Clock Tower and D served as a sort of bridge between games that gave us the creeps and ones that would actually make us jump out of our seats. The scares were there, but some of the stronger hooks that were soon to draw so many fans in were still budding. When we really got going, back in the early 2000s, you could find legitimate scares in games. I look back at those times fondly. Between the prior console generation's titles I missed and the new ones coming out, I had a steady IV drip of freaky experiences to work through. I played them all, too. The big ones like Clock Tower and Resident Evil weren't any more important to me than the less popular ones, like Dreamcast games Carrier and the not-so-hot Blue Stinger. Remember Haunting Ground? Rule of Rose? Both the Fatal Frame and Silent Hill franchises had my heart. And, oh man, Siren.  [embed]282542:55980:0[/embed] Recent talk about how survival horror is dying and giving way to scary action games scares me. Yes, tastes change, gamers change, and sales results speak. But I'd love to believe that there's a number of fans out there that still crave checking fifty doors to eventually find that one that has gruel-covered, multi-limbed baddies behind it. I'd love to believe that there is a group of fans that think that we need to get back to basics. That being helplessly lost in the fog is a million times better than shooting aliens with an overgrown nail gun.  I blame Resident Evil 4. But before you come after me with your "muerte" chants and sharp implements, know that I love this game as much as you do. I don't need to tell you how well it balanced the scares and combat equally, or how it launched a thousand memes. Hell of a game. But the problem was that it sold so well that Capcom began chasing sales numbers over scares. And then, like a flashlight flipped on in the dark, all the other game-making ghouls came out for a juicy hunk of their own. The genre hasn't been the same since. I'm not out to write the same piece Jim Sterling shared some years back as he did a fine job then. But has the situation continued to decline since then? Fatal Frame—the first game—hasn't aged well, I've just found. Neither have its early sequels, actually. Not on a technical level. Not to this games professional that has spent most of the last year with his face in shiny, polished, high-definition games. But nostalgia goes a long way, as do dark, gritty textures. The low-res murk of the earlier survival games are my puffy Nintendo clouds and dancing trees. Good feels. Great memories.  So I've been screaming at night this past week during my replaying of these games, waiting for The Evil Within to come out. I'm usually playing late at night when everything is quiet and dark. It doesn't matter that these games are old and haven't aged well or that I've played them many times before. I'm still quietly giggling at myself when I get wrapped up in exploring the too-dark hallways or when the echo-y sound effects catch me off guard. I've wondered on several occasions this past week if I'm going to enjoy The Evil Within as much as I'm enjoying replaying these old PS2 games.  You can blame the market, or lazy developers, or disconnected management, but we've also changed. It feels like gamers are less open to being freaked out these days. I guess it's hard to ask players to come off their super powers, air strikes, and unlimited ammo and start playing something where your only defense is a camera. Or running away. I felt like the only person who liked Silent Hill: Shattered Memories back in 2009. While I was singing its praises, others were downplaying it for having no combat, or worse, for being on the Wii. Who cares?! I have fond memories of sweating, running (virtually) scared for my life. For me, that makes for an outstanding survival horror. I feel like a few bad eggs have people writing off modern-day horror games. Not-scary games, or scary-for-the-wrong-reasons re-releases. Resident Evil 5 was one of the biggest disappointments of the genre for me. Fun game? I guess. But not even close to scary. Nothing's scary about a co-op buddyfest. And that probably bummed out a lot of fellow survival horror fans off expecting another Resident Evil 4. But this doesn't make Silent Hill: Homecoming a bad game, does it? Amnesia: The Dark Descent is still brilliant, right?  It's a mindset thing, too. That inverted movement system from the older top-down games would be called broken or at least cumbersome by today's gamer. For me, the challenging movement added to the tension. And it's the same for the slushy and slow combat systems of some of the PS2 survival horror games. Some may have hated it. I thought that it made perfect sense that these grotesque horrors from the underworld would be that difficult to take down. That low-res grit? That's an asset, not a tech problem!  I sometimes worry that our reviews and feedback from those old games we loved served as nails in the classic survival horror games coffin. Aside from the change in focus or mechanics, maybe it's just  that current-day horror games are less scary. There are lots of reasons why, too. Remember how every room in Fatal Frame 2 had its own camera angle? What you couldn't see made you just as nervous as any monster would. It just felt lovingly crafted. Regardless of how you felt about Silent Hill 4: The Room, you had to at least give it that they went above and beyond in making it feel really fucked up. Even now, this many years later, that game had some of the most disturbing imagery I've seen in a game.  [embed]282542:55981:0[/embed] There was a nice bunch of independent horror games that hit recently that give this old-fashioned gamer hope. Outlast and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs filled voids that those action-y games didn't. Even Slender did something for me. This year hasn't been the worst. If Alien: Isolation doesn't make you feel like you're going to piss yourself, I don't know what will. The jury is mixed on brand new Mikami release The Evil Within (review coming soon!), but it's something, right? But I'm holding out for something a lot like the survival horror classics. The next Silent Hill 2, if you will. Something with the spirit of Fatal Frame 2. Something that's not scared to go weaponless/powerless. Maybe we can revisit Japanese horror a bit more. How about way less action and way more fucked-up storylines about horrible orphanages. Try an openness to there being gamers out there who loved walking down a seemingly endless staircase for five minutes. Have some faith, game makers. Ditch the guns and the HUDs. Get with the wiggly mannequins.  [embed]282542:55978:0[/embed] Don't let me down, P.T. I got more out of that "interactive trailer" than I have with any other full horror game as of late. Until then, I'll go on with the late night replays of all of my favorites, continuing to milk them for all their scares until another good fix comes along. It's less about being stuck in the past and more about just needing more of what I love so much. Scare me, someone. Please.
Is Survival Horror dead? photo
Not scary anymore
I like to be scared. I'm not some kind of dark-obsessed weirdo, though. I just really enjoy the feeling of being tense or terrified, so much so that I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Maybe there is. A fe...

P.T. photo

Is P.T. a work of art, or a pixel-hunting exercise in frustration?

I side partially on the former
Aug 25
// Chris Carter
When P.T. was announced at gamescom a few weeks back, no one really jumped for joy. Billed as a "playable teaser," the interactive trailer was very much a game, and come to find out -- it had many elements of old school ...

Is Silent Hills about aliens? Swedish radio segment references War of the Worlds

If so, yikes
Aug 21
// Dale North
I love the Silent Hill franchise, and am glad that it's in new hands now. And it may be going in a new direction. If the translation of a Swedish radio broadcast tucked deep with in the P.T. interactive trailer means anythin...

These Japanese ladies playing P.T. are the best

That face
Aug 15
// Dale North
Check out these Japanese ladies playing the P.T. "interactive trailer" that was released this week at gamescom. I think they're all hilarious but I love the face the one lady makes at 0:46. She's like, oh sh*t. Then, oh SH*T. And then there's the one lady later on that gives no f*cks at all. She's also great.

PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Origins coming to PSN?

At least in Europe
Apr 17
// Dale North
[Update: Err...gross price alert. Look at this: They want $29.99 apiece for these two!] Konami said that a re-release of the PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill: Origins will come to the PlayS...

These Silent Hill nurses sure are great dancers

And yes it's pretty freaky
Nov 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Silent Hill nurses? Pretty freaky. Silent Hill nurses performing a well choreographed dance number that's also a burlesque number? Awesome, yet still pretty freaky. (Via Topless Robot)

WayForward shows off their Silent Hill DS game concept

I want these
Oct 11
// Dale North
Jump to about the 5:30 mark in this WayForwardTV stream capture to hear about Wayforward's ne'er released Silent Hill game.  WayForward says that this work pre-dates Contra 4, from 2006 They put it together because...

Lots of new Silent Hill soundtracks are available now

Origins, Homecoming, Shattered Memories, and more
Oct 04
// Dale North
Sumthing Else Music Works has just released a whole bunch of Silent Hill series soundtracks, just in time for Halloween. We're talking soundtracks from the more recent series games, including Origins, Homecoming, Downpour, Sh...

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