Until we meet again
Silent Hills is no more. While the game's playable trailer, P.T., had a standout showing at Gamescom 2014, business relations between director Hideo Kojima and parent company Konami got publicly ugly in the months that followed. After that, as much as we all hoped it wouldn't come to be, Silent Hills was officially canceled following the announcement of Kojima's departure from the company, and P.T. was removed from the PSN store.
Now our hearts are filled with regret over the Silent Hill that will never be. But if we've learned anything from our time in that fog-shrouded hamlet, it's that you can't let grief consume you. So we move on, to the creepy Allison Road, or Gulliermo del Toro's cinematic horror Crimson Peak. Silent Hills is gone, but we will move on, and this page will be stand as a testament to what could have been. Already we're doing better than Konami at this game preservation thing.
It'll be directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, and star Norman Reedus
As part of the game's sneaky announcement via terror-inducing demo, it was revealed Silent Hills will be directed by Hideo Kojima and Gulliermo del Toro (director of Pan's Labyrinth and the upcoming Crimson Peak), and star Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead fame. While that might seem like an odd bunch of personalities to bring together at first, the way Kojima's raved about del Toro's past projects and both del Toro and Reedus loved the Metal Gear Solid 5 E3 trailer suggest that this is a relationship long in the making.
In addition, all three possess unique strengths that make them well-suited for work in the Silent Hill franchise. Kojima boasts a robust list of management credits and has crafted some of the most memorable scenes in gaming history; Reedus has plenty of experience with the malevolent undead via The Walking Dead and Masters of Horror; and del Toro has a keen eye for unifying beauty, fantasy, and terror in visual media (plus, he knows his way around the survival-horror genre). All told, this is a team adept at creating the sort of grotesque, elegant, deeply unnerving story that Silent Hill demands, and they may just bring back some of the life this series has been lacking for so long.
They want it to scare the shit out of you
No seriously, be afraid. In an interview streamed via Konami's Twitch channel in August 2014, Kojima declared that he and del Toro will not be holding back in terms of Silent Hills' scare factor: "If you don't want to keep on playing through the game, so be it. We don't care. That's the game we are aiming for, we're aiming for a game that will make you shit your pants." While we haven't seen much in terms of what the game will be like outside one trailer (opens in new tab) and a pseudo-demo, the fact that P.T. was basically the scariest game of 2014 (opens in new tab) speaks to this fearsome duo's ability to make those embarrassing trips to the laundromat a reality.
If you were unmoved by P.T. (which would lead me to believe you're a robot or lying), this promise of trouser-ruining terror still has merit, since both directors have shown they've got the horror chops to back it up. Metal Gear has consistently delivered on its horrors-of-war themes (Ground Zeroes features psychological torture that sticks with you well after you flip the console off), and Stephen King himself has called del Toro's newest film "just f--king terrifying".
There are some big parts of the game that haven't been figured out yet
P.T. received wide praise as its own unique horror experience, part of which was facilitated by its first-person camera, but there's been some skepticism about how that set-up would work in the traditionally third-person Silent Hill series. There's also been question of how closely Silent Hills will stick to P.T. in terms of presentation, since the demo ends by noting that it "has no direct relation to the main title." Turns out the developers aren't sure about the details either, but for them, the first person question is less if and more how. "Development is cycling between either allowing players to choose to play the whole game in first person or third person, or keeping it fixed third person and having some areas be first person only," Kojima told WhatIfGaming while fielding questions at Gamescom 2014. "Either way we want to do something with first person."
At the same time, Kojima also noted that "[the] Fox engine is meant for open world," but said he couldn't otherwise give details on Silent Hills' overall game design. A comment like that suggests equal parts secrecy and seriously not knowing the answer, so while the concept of an open-world Silent Hill is definitely thought-provoking, it's far from certain. In all likelihood it's still up in the air, especially because . . .
It's expected to release sometime in 2016
While there's been no official word on a potential release date, Kojima himself has said, "The game will not be out more than likely until 2016, lots of time left." While many fans had hoped for a release sometime in 2015, the absence of any actual footage of the game plus Kojima's comments about camerawork suggest that it's still in early development. Norman Reedus also noted in a January Reddit AMA that "we haven't shot the heavy stuff yet," reinforcing that the title is still in development-infancy.
In light of that information, a 2016 release date actually sounds early for a game that may still be in its pre-planning stages. Plus, the cryptic business between Kojima and Konami may prompt further delays, though there's no way to know for sure. But hey, that'll give us all plenty of time to build up our stockpile of fresh pants, so it all works out in the end.
Look forward, not behind
That's all we know so far, and even that's enough to make us check our locks twice and leave the hall light on. Are you excited for this new journey into Silent Hill? Sound the alarm in the comments below.
Can't wait to get back to Silent Hill? Bolster that disregard for self preservation with the 10 most disturbing Silent Hill moments and Silent Hills 13 creepiest enemies and what they represent.