The Hollow Knight Silksong delay underlines the importance of communication

Hollow Knight: Silksong
(Image credit: Team Cherry)

After Silksong's delay, Hollow Knight's chronically chaotic community is surprisingly chill. Depending on where you stand with Team Cherry's long awaited sequel to its acclaimed 2017 action-RPG, Hollow Knight, the statement above is either an indictment of Silksong's, let's say, eccentric following, or it's the highest praise. Indeed, the community is known for its public meltdowns and irrational fury whenever Silksong is absent from the latest live showcase of the day, but this only makes the community's apparent restraint in the face of the latest push back all the more intriguing. 

Granted, the Hollow Knight: Silksong community's fiery outbursts aren't without an element of self-referential comic effect, and are born mostly from a lack of concrete information and an abundance of clown makeup. So what's different this time? Simply: communication.

Talk to me

Hollow Knight: Silksong

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

I was among the Hollow Knight fans and would-be Silksong players who felt slightly dejected following the latter's appearance at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase last year. Having skipped Geoff Keighly's Summer Game Fest altogether, the stage was set for Silksong's appearance at Microsoft's offering. For the most part, it didn't disappoint. In a blistering 70-odd seconds of footage, we were treated to protagonist Hornet sprinting, slashing, and scaling the crumbling walls of a haunted world; battling huge monster bosses, and executing a number of neat-looking special abilities at lightning speed. And then, just as the title ident flashed up at the gameplay trailer's very end, that was it. Fade to black. 

The footage was lovely, but we got nothing on the release date front – besides an off-hand on-stage comment from Xbox's head of experience, Sarah Bond, saying all of the games featured in the company's showcase would be playable in some form in the next 12 months. I have no problem whatsoever with devs taking their time behind the scenes – I'd much prefer it if it means getting a better end product, games are ready whenever they're ready – but the absence of official communication from Team Cherry felt a little lacking.   

Having since announced a tentative launch window of somewhere in the first half of 2023, Team Cherry has now revealed Silksong will need a little longer in the oven still. "Hey gang, just a quick update about Silksong," reads a tweet from the devs' Matthew Griffin. "We had planned to release in the [first] half of 2023, but development is still continuing. We're excited by how the game is shaping up, and it's gotten quite big, so we want to take the time to make the game as good as we can. Expect more details from us once we get closer to release." And it's a direct result of this that has allowed an otherwise fully-charged community to open its arms and close its mouth in acceptance. 

Who'd have guessed direct communication could yield such positive results?

I'm listening

Hollow Knight: Silksong

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

"I couldn't say what Team Cherry is thinking behind the Silksong curtain, I am absolutely certain would-be players would appreciate more transparency moving forward."

Okay, so I'm being a little flippant here. But I'm also, surely, stating the obvious. Developers are under no obligation to share their secrets, or have a free and open front-facing dialogue from behind the scenes, but instances like this definitely underscore the importance of communication between creators and players. If we look to the likes of GTA 6, another hotly-anticipated and long-awaited game, driven by an equally fervent and demanding community, the outpouring of praise for Rockstar on the two highest-profile occasions it spoke directly to its fans last year – when the developer announced GTA 6 was in active development, and when it responded to the unfortunate in-development leaks – was notable. In fact, I don't think it's a stretch to say it's the happiest I've seen the community in recent memory. 

Elsewhere, consider the incoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. I can't think of a time when so many fans were so unsure of a Zelda game in the build up to its launch, especially one following what is considered by many to be the best in the enduring decades long series. A late flurry of trailers showcasing gameplay, narrative direction, and speculative story information, however, appeared to turn the heads of many doubters, realigning Nintendo's ambition with player expectation in the process. 

The long shadow cast by leak culture, and the wider modern obsession with being 'in the know' may be responsible for tight-lipped devs, but with CD Projekt Red and Ubisoft's recent multi-faceted reveals, there appears to be a broader show-all trend emerging from some game developers, seemingly keen to roadmap several years of plans and projects in one fell swoop. Marvel's myriad MCU drops have of course followed that path in the entertainment world for some time, and the massive GTA 6 leaks suggest keeping quiet doesn't always prevent stuff from getting out. And while I couldn't say what Team Cherry is thinking behind the Silksong curtain, I am absolutely certain would-be players would appreciate more transparency moving forward. Yes, this may be a hilariously and chronically chaotic community in ordinary circumstances, but it's one instance of pure and simple communication that's left them surprisingly chill. 

Here are the best Metroidvania games to keep you busy between now and Silksong

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over five years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.