The gaming community’s collective jaw is still firmly cemented to the floor by the manner in which famed Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima chose to unveil that both he and directorial bigwig Guillermo del Toro were working on a reboot of everyone’s favourite deliciously-depraved horror series, Silent Hill. Masked at the tail end of the interactive P.T. teaser that cropped up on Sony’s PlayStation Store following its press conference at this year’s Gamescom, the short reveal featured none other than The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus traversing a deserted street, with flickered lights and a distinct windswept feel to proceedings.
And while the reveal was all too brief – totalling a mere two minutes – we were left with the unmistakable inkling that Kojima Productions could be onto something truly special. Ever since Resident Evil made the frankly perplexing decision to go down the low-kicking, boulder-punching route our insatiable urge for a classic survival horror game – where fear and desperation is commonplace – has gone unquenched. Hell, even Silent Hill’s last two console main entries were void of that spark that endeared us so richly in the first place; a spark that shone brightest with Silent Hill 2 some 13 years ago. Now, however, with such revered minds as Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro at the helm that looks as if it’s set to change – Silent Hill may be coming back in its truest form to haunt gamers the world over once again.
So excited are we here at PlayStation Universe about Silent Hill’s potential resurgence that we’ve taken a dissection knife to the teaser, attempting to expose all the juicy details that may have been glanced over on first viewing.
Let’s see what we uncovered.
Instability of light
A big focal point of the game’s short reveal was undoubtedly its lighting, or more importantly the unreliable nature of it. The teaser begins with a flashlight permeating the darkened footholds of the path ahead before conceding its power to a vast street. Once the camera pans we lay witness to several street lights, each of which are flickering. The instability of light is a common theme amongst horror games as it’s an exploitable fear-inducing mechanism that delivers an authentic atmosphere. Make no mistake, Kojima-san and del Toro are acutely aware of this fact and will undoubtedly use light’s unreliability to their advantage – less is more and all that.
Lack of weaponry
Treading that same strand of thought, our protagonist’s trusted flashlight may also be his go-to weapon of choice, rather than that of a handgun or shotgun. There’s little doubt that firearms will appear in due course but we’d hazard a guess and say they’ll be toned back massively. Common, makeshift weaponry may appear, too, with the likes of wood being used to fend off enemies. Reedus’ character comes across as a relatively normal person with no apparent holsters for weapons, or even any discerning characteristics. Typical Silent Hill tropes considered, it’s plausible that he’s on the lookout for a family member or someone who’s gone missing – with all signs pointing towards the eponymous American town.
Claustrophobic yet sprawling
Despite the trailer’s length, Kojima and del Toro went a decent way in outlining the game’s suspected ambience. While it may not have the all-consuming fog-like demeanour of say Silent Hill 2, there’s still a distinctive feel being set up. The street Reedus’ character’s found himself on may be a little on the expansive side, but there’s still a sort of claustrophobia present. Many of the surrounding buildings are massive in height and simply serve to heighten the feel of desolation and solitude. Some could very well be enterable, too, and with the abundance of fire escapes and ladders there’s a lot for Kojima Productions to play around with.
Not everything is what it seems
From a cosmetic standpoint the town that Reedus finds himself in isn’t that out of the ordinary – it looks relatively normal from the outset. There are even lights on in some buildings, and if it wasn’t for the splatter of blood on the tarmac you’d be hard pushed to find anything too adverse with the street. It’s not too disrupted by any means, which of course adds to the mystique and intrigue. There’s sure to be violent and mysterious undercurrent, mind, or else it wouldn’t be Silent Hill.
It’s looking like a full reboot
The manner in which the name ‘Silent Hills’ comes to prominence in the teaser undoubtedly means that the Kojima Productions-developed game is a reboot. A reimagining of a series that was certainly in need of a bit of tender loving care; or whatever the horror equivalent would be. The addition of ‘Hills’ may not just be a mechanism to make people aware that the game is in fact a reboot but rather that the horror adventure could extend past the eponymous town, up into the surrounding foothills and scenery. It’s a decision that could potentially have a huge pay-off. Just imagine Pyramid Head giving chase up narrow trails, surrounded by overgrowth and overarching forest – terrifying stuff, indeed.
And while we’ve only gotten a mere glimpse of what’s to come, one thing’s for sure: the gauntlet’s been thrown down in the horror stakes and now it’s a matter of waiting intently to see just what the likes of Capcom can do with the ailing Resident Evil canon. We expect a full-on stand-off at this year’s Tokyo Game Show in September, and we simply can’t wait.
Are you looking forward to Kojima Productions-developed Silent Hills? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and stay tuned for all the hot gossip from Gamescom this week.