Hit the lever! – The End of Silent Hill(s)
Tea: Jasmin Tea
Silent Hills is cancelled that is nothing new. But in the waking of this cancellation I cannot help, but feel a bit relieved. Not relieved that people didn’t get to make a game they apparently really wanted to, but the fact that the name Silent Hill doesn’t get trodden on again. There are two main points I wish to make here today: 1# All of the creative energy is better spent as far away from Konami as possible. 2# Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima could never make a Silent Hill that could so much as hold a candle to Silent Hill 2.
The neat #FucKonami has been introduced by Jim Sterling and only shows the utter content people that have a glimpse into the machinations that is Konami can muster up. Horrible working conditions, no sense of marketing, and no quantum of care for the franchises that made them big is the unspoken subtitle of the Konami logo. Be it the childish parting with Kojima or the firing of Igarashi who went on to raise over 5 Million for a game Konami said nobody wanted anyway. But all of that, all the ignorance, the lack of even a small amount of understanding, and the neglect of the consumer as someone entitled to more than just handing over money can be summed up in one trailer. Made by Konami no less: Hit the lever!(This is a thing – click to view)
Only a person that views persons as a culmination of dollar-signs and sees the games he publishes only ever as a sales chart could have the despicable idea to turn Silent Hill into a bloody pachinko machine. And the sad part, the truly sad part is, I go excited for the first minute. I didn’t know what I was about to watch “New Silent Hill Announcement” is all I read. When I saw James, my twistedly beloved James, I could not believe it. A proper remake? A sequel (not sure how that would make sense, but my mind just screamed “Silent Hill!”)? Anything that isn’t absolute shite? I would have taken any of that, but I could not imagine the length Konami went to destroy my dreams. You might as well have asked for everybody’s fond memories of that game back, or charge for them again retroactively. As much as I want to believe that this is a joke, I know that nobody in this world could come up with something like this in an ironic way. Not even me. So awful it must be true. So stupid is must be Konami. It should be a no-brainer then that Kojima and Del Toro are best kept as far away from the black hole of creativity and upstanding that is Konami. But let’s talk about Silent Hills.
P.T. was a phenomenon, at least until it was taken down by – you guessed it – idiot in charge of absolute folly: Konami. The game scared people all over the Youtube-channels. Web cams were screamed into and the final teaser was unveiled: Silent Hills an apparent spiritual successor to the Silent Hill franchise. A franchise that gave birth to my favourite game: Silent Hill 2. I know that I finally get the chance that a big team works on another title with a probably reasonable budget to back it up and it has to be Del Toro and Kojima. Two people that might excel in some things, but sure as hell not in writing or tone.
Del Toro knows how to design creatures and Junji Ito – who he recently teased would have been involved with the game – even more. So we would have a good monster design which is essential to Silent Hill. Kojima could probably deliver on some interesting set pieces and nightmare-esque sequences, but hopefully not as a writer in any sort of way. That is all they could contribute and should, but something tells me they would have had a much bigger say in the game’s tone and story. Endless expositional cutscenes and a lack of a consistent tone would have been the result. As they both said they aimed for a game that would make the player shit his pants and this just says it all. Both of them don’t grasp what Silent Hill is about in the slightest all they seemed to see is: A horror game. The journey through the foggy town isn’t characterized by jumpscares and other cheap horror devices P.T. and even more the published trailer (viewable here) relied upon. It is all about atmosphere and subtlety something that Del Toro and Kojima might have only ever read about. I love Silent Hill 2 so much simply because it doesn’t make me shit my pants, but because I get dragged into it almost against my will. I feel unnerved as I walk down the street with the static in my ears telling me that there is something somewhere. The story hits me emotionally on a level a video game seldom does and my first playthrough to this day remains one of my fondest video game memories. I felt none of that with P.T. or any of the trailers or teasers they gave us. Everything is too hectic, but in the wrong sense. Combat should be hectic in Silent Hill, but not the exploration. Nothing speaks against a quick jump in pacing, but I don’t want a 9 hour horror-endurance marathon. The cancellation is still sad, since I was at least curious to see what they would deliver in the end. But Del Toro’s announcement to never work on another video game and Kojima’s farewell to Konami just scream to me that after the mainstream gaming audience has been begging enough the two will announce like the God-given designers they are made out to be that they will work on a P.T. inspired game and everyone will kiss their feet for it. My point is not that this game will be bad, it might be very good, but it will not be comparable to Silent Hill 2 in any way. The series peaked with this second installment and only went downhill from there (come at me Silent Hill 3 fans!). Create a new IP with a new setting etc. and the P.T. game will be untainted by the inevitable comparison. Silent Hill as a series is over. It is and should stay dead.