There are whispers happening in the dark dungeon of games past that Silent Hill, the game that helped define bone-chilling psychological horror in gaming, could rise again. With recent rumors and the latest announcements, fans of the series are getting pretty excited, myself included!
The rise of the survival horror game genre in the 1990s made it a fun time for horror fans. Games such as Parasite Eve, Alone in the Dark, and Resident Evil were bringing in new ways to be scared and experience horror in the gaming world! But Silent Hill, a relative latecomer to the party, brought something different to the mix: psychological horror.
Resident Evil was undoubtedly a favorite of mine growing up, but as a horror game, it didn’t feel particularly scary. Resident Evil, to me, felt more action-based with zombie blasting and giant mutant creatures. It has its jump scares, but it can also be a little campy at times, and that’s okay! It’s part of its charm, and it's a great franchise. Personally, though, I wanted something a little more sinister, and I found that in Silent Hill.
I always felt Silent Hill stood apart from other franchises that were around at the time by focusing on the darker parts of the human psyche, very real human emotions, and relatable themes that are often more terrifying than any mutant monster. I also feel that the action moments in Silent Hill are much more daunting.
As an example, during battle segments, you sometimes only have a melee weapon at your disposal which forces you to be up close and personal with the terror. Some enemies featured in the game are purely there just to taunt you, and your best option is to run! Silent Hill’s most famous resident, Pyramid Head, shows up periodically throughout the game as a tormentor who can’t be killed but will surely kill you! Pyramid Head is a demon created in James Sunderland’s mind in Silent Hill 2. The demon is a personification of guilt and represents James’s wish to be punished for his wife's death.
This is also just one example of Silent Hill’s iconic psychological storytelling that has stayed with me long after the game has ended.
Another reason why Silent Hill became a favorite for me is that it takes inspiration from classic horror movies such as Eraserhead and Jacob’s Ladder. Those films were strong influences in the game’s themes of a person's downfall into madness. Writers such as Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz and directors such as David Cronenburg and David Lynch have been cited among others for inspiring such rich horror environments. The creators of the games are big fans of horror and literature, and it shows! For me, it was a joy being able to immerse myself in playable worlds featuring inspirations from these great masters of darkness. I’m a girl with an unhealthy obsession with serial killers; what can I say?!
Unfortunately for the fans, we haven’t seen a new installment in the series since Silent Hill: Downpour in 2012. This was the same year Time magazine named Silent Hill one of the top 100 games of All Time. To me, it feels even more unfortunate that there hasn't been any new Silent Hill content since this accolade. Briefly, in 2014 there was hope...
In 2014 Konami released the P.T. (Playable Teaser) Trailer reigniting the franchise in a big way! The P.T. Trailer was a short demo set in a repeating hallway that became even more sinister as the player progressed through its levels. Those who completed the demo were gifted with a pan-up shot revealing Norman Reedus as our protagonist, standing in a deserted, foggy town right before the Silent Hills titles were unveiled. Finally, after a long wait, we had a new game, and it was even more terrifying than before! But, alas, it was - canceled.
The P.T. Trailer is unfortunately no longer available to play in its original form; it can only be watched in hilarious reaction videos online. This feels like a big loss for those who weren’t able to experience it on its release, but it is definitely worth checking out some of the playthroughs online.
After creative differences, Kojima and Konami separated, and the much anticipated Silent Hills project suffered from the breakup. A new project was released in its place, Death Stranding, that a lot of people loved. To be fair, it is a good game! I wasn't so overjoyed with it, though with so much promise from P.T. and so long waiting for another installment to the Silent Hill series, the release of Death Stranding felt anticlimactic for Silent Hill fans. Our franchise was, again, dead in the fog and abandoned like the town itself.
There have been ongoing rumors of a Silent Hill franchise revival for years, and, to fans, this has been as psychologically torturous as the games themselves. Rumors often tease at everything from series reboots to new installments coming to the series. Unfortunately, they often amount to nothing but hype. Recently, though, two big rumors have been causing more than a little stir, and these rumors surround Blue Box Studios and Bloober Team.
The first set of rumors piqued the interest of P.T. fans who have been looking for clues into whether the project will be picked up again: a recent trailer for Abandoned has got fans raising eyebrows. The trailer opens in a foggy forest with a girl's voice talking about being alone with no one to guide her. She speaks about a small community led by a cult and suggests an escape from a place. It does sound a little like Silent Hill.
Could the name Abandoned be a clue to a Silent Hills revival with the Silent Hills project literally being Abandoned?
It’s a stretch, but this is actually just one of the connections fans are looking into.
There’s also speculation that Blue Box Studios may not be who they say they are and that they are, in fact, Kojima being devious. Speculation continues with everything from the studio’s Games Director Hasan Karahman secretly being Hideo Kojima, to the studio’s logo looking suspiciously like the PlayStation logo, to cryptic tweets from Blue Box themselves loosely teasing that the game Abandoned’s real name starts with S and ends in L (which they later redacted with an apology for teasing Silent Hill fans). The fans are still convinced that the tweets were intentional to fuel hype. You can follow all the rumors surrounding Abandoned at playstationlifestyle.net.
I agree that details surrounding Abandoned do feel a little too convenient to be just a coincidence, but I am cautious with my excitement. I am also aware that Kojima has a reputation for being a little devious with his game promotion, so I can't be entirely skeptical. Perhaps I would have more faith in the hype surrounding Blue Box if it weren't for another set of rumors.
This second set of rumors involves Bloober Team, the developers behind The Medium, a game heavily inspired by Silent Hill. It has the feel and the story like Silent Hill, and it even has music composed by Silent Hill’s original composer, Akira Yamaoka.
The similarities in story and gameplay are so strong between the two games that many fans feel The Medium could be a showpiece for a bigger Silent Hill branded game in the future. To reinforce this idea, Bloober later announced that they and Akira are indeed pairing up again on an "existing horror IP from a very famous gaming publisher," which later turned out to be Konami, the studio behind Silent Hill!
Akira Yamaoka was then interviewed by Middle East outlet Al-hub where he confirmed working on a second project with Bloober in addition to The Medium, saying it was “the one you’ve been hoping to hear about.” That interview was later taken down. Did Akira reveal a little more than he was supposed to?
Konami, Bloober, and Blue Box Studios have all denied currently working on a Silent Hill project, but that’s not to say that they might not be working on one down the road. Out of the rumors posed, the Bloober Team theories seem the most viable given their survival horror experience, previous work with Akira, and official connections to Konam. If The Medium is the showpiece of their Silent Hill potential, I am excited to see what they could bring to the franchise.
One day, that small foggy town will have a lost wanderer in its streets again, and you can be sure that when Silent Hill does awaken from its purgatory, I’ll be here to share its darkest secrets.
What are some of the rumors and theories you have heard about a new Silent Hill game? And what do you think about the rumors circling the franchise right now? Let's speculate together in the comments below.