Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Silent Hills: My Thoughts on the Upcoming Silent Hill (from 2014)

Posted on this site: Thursday, March 24, 2022

Originally published on November 2, 2014 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2014/11/silent-hills-my-thoughts-on-upcoming.html

First off, I have yet to play the Silent Hills demo myself because I don’t have a PS4 yet.
I have seen it played through YouTube videos.
It is best to watch it without commentary if you don’t have a PS4 because it can be much more immersive.
 
When the Silent Hills teaser demo was originally announced as P.T., I really didn’t have much interest in it.
Then hours later, it was revealed that it was actually a teaser demo announcing a new Silent Hill game being made by Hideo Kojima with Guillermo del Toro, and Norman Reedus as, presumably, the main character.
P.T. just stood for Playable Teaser.
Silent Hill 1-4 is one of my favorite video game series of all time.
Of course, I had to check out this demo, and the best way I could do that was to find it on YouTube and Twitch.
 
The demo itself was great.
It’s a constant loop of a hallway in a house, which works really well because something different happens every time you go through.
It scared me just watching it.
At times, I would cover my eyes when I thought something bad was going to happen.
I found some parts to be very disturbing like the creature in the sink that looked like a human baby, and the ghost, Lisa, especially when she grabs you.
I’m guessing her name is Lisa from the message “Forgive me Lisa, there’s a monster inside of me” above the door at the end of the hall.
What made me the most uncomfortable was the refrigerator hanging from the ceiling, and hearing sounds of someone screaming like they were trapped inside.
It made me think of the hell it would be if I were trapped in a very small space with no way out.
It has been a long time since a horror game has scared me like that.
 
It also amazes me that anyone that has played the demo has yet to figure out one solution of finishing the final puzzle.
Everyone seems to find a different method of doing it.
It makes me wonder if Kojima intended the game to have one solution that no one can figure out exactly what it is, or did he intend to have many solutions that would be different for each person?
Kojima said that he thought it would take at least a week for someone to finish the game.
Either way, it’s obvious that he intended to make the demo difficult to finish.
 
There were also a few parts that reminded me of Silent Hill.
The first thing that I noticed is that a lot of weird stuff happens in the bathroom.
Bathroom scares or just plain weirdness in bathrooms are very common in Silent Hill 1-4 because Japanese children were told horror stories involving toilets.
Due to these stories, members of Team Silent (the creative team of Silent Hill 1-4) associate bathrooms with horror in some ways.
Masahiro Ito briefly explains the scary bathroom stories in the Making of Silent Hill 3 video.
I also noticed that Lisa can sometimes be seen with her head twitching like Valtiel in Silent Hill 3.
The head twitching was an influence from the film Jacob’s Ladder.
Her head twitching is most obvious when she is seen in the bathroom mirror and the window.
 
Something else I took note of is that the nightmare in the demo plays out similarly to the original games.
I sometimes find it a little difficult to explain how the nightmare in Silent Hill works, but I will describe it the best that I can.
The area you’re in starts out normal, but a little unsettling such as Silent Hill being a foggy town that seems to be deserted.
In P.T., the house seems to be deserted with sounds of rain and a person on the radio talking about recent murders.
In Silent Hill 1-3 (and SH4 in some ways), it progressively becomes a disturbing nightmare with monsters attacking the player, weird things happen like noises with unknown causes, and the environment usually gets darker with only a flashlight to see.
Sometimes the environment becomes grotesque with grated floors, blood and rust walls, hanging bodies, etc.
This is demonstrated very well in P.T. with strange noises, changes in lighting, Lisa’s appearances, etc.
Once the nightmare is at its worst, it goes back to a more normal state.
 
Usually the grotesque nightmare shift, or Otherworld as Harry calls it in Silent Hill 1, is triggered somehow especially in Silent Hill 1 & 3.
One example is in Silent Hill 3 when Heather is at the Hilltop Center, and she turns the knob on the bathtub.
Instead of water coming out of the faucet, blood fills the bottom of the bathtub from the drain, and the environment becomes a blood and rust nightmare.
In both Silent Hill 1 & 3, the nightmare will sometimes go back to normal after a boss fight.
I don’t remember how the otherworldly nightmare is triggered in P.T., but I do remember what seems to makes it go back to normal.
There is a part in P.T. where the hallway has red lighting, pictures on the wall are eyes that move, and your character seem to be moving very fast through the hall.
When the player finds a hole in the wall, they can peep into the bathroom, and hear sounds of a murder happening.
Afterwards, the hallway goes back to normal as the player walks further down the hall.
The environment shifts in P.T. just like the original games.
It makes the environment seem unstable, and people often fear instability in their environment such as weather or crime.
 
Kojima has the ability to lead a creative team to make a great horror game as shown by the P.T. demo.
He is already well known for making wonderful games such as Metal Gear Solid and Snatcher.
P.T. also demonstrates that the Silent Hill game he makes may be amazing.
There are also members of Team Silent that now work for Kojima, which boosts my convince in his team making Silent Hill.
At the same time, I can’t help but be a little nervous about the new game in some ways.
 
The new game has already been a little hyped especially by how the game was announced even though we know very little about it.
Releasing a teaser demo disguised as a new indie horror game with the intent to have players finish it to see the announcement trailer is an awesome way reveal a new game.
But, the hype worries me.
Games don’t always live up to the hype, and I’m afraid that the same might happen to Silent Hill.
It’s possible that there might be so much hype around the game that it’s hard to live up to it.
I hope that doesn’t happen.
 
I’m also not sure how Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus can contribute to making a wonderful Silent Hill game.
I’m not very familiar with Guillermo del Toro’s work.
The only film of his that I’ve seen is Pan’s Labyrinth.
From what I remember, some of the scenes such as the creature designs were very creative.
I will not decide whether or not he’s good for his part on Silent Hill until I play the game, and I understand what his role is in making the game.
 
I will say that I’m not too sure about Norman Reedus in Silent Hill.
I don’t watch Walking Dead, but I know that his character in the series, Daryl Dixon, is popular.
My issue is that Silent Hill has never been about celebrity characters.
It has always been about typical every day people experiencing theirs or another person’s nightmare in Silent Hill.
It makes wonder if it will make players think more about playing Daryl Dixon in Silent Hill than playing a new character.
I would think that Reedus and the people directing him would be focused on him portraying an original character for the game, and not make him as a Daryl Dixon clone in Silent Hill.
I hope casting Norman Reedus works out for the game, and it ends up that I didn’t need to have doubts in the first place.
 
Of course, the fact that recent Silent Hill games made by western developers have not been up to par with the Team Silent games makes me cautious in getting too excited for the new Silent Hill.
The western Silent Hill games aren’t terrible, and they can be fun to play at times.
They are just not scary like the original games were, and they also don’t always make sense with the narrative established by the first four games.
I think of Origins, Homecoming, Shattered Memories, and Downpour as more of western horror games influenced by Silent Hill or western versions of Silent Hill.
 
I have to admit that the name Silent Hills doesn’t sound right.
Having the S at the end just seems weird.
Kojima says that the S is for plural scariness.
I’m not sure what he means by that.
I like to think of it as another way of calling it Silent Hill 5.
I know that sounds kind of dumb, but I’ve been waiting for Silent Hill 5 for 10 years now.
As enjoyable as the western Silent Hill games can be, I don’t think of them as true sequels to Silent Hill 1-4.
I really hope that this is the Silent Hill 5 that I’ve been waiting for, but I’m also trying not to let my hopes up especially since not much is known about the new game.
 
One last thing.
I’ve read that some people would like the game to be in first person since the demo is in first person.
Some have also stated that many horror games nowadays are in first person, and it can make players feel more like the scares are happening to them rather than the character they’re playing.
I have to disagree with that.
First of all, not every horror game has to be first person.
Second, I’m sure the demo was in first person because they were trying to make it look like an indie game, and possibly to hide the fact that you’re playing Norman Reedus until you see the trailer at the end.
Third, Silent Hill has always been a third person series, and they did a great job making players feel like the nightmare was happening to them especially with the different camera angles.
Silent Hill 4 has a mix of first and third person perspectives.
You play in first person when you are in Henry’s apartment, and third person outside of his apartment.
I wouldn’t mind if they did something like that for the new Silent Hill.
The game could be in third person for certain areas, and first person in others.
I also read that the game may give players a choice to play in first or third person.
That’s fine too.
I just don’t think the game should only be in first person when the series has always been in third person perspective.
 
My current thoughts of the game are very positive, but I have a few concerns that I hope will be proven wrong.
I am excited about it especially after seeing the demo that shows what Kojima is capable of in making a horror game, and the series is back in the hands of a Japanese creative team.
Hopefully some Team Silent members are working on the game as well.
It would be awesome if Hiroyuki Owaku (story writer for Silent Hill 2 & 3), Masahiro Ito (creature designer), and Akira Yamaoka (sound effects and music) would have roles in developing the game.
Kojima says that the new Silent Hill will come out in 2016 at the earliest.
Hopefully we will have more information about the game in the coming months.
Until then, I will be excited for the new Silent Hill game while bracing myself for the worst just in case.