Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

What Happened to Team Silent’s Silent Hill 5?

Posted on this site: Friday, March 25, 2022

Originally Published on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-happened-to-team-silents-silent.html

In a 2004 Boomtown interview on Silent Hill 4: The Room with Masashi Tsuboyama (director of SH2 & art director of SH4) and Akira Yamaoka (series sound director & producer of SH3 & SH4) are asked about the future of the series.
One of them responds, “A fifth game is being planned but it will not be for this generation, although we do not know for what formats exactly. We have seen the rumours that the next game will be called Silent Hill 5: Shadows, but we can say that this is not true, we have no idea where this rumour came from!”
 
When asked about the next Silent Hill game in another interview with Game World in 2005, Akihiro Imamura (producer of SH2 & sub-producer of SH4) says, “Maybe I’ll get in trouble for this, so Konami Japan don’t fire me, but we are interested in playing with the idea of ‘light’… as in ‘daylight’ and shadows. Ever since the pre-production of SH2, we wanted to start a SH in a normal environment- daylight, people going about their business, just normality. What happens when you make that normality rot all around you? It is possible to make a normal sunny day really creepy. Just look at films like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even one of our favorites, Jacobs Ladder.”
 
I don’t how, but I actually remember reading these interviews after finishing Silent Hill 4 for the first time.
I was so excited that they were making another game.
I love all four games, and I could not wait for a fifth.
The concept of light and shadows sound very interesting for a Silent Hill game.
I’d love to see how Team Silent could make daylight creepy.
 
One possibility for Silent Hill 5’s storyline could have been the original Silent Hill 3 story.
The original Silent Hill 3 story was much different than the story in the final product.
Fans were begging for a direct continuation of Silent Hill 1 so Team Silent set aside the original story to satisfy fans’ pleas.
 
In the same interview with Game World, Imamura and Yamaoka were asked if they could say what the original Silent Hill 3 story was about.
Yamaoka responds, “Unfortunately no, since we plan on using it for a future game. (laughing) It was much more along the lines of the second, where the main character was a damaged human being, summoned to the town for a very specific reason. It was, or should say is, the darkest story we have come up with.”
Imamura goes on to say that “I’m sure a lot would have to be cut. Just the preliminary scenario had elements that would most likely not be approved by the ratings boards. Another thing is we really didn’t want to use a similar template as SH2 for the game that followed it. That was another deciding factor in changing SH3.”
 
Could this have been used for the story of Silent Hill 5?
We really have no way of knowing.
We just know what Imamura and Yamaoka said in this interview.
I’m happy with how Silent Hill 3 & 4 turned out, however it’s also frustrating that we never got to see this story as well as their concept of light and shadows.
The fact that they said that it’s the “darkest story” they’ve made, and some things may “not be approved by the ratings board” makes me wonder what this story was about.
 
After these interviews, there was virtually no word on Silent Hill 5.
Silent Hill: Origins was announced at E3 2006 for the PSP, and confirmed that it was in development by the Western developer Climax Studios.
I will admit that I have issues with Origins especially the story, but it’s not a surprise that it was made by another developer.
It is not uncommon for a handheld installment of a video game series to be made by a different developer.
For example, the God of War series is made by SCE Santa Monica, but the two PSP entries (Chains of Olympus & Ghost of Sparta) were made by Ready at Dawn.
At least for me, the fact that Origins was confirmed that it was being made by a different developer didn’t entirely indicate that Team Silent was no longer making Silent Hill games.
 
Then at E3 2007, another Silent Hill was announced as Silent Hill V, and that it was being developed by the American studio The Collective.
The Collective later became Double Helix Games, and Silent Hill V was renamed Silent Hill: Homecoming before its released in 2008.
At this point, I had been waiting for Silent Hill 5 for two years.
I was a little disappointed that Silent Hill V being made by a completely different developer was announced instead.
I had the same concerns that some other fans had about the new game including an American developer would not understand the story and horror of Silent Hill 1-4.
I was afraid that the game would mostly be jump scares and a slaughterfest like most modern American horror movies.
That’s pretty much how Homecoming turned out.
 
I got both Origins and Homecoming soon after they were released.
I had some hope that these games would be good, and that they could carry on what Team Silent did with the original four games.
I did find some enjoyment in playing them.
I didn’t have a very good understanding of Silent Hill 1-4 at that time, but I knew that Origins and Homecoming didn’t feel like Silent Hill games.
I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
The more I began to understand the original four games, the more problems I had with the new games.
 
The same thing happened with the next two games: Shattered Memories and Downpour.
I know Shattered Memories is supposed to be a re-imagining of Silent Hill 1, but I think it’s debatable about whether or not it’s truly a re-imagining of the first game.
I gave each Western Silent Hill game a chance, and each time I was disappointed.
Since Konami began outsourcing Silent Hill, I’ve been asking two questions.
What the hell happened to Silent Hill?
And, where is Team Silent?
 
There has been no official information on what happened to Team Silent.
There are only rumors.
One rumor is that Konami disbanded Team Silent due to the mixed reaction and lower sales of Silent Hill 4.
Another one is that the team was done with Silent Hill, and Konami wants to milk the series to death by having other developers make sequels.
 
An artist on the Homecoming developing team, Kenzie LaMar, seems to have confirmed the first rumor.
The Escapist quotes LaMar’s comments on his DeviantArt page, “Just remember and never forget that if you don’t like the direction of where Silent Hill went the only people you can blame are Konami themselves. They are the ones who canned team Silent and wanted someone else to make the games.”
I went to LaMar’s DeviantArt page, and I couldn’t find this exact quote.
I did, however, find a very interesting comment on his Smog 3D artwork.
LaMar responded to a person saying that they had wished Silent Hill 5 was made by Team Silent when he wrote, “Most people just assume the American team was to blame for all the changes when the reality is that it was Konami that wanted the changes. Team Silent was making a Silent Hill 5 and it got canned in favor of what ended up being done. They didn’t want more of the same.”
 
Of course, the validity of his statements can be questioned.
At the same time, it would not surprise me if Konami broke up Team Silent in favor of taking the series in a different direction.
I know there are individuals at Konami that make the decisions on Silent Hill games, but we don’t know who exactly at Konami made these decisions.
That is why is I say Konami did this or that despite the fact that it was probably a small group of individuals within Konami that made these decisions.
 
Some fans believe that Team Silent wanted the series to end with Silent Hill 3, and I think it’s partly due to comments made by Masahiro Ito, creature designer of Silent Hill 1-3.
In Part 3 of Twin Perfect’s The Real Silent Hill Experience video series, Rosseter says that an administer of silenthill5.net forums traded emails with Ito, and Ito’s response was “My real intention is SH is over.”
The website silenthill5.net seems to be no longer active so I can’t find this particular quote.
 
If Ito thinks that Silent Hill should end, I understand where he is coming from.
On the other hand, he is the only Team Silent member that I know of that has expressed that the series is done.
That does not mean that other Team Silent members that were still working at Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo (KCET) after Silent Hill 3 & 4 were done with the series as well.
If Team Silent was done with the series then why were Tsuboyma, Imamura, and Yamaoka talking about making Silent Hill 5 in interviews?
Plus, they planned on making the original Silent Hill 3 story into a future game.
 
Of course, it is also true that the Silent Hill decision makers at Konami probably wanted the series to continue for business reasons, and they are the main people who decide if the series should keep going.
Meanwhile the remaining Team Silent members were still willing to make another Silent Hill game as indicated in the interviews.
We obviously don’t know for certain, but it is possible that Konami took the series away from Team Silent and gave it to Western developers.
 
I’ve read some arguments by Silent Hill fans that they thought Silent Hill 4 was the weakest of the four games, and say that the series probably would’ve still gone downhill if it had stayed with Team Silent.
It is a possibility that if Silent Hill 5 and any more sequels made by Team Silent would not have been as good as the first few games.
On the contrary, what about Imamura and Yamaoka in the Game World interview stating that they had been listening to fans’ criticisms of Silent Hill 4, and wanted to improve the next game?
 
In that interview, Imamura says “After the underwhelming response SH4 got, we’ve been gathering opinions from everywhere to make sure we come back strong with the next installment.”
When asked if there would be no Otherworld in Silent Hill 5, Imamura responds, “I’m not saying that. In fact, the lack of a more dramatic ‘otherworld’ in SH4 bothered a lot of fans, so we intend to have a very impressive ‘otherworld’ with the next generation power.”
By taking these statements into consideration, it’s also possible that Team Silent’s Silent Hill 5 could’ve been a good entry in the series.
 
Weeks before this interview with Game World was published in April 2005, KCET along with three other Konami studios merged to form Kojima Productions.
As we all know, Kojima Productions is making the new Silent Hill.
Looking at it that way, it seems the series is back with the developer that made the original four games, although we don’t know which Team Silent members are currently working at Kojima Productions.
Wikipedia’s page on Team Silent says that Suguru Murakoshi (drama director of SH2; writer & director of SH4) and Kazuhide Nakazawa (director of SH3) are working with Kojima Productions.
Unfortunately, I can’t find other sources to verify this information.
 
Hopefully, Team Silent members working at Kojima Productions have roles in the new game.
It would be great if Kojima would get the team back together, but that seems too much to hope for.
In my PT demo impressions post, I wrote that I hope that Silent Hills is the Silent Hill 5 I’ve been waiting for.
That would be awesome, but now I have a hard time believing that will actually happen.
 
Silent Hills does make me nervous with the hype surrounding it, the disappointment of recent Silent Hill games, involvement of Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and the fact that there is very little information about the game.
At the Tokyo Game Show 2014, Kojima said that they’re looking into using an episodic format for Silent Hills.
I hope not.
I’m not a big fan of video games being divided into episodes.
Silent Hills may not be Silent Hill 5, but I hope it ends up being a good game.
 
Who knows if any official information on why Team Silent’s Silent Hill 5 was never finished and released.
All we know is that they were making a fifth game, but Konami hired other developers to make Silent Hill games before they finished it.
I think it’s unfortunate that we never got to play Team Silent”s Silent Hill 5.
Like I said, I would’ve liked to see their ideas of making daylight creepy, and their original Silent Hill 3 story come to fruition.
That seems to be very unlikely to happen, however.
Each of us has our own hopes for the new game.
All I can hope for is that the team making Silent Hills at Kojima Productions learns from the criticisms of recent Silent Hill games, and make a great new horror game in a similar spirit of Team Silent’s Silent Hill.
 
 
Sources
 
 
 
Kenzie LaMar’s DeviantArt – Konami wanted the changes (June 22, 2010)
http://hedrus.deviantart.com/art/Smog-3D-Silent-Hill-5-101371201?offset=130#comments
 
Twin Perfect: The Real Silent Hill Experience Part 3 – Silent Hill 3 (Oct. 30, 2010)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lFiAkjaFSo&index=4&list=PL87676CF7D0B816B4
 
Silent Hill Artist Claims Konami Disbanded Team Silent (Jan. 18, 2011)
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/107042-Silent-Hill-Artist-Claims-Konami-Disbanded-Team-Silent
 
New Silent Hill Game May Be Released in Episodic Format (Sept. 18, 2014)
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/new-silent-hill-game-may-be-released-in-episodic-f/1100-6422395/