Successfully completing P.T. unlocks a trailer in which your player character wanders down a dark street. Blood splatters dot the asphalt, lights buzz and flicker.
The screen breaks away to reveal the people behind the game: Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. What presented itself as an indie horror game by a new studio was actually brought to us by the giants behind Metal Gear Solid and films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy. Those gorgeous graphics were produced by Kojima’s Fox Engine, cranked way down to hide the game’s big-budget secret.
The trailer continues, shifting to third-person. An inhuman noise echoes through the night, and our character turns around to reveal his face for the first time. He’s the likeness of none other than Norman Reedus, of The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints fame.
Then comes what is arguably the most exciting part of the trailer. Fog fills the screen, that unmistakable mandolin tune comes in, and the game’s actual title is revealed: Silent Hills.
Video game publisher Konami has decided to reboot the Silent Hill series, and they went all-out, handing the series over to Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro.
For years, a fierce battle was waged between two series, Silent Hill and Resident Evil, for the title of the biggest survival horror franchise. In recent years this has dwindled; Resident Evil shifted toward action, while Silent Hill games came further and further apart, and many of the later ones were more or less duds. All of them have a few redeeming qualities, but for the most part, every Silent Hill released after the Playstation 2 was just wrong in some way. Silent Hill: Homecoming featured clunky combat, game-breaking glitches, and a story that was decent enough but relied on recycled plot twists from earlier games in the series. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories ditched combat entirely, as well as the series’ famous fog, and is one of the shortest games in the franchise. Silent Hill: Downpour brought us lackluster enemies and storytelling, although in my opinion, the ability to go almost anywhere in the town and solve all kinds of ghost mysteries was well done. And the latest release, Silent Hill: Book of Memories, ditched everything but the name, opting instead for a top-down, hack-and-slash. multiplayer game experience.
I personally enjoyed every Silent Hill game, but I have to admit that none of them have truly felt like a Silent Hill experience since Silent Hill 4: The Room back in 2004. (In my opinion, Origins and Shattered Memories do come close.)
P.T., on the other hand, felt like a Silent Hill game the whole time. The reliance on atmosphere and psychological horror, the radio static to let you know an enemy is close, the three-circle saving emblem, the grandiose moments of pure “what the fuck did I just witness” are all back and better than ever. The only thing that could possibly make me more excited for this game would be learning series composer Akira Yamaoka is involved (though Daniel Licht has done a fine job in his stead).
I grew up with Silent Hill. I couldn’t be happier to see it restored to its former glory, and Silent Hills seems like a great step in that direction. I can’t wait to hear more about the final game.