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 Silent Hill  returns, from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro
Silent Hill returns, from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro
August 12, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

The beloved Silent Hill franchise is being rebooted by game auteur Hideo Kojima in collaboration with noted film director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim.)

The game was teased as simply "P.T." during today's Sony press conference at Gamescom, but was more fully revealed in a playable demo released to the PlayStation Store today.

There's a kick if you complete the demo, though, as seen in this Twitch stream recording (via Polygon) -- the game is really called Silent Hills. The game will feature The Walking Dead TV star Norman Reedus (pictured).

The game appears to be a reboot of the Silent Hill franchise, which first debuted on the original PlayStation in 1998. Series creator Akira Yamaoka left Konami for Grasshopper Manufacture in 2010. Ever since Silent Hill 4, the last game in the franchise developed at Konami's Japan HQ, a variety of Western studios have contributed games to the series.

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Benjamin Quintero
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title screen -> 14 hr preachy monologue about the human condition -> credits. Thanks for playing folks!

Chris Hellerberg
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also: 15 plot twists—one each hour, and one after the credits; and possibly 2-3 hours of what could be great gameplay if the game would just let you play it, and one "gameplay" sequence that consists of walking through an empty room/hallway from one 30 minute cutscene to the next

Adam Bishop
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For all the jokes about MGS just being one big cut-scene, most Metal Gear Solid games pack more interesting gameplay ideas into them than pretty much anything else on the market. It's still the only series, for my money, that gets stealth right. It's based around AI rather than something more binary like light/dark, and Kojima seems to understand that the fun part of stealth isn't sitting around waiting, it's the cat-and-mouse of chasing and being chased.

Luis Guimaraes
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Yes, the game part is always great in MGS. I hate the controls though.

Marvin Papin
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Turning around for 15 minutes in the demo and stopped, do not really have time yet. Yesterday, a girl was stuck 3,5h and back this morning but abandoned. Seems to have some problems.

Anyway, linear space rendering is impressive

Sam Stephens
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"The game appears to be a reboot of the Silent Hill franchise, which first debuted on the original PlayStation in 1998."

I have never been a fan of the series, but isn't this what they have been saying for every iteration since Homecoming? Terms like "reboot" and "reimagining" have been thrown around a lot. From a narrative perspective (which is likely the main draw of these games) however, all of the games proceeding Team Silent's breakup have tried to one-up Silent Hill 2 with their guilty/amnesiac protagonists, personal demons, and psychoanalytical projections. Even Shattered Memories, the supposed successor to the first game, borrows a lot from Silent Hill 2.

Here would be some things I would like to see in a new game:

1) A more coherent open-world (if they still go with that approach) where returning to certain areas and moving through the same spaces is emphasized. Such a layered and unfolding space is why I have always appreciated Resident Evil more than Silent Hill.

2) Do away with the whole "the player-character is just a normal person and therefore is terrible at fighting" excuse for poor combat. If combat is going to be there, make it functional, challenging, and enjoyable. Shattered Memories and Downpour also have many useless or redundant mechanics like the door-peaking POV.

3) Emphasize the puzzles. Silent Hill games usually have self-contained logic puzzles. Increasing the frequency of these puzzles a la Professor Layton could be a great way to deemphasize combat if developers preferred that route This was the approach I wish Shattered Memories took, especial while utilizing the Wii's unique motion/pointer control interface.

Luis Guimaraes
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Agreed! Silent Hill 2 really became an inside cliché at this point.

1) Agreed too. I never feel like a place in a game is anything close to real if I spaces aren't reusable. If you only go forward it's not a place, it's a road. If every new place you get to see is new, then nothing is ever new. If everywhere you go is into the unknown, then nowhere you go is into the unknown.

2) I've never been a fan of the fact you can even engage in melee combat in the Silent Hill games at all. IMO you should only be able to fight something if you have serious firepower, as a form of "panic button" which's bound to be limited in uses and/or bring worse problems down the line. Facing the terrors in a close and personal melee combat is bound to make you lose all respect for them.

3) Lately I'm more keen of the idea of layering this aspect of horror games, making it so you can ignore most and mindless run forward to the (worst possible) end of the game, or choose to dig deep into the mysteries and find out what everything is about and how attempt to "solve" the problem in the best way available (a.k.a the "good" ending).

Anyway, old Resident Evil games are, in my observation, a huge multi-layered and complex Horror-themed River-Crossing Puzzle.

Sam Stephens
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@ Luis Guimaraes

"Facing the terrors in a close and personal melee combat is bound to make you lose all respect for them."

I believe this concern is responsible for most of the series's long-running problems. Much of the series is a contradiction. Instead of developing the games from the ground up where gameplay and a broader theme give rise to more detailed thematic ideas, the developers start with very specific thematic concepts. They want the player to feel immersed, scared, vulnerable, nescient, incompetent, and underpowered at the same time. These concepts contradict gameplay and learning, so it becomes very difficult to retain them over time.

That doesn't mean a game can't be challenging, fun, and scary at the same time. Resident Evil accomplishes this through it's strong emphasis on resource management. Even then, I don't think gameplay and atmosphere have to work in tandem for either to be successful. Silent Hill developers have tried to balance these elements to the point of compromise at all levels, resulting in mediocre games.

Compounding this issue is a third angle that has been introduced in the post-Team Silent games where the new developers also try to pin down and stay true to what the first four games are "about" (hence the omnipresent influence of Silent Hill 2). The result of all these conflicting concerns in the development process is consistently poor products. Shattered Memories and Downpour are horribly unfocused and unpolished.

The only exception to the rule has been the first game. The combat design wasn't an intentional attempt in simulating the competency of an average Joe in an extreme situation. It played like most other 3D action adventure games at the time. It's still not nearly as focused or structurally engaging as the original Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid though.

Luis Guimaraes
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I believe the sequel model itself is troublesome to horror games too, and maybe even the current expected length for non-indie titles.

The same concept can only be engaging for so long and then it loses the mystery, the horrifying and terrifying factors, and there's nothing much left to be re-used.

Mystery is at times and underplayed aspect of art-horror, to the point some titles have been dedicating everything to it. Sequels, in the sense we know them, usually work against Mystery.

The game we're working on is intentionally made into a self-contained antology of short horror stories in order to allows us presenting the player with as much mystery and reveal as possible, while not locking the title or the franchise name into a single theme or storyline. We hope most players can finish each story in a single game session too.

The TV series American Horror Story is a similar example. It keeps the franchise name, and it even keeps the actors, but it bring a new story every season.

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They should just rename Konami to Kojima. Also this guarantees no Wii U version will be produced. Me sad.

Jonathan Murphy
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I remember when people complained about Gone Home being a walking simulator. Well now I can point them to PT, a hallway simulator. It's an interesting experiment, but I feel it sacrificed gameplay, story, and even graphical appeal for an ascetic that is far beyond the average person.