A series of seemingly veracious rumors and leaks have been swirling with regards to new, official Silent Hill content from publisher Konami. While many long-time fans of the franchise are excited that the series may be getting rebooted, others are more skeptical, as there is reason to believe that Konami will not be successful in bringing the franchise to anything close to its former glory. As the spirit of the classic games lives on, though, plenty of indie gamers have been pulling from the Silent Hill well for inspiration, with many of them publishing games that could be better than Konami’s rumored upcoming attempts.
The long-time Silent Hill developer and publisher has been floundering for years, and Konami’s buggy and unfinished eFootball doesn’t exactly inspire confidence from gaming audiences. The company’s much-publicized split with gaming auteur Hideo Kojima, while a few years past at this point, is also not the best sign, as it suggests that Konami isn’t particularly concerned about artistic talent in gaming. The post-Kojima era of Konami has also been less than stellar, with the company squandering the rights to not only Silent Hill, but other beloved series such as Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania. Now that there are murmurings of not only a new Silent Hill game but also an episodic spin-off and remake of Silent Hill 2, it’s reasonable to be concerned about whether Konami understands the art, intention, and vision behind the franchise.
There are also rumors that the Silent Hill 2 remake will include new endings, which might be interesting if it gets developed by an organization with a love for and understanding of the original franchise. It remains to be seen if rumored developer Bloober Team is such an organization, but luckily, there is no shortage of indie studios and solo devs keeping the spirit of Silent Hill alive in the meantime. Although there is a canonical story, recurring characters, and robust lore in Silent Hill, the franchise has always been more about tone, atmosphere, and the presentation of themes such as mental illness, grief, trauma, and guilt. For gamers looking to dive into an experience with these core staples (with some PS1-era graphics for good measure), there are plenty of great options.
Iron Lung Has Silent Hill’s Claustrophobia & Anxiety
David Szymanski has published a number of horror-oriented interactive experiences, but Iron Lung may be his most terrifying. Just as Silent Hill rejects classic horror tropes, so does Iron Lung, steering (mostly) clear of jump scares and other clichés such as cheesy musical stings or overplayed character archetypes. Instead, Iron Lung fills the player with a growing sense of dread through a haunting atmosphere, aided by stellar sound design and simple gameplay mechanics.
Iron Lung players fill the shoes of a convict in the far future. Humanity has become a space-faring race, and the player-character is set upon a mission to explore an ocean of blood on an alien planet in an old, run-down submarine. Gameplay consists mainly of using the submarine’s camera and map while putting out the occasional fire. It’s a short game, beatable in about an hour, but thanks to glimpses of the protagonist’s mental state, rising feeling of quiet despair, and unnerving, claustrophobic tone, it channels much of what made classic Silent Hill locations like Midwich Elementary so iconic. Plus, Iron Lung is only $6 on Steam, far less than whatever Konami might publish.
Classic Silent Hill Adventuring Can Be Found In Lost In Vivo
For fans looking for something a bit less sci-fi than Iron Lung, Lost In Vivo from developer KIRA is an excellent choice. The game wears its Silent Hill influence on its sleeve, starting off with a simple premise of the player-character searching for their dog before falling into a Lovecraftian, supernatural nightmare. Unlike Iron Lung, Lost In Vivo offers a similar urban setting as Silent Hill, providing players with a sense of familiarity that is leveraged against them when things begin to go awry. Sound design and music are also top-notch, paying clear homage to Akira Yamaoka’s famous soundtrack. Lost In Vivo is another affordable option, listed on Steam for just $12.
Gamers Can Imagine The Scares Of Silent Hills With P.T. Silent Memories
According to Guillermo del Toro, Silent Hills was going to be “enthralling.” Players were able to get a glimpse into this vision with the now-iconic P.T., which stands for “Playable Teaser.” The first-person, free-to-play experience was shrouded in appealing mystery, seeing players shamble through an unsettling time loop while peeling away a conundrum involving a decimated family. Sadly, Konami canned the Kojima-helmed Silent Hills despite the success of P.T. and rampant demand from gamers (another sign that the company doesn’t have a firm grasp on how to handle the Silent Hill IP).
TwoDev-Sensei was one of many who saw the undeniable potential of Silent Hills and decided to reimagine it as an 8-bit, third-person horror experience entitled P.T. Silent Memories. This short and simple game pulls heavily from the original P.T., recreating many of the puzzles and environments in the retro style. Konami itself is rumored to be attempting a repeat of P.T. with a Silent Hill demo, so the legacy of Kojima’s teaser is clearly still tangible in its influence. Konami decided to remove the massively influential and beloved P.T. from the PlayStation store, but fans can perhaps recapture some of the magic with P.T. Silent Memories. Even better is the fact that P.T. Silent Memories is free to download on Itch.io.
Although the leaks have come from reliable sources, new Silent Hill content has yet to be confirmed or explained by Konami. Still, Konami expressed a desire to get back into core gaming last year, and the Silent Hill franchise is one of its most valuable properties, so it’s likely that the company will want to capitalize on it. Konami has long since fallen out of favor with gaming audiences, though, and the notion that the company may be funding three new Silent Hill games at the same time sounds like a recipe for disaster, as it suggests the prioritization of quantity over quality.
There is certainly a popular sentiment that Konami doesn’t truly understand how to make good games anymore, but there are myriad talented, passionate, and dedicated indie developers who do. Moreover, these indie developers are more deserving of the attention and patronage of Silent Hill fans than Konami, which has demonstrated its lack of artistic integrity time and time again over the past decade. Besides, most Silent Hill-influenced indie developers are charging considerably more modest prices than Konami likely will, making their projects even more appealing.
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