The absence of the Silent Hill franchise has been a long and painful one. After the cancellation of Silent Hills, many gave up hope that they would ever see the IP become active again. Konami seemed determined to focus most of their efforts on expanding their pachinko business. However, it’s safe to assume that a certain global illness put a major dent in those plans. Now Konami must look to generate income elsewhere, and what better way to do that than to resurrect an iconic IP?
On October 19, 2022, Konami revealed that there wasn’t only one Silent Hill game on the way, but several projects. These announcements were met with a ton of excitement from fans of the franchise, bringing relief to those who were afraid they would never see the classic horror franchise again. I wish I could say that I was just as excited, but unfortunately, I see some potential issues with Silent Hill’s return.
The Silent Hill 2 Problem
I adore Silent Hill 2. It’s among the small number of games that I would call masterpieces. It’s also the reason why I feel somewhat hesitant about the idea of a Silent Hill 2 remake. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t have preferred a remaster of the original with some quality-of-life improvements (not the infamous HD collection please). However, I am still curious to see how the remake turns out. Visually, it looks gorgeous, but I am still skeptical that Bloober Team can justify the remake’s existence. Anyone can remake the Mona Lisa, but the original painting will always remain more iconic for a reason. I believe the same mostly applies to Silent Hill 2.
The original was a perfect expansion of the experimental and artistic nature of the first game. It helped prove that video games can provide unique interactive strengths for storytelling. Every environment felt like it was crafted with painstaking detail and imagination for a PS2 title. The characters were unique and the game felt cinematic without the need for long cutscenes. There’s a reason why Silent Hill 2 is the most iconic game in the series. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with that.
Ever since Team Silent was disbanded, it seems as if several pieces of media in the franchise wanted to recreate the success of Silent Hill 2. Whether it was forcing the return of Pyramid Head or borrowing story elements from the game, the series couldn’t escape the shadow of its most beloved title. The fact that the Silent Hill 2 remake appears to be the highest priority project for Konami is somewhat concerning to me (and that’s not mentioning the upcoming movie based on the game). It hints that Konami may want to play things safe instead of pushing the series forward in a way it used to be known for. Instead of pushing artistic innovation, Konami would be doing the opposite of what the original game did. Fortunately, there are original titles on the way, but I still have concerns about those.
Too Many Silent Hills
Perhaps my biggest concern is the number of projects that Konami has announced. I don’t know about you, but a franchise laying dormant for years only to awake with five different projects on the way seems a little odd to me. I’d love to see all these projects come to fruition, but something tells me that at least a couple of these won’t. I could be wrong, but these projects can’t all be on the same level of priority for Konami. We barely know anything about them besides the Silent Hill 2 remake.
I’m not convinced that Konami necessarily cares about all of these projects. I don’t even understand exactly what Silent Hill: Ascension is supposed to be, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Konami doesn’t either. All these announcements seem as if they’re trying to appeal to investors as much as average consumers. It’s a reminder to investors that Konami is doing anything at all besides making pachinko machines and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. It just feels as if Konami is throwing whatever it can at the wall to see what sticks.
I’d love for Konami to prove me wrong, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Until I see more of these projects, I will not take any of them for granted. Even then, what’s to say that Konami won’t pull the plug on one of them? They have done it before and it wouldn’t shock me to see them do it again. Despite all I’ve said though, I believe that there is still hope for this franchise.
The Return of Silent Hill
I may still be skeptical of Konami’s plans for Silent Hill going forward, but I want these games to succeed. I’m very interested in Silent Hill f in particular. As a Higurashi and Umineko no Naku Koro ni fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see writer Ryukishi07 attached to the project. It may appear to take place in Japan instead of the titular town, but I’m glad it may provide a unique take on the series. I still have interest in the other projects as well, but this was definitely the highlight announcement for me.
If Silent Hill is to continue, I hope it provides unique, experimental horror experiences that other big-budget franchises can’t. There’s still so much that Konami can do with this franchise. It could provide a huge breath of fresh air for big horror titles. I very much want this article to become outdated, but I also can’t get my hopes up too high.