In a time where the horror genre of film and video games are dominated by low-effort, uncreative, and mass-appealing garbage with only rare exceptions, true fans of horror may feel hopeless or maybe even insulted. With such poor quality and rehashed and cliché ideas in horror being so overproduced today, some may wonder if the genre ever even had anything of high quality to begin with.
However, it is important to note that there are many horror games that have done the genre justice in their own unique ways with titles such as Dead Space (2008), Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010), The Evil Within (2014), Resident Evil 7 (2017) and many, many more. Although there have been many outstanding and interesting horror games to be released, not one has yet to surpass the iconic horror masterpiece that is the original Silent Hill trilogy.
Silent Hill, a psychological horror game created by Team Silent, a group within Japanese computer entertainment company Konami, released in 1999 and still holds up today as one of the greatest works of horror of all time. With an abundance of sights, sounds, objectives that flawlessly toy with and provoke one’s mind, a well-crafted and unique story, a use of unnerving psychological and body horror, and even amazing sound and music design, there is no wonder why Silent Hill left a lasting impact on horror fans.
To the developer’s surprise, Silent Hill was met with great praise and popularity. With their success, Team Silent set out to make a new game, Silent Hill 2, which was met with even more praise and success than the first as it took everything right with the first game and improved upon it vastly and became what many believe to be the very best work of the series. Team Silent went on to create another two games, both high quality in their own right and was met with even more approval.
However, after the series derailed as western developers took over and released games that failed to completely recapture the initial terror and depth Team Silent had portrayed, it seemed Silent Hill was on a downward spiral.
This all changed with the release of P.T. in 2014. Kojima Productions, founded by the main developer of the critically acclaimed classic Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, released a playable teaser (P.T.) for their planned revival of the brand new, original-styled Silent Hill game starring popular actor Norman Reedus that recaptured fans’ love for the game and caught millions of peoples’ attention and excitement. It teased at a new and improved take on Silent Hill made by a more than competent team with the teaser, unrelated to the final product they initially planned to release, being incredible in of itself.
However, this sadly proved to be too good to be true as it was abruptly canceled the same year it was announced, crushing the hearts of countless fans. Not only this but the playable teaser that brought returning fans and new viewers a taste of what could have been a modern masterpiece was removed from the PlayStation Store. P.T. and what it teased quickly became a distant dream as word got out that Hideo Kojima had left the publishing company of Konami after they had canceled the project. This was received very poorly among both fans and critics and many curse Konami to this day, especially after forcing a takedown of a fan-made remake of the playable teaser that came to PC just last year.
At this point in time, it has been roughly five years since the release of P.T. to the PlayStation store and five years since its sudden, devastating cancellation. Beyond Konami, Kojima met back with actor Norman Reedus and is currently working on a project independent from Konami: Death Stranding. At the moment, there is still very little known about Kojima’s Death Stranding but it shows promise.
Although Death Stranding does appear as if it may fill the sad and empty void that Silent Hill has left, it is still not Silent Hill. The horror genre as a whole has been on a downward spiral of quality, taste, and creativity as of late, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope left. Another Silent Hill could bring back that hope and could help set a good example of what horror should be.
As for what fans could do, there is not much that hasn’t already been done. However, if enough people speak up or if enough people care, some may listen. If it is not Kojima, maybe another team could pick up the torch or maybe even an independent team or possibly individual. To simply let such a beloved franchise die off in an already decaying genre on such a bad note, leaving nothing but a memory of something great and an amazing game that could have been, would just be wrong. “The fear of blood tends to create fear for the flesh,” words that, if nothing is done with the current situation, could forever become a fading memory and that –like Silent Hill– is terrifying.