Looking Back to What Could’ve Been ‘Silent Hills’
A few years back, I started this tradition of replaying the franchise of Silent Hill. The PlayStation franchise reinvented our understanding of survival horror, as it introduced us to a much more personal nightmare. Each entry in the franchise puts you in the shoes of a new character. Their visit to the quaint town of Silent Hill leads them to face their demons. The suburban town is invested with manifestations of their innermost nightmares, as it forces them to accept their past actions. It wasn’t scary because of a lack of ammunition or a creepy monster. It was what it forced us to think about while playing it.
We haven’t seen the franchise return since its last mainline entry Silent Hill: Downpour in 2021. Even then, the original team that developed the franchise, known as Team Silent, hasn’t worked on a game since Silent Hill 4: The Room. Konami hasn’t shown much love to the franchise since, as it shipped from one external developer to the next. There was a glimmer of hope in 2014. A secret teaser at the end of the Playable Teaser, or P.T. for short, revealed that it was for a game titled Silent Hills. Hideo Kojima started work on a project together with the film director Guillermo Del Toro and acclaimed horror manga artist Junji Ito. It seemed like the perfect team for such an ambitious project, but suddenly Konami pulled the plug on the game.
So, the wait continues with the franchise making a somewhat return in Dead by Daylight as DLC. The upcoming The Medium game also pays tribute to the franchise with its former composer Akira Yamaoka joining the production. It almost seems like we are at the point where the franchise will live on through tribute games. Yet, there are rumblings of PlayStation potentially working on a brand new entry for their upcoming next-gen console. Sadly, we never got an announcement or official tease, so it could just be a pipedream. There was even the rumor that Sony wants Kojima‘s new development firm Kojima Productions to work on the project that he once had to delay after purchasing the rights from Konami.
I would love to see Kojima‘s Silent Hills project come together. Junji Ito is one of my favorite manga artists, whose works, like Uzumaki or Tomie, will brand themselves into your mind. At the time, we even got a concept trailer that showcased what kind of insane and horrific visuals we could’ve experienced once the project was released. It would’ve been interesting to see how Japanese horror would’ve meshed with the Western influences the original games were inspired by. Yet, no matter how interesting the monsters could look like, the game still is a character study at heart that uses the foggy town to explore the inner workings of regret, depression, and whatever may affect our fragile minds. Well, sometimes specific imagery and memories are enough to get the gears turning.