As Halloween draws closer we continue with our series on the best horror projects we will never get to experience. Last time we talked about the best defunct horror movie. Now we move on to the best horror game: Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills.
The day is the 12th of august and the event is Sony’s media briefing at Gamescom 2014. There are a variety of announcements during the briefing including Michel Ancel’s new game: Wild, Tearaway unfolded and a mysterious new downloadable game called PT. Its announcement was preceded by a trailer stating it was developed by 7780’s studios and claiming it was the world’s first interactive teaser. It was released on the Playstation network for free during the announcement and was available to play the second it was announced.
Fast forward to some hours later. PT has been downloaded many times and the first few people have just started to beat it. Revealing that PT is in fact a playable teaser (see what they did there?) for Silent Hills, the newest entry in Konami’s Silent Hill franchise. But that’s not all, the teaser ends with a trailer revealing the full game, which is being worked on by both Hideo Kojima and Gulliermo Del Toro, a match made in horror game heaven.
The playable teaser takes place in a long hallway in a house. The player starts in a room at one end of the corridor and makes their way down the hallway, they pass various closed rooms as they go, until they get to the open door at the other end. The player then passes through this door and finds themselves back at the beginning of the hall way. Throughout PT the player would experience this loop over and over again, but each time they found themselves back at the start of the hallway, something about the house would be different. Each time the difference was used to increase the tension in the game and make the atmosphere in the house progressively more unnerving and scary.
Working through the game revealed a morbid story about a father who lives a normal, boring life until one day he snapped and murdered his family and other people who were “without any creativity”. The narrative also dealt with the idea of alternative realities and suggested that the player character was involved, somehow, with the story of the murderous father. The trailer at the end of PT revealed that the larger game would further deal with this story, being set in an entire town rather than one house, and would have a main character portrayed by Norman Reedus.
The promise of the project was disappointingly short lived, as, in April of this year Konami confirmed to various outlets that the video game had been cancelled, a decision which prompted a great deal of backlash from fans and publications alike. On top of all this Konami decided to pull PT from the Playstation network, meaning that it can no longer be downloaded and only the people who have kept the game on their console have access to it. It seems as though Konami wanted to do all they could to wipe away any proof of the games existence.
Many discussions have been had as to whether the claustrophobic and tight, trapped atmosphere that made PT great, could work in a larger scale, full game. But, in my opinion, this is the most exciting part of what Silent Hills could have been, as this would have allowed much more variety within that formula. Imagine an entire street of houses, each one filled with different yet still creepy, claustrophobic experiences. behind each door, a new set of scares that would have the player on edge before they had even entered the house.
Perhaps the biggest shame of all this is that Konami decided to cancel this game in a year where the gaming industry is embracing new types of technology. Imagine if Silent Hills had not only been released, but had been released on VR systems as well. In fact Silent Hills could have turned Sony’s Playstation VR into a serious contender in the virtual reality space.
But despite the obvious consumer demand for the game, Konami seemingly wont shift from their stance and the game remains deceased. Perhaps one day we can hope that a new publisher will buy up the rights and deliver the Silent Hills game that so many people want. Until then, it will stay as the best horror game we will never get to play.