Silent Hill fans once again awoke from their long hibernation on Wednesday to discuss the future of the franchise online. After Konami once again teased the fans, only to announce a limited-edition skateboard, the fandom was, understandably, in a frenzy.
Ramped-up discussions about Silent Hill stem from news that Bloober Team has entered into a partnership with Konami, with the goal to share information and technology. More importantly, they'll be developing joint projects. Considering Bloober Team's outward love of the Silent Hill series and the fact the franchise has been conspicuously absent since P.T. in 2014, many people jumped immediately to the horror series as a possible future project. "Silent Hill" was trending on Twitter nearly as soon as the news went live.
However, with the news came discussions about whether Bloober Team was right for a job that hasn't been confirmed yet. People pointed to The Medium, which took a lot of inspiration from Silent Hill, but received mixed reviews due to its short runtime, depiction of mental illness, and polarizing ending. Miles Dompier even noted the latter point in his Windows Central review of The Medium, saying, "After sitting on the grand finale for a few days now, I'm still not quite sure how I feel." While Bloober made a splash with the still-excellent Layers of Fear and the creepy and thoughtful Observer, Blair Witch and The Medium have left some with a sense of dread over a potential Silent Hill project.
Of course, the main caveat is that nothing has been confirmed yet in regard to a new Silent Hill project. However, the idea that Bloober Team might possibly be working on a new Silent Hill is one people have been expecting and one that has been rumored for a while. Rumors have also been swirling that Konami has been developing two Silent Hill projects: a soft-reboot and an episodic adventure. Bloober has also added fuel to the Silent Hill flames with Bloober Team CEO Piotr Babieno telling GamesIndustry.biz that it's working with an established games publisher on a horror IP. "In fact, we've been working for more than a year on another gaming project, another horror IP, and we're doing this with a very famous gaming publisher. I can't tell you who. I can't tell you what the project is, but I'm pretty sure when people realize we're working on it, they will be very excited," he said.
Silent Hill fans will take anything they can get their hands on (myself included). Not only was Silent Hills ceremoniously canceled due to conflicts between Hideo Kojima and Konami (leading in part to him leaving to form Kojima Productions), but the series hasn't seen a great game in a number of years — not since, arguably, Shattered Memories quietly snuck onto the Wii in 2009. Other later entries like Silent Hill: Downpour in 2012 failed to make a big impact. While there has been merchandise, pachinko machines, and an extremely terrible movie in the past decade, there hasn't been what fans want most: a good Silent Hill game.
I doubt we'll see a unanimous consensus on an upcoming Silent Hill project.
Arguably, there hasn't been a great Silent Hill game since Team Silent worked on the series back in the PS1/PS2 era, and that has led to a certain tone in the fandom, a certain sadness.
People have been hoping that Kojima could reconcile with Konami to attempt to tackle Silent Hills again, but Bloober Team felt like possibly the next best thing. It's a studio that focuses solely on horror games and has created at least two very good ones. While The Medium left a lot to be desired (it certainly wasn't one of the best horror games on Xbox), there are a lot of similarities between that game and Silent Hill that show that Bloober knows what to focus on. It's created character-driven stories in gorgeous environments and has created some truly creepy imagery in games like Observer. It's crafted metaphorical stories that don't just recount a plot, but opt to try to tell larger narratives about socio-political conflicts, which would be a great and different direction to take Silent Hill in. For all you can say about The Medium's overt and heavy-handed tackling of Poland's political strife, it at least made an attempt to tell a story not many people in games are telling on such a large scale.
However, due to how much the Silent Hill fandom has been burned, I doubt we'll see a unanimous consensus on an upcoming Silent Hill project. There are those who will take anything they can get, including a skateboard, while others will long for the Team Silent days and remain cautious (I'm the latter). Whether Bloober ends up tackling the legendary series or not, people will be waiting to see what happens with it, and it's going to continue to be bittersweet.
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