It's no surprise that the cancellation of Silent Hills has left gaming enthusiasts feeling more than a little burned by Konami - the fact that I'm writing this article six months after the heartbreaking announcement is a testament to that.
In light of Del Toro's recent outcry that it "makes no f*cking sense at all that the game is not happening," it seems appropriate to look back on what could have been, and why it still hurts after all this time.
Why is it that so many people were excited for this installment of a franchise that seemed to be going downhill? After all, a simple search on Metacritic shows some not-so-positive reviews for more recent additions to the franchise like Silent Hill: Downpour and Silent Hill: Book of Memories. Well, we're going to explore the perfect storm that Konami created, hyped up, and then threw away.
The first demonstration of what Silent Hills would be was a digital download of a demo cryptically titled P.T. Free-to-play on the PS4, the simplistic structure - exploring a house with an immensely terrifying atmosphere - really caught on and drummed up unbelievable amounts of hype. Even now, with the demo having been pulled, PlayStation 4 consoles with the demo installed are being sold at exorbitant prices. It was so good, in fact, that fans have decided to create a spiritual successor to Silent Hills with a premise similar to the home exploration of P.T.
In a world full of half-completed "Early Access" horror games that rely on cheap jump scares, the classic Silent Hill games stand out as shining examples of what the horror genre should be. Unfortunately, the newer Silent Hill games have failed to live up to those expectations.
Silent Hills appeared to be the first game in a long while to give us that glimmer of hope that we were in for something truly horrifying, and for horror enthusiasts such as myself, the fact that we lost what might have been the pinnacle of the genre is a tragedy.
While this was not readily apparent to some, as more information came out of the woodwork about the development of Silent Hills, it was confirmed that the manga master of horror, Junji Ito, was working alongside the more well-known Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima.
Known for his surreal horror manga riddled with outlandish scenarios and nightmarish imagery, Junji Ito is responsible for infamous and grotesque cult classics such as Hellstar Remina, Uzumaki, and Gyo. Seeing the unique spin on horror that Ito could have offered Silent Hills would have been revolutionary, and while I still hope we can see him playing a role in the development of a horror game some day, the fact that it isn't a project this ambitious is a shame.
This was a game that had something for everyone. Even people who might be disinterested in the Silent Hill franchise, or just horror in general, had some incentive to check this game out, and one of the most significant reasons was undoubtedly the big-name team-up of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro.
It's rare in the video game industry for directors' names to be such a huge pull, and I think part of what made Silent Hills such a magical idea was the fact that, even though we knew so little about the nature of the game itself, we knew the names behind it, and they were names we could trust.
This was the sort of horror game that would have had veteran direction and masterful storytelling quality.
From firing Hideo Kojima to releasing pachinko machines to exploit and capitalize on everyone's favorite games instead of providing new content for them, it's clear that the direction Konami is taking is one that has left longtime fans feeling confused and betrayed.
It isn't just Silent Hills that we're upset about: it's Konami.
The fact that a company could put together such a perfect storm for the horror genre, with titans like Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, demonstrates something wildly ambitious - a now-vaporware game that would have, without a doubt, gone down as a fan favorite for countless gamers. But instead, what we have to look forward to are pachinko machines and a company that is clearly disinterested in what fans want.
Why are you still upset about the Silent Hills cancellation? Let me know in the comments below!