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Silent Hill 2 James wanders foggy streets
Image via Bloober Team

Was Silent Hill Really Based on a Real Town?

Centralia is often considered the inspiration for Silent Hill, but is that really the case?

It’s a popular belief that Silent Hill is based on a small town in Pennsylvania called Centralia. However, that might not actually be the source of inspiration for this iconic horror series. While it’s not uncommon for developers to use inspiration from various sources, was Silent Hill really inspired by a real town?

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Silent Hill: Is the Series Based on a Real Town?

As it turns out, Team Silent—the development team for the first four games in the series—didn’t base the town of Silent Hill on Centralia. On Reddit, u/harriskeith29 goes into depth about this misconception and provides sources to back up their claims. However, Centralia inspired Christopher Ganz when it came to producing and screenwriting the Silent Hill movie adaptation that was released in 2006.

How the Centralia Myth Started

Because Ganz cited it as inspiration for the movie, Centralia ended up being considered as an inspiration for the game series as well. But, Konami disbanded Team Silent, the original development team, in 2004. Which was before Ganz used Centralia as inspiration for the movie. Still, the smoke from underground fires and ghost town vibes shown in the movie and taken from Centralia resulted in the lasting belief that this location inspired the games.

Silent Hill Wasn’t Based on any Location

In a 1999 PSM interview with Keiichiro Toyama, he stated that Silent Hill is entirely fictional. The team didn’t base it on any specific location or time period. He also says that this was done because picking a real location can lead to issues with inconsistency. Since this interview came before Centralia was listed as a source of inspiration for the movie adaptation, it’s not even mentioned by Toyama or the interviewer.

Although it’s an interesting location, Silent Hill wasn’t really inspired by a real town. The movie adaptation did, however, take inspiration from Centralia. That spread the myth that this location was also the source of inspiration for the games. From here, check out more content on our Silent Hill page, like how Silent Hill 2 misses the point with Maria’s outfit redesign.

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Melissa Sarnowski
Melissa Sarnowski has been working as a gaming writer professionally for two years, having been at GameSkinny for over a year now as a horror beat writer. She has an English degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison. While she focuses on all things horror, she also enjoys cozy games, MMOs like FFXIV and WoW, and any and everything in between.