Please don’t hurt me.
In 2014, Konami released PT, which was the Silent Hills playable teaser featuring Norman Reedus. PT released on the PlayStation 4 as a free download to critical acclaim, even being announced by Giant Bomb as the “Best Horror Game” for 2014.
Then the news hit that Kojima and his team were going to leave Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Konami denied the allegations while simultaneously “restructuring” their gaming divisions and removing all evidence of Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions from the box art of Metal Gear Solid V.
But I doubt you readers are looking for a recap of that news. Hell, you probably know all the dirty details already. The key point here is that with Kojima and his folks leaving Konami, Silent Hills effectively died. In April of 2015, the news began rolling out that Silent Hills had been officially cancelled. Konami hammered the nail in the coffin by removing PT from the PlayStation Store (meaning PT could never be downloaded again).
Evil Takes On Silent Hill
With the Silent Hill franchise axed – forgetting the idiocy of making it into a gambling IP – the psychological horror genre lost one of the most iconic series ever. But here’s the thing: I think it’s for the best.
Let’s look at a competitor, Resident Evil.
Now, something I remember from my time in gaming retail is how people respond to Resident Evil and its numerous sequels. They are people that care for the franchise and have great memories that have been marred by the way the sequels have been handled, and many of my customers lamented about the evolution of Resident Evil from a survival horror series into a third-person zombie shooter.
Consider the aggregate scores though. The titles in the Resident Evil series have scored well but the core entries have steadily gone down in quality since Resident Evil 4. Time and corporate meddling has interfered with the franchise which has culminated in the ridiculously bad spin-off game, Umbrella Corps. I’ve heard from many fans that they wish Capcom would get back to the core of what made the series so good.
I believe this is what has influenced the developers to make such intense changes to the franchise and release the demo for Resident Evil 7 in its current form. The problem with them making those alterations however is that it seemed to have stemmed from Capcom making some colossally stupid decisions with the brand before making an about-face to redeem themselves. The sad thing is that their newest project comes at the heels of them attempting to cash in on the nostalgia from the earlier games with their release of remasters and ports of the original games on 8th-generation systems.
You may ask what relevance that has but I’m going to elaborate; don’t you worry.
Silent Hill has gradually been on the decline from the beginning. I’m not saying that there aren’t people that liked some of the later entries, or that Silent Hills would’ve bombed. Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro do have the pedigree of excellent talent after all.
The likelihood of the now-cancelled sequel being a breath of fresh air is questionable though.
The problem lies in the IP being owned by Konami. We all heard and saw what happened to MGS V: Ground Zeroes and MGS V: The Phantom Pain. Konami released Ground Zeroes with a ridiculous price tag and The Phantom Pain debuted with missing content and microtransactions. With that in mind, I assert that it is better for Konami to have killed the franchise outright rather than have milked the franchise to death and destroyed the reputation of it.
Consider that for a moment. How many other franchises have we seen too many sequels from? Capcom has Resident Evil, which is (hopefully) finally getting back to its roots. Ubisoft has the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which despite being critically well-received is constantly – arguably deservedly – derided for being dragged on too long. Bungie and 343’s creation Halo is now on it’s 5th main installment with several spin-offs having released as well. The fact of matter is that Silent Hill had all the symptoms showing of becoming the next Resident Evil, and not in a good way.
I say it’s a good thing to have the series die a quick death. To have the good memories not tampered by franchise fatigue, or have the nostalgia annihilated by poorly made or rushed games would do more harm than good. Sure it’d be nice to have Silent Hills still, but without Kojima and Del Toro at the helm and Konami directing the franchise, it’s clear that Silent Hills wouldn’t live up to the standard that fans expect. Even if for some reason Kojima and Del Toro were able to complete the project, there would still be no guarantee that it would work out.
In other words, it’s comforting I suppose to reflect on what could’ve been but the grass always seems greener on the other side. Ideally, the game would release and the franchise would continue, but the reality is that often times things don’t turn out the way that people would like.
Maybe we should take solace in knowing that Silent Hill won’t be circling the drain like so many other IPs. Instead you can be left with the memories of the beloved entries instead. What are your thoughts? Should Silent Hills have been released anyway? Sound off to your heart’s content.
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