Previously I had posted about my excitement at the new upcoming Silent Hill game, Silent Hills, not just that my fave series was continuing, but primarily because of the names associated with the newest installment. I was over the moon with the announcement of Guillermo del Toro directing, Norman Reedus starring, and impressed with how good the promo, P.T. was. So imagine my shock to find that the fan base by large is already writing it off, before actual gameplay is even shown! Considering how the franchise has been handled prior, I could understand apprehension, or cautious optimism, or even a few critiques based on known information. But that’s not what I’m finding on fan wiki’s, websites, and forums, since PT previewed!
Again, no game play footage had been seen since I first heard the news (trust me, I scoured the net for ANYTHING Silent Hills). Frankly, the constant negativity is tiring. Get over it, Team Silent is gone. It’s sad, but it doesn’t mean there still can’t be a great Silent Hill game that still embodies the essence of the series (lore, atmosphere, music, etc) while delivering the scares. To whine that every new game isn’t a cardboard cut out of Silent Hill 2 is frustrating as hell. Also, J-Horror isn’t the be all, end all of good horror. Particularly psychological horror. So not having a Japanese team doesn’t mean it will automatically suck.
Now, let me tell you why I am excited based on the information out there, and watch me correct some pressed idiots.
Item 1: Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo FREAKING del Toro. Check out his credentials. There is a reason he is celebrated (and not just as a director). The guy’s name is virtually synonymous with quality. And check out his hand with creature designs/effects. Not too shabby.
Seriously, the fact that I even have to say anything other than his name is shameful. You could do far, FAR worse with a director.
Item 2: Norman Reedus. “Why don’t they just name the character ‘Daryl’?” says bitter fan boys. Good lord, people need to educate themselves. Norman Reedus is actually a decent actor. Ever heard of a little film called Boondock Saints? Now, knowing the types of roles he normally does (the hardened yet multi-faceted “tough” guy), his character will likely be more like Murphy (or even Travis) than Harry, James, or Henry. And Murphy was a very enjoyable character for me, because truthfully I didn’t care much for the other guys.
Come to think of it, it’s not like Silent Hill had a great cast of protagonists (on the male side, anyway). I know what I am about to say would have gotten me kicked out of the fandom circle jerk if I hadn’t already left, but let’s be honest, James was the only one of the three “classics” with any depth of character (and character growth), and yet he was still fairly bland despite all of the turmoil inside him and around him (I blame terrible voice acting and flat, virtually lifeless lines devoid of realistic emotion – the one major flaw of an otherwise brilliant masterpiece of horror gaming). Harry, of course barely spoke, and had a robotic personality (AWFUL line reading). And Henry wasn’t much better, heck I barely remember Henry, did we even learn anything about Henry? Hmmm, no character development what-so-ever there either. Yet, they are fan favorites. Why again?
Yet Murphy, like Heather, actually got UPSET, and ANGRY, and AGGRESSIVE. There were realistic emotions to the situation around him, and I felt his rage and pain. Murphy (and Heather), felt more human to me. And I anticipate them doing the same with Norman’s character, which he could pull off. Because he wasn’t just birthed to play “Daryl.” But Murphy wasn’t part of the classic series, so we aren’t supposed to count him in the community. *rolls eyes*
Oh, and looky here, he also has experience doing voice work as well.
Yeah, people can take several seats. He isn’t Daniel Day Lewis, but considering the past game requirements, I think he can more than handle it.
Item 3: P.T. “Oh, they’re not talking about Silent Hills at all, just P.T.! They are not excited for the next game!” *sigh* Firstly, thanks so much for admitting P.T. was an excellent horror mini-game that created a good buzz, because I’m about to get to that in a minute. Second, THERE WAS NO SILENT HILLS GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE OR TRAILER YET! The series was JUST announced (as a surprise, as in UNANTICIPATED) AFTER the game was completed. It’s called building up hype. It’s a little marketing tool that’s been around for a LONG time.
P.T. was a success (OVER 1 MILLION DOWNLOADS), and why is this good? Well, other than getting people to talk about Silent Hill again, P.T. was a testament that the team at Konami know what they are doing. Let me elaborate: P.T. scared the pants off a LOT of people, meaning that the team behind it – mainly Hideo Kojima (who also serves as a director on Silent Hills) knows how to make a good horror game. Let me repeat this: the game had ATMOSPHERE, a (limited) STORY, legit SCARES and SCARY MOMENTS. All elements of a good horror game. It was also minimalistic, meaning not a lot of flash and bang was used to distract the player, which is good for this franchise because Silent Hill contains elements of PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR.
It also used lots of puzzles by the way, instead of gunning down enemies. Aren’t a lot of those left in mainstream horror these days. (And it worked!)
Which brings up another argument, WILL this new game be in first person or third? I can not answer that, other than the cut-scenes are obviously third person. I am however so surprised that the fan base is DEMANDING third person only? Why?? First person is more immersive and scarier! Ugh. Ideally, there would be either a mixture or options to switch, but first person is actually great for a horror game AS EVIDENCED BY OTHER POPULAR HORROR GAMES RECENTLY RELEASED. However, it’s at least likely to be mostly third person.
Anyway, grasping at straws here these bitter, pressed fan-boys are.
Item 4: Rumors. Both Akira Yamaoka and Masahiro Ito want in on this project. Considering that Konami has already shown they are willing to put some weight behind this addition, it is very possible that they could come on board. Also bear in mind he worked on Metal Gear Solid 4, and guess who directed that?
In any event, I don’t need to really go on about why having both Akira and Ito on board would be perfect, since both have been with the series since the beginning and had a huge hand in making it so successful (I dare anyone to argue otherwise).
Now, is this a guarantee that this game will be great and do the series justice. No. Obviously something could happen (like it could be rushed) and it would all fall through, my point is why readily bash it when there are so many good things to look forward to?
I will however speak of two things that concern me. Both involve Hideo Kojima, who serves as lead director for Silent Hills. The first being that while Hideo Kojima seems to be generally (and critically) liked, he is also infamous with including way-too-long cut scenes in his games. I don’t mind cutscenes, they have their place, but I would prefer seamless cutscenes like The Last of Us. Too long cut-scenes (especially a series of them) will KILL gameplay and annoy the gamers. Another thing that concerns me that, despite the gameplay and environment of P.T. being excellent (under his supervision), he didn’t anticipate on the game being completed so quickly (a few weeks it seems sooner than he anticipated). My concern is that Silent Hills may prove too “easy” or short.
However, it was largely Hideo that made P.T. into a mini-phenomenon. So there’s that.
Now again, nothing wrong with cautiously approaching this project, or being a bit skeptical based on known information, but being a whiny troll baby isn’t going to help the series.