Konami’s working on at least one – or potentially two – new Silent Hill games, if recent reports are to be believed.
But from what we’ve heard, both could be a very different experience to the one promised by industry heavyweight Hideo Kojima and his brief playable teaser, which came, and died, many moons ago. With this in mind, many horror fans have justifiably been worried about Konami’s plans for Silent Hill.
But for us here at Trusted Towers, this could be both a blessing and a curse depending on how Konami plays its cards. After all, the game’s narrative leaves the studio with multiple different directions to go in. Here are five things I think Konami should do to make Silent Hill’s return a triumphant one.
1. Remember it’s a horror game
This may sound obvious, but recently game developers seem to love mashing up genres.
We’ve seen a wealth of mashup horror titles, like the open world Evil Within 2 and creep-tastic multiplayer survival sim Dead by Daylight innovate the genre as a result. But we’ve also seen a number of absolute clangers that are terrifying for the wrong reasons appear – the less I say about Resident Evil 5 and 6 the better.
Which is why, regardless of what direction Konami takes, above all else it needs to remember Silent Hill is a horror franchise that became famous for one key reason: it was scary as hell.
The first two entries into the series were terrifying and had an entirely unique atmosphere to the monster heavy titles that were popular at the time. Taking place in an eery, abandoned town full of bizarre monsters, the setting made you jump at every shadow or bump in the night, which made basic things like moving between rooms a terrifying experience. To this day I don’t like going out when it’s foggy…
The playable trailer rang true to this heritage and Konami will need to remember this and make sure the game is scary as hell to succeed – and create just another gore-fest like so many of the other horror titles we’ve reviewed, including the last couple of Silent Hill movies.
Related: These are the scariest horror games
2. A first-person perspective
This one shouldn’t be too controversial. Recent horror franchises, like Outlast and Resident Evil, have proven horror games work brilliantly in the first person perspective.
There’s something awesome about the limited field of view and claustrophobic feeling it gives when sneaking through haunted settings – seriously, that first section of Resident Evil 7 still gives me nightmares.
We also know that Konami has done at least some work dabbling with a first person survival horror mechanic thanks to the Silent Hill playable trailer. Hopefully the firm will build on this with the new Silent Hill and ditch the third-person perspective.
3. Nail surround sound and ray tracing
This isn’t a gameplay feature, but it’s oh so important. We’ve seen from Resident Evil 7 that surround sound is a technology that can make a scary game outright terrifying.
Playing Resident Evil 7 the strategic use of footsteps in the distance was a constant source of fear that put me permanently on edge – hearing the killer you’re trying to hide from approach behind you is a truly terrifying experience.
Ray tracing would add yet another new way for Konami’s artists to up the new Silent Hill’s terror level. Ray tracing is a cool lighting technology Nvidia debuted on its RTX line of graphics cards. The new Xbox Series X and PS5 games consoles are also confirmed to support it.
It lets games generate significantly more realistic, dynamic shadows and render things like reflections far better. It’s not been used in a mainstream horror title yet, and could be a key differentiator for the new Silent Hill.
4. Get some of the original Silent Hill team back
Silent Hill has had some huge names in games work on it and I’d love to see at least a few of them return for its reboot. From a stylistic standpoint it’d be awesome to get Silent Hill 2 art director Masahiro Ito back on board. After all, he was one of the visionaries that made the rulebook for designing survival horror monsters.
But I’d also love to see someone like composer Akira Yamaoka make a return. For those too young to remember, he was the mastermind behind the original Silent Hill’s almost Twin Peaks-like sound track. To this day the sound track is one of the best and most haunting seen on a horror game.
5. Return to its roots narratively
Getting some of the OG Silent Hill team on board should also only be the start. For the game to be truly great, Konami should also return to the game’s dark roots narratively.
The original games focus on otherworldly, horror and it’s links to character’s psyche was a stellar premise that’s since been replicated in numerous other series, like Evil Within. But to date nonone’s really managed to nail it the same way Team Silent did in Silent Hill 2.
I’d love to see the team return to Silent Hills roots and delve into the more psychological aspects of Silent Hill’s lore with the new game, even if they create new characters and settings.