After months of speculation and no shortage of rumors from a variety of sources, Konami finally went ahead and confirmed that a full-fledged remake of Silent Hill 2 is in the works at Bloober Team. Not only that we also got a sizable teaser trailer that showcased the updated visuals and showed off some gameplay snippets. Built from the ground up using Unreal Engine 5, Silent Hill 2 is going to be making a lot of big changes from the original as it prepares for a brand new audience of gamers and a radically different video game market than when the original game was released more than two decades ago.
Of course, change is always going to be a double-edged sword – and it’s only obvious that there’s going to be a raging discussion on whether these differences actually enhance the experience or make it worse. In the end, that judgment is going to be subjective and it will vary from person to person – as is the case with most things that are art. And that’s totally fine, but what we are seeing right now is a lot of unwarranted hate towards the developer and its efforts – and there are just so many reasons that we should just stop hating on Bloober Team already.
The first concern that most fans seem to have regarding the remake is why is Bloober Team being given the development duties? After all, most games in the Silent Hill franchise were developed by Konami’s internal studios – so why hire an external studio to remake one of the most important entries in one of the company’s most valuable IPs? The answer is well, rather obvious – Konami isn’t just what it used to be.
The Japanese gaming giant has long changed its position with regards to how it views its games businesses, and many of its IPs have suffered at the hands of this re-alignment. Metal Gear Survive was a clear case of cash crab, and so has been the case with the recently-released eFootball. It’s clear that Konami has started to weigh the business sense of a project more than its quality, and that approach wouldn’t probably fare well if the remake would be made in an internal studio. Furthermore, most of the talent that worked on classics like Silent Hill 2 have long left the company, so giving teams with little to no history of working on horror games doesn’t seem all that sensible from any point.
On the other hand, delegating the development duties to an external studio like Bloober Team is actually the best option. While it is rumored that Konami has put the developer under a really short leash, we can at least hope that doesn’t end up having an adverse effect on the actual development. Furthermore, Bloober Team also has a strong catalog of excellent games like Blair Witch and Layers of Fear – so it has no shortage of talent when it comes to developing great horror games. And we have seen excellent remakes developed by external studios such as the likes of Demon’s Souls or Shadow of the Colossus – so we can at least be confident about the game turning out well without getting preoccupied with these concerns.
Among the minor concerns that many fans have put up in the case of Silent Hill 2 remake is the updated facial model of our protagonist James Sunderland. Pitting the two renditions of the character side-by-side, we can see that the character model in the remake is not a direct evolution of what we saw in the original. Considering the fact that Silent Hill 2 is held in such high regard and each of the game’s aspects (including the character model in question) is so close to the heart of countless fans – it’s easy to understand why there is so much discourse on this seemingly puny matter.
But at the end of the day, we also have to consider that it’s just a character model which is by no means indicative of the quality of the experience. Furthermore, if you look at this new James in isolation – it’s a supremely detailed character model that’s worthy of being in a current-gen experience. And even if that isn’t the case, course-correcting would involve a simple swap of the character model – which shouldn’t be too much of an issue from a development standpoint – even with all these rumours swirling around, which ultimately doesn’t justify the harsh criticism and hate that fans have been directing towards the developers.
Thirdly, we are also seeing a lot of hate and speculation about the shift from a fixed camera perspective to an over-the-shoulder camera style. On that note, there’s also a concern about how the developer would handle the thick fog that surrounds the town of Silent Hill in the new remake. The original Silent Hill 2 used the fixed camera to its advantage by intentionally hiding areas and perfectly framing the scene to scare the player, and that was a creative solution to a problem that directly stemmed from the console’s limited resources. Similarly, the thick fog doubled as a way to mask off details in faraway areas which also hindered visibility – further unsettling players as they carefully tiptoed across the map.
Now that developers have the power to render intricately detailed worlds that can be explored at the player’s will, it only seems reasonable to make the change so that players have more control over the character and combat and by extension, exploration can be more engaging. We also have to consider the fact that the remake is being built for a brand new audience, one that grew up on games like Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space – so it only makes sense to make those changes so as to make it more appealing for players accustomed to modern sensibilities.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the developer should completely eliminate the feel of the original – but finding a sweet middle ground is also necessary and from the looks of it – Bloober Team seems to have the sense of that very thing. As for any concerns surrounding the fog, the trailer showcased thick volumetric fog in the environment – so at least we can rest knowing that it wouldn’t be a problem with the final release.
While we could point out numerous other concerns that have been raging throughout social media and other forums, most of them are just based on assumptions with no real evidence of why the game wouldn’t turn out great. Of course, we can’t say for sure that it’s going to turn out great either, but we can at least hope for good instead of fearing the possibility of something going bad, and using those assumptions to spread hate and unwarranted criticism toward the developer.
The only constant in the turbulent games industry is change, and refusing to make radical changes to an established formula is the only sure fire way of failing, so while the ability to make big changes to this beloved classic is a risky move – it’s a clear sign of the developer taking the time and effort to rebuild the game so as to appease a brand new audience while also enabling returning players to see the game in a new light.
Sure, it could all turn out to be bad for all it’s worth and those changes could bite the developer back on its own foot – but even at that absolute worst, we still have the original game to turn back to. The best case (one that we are hoping for) would mean that we now have a more accessible version of this classic that’s worth experiencing for fans of the franchise – so let’s all vouch for that very thing. We get the apprehension but let’s not drag Bloober Team and Konami down and instead wait for the game to get released and be the judge then.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.