Seriously, what the hell?
There are quite a few big, beloved video game franchises out there that have unfortunately been treated poorly by their publishers on a consistent basis and over a prolonged period of time, but Silent Hill is probably the most prominent example. The last truly good Silent Hill game was Silent Hill 3, all the way back in 2003, and though there have been a few decent releases after that here and there, the series was mostly on a downward spiral after that.
Silent Hill fans got a stupendous glimmer of hope when, in 2014, we got to play the gem that was P.T., a short demo made by Hideo Kojima that was supposed to set up a bold new reboot for the franchise developed by the legendary director, called Silent Hills– but even that wasn’t to be. Konami nuked P.T. off the face off the earth, parted ways with Kojima, and cancelled the planned reboot. And since then? There’s been nothing. Konami has dropped out of the premium AAA space almost entirely, and Silent Hill has become a dead franchise.
For about a year now, however, the rumour mill has been furiously churning out new hope for series fans. If insiders are to be believed, Silent Hill is coming back with a vengeance, with at least one major revival (and maybe even more) currently in development and due for release soon. These details have been coming to us from a number of reputable and credible sources, and with each new leak, more new details get added on to the whole thing, making it all seem even more credible.
The only thing we’re lacking is, of course, an official announcement. Fans have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the leaks and rumours to be proven right, but all that anticipation has, so far, only led to frustration, even as insiders keep on insisting that the leaks are true and that Silent Hill is indeed on its way back. So the question is- when? When can we expect an announcement? Who’s making this new Silent Hill game? Are there multiple revivals in development at the same time? What the hell is going on with Silent Hill?
Let’s go back to the beginning though. It all started in early 2020, when known industry insider and horror enthusiast AestheticGamer a.k.a. Dusk Golem dropped the bombshell that not one, but two new Silent Hill games were in development, which was also corroborated by Rely on Horror, who claimed that they had also received similar information from two independent sources. One of these was supposed to be a soft reboot, while the other would be a narrative adventure title similar to Until Dawn.
At that point, it was hard to look at this leak with anything other than skepticism. Silent Hill has had a rough go of it for a long time now, and more and more over the past few years, it had become painfully clear that the series had no future. More fuel was added to the fire, however, when a Konami representative said in response to the rumours that though no details could be shared, the company was “listening to customer feedback and considering ways to provide the next title” in the series.
With Konami having explicitly said that a Silent Hill revival was being considered, people became much more willing to, if not start believing in the leaks, at least begin hoping that maybe the series still had some sort of a future. And not long afterward, more new details were shared by the same insiders to flesh out the original leak. Allegedly, Konami had been begun reaching out to multiple developers across the industry to source Silent Hill to, and was listening to pitches from many of them. One of these pitches came from Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games for a similar choice-driven narrative adventure title, though they ended up not getting the project.
The other Silent Hill project, according to these leaks, had gone to none other than Sony- more specifically, to SIE Japan Studio, presumably as a PS5 exclusive. Keiichiro Toyama, creator of the Silent Hill series (who had gone on to make Gravity Rush and Siren at SIE Japan) was supposedly helming the project, while other Silent Hill veterans like composer Akira Yamaoka and monster designer Masahiro Ito were also supposedly involved. It’s worth noting that in early 2020, Ito said that he was working as a core member on a new game that he couldn’t talk about, and that he hoped, in his words, wouldn’t get cancelled.
There were even rumblings that Kojima Productions, of all developers, could be involved with a separate Silent Hill game. Given Kojima and Konami’s history, it’d be easy to discount those rumours, but from Dusk Golem to Eurogamer, multiple sources suggested that the ice had actually thawed between the two parties, with the former saying that Sony had been trying to mediate between the two to get Kojima Productions working on a narrative-driven Silent Hill game. In all the time since then though, that particular rumour has mostly fizzled out, and though there’s no telling if it was just flat-out false, we can safely say that it is, at the very least, irrelevant in the current context. Kojima Productions doesn’t seem to be a part of the conversation right now, where a Silent Hill revival is concerned.
Where the SIE Japan Studio-developed Silent Hill game is concerned, some recent developments have thrown a wrench into the works. In December 2020, Keiichiro Toyama, creator of Silent Hill and the alleged director of the reboot, left Sony and formed his own independent development team, Bokeh Game Studio, beginning work on a new multiplatform horror title. With Toyama having left, does that mean the reports about SIE Japan Studio’s Silent Hill game were false? Well, maybe- but maybe not. Directors leaving a studio in the midst of a project’s development isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence, and it’s possible that the Silent Hill project is moving forward with a new director at the helm- if it even exists, that is.
All of the leaks we’ve mentioned up until now, however, came within the space of a few months in early 2020, and since then, as far as official word from Konami or Sony or any other developer that might be attached to a Silent Hill game is concerned, we’ve had absolutely no developments (other than Konami finally creating an official Silent Hill Twitter account). As you might expect, this has been cause for frustration for a large number of series fans, especially with there having been reports time and time and time again of how an announcement is coming at some event or the other. In all the time that has gone by, however, multiple major events have come and gone, and yet Silent Hill hasn’t shown up. Insiders, on the other hand, remain insistent that the series is on the verge of a revival.
Recently, there have been some more new developments that have stoked the flames once again. A couple of weeks ago, Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka – who, as you’ll remember, is allegedly attached to the series’ reboot as well – said in an interview with YouTube channel Al Hub that he’s working on a new game that’s going to be revealed in the Summer, and that though he can’t say anything about it, it is, in his words, “the one you’re hoping to hear about.” The interview was later removed, with Al Hub stating that they had been asked to take the interview down, though Konami soon said that they weren’t the ones who asked for it to be taken down.
Meanwhile, barely days later, Piotr Babieno, CEO of Bloober Team – developers of the recently released The Medium – said in an interview that that the studio has been working on a new horror game for over a year “with a very famous gaming publisher”, and his exact words led many to believe that he could be talking about Silent Hill. Babieno said to GamesIndustry.biz, “In fact, we’ve been working for more than a year on another gaming project, another horror IP, and we’re doing this with a very famous gaming publisher. I can’t tell you who. I can’t tell you what the project is, but I’m pretty sure when people realize we’re working on it, they will be very excited.”
It’s not hard to see why people would immediately think of Silent Hill. On top of the plethora of leaks over the last year, Bloober Team is a developer that specializes in psychological horror, and has on multiple occasions explicitly talked about how it has been influenced by Silent Hill in all that it does. Their most recent game, The Medium, is a very clear homage to Silent Hill, even using music composed by Akira Yamaoka. In fact, Yamaoka has even said in the past that he’s working on a second, as of yet unannounced game with the studio.
But it gets even more interesting. Not long after Babieno’s comments started doing the rounds on the internet, VGC wrote their own report on Silent Hill, stating that according to their own sources, Konami has outsourced a Silent Hill game to a different developer– a “prominent” Japanese developer, to be more specific. That does fall in line with reports about SIE Japan’s Silent Hill game (Toyama’s departure notwithstanding), but where does that leave Bloober’s potential game? Well, as VGC’s own report points out, that there could be multiple new Silent Hill games in the works is something that has been part of the leaks since some of the earliest rumours from over a year ago, so it’s entirely possible that Bloober’s Silent Hill and the Japanese developer’s Silent Hill are both in development at the same time.
The report also mentioned that the game would be revealed in the Summer, and that it would be fairly different from what one usually expects from a Silent Hill game. That last bit is particularly interesting, especially given the fact that Konami were reportedly considering an Until Dawn-style Silent Hill project at one point. Supermassive Games may not have been able to land the project, if the leaks are to be believed, but is it possible that this prominent Japanese developer is putting its own spin on that concept?
At the end of the day, where does this all leave us? Multiple reports from multiple insiders are talking about multiple potential Silent Hill games from multiple potential developers, and yet there have been zero announcements. We’ve heard about Sony, about Supermassive, about Kojima Productions, about Bloober Team, about an unnamed yet prominent Japanese developer. We’ve heard about a soft reboot, about a narrative adventure title, about something that’s completely different. Clearly, there’s no shortage of confusion.
Given the context, advising caution when looking at these leaks would be the smart thing. Konami has been mismanaging Silent Hill for years, and the company’s general operations in the industry in recent years haven’t been encouraging either. Where Konami and anything and everything to do with them is concerned, fans have been burned far too many times, so approaching rumours with trepidation is unavoidable.
But you know what they say. There’s no smoke without a fire, and there’s just far too much smoke here, with quite a few well-known and reputable sources having confidently said that Silent Hill is indeed coming back. Of course, there have been examples of leaks from reputable sources that have ended up amounting to nothing (just look at the infamous Star Fox Grand Prix)- but these Silent Hill rumours are refusing to go away. They keep coming back, again and again, and each time, it seems they’re fiercer than before.
It would make a lot of sense for Konami to take the licensing and outsourcing approach, if you think about it. It’s clear that they don’t think investing in development of AAA games is a good idea, but Konami has a stable of some of the best properties in gaming, and their value is undeniable, and clear for all to see. If they can make money off of these properties by partnering with other developers and having them work on new entries in major franchises, why wouldn’t they?
At this point, that’s little more than conjecture- but then again, conjecture and a truckload of leaks and rumours are all we have right now. Supposedly, a reveal for Silent Hill’s revival is imminent, so one way or another, we’ll know soon enough just what the future looks like for the series- or if it even has a future.