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‘Silent Hills’ Isn’t Dead Yet

Last week, the Internet exploded when rumors surfaced that Kojima would be leaving Konami. Kojima was removed from the company’s list of executives and his branding was erased from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain promotional art as Konami went to work erasing Kojima Productions from existence. It seemed like the relationship between the two had soured, and while we still don’t have the full story, we do know that it’s bad.

A joint statement recently confirmed that Kojima will stay long enough to finish Phantom Pain, but his tenure likely won’t last much longer than that. After three decades together, two hugely influential names in the games industry will be parting ways.

As much as I’d like to memorialize the two, there just isn’t time. We can get to that after they let us know they’ve noticed the elephant in the room. The world wants to know, just what in the hell is going to happen to Silent Hills? This is the series’ last chance at staying relevant. It’s the game that’s keeping one of the genre’s most beloved franchises from finally, quietly, fading into obscurity. If this game dies, Silent Hill will almost certainly die with it.

I don’t know about you, but that terrifies me. So before we get into this, here’s something to put a smile on your face, because the rest of this article might get a little heated.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. At least not yet. Konami still owns the IP, they own the engine that powers it, they have a talented team of developers, and I think we can assume that while it’s still very early in development — it was only ever given a nebulous 2016 release window — some progress has to have been made on it. This is progress that Konami isn’t likely to throw that away easily, especially since it’s one of the few properties they have left that people care about.

If that’s not the most depressing thing you’ve heard today, it might not have sunk in yet. Silent Hill is currently one of Konami’s most promising brands, because aside from Metal Gear and Dance Dance Revolution, they don’t have a whole lot going on right now.

The company is very active in Japan, but not so much anywhere else. Pro Evolution Soccer is forever stuck in FIFA’s shadow, Castlevania isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, and that’s not even taking into account last year’s abysmal Lords of Shadow sequel. They’re relying heavily on the success of MGS V, which I’m sure will do great, because that’s one of the few brands they have left that large numbers of people still get excited about.

It feels strange to say it, but for the first time in years, Silent Hill has our attention. It has the world’s attention. Kojima’s publicity stunt with the P.T. demo was nothing short of genius, and it was also exceedingly effective. Even non-fans had their attention piqued when this happened.

A not-insignificant portion of our anticipation for Silent Hills came from the fact that Kojima would be directing it. That was exciting, but I’d argue his involvement was overshadowed by one of the other names that were — and are still, as far as we know — attached to it: director Guillermo Del Toro.

Kojima has name recognition among gamers, but Del Toro has it everywhere else.

Guillermo Del Toro is hot right now. Most of us fell in love with him around The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, or if you’re really into movies, Cronos did it for you. For the rest of the world, it took a massively successful vampire-themed TV show and some giant robots battling Kaiju. How long it took isn’t the point, we’re all on the same page now, and that’s what matters.

Silent Hills came to be because of this director. Kojima and Norman Reedus signed on after the fact — the deal is between Del Toro and Konami. I would have liked to see where he took it, but Kojima can be replaced.

I touched on this earlier, but I feel its importance can’t be stressed enough. Silent Hills has a lot of momentum behind it. Its reveal took over the Internet last August, and fan theories, discussions, and trailers like the one below have kept it in the spotlight ever since.

This game has a level of awareness that the franchise has never had before. Even in its prime, Silent Hill didn’t have this much excitement surrounding it. This series will never have as good a chance at being successful than it does now. If Konami wants to bring it back, this will almost certainly be their only chance to make it big again.

Some of this hype can be attributed to our wanting a good Silent Hill game for years now, but a lot of it also has to do with how much the horror genre has grown right now.

Scary is mainstream, and I’m sure Konami would like to take advantage of that.

This whole situation sucks. I’ve been dreading the moment I jump online only to see the headline “Silent Hills Cancelled!” and while that may very well happen, I’m going to try and stay optimistic. Because as bad as it might look right now, I think there’s as good a chance at our seeing this game release as we might see it get lost in dreaded development limbo, alongside so many other promising horror games.

Konami has handled this with absolutely no grace. This is a communications breakdown and they should be ashamed of how poorly they’ve been treating their fans. The only way they can make this up to us is by bringing us an unforgettable horror game, and they can start by opening their damn mouths already. If Konami hopes to survive this transition, they’ll need to do better than this.

It’s worth mentioning that while I have reached out to Konami for a comment, as my finger hovers over the ‘Publish’ button, they have yet to respond. I doubt that’ll change, but if it does, I’ll be sure to update accordingly.

YTSub

46 Comments
  • GunsOfNavarone

    I’m starting to fear the worse… I think that whatever decision was made by Kojima to walk was one that may have caused irreparable damage between the two, 3 decades is a long time. That’s not to say that Silent Hills will be cancelled, but I don’t think Kojima will be attached to it any longer.

  • Amir A. Lee

    I do hope this is just some elaborate April fools joke build-up

    • H4ck3rGirl

      I really hope so too. One can dream…

    • JustGaming

      It’s really not. And that sucks, big time. I know that this is how a lot of Japanese companies handle high-profile departures, but this is just insane.

  • Zachariah

    A lot of what I read had Kojima be the one who started it and Del Toro and Reedus came later. Also coulda sworn Kojima Productions owned the FOX engine, but I don’t know much about that.

    • JustGaming

      KojiPro was a part of Konami, funded by their resources and enitrely owned by them. That’s why they are fully and readily able to scrub his name off of all advertising etc, and it’s also 100% likely that they own Fox Engine too. It’s his work, but he was contracted to do said work.

    • Konami’s president asked Kojima to direct the game after the deal had been made with Del Toro. And Kojima owns the FOX engine, but Konami owns Kojima, including all of their assets.

      • Zachariah

        Ahh thanks for clearing it up I was a tad confused.

  • H4ck3rGirl

    One of the major reasons for my hype for Silent Hills was because of Hideo Kojima. Now? I honestly could care less what Konami does anymore with the IP. The best case scenario would be cancelling before they ruin the franchise any further.

    • JustGaming

      Unfortunately, I feel that they will push out a title that will just serve to bury it even further. It will probably end up on mobile.

      • H4ck3rGirl

        Ughhh, don’t give them any ideas!

        • JustGaming

          Sadly, they already had them.

    • linacostaa

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      • Rob

        Take your 86k and go back to school, you spelled “basically” wrong.

  • Queen B

    I can see it being “re-worked” into something else if they can’t use Silent Hill as the referencing point.

  • Rob

    I’m still holding out, hoping somehow Hideo Kojima makes it. It’s been far too long since a decent Silent Hill game has come out, at least with Kojima you know you’ll be getting a top tier (in terms of quality) game.

  • Jonny_anonymous

    WIthout Kojima and Del Toro collaborating on this I’m not sure I’m interested.

  • sliceanddice

    i wonder how much (if any) of this game is a rehash of del torros ideas for insane?

  • All I can muster by now is a shrug. I want a new SH game, but I’m afraid to be hurt again.

  • Randall Thomas

    This really sucks. You would think that some kind of deal could be worked out for Kojima to finish Silent Hills. Something like what Sony is doing with the ICO guy. He’s out of the company but he’s working as an outside contractor. You would think Kojima would be chomping at the bit to have something other than Metal Gear on his resume. What the hell could he have done to get thrown out so fast?! Did he insist on attending meetings in a cardboard box?

    • Kevin Daysleeper Carlton

      Considering how shit Konami have been treating their franchises over the past near decade, they probably tried to force something through on the Phantom Pain.

      I personally can swing with Del Toro/Reedus/Masahiro Ito (if hes still working on it too) and Kojima leaving, but I wont deny that Kojima being ditched makes me worry. I’m afraid for receiving another Homecoming.

  • Fueltanker Mcsnappy

    Well, I think we might be jumping the gun a bit. We aren’t even sure how far along the game is right now. Maybe the story is completed and Kojima put all his input in the script and the basic form of the game. They could just be polishing it and going through with all the textures and the small stuff. I am just trying to stay positive about this, I want this game to work! If it fails we will burn Konami to the ground.

    • Victor

      Finally a positive post!!!

  • I really hope they don’t put Tom Hulett in control of this game. Then it would really die.

    • Avianna

      Get with the times. Hulett doesn’t even work for Konami anymore. Why are we still beating this dead horse?

      • I didn’t know that he left konami, but the fact remains that he ruined most of the newer Silent Hill games. Just look at how bad Silent Hill HD Collection turned out.

        • Avianna

          He left over two years ago. Why even bother to talk about him still while discussing another game? Those games are over. You don’t have to play them anyway. Move along.

          • It does matter. The series was really spoiled by his actions. Many fans stopped caring about the games because of the bad releases. I know I sure did. Again I didn’t know the guy left Konami, so my first comment is void.

          • Avianna

            I was pretty sure people were done with the series after Silent Hill 4 because it was no longer going to be Team Silent. And even more so after Homecoming… but none of that has to do with Hulett. Which is why I still don’t understand it. Especially because Konami kept him on. But yea, I’m sure its all still one man’s fault. AMIRITE?

          • Yes, because of a team change, that series is automatically dead. No, it was only dead after Tom decided to put his mark on the series. BTW he worked on Homecoming as well.

          • Avianna

            I am not sure I follow your logic….

          • I’m not the one with flawed logic.

          • Avianna

            …..yes.

          • Seraphyx

            There is no logic to follow, the guys an idiot.

    • Khaled Waleed

      don’t say that about him!!
      he likes the game very much and he wants spin-offs like final fantasy
      how dare you saying such things for a man who puts so much efforts in destroying the franchise ?

  • Mr.Eff

    I’m not disappointed, to be honest. While I agree that this project is the only hope the series has for a solid post-4 entry, I don’t really want to see it attempted. I’m curious, admittedly, but I’m also burnt out from this series. 8 years of lackluster games and disrespect from Konami has made me want to see it put to rest already. That, and I really didn’t like PT.
    If this game DOES come out, and does well, it will just open the floodgates for more games. I worry about the series being misunderstood more than it already has been, and for the mythos to be stretched out even further.
    If this is it, I won’t be sad. Rest easy, old friend.

  • Brandon Foley

    This was the one game I was truly excited about in a very long time, specifically because of Kojima’s and Del Toro’s involvement, two people who’s work I admire immensely, and how much I love the series. This is a real bummer, and while a Del Toro Silent Hill sounds cool, the collaboration idea was one of the most exciting things to come out of the video game world in a long time, imo. I hope Kojima will still be able to be on-board in the future, or Konami just stops being fucking garbage

  • Dev

    Who knows how this will go. I hope it’s good but I also hope they port it to PC and don’t just make it a PS4 exclusive, because that would be super lame of them. I’m not buying a PS4 just so I can play this. Seeing as Konami have a very patchy history of PC ports (and ports in general – the so-called “HD collection” on 360 was pathetic and of a lower quality than the PC versions that came out a decade previously), I’m not holding my breath. By this point I just have to stand back and wait and see what happens, I can’t invest myself too much in the series anymore considering how inconsistent it is.

  • Teddy Breihan

    as silly as this may sound…..

    i almost feel like this is another ingenious publicity stunt by the company. the whole build-up around this new silent hill up to now has been heavily brewed by a very deviously instrumented fantasma of frightening ambiguity…. the chaotic nature of the teaser and the puzzles within it, meant to have taken cooperation from people all across the world to solve.

    i honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this is another one of those cleverly designed modems for fandom chaos as a means for building up even more hype for the game….

    but that’s just the call i’m making. we’ll see how it pans out.

  • Hi

  • James Sunderland

    I hope this project is still alive, but if Del Toro steps out of the ring, no hope. That shi**y smelling Downpour was embarrassing, laughable creature design and mall-metal Korn soundtrack! Bring some core members from Team Silent back, if Kojima is stepping out of the game.

  • Victor

    They need to let us know honestly, I hope this game does continue! I love Silent Hill and I love the last 2 games Homecoming and Downpour even though they get a lot of flack which I don’t give a shit about cause I still enjoyed my time playing both games. Even though Part 2 and part 3 hold a special place in my heart forever. Please please please let us know I need a new silent hill and what they delivered with P.T is very promising. Please don’t sleep on this they have so much potential with this one!

  • LunoDoom

    This article would be nice if it was informed… This “talented team” you speak of is leaving KONAMI. Kojima Production’s entire executive staff, the makers of the Fox Engine are leaving, not just Kojima. Also the remaining staff is being disbanded, most likely downsized and absorbed into KONAMI’s existing teams. Kojima productions and KONAMI do not work as one team, they are completely separate entities, so it’s not like KONAMI can just pick up where they left off. That’s like saying “this guys arm needs to be hacked off, his leg can pick up the slack, he’ll still be able to finish climbing this mountain”. Their only chance of Silent Hills being even close to what P.T. teased is of KONAMI has some sense and extends the contact for Kojima Productions to stay and finish Silent Hills. You want an idea how “talented” the KONAMI side of things are. Check out Silent Hill: book of memories and Never Dead… *shutters*

  • coffinbirth

    I have no doubt Konami will finish Silent Hills…but will it be as awesome as P.T. has promised?
    Also, it would be nice to know if Silent Hills will be coming to Xbox One. Hell, P.T. would be nice…

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