On Wednesday, Konami will officially kickstart Silent Hill with “the latest updates” on a series that has been dormant for a decade. It’s a moment that content-starved fans have been waiting for for years. But what will be shown?
We actually have a decent idea, as the rumor mill has been extremely busy around Silent Hill for the best part of two years now. So active, in fact, that it’s become rather confusing, with multiple projects mooted, and multiple developers said to be involved — some new to the series, some not.
Here we do our best to sort through the reporting out there and compile it into four main prospects. (Unless it’s three...)
Silent Hill: The Short Message — a playable teaser?
The most concrete sign of Silent Hill activity in the lead-up to Konami’s reveal event was the Korean game rating body’s classification of a game called Silent Hill: The Short Message. The publisher is Uniana, which, as noted by Gematsu, regularly publishes Konami titles in South Korea.
The title implies a brief experience, and matches up with reports of a playable teaser in the style of P.T., the infamous demo for the Kojima Productions’ canceled series reboot, Silent Hills. Video Games Chronicle said that this teaser, codenamed Sakura, “is intended to be released as a free digital title to build anticipation for the larger [Silent Hill] projects.” It is not clear if it is a completely stand-alone experience or a preview of a new Silent Hill game.
VGC also linked the teaser to a series of images purporting to be from a new Silent Hill game which leaked in May 2022. Konami made a copyright claim against the images in an effort to take them offline (which both failed in its aim and confirmed their authenticity, as such claims tend to do).
The images are supposedly from 2020 and show a messy, dilapidated and trash-strewn room; a woman’s face styled like a collage of scraps of paper, some scrawled with messages like “I hate myself”; a screenshot of another messy room with text overlaid; and two images of a hallway plastered in post-it notes, with a figure covered in blossom lurking at the end.
One of the latter images is signed by Masahiro Ito, the art director and monster designer who worked on the first three games and created the famous Pyramid Head character. Ito has said he is working as part of the core development team of a new, unnamed game, and also retweeted the official announcement of Wednesday’s Silent Hill update
The art is mysterious and evocative, although it’s important to remember that things may have changed in the past two years. This remains the most concrete prospect for Wednesday’s reveal, however. After the sensation caused by P.T., repeating the trick with a new teaser makes sense, and we can even hope for a simultaneous release for The Short Message this week.
A new, mainline Silent Hill game — made in Japan?
It’s logical that Konami’s efforts to revive the franchise would ultimately end in a continuation or reboot of the main Silent Hill series. Multiple reports suggest that this is happening, although it’s not the only Silent Hill project in the works. NateTheHate, Jeff Grubb, and VGC all report hearing that a “mainline entry” is in the works alongside other projects.
That’s about all that is known about this project… unless the images mentioned above are actually related to the full new game rather than the teaser, or the game and the teaser are closely linked. Both of these are distinct possibilities.
In February 2021, VGC reported that Konami had outsourced a Silent Hill project to “a prominent Japanese developer.” This seems most likely to be the home of the new mainline game, although VGC noted that the Japanese project was “something of a departure from past Silent Hill games.” It would also be a point of interest because Konami turned to a series of Western developers to make Silent Hill games after 2004’s Silent Hill 4: The Room, with mixed results.
As well as Ito, regular Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka has shared the announcement of Wednesday’s event. In 2021, in a since-deleted video interview, Yamaoka said his next project would be “the one you’re hoping to hear about.” It seems as though Konami is making an effort to round up at least a few key members of original developer Team Silent for its new Silent Hill projects.
A remake of Silent Hill 2 — from Bloober Team
Polish developer Bloober Team, the horror specialist that made Layers of Fear and The Medium, has been closely linked to the Silent Hill series since last year. Speculation began when CEO Peter Babieno told GamesIndustry.biz “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.”
That the IP would be Silent Hill was more or less confirmed a few months later when Bloober announced it was entering a partnership with Konami. Bloober was also known to be working with Yamaoka on a new game, after he had contributed to the soundtrack for The Medium.
First leaked image of Silent Hill 2 Remake supposedly developed by Bloober Team: pic.twitter.com/zZWYBqWq6o— Andrew Marmo (@the_marmolade) September 4, 2022
For a while, Bloober was assumed to be leading Silent Hill reboot or continuation, until the reports from NateTheHate, Grubb, and VGC in May this year all linked the developer with a remake of 2001’s Silent Hill 2 — which is felt by most fans to be the best game in the series. If reports are accurate, it will be an extensive reworking of the game, with multiple new endings and revised AI, animations, and puzzles. Some reports suggest the game will be a timed PlayStation exclusive.
Some very poor quality images purporting to be of the Silent Hill 2 remake appeared on Twitter in September. Peering through the murk, they did appear to match various details of the game. Allegedly they are taken from a pitch demo Bloober made before the project was even greenlit, and don’t reflect its final quality.
An episodic series of “short stories”
There’s a third, or fourth, Silent Hill project that may or may not be in production, but the evidence for this one is slighter.
Leaker Dusk Golem — responsible for the major image leak from the teaser or mainline game in May — said that he had heard as early as 2018 that Konami had been soliciting Silent Hill pitches from studios for two projects. One was a “reboot,” the other an “episodic game.” In May of this year, NateTheHate mentioned “side ‘stories’” as a project in development, and VGC referred to “a smaller, episodic series of ‘short stories.’”
It’s been reported that Until Dawn and Dark Pictures developer Supermassive Games took part in this pitch process, but was ultimately rejected. Another name connected with the episodic series by VGC’s sources was boutique publisher Annapurna Interactive.
This is the vaguest prospect — and it goes without saying that none of these projects is confirmed, and they could all have been canceled or changed, even if they are real. One thing is certain, though. With this much rumor and reported activity, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes on Silent Hill for some time. Konami seems determined to bring the series back in a big way, working both with external studios and some of the series’ originating talents. Here’s hoping it will have something substantive to show for its efforts this week.