Why It's Time To Give Up On A New Silent Hill From Konami
As the gaming world heads back to some form of normality - and we look ahead at a brighter 2021 - there's a continued rumour that refuses to stay "silent" for long. Although it's been nine years since Konami's Silent Hill survival horror series limped to the grave with the lacklustre Silent Hill: Downpour, that hasn't stopped gamers demanding more from this twisted town. E3 2021 looked like the perfect place to announce a continuation of Silent Hill, but sadly, it's not meant to be.
A lot has changed over the years, while Konami itself has become something of a development graveyard. Alongside big questions about what's next for the Metal Gear and Castlevania franchises, Silent Hill is arguably Konami's biggest IP and would likely be an easy sell in the world of reboots and remakes. The problem is, as Capcom has charted a new era with Resident Evil, Silent Hill has slipped into the realms of development hell and become just as bleak as its own setting.
Why should we give up on a new Silent Hill from Konami?
Barely a week goes by that someone doesn't claim Konami is working on a new game(s) set in Silent Hill lore, however, they're just the stuff of legends. There were high hopes that E3 2021 could usher in a new generation of Silent Hill games, but sadly, Konami has confirmed it won't be part of the online-only event. Despite being one of the first big developers to announce its involvement, Konami has spectacularly pulled out and said it will "not be ready to present" at E3.
Despite saying there are a "number of key projects" in development, it's disappointing that players won't be rewarded for their patience at E3. Last year's gaming expo was cancelled outright, which means 2021's is even bigger and is sure to pave the way for which AAA titles are coming in the next few years. Konami has shared its support for the Entertainment Software Association and promised "2021 will be a great success", but is it too little, too late?
Like we said, it's been a whopping nine years since Silent Hill has given us anything new, and apart from promises of a third movie in the already average live-action series, the franchise has gone to ground. There's the marred legacy of Sony's P.T. (Playable Teaser), which was supposed to reinvent the name with Silent Hills. By now, we're sure you all remember P.T. had rave reviews but was eventually scrapped when the legendary Hideo Kojima parted ways with Konami and set up Kojima Productions. Although Silent Hills evolved into what became Death Stranding, it's left a nasty mark on the surface of the Silent Hill name.
If missing out on E3 wasn't bad enough, let's remember those recent reports that Konami was shuttering its in-house development. In January, the internet exploded with reports Konami was pulling out of the video game market. Even if it was quickly debunked by those at the top, critics remain unconvinced. The whole E3 exit is hardly going to put claims of troubled times to bed.
Should we completely give up on a new Silent Hill?
Like an unhinged cult that might populate the titular town itself, there's still a loyal following of those that demand a new Silent Hill. The promise that Konami is working on "key projects" might be enough to keep a few hanging on, but for a large number, they're feeling exhausted by the whole drama. For the first few weeks/months/years, the Silent Hill rumours were a bit of fun that sparked features on "Why Silent Hill needs to return" and "What Silent Hill can learn from Resident Evil", but as the interest dries up, Konami is in danger of losing the fans it has left.
Looking at the bigger picture, Konami has largely moved into sports and Dance Dance Revolution games while the big three of Castlevania, Metal Gear, and Silent Hill have been left to rot. Even though Kojima jumping ship to start his own company hasn't helped, there's been a noticeable dip in video game production - leading to questions about whether Konami is even fit to handle its major IPs any more.
Perhaps the only silver lining is the hope Sony could buy Konami. Back in the day, the two had a lucrative working relationship that saw several Metal Gear games land as PlayStation exclusives and Silent Hill games launch on the console before getting a multi-platform release. Added to this, Konami has reportedly renewed trademarks for both Metal Gear Rising and Akumajou Dracula (the Japanese for Castlevania) on April 6. That's all well and good, but what about Silent Hill? Wild rumours of two games being in the works as a reboot and a spinoff from two different development teams is one thing, however, E3 would've been the perfect time to make them official.
Microsoft has just scooped the goliath that is Bethesda, as Sony bosses assure us more PlayStation exclusives are on the way. Imagine a next-gen world where we get new Castlevania, Metal Gear, AND Silent Hill games as PS5 exclusives. We can but dream. Finally, let's remember that although Silent Hill was tipped for a PS5 reboot, we're left in the dark (for now). With another big announcement opportunity passing Konami by, it sounds like the once-lauded developer is keeping its vow of silence this summer.
Images via Konami