We are not joking when we say that we did not expect any games to be announced in the stream. The best-case scenario in our mind was that they would reveal some heavily marked-up licensed merch or something. As for the worst-case scenario? Yeah… let’s skip that for now.
Unless they plan to pull a classic Konami move and cancel them unceremoniously, we will be getting three games, a new movie and a very experimental series. We’re going to go through these and talk about what excites us about them in a series of articles.
This time, we will be looking at the Silent Hill 2 Remake:
They really did start with a bang, hitting it off with the highly rumoured Silent Hill 2 Remake by Bloober Team, where it was confirmed that both Masahiro Ito and Akira Yamaoka would be returning to lend a hand, which gives us hope that there will be oversight by the people who made the original so great.
Bloober Excels In Visual Framing And Timing In Relation To Player Control
What really stood out to us was just how good the game looks. Whilst it was mostly a scripted trailer, it was all done in-engine (Unreal Engine 5). We did see brief snippets of James wandering through Silent Hill and it looked phenomenal. We never thought we’d see another Silent Hill game, let alone something with this level of graphical fidelity.
Now, for reasons both understandable and nonsensical, Bloober gets a lot of flak online. The stupidest thing we’ve heard someone say is that they are “low-effort” developers. Looking at their past games like Layers of Fear, The Medium and Observer, there is no way that Bloober is “low-effort”, as what they’ve made visually itself requires a lot of expertise and knowledge.
In our opinion, they know how to frame and time a scene well with player control in mind, something that is extremely important in horror games, so we are very excited to see them put that skill into this remake.
We believe that Bloober will excel with transitioning the game to an over-the-shoulder viewpoint, whilst keeping some of the unique framing seen with a fixed-camera viewpoint in the original. We are excited to see how they interpret those scenes with a controllable camera.
James’ Shaken Demeanor Will Make The Remake More Refreshing
We are endlessly amused by the classic, “gamers claiming to know more than the developers” situation unfolding on Twitter, with weird headcanons and expectations being paraded around that were mainly there due to technical reasons. Despite all the complaints of James being too shaken up, the more nervous demeanour, in our opinion will provide a nice contrast to the original’s more dazed approach, something which will help set the remake apart.
This man has lost his wife, a person that meant so much to him and is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Not to mention (without revealing spoilers), there is an element of guilt as to why his mind is crumbling like this. It is basically a mix of things that is like catnip to Silent Hill. Furthermore, we are very excited to see how he now reacts to the game’s iconic supporting cast, especially Angela.
Akira Yamaoka Is Returning For The Music
Lastly, the music sounds promising and gave us nostalgic chills. It is one aspect that we know is still in the right hands and so, we can confidently say will be great. What is really interesting is that Akira seems to be trying out an updated soundscape for the score. At least with what we have heard in the trailer, it does look to be going more acoustic, with different interpretations of the classic themes.
We are interested to see how many of the classic themes will be brought back, chief of which are Theme of Laura or Promise, which are potentially the game’s most iconic tracks. Hopefully, those will be brought back and remastered.
The Combat Will Have To Be Handled With Care
As for one of the things we need to see more of? Combat! Of course, we do not expect the combat to be on the level of games like God of War since this isn’t an action game, but it still needs to be responsive and meaningful enough to engage with. I am a combat designer myself, so I understand how difficult designing for a Silent Hill game will be.
With survival horror, you have to find that balance between empowering players too much and making them too weak. From some snippets in the dev videos, it looks like it will be a dodge-based system, where at the press of a button you can swing away from an enemy’s hit.
Because the camera is so close to James this time, they really need to sell the impact of the hits with good animated responses. Not to mention, there has to be some cost to combat, so players think about the risk and reward with consumable items feeding into that. We might deep-dive into how you can make combat feel responsive at a later date.
Bloober Needs To Be Careful With Themes Related To Mental Health
The other worry is how Bloober handles the psychological themes, having understandably caught flack before for not representing Mental Health properly, something which is key to Silent Hill. Here’s hoping that Konami and some of the original creators actually have good oversight over this aspect of the game.
Of course, the final product could veer in a lot of different directions, some of which are good, and some of which are disappointing. Still, we are excited, especially after the drought of Silent Hill content in the past decade. Let’s hope that Konami actually takes it seriously.
Next time we will look at Silent Hill Townfall and why that might be the most promising of the reveals.