Konami has to be the biggest meanie when it comes to toying with my tender little heart. Sure, it is largely responsible for bringing us Silent Hill in the first place, which despite a few misses along the way is still undoubtedly one of the most masterful horror franchises in existence. And for that, I am eternally grateful. But I’ll be damned if Konami also isn’t just the worst sometimes.
I’m sure many long-time fans of Silent Hill (or indeed, any number of other Konami-published titles) would agree that there’s lots to be peeved over. Not the least of which being the very public and somewhat awkward parting of ways between Konami and Hideo Kojima a few years ago, after which Konami went ahead with Kojima’s own creation, Metal Gear, without him. A bit of a low blow, to say the least.
But oh boy, don’t get me started on the whole Silent Hills debacle (well if you’re reading this, then it’s too late anyway). If somehow you missed the tragic tale of Silent Hills, then here’s a quick recap.
The Legend Of P.T.
Back on August 12, 2014, a mysterious free-to-play game cropped up on the PlayStation Store going by the name of P.T., later revealed to be an initialism for Playable Teaser. Pretty much no context was given besides the name of its developer – a previously unheard of 7780s Studio (which turned out to be a pseudonym anyway) – and that Konami was its publisher.
Only by playing through the thing from start to finish did players learn that P.T. was actually an interactive teaser trailer for a new upcoming Silent Hill game called Silent Hills. This hype-inducing game was destined to star The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, and to have mastermind of weirdness Guillermo del Toro as a co-director along with Hideo Kojima himself. Yes, it’s the exact lot who would eventually turn their efforts towards last year’s notoriously odd Death Stranding.
But undoubtedly the most striking aspect of P.T. was just how absolutely terrifying it was, made that much more so because of the mystery around its quiet shuffle onto the scene. It was so scary and effective that many declared it the best horror game of 2014, despite the fact that it was only meant to be a taste of the actual game to come. Even now, I still think it’s the scariest piece of horror gaming I’ve ever come across.
In fact, P.T. has reached urban legend status. This is not only because of how iconic and influential it has become in the horror genre, but also because of how transient its existence was. Just over seven months after its release, P.T. was pulled from the PlayStation Store, after Silent Hills was officially cancelled. It seemed to disappear as quickly as it had appeared.
The Silence Of The Hills
So, P.T. was no longer available for download. This legendary piece of horror game history was killed off, living on only in YouTube videos or on the consoles of those forward-thinkers who kept it installed. And three guesses as to who was responsible for yanking P.T. away from the rest of us?
Thanks to restructuring within Konami and a dose of drama between the publishing giant and Kojima, Silent Hills was canned and Kojima went on to form Kojima Productions. With the latter embarking on the development of Death Stranding and Konami showing no interest in carrying Silent Hills forward, the game was left in the dust. And with this, we have one of the most tragic losses in gaming history.
It was enough of a blow to cancel Silent Hills, which showed such promise as a revival of the long-loved series. But the fact that Konami forced what little we did have right out of our hands by removing P.T. too was a serious salt-in-the-wound move.
Oh but wait, it doesn’t stop there. Seeing as fans are what they are, some of them (like 17-year-old developer Qimsar) managed to recreate P.T. almost pixel-for-pixel as a tribute to the lost masterpiece. But Konami was on that real quick, demanding its removal for legal reasons of course (although to be fair, they did offer Qimsar an internship at Konami thereafter. I wonder if Qimsar accepted?).
Most recently, their clean-up has extended to the imminent arrival of the PS5. It turns out that P.T. – originally exclusive to the PS4 – was going to be backwards-compatible with the PS5. In fact, some reviewers even played it during the next-gen console’s review period, and it apparently ran without a hitch. But it’s now gone, having since been pulled from PS5 compatibility. According to Sony, this was “a publisher decision.” Godammit, Konami. We were so close.
But while we mourn this latest loss, I do have to acknowledge the part of me which feels maybe P.T. and Silent Hills are better off being left alone. As I said, part of the deep fascination around them comes from their brief existence, self-contained in a temporal blip which in hindsight felt like a kind of terror-infused fever dream. Maybe it’s best to honor them as such and rather hope for something brand-new. Who knows? Maybe those rumors around a Silent Hill reboot reveal coming up next month might turn out in our favor.
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Neuroscience student and massive nerd, currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Research interests include how neuroscience and user experience in video games interact with each other. News and feature writer for TheGamer.com. Other interests include anime and everything Japanese, fitness, and cats.
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