Why Silent Hill Is A Victim Of Its Own Success

Can Silent Hill rise in the Horror genre again?

Silent Hill

If you are a Silent Hill fanatic like me then you are all too well aware of the success of Silent Hill which is undoubtedly well deserved. Silent Hill paved the way for horror games and shaped them into what they are now.

It will be safe to say that no horror game will ever come to its level. Now we have a Silent Hill 2 Remake coming up that quite possibly holds the potential to revive the series.

Key Takeaways

  • The Silent Hill franchise is a benchmark for psychological horror games.
  • Unfortunately, many of its recent titles were not received well due to their lackluster gameplay. They drift from the immersive characters, environment, and gameplay the first few titles have.
  • There still seems to be some hope for the franchise with Silent Hill 2 Remake set to be released later this year.

How Silent Hill Created A New Genre For Horror Gaming

When Silent Hill was announced many people thought it would be a Resident Evil clone, but it proved to be unique and terrifyingly beautiful. While Resident Evil focuses on both psychological horror along flashy combat, Silent Hill managed to make its mark in immersive atmosphere, complex storytelling, and gameplay mechanics like no other.

Silent Hill complex storytelling
Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

The cinematic influences are pretty evident from the visuals and even the camera angles that Silent Hill incorporates are outworldly. What makes it a benchmark for horror gaming is its story which uses themes like trauma and guilt followed by interesting characters and terrifying monsters that will stay in your memory even after years simply because of their unique traits.

The Rise And Fall Of Silent Hill

When the first Silent Hill was released, it did quite well in numbers but what actually made the franchise popular was Silent Hill 2. It was revolutionary in every sense from its beautiful and dark story to its sublime soundtrack, it truly was a masterpiece of its time.

dark story
Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

It is safe to say that the majority of the popularity that the Silent Hill franchise got was from Silent Hill 2. Then came Silent Hill 3 which did decent sales but not as good as its predecessor.

Silent Hill 4 was a miss for many and couldn’t make an impact strong enough on the fans. Along the way, fans got Silent Hill movies which got mixed reviews but did decent overall at the box office.

After that, the Silent Hill games that came seem to use the movie elements a lot which made it seem like the franchise is suffering from an identity crisis. Fans did not like how often the themes and gameplay changed and that led to Silent Hill’s inescapable decline.

Where Did It All Go Wrong

Team Silent, a group of Konami developers who were responsible for creating the first four Silent Hill games created a legacy. Unfortunately, the Western studios who took over the franchise when the team disbanded could not live up to it. The themes of guilt, psychological horror, and grief were still dominant in the recent installments, but the true essence of Silent Hill was gone forever.

Silent Hill
Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

Silent Hill’s Origins had a lot of flaws but as compared to homecoming, downpour and shattered memories it still felt very Silent Hill. Homecoming features poorly executed characters, lackluster combat, and a horrible level design while downpour and shattered memories are average survival horrors with poor gameplay and severe graphic drawbacks.

Silent Hill graphic
Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

The only saving grace of Homecoming and Downpour might be the enemy designs but besides that nothing about them makes them feel like a Silent Hill title. All these Silent Hill titles suggested that maybe the era of cult horror had ended until the short message was released.

Konami’s Latest Venture

Silent Hill: The Short Message was released earlier this year for PlayStation 5 and was completely free to play. It almost seems like a carbon copy of Silent Hills PT which was cancelled when Kojima left Konami. The game feels more like a Life is Strange title rather than the original Silent Hill and while it was more like a walking simulator, it still manages to deliver a decent gameplay experience.

Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

However, it had several flaws and failed to make its mark as a possible revival of the Silent Hill franchise. Its biggest flaw was not the lack of monsters because Silent Hills PT also did not feature gruesome monsters but still, it was one of the best Silent Hill games ever made. It was more so the bad writing and a very generic story that made the short message a very average experience.

Is It Over For Silent Hill

Now that the Silent Hill 2 Remake is in works by the Bloober team I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for the game. Looking at its official gameplay trailer I have both hopes and fears. Being a Silent Hill fan, I know how the community tends to react whenever a new Silent Hill title comes out.

But the fans are not entirely to blame for it because the past few releases have been nothing but disappointment.

Silent Hill
Source: TheRadBrad, YouTube

The gameplay trailer looks promising except for the very stiff and static characters and gameplay. It does not give the vibes of the original as it is much cleaner in comparison and feels completely modern. But that is how remakes should be.

Personally, I feel that the Silent Hill 2 Remake will invite fans both old and new to experience the masterpiece it is. While it is true that the remake of Dead Space and Resident Evil has set a bar, I expect no less from the Bloober team from this project.

But as of now, I have no idea how fans will receive it because besides Silent Hill two other titles did not get as much hype. It felt like fans expected more or less the same elements and the same impact SH2 had from the other games.

This makes me think that Silent Hill is a victim of its own success and internal conflicts at Konami along with fans wanting the same experience copy-pasted into other titles that lead to its decline.

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