Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s 'Silent Hills': Unite to produce the worlds scariest, most terrifying horror game to date
Here we have brought to you a review of the worlds first ever 'Interactive teaser' - We have actual gameplay footage and real reactions from actual gameplay.
The collaboration that shocked the gaming world
It was the most unusual of video game announcements. At Sony’s GamesCom press conference in Cologne a new horror game known only as ‘P.T.’ was unveiled to the world. The first video featured the contents of bloodied and bulbous paper bag speaking in tongues, and the announcement that P.T. would provide the world’s first ‘interactive trailer’, immediately available to download on the PlayStation store.
Curious that this brand new game from unknown studio 7780 Games would take prized billing at a PlayStation press conference. Interest piqued, players around the world downloaded the demo to find a chilling vignette. It wasn’t long before the trailer was completed and the truth begun to filter throughout the internet. P.T. was, in fact, a brand new Silent Hill, overseen by one of video games most celebrated auteurs Hideo Kojima and one of cinema horror’s most talented directors, Guillermo del Toro.
Although P.T. is a teaser for Silent Hills the end sequence clearly states that it has ‘no direct relation to the main title’. In other words the events of P.T. are self-contained and won’t necessarily have anything to do with the final game. (Although of course that could itself be a lie, considering the whole demo is one big fake-out).
P.T. begins with an unnamed protagonist waking up in a jail-like room, the walls covered in tally marks and a gore-soaked brown paper bag sitting on a lone table. It’s not a cheerful start, especially with the giant cockroaches running around, but the single door is open and stepping through it you enter the demo’s sole other location: an L-shaped hallway in what seems to be a completely ordinary suburban house.
Unlike most of the original Silent Hill games P.T. is played from a first person perspective, although as with everything else in the demo there’s no guarantee that’s how the final game will work. Despite talk from Kojima about purposefully making the game look less impressive than he could have (in hindsight we think he was just talking about the title screen) the graphics are actually quite stunning.
Using the Fox Engine from Metal Gear Solid V, the sense of realism is horribly convincing. And we say horribly because even if you ignore the starting room there’s clearly something very badly wrong in the world of P.T. A creepily-voiced radio broadcast is talking about a father who’s murdered his entire family, including his pregnant wife, as a light fitting creaks and sways ominously.
Your only consistent interaction with the game world is to zoom in slightly via the R3 button. So the only thing you can do is walk through the door at the end of the corridor, down a few steps and through another door which… brings you right back out at the other end of the hallway.
At first it seems like nothing has changed, until you realise the radio’s switched off and the door at the end of the corridor is closed. Trying to retrace your steps there’s some frantic banging from the other side of what is later revealed to be the bathroom door. No sooner has it starts though then suddenly all is quiet and the end door opens again, ready for you to carry on through the loop…
Each time you go through the door something is at least slightly different, until you discover what’s in the bathroom (we genuinely warn you to think twice about looking in the sink) and start to get an inkling for where you might actually be and what’s really going on.
Upon hearing that Kojima was involved with the game we were initially worried, because as talented as he is in some areas he’s almost equally inept in others – and subtlety in particular has never been a strong point. Perhaps del Toro has been a positive influence though, because the way P.T. ratchets up the tension and makes you terrified to step through the door one more time, and yet equally desperate to find out what lies beyond, is expertly handled.
Towards the end of the demo P.T. introduces an increasingly obscure range of puzzles, most based around careful observation of what has changed from one loop to the next. These are reminiscent of the equally obscure puzzles from the end of the very first Silent Hill, an element of the franchise that was ditched as soon as the first sequel appeared.
The main purpose of the puzzles was to stop anyone working out that connection between P.T. and Silent Hill too soon. But even now the secret is out seeing the final reveal (as shown below) relies on a bewildering set of semi-random elements that even with numerous FAQs and YouTube walkthroughs are very hard to replicate.
We very much doubt the final game will work in a similar manner, but like almost everything else surrounding Silent Hills that’s just an educated guess.
The only thing we know for sure about Silent Hills is who’s making it and that The Walking Dead actor Norman ‘Daryl Dixon’ Reedus is playing the lead character. Whether it’s a reboot or not is unknown and there’s no clue yet as to why the title is in the plural. Neither is there any word on when the game will be released or whether, like P.T. itself, it’ll be a PlayStation 4 exclusive (although it seems certain it will be a timed exclusive at least).
The only speculation we can add is that it seems reasonable to imagine that some elements of the game may have been repurposed from Guillermo del Toro’s THQ horror project inSane. Although considering how little is known about that it doesn’t really help matters.
What we do know is that P.T. and Silent Hills may be the cleverest, most successful game reveal of all time. P.T. alone is an unforgettable experience and if the final game is even half as scary then survival horror will have found a new master.
But, above and beyond all of this, lies another mystery - will Xbox One and PC owners be getting the game? As far as the magnificent P.T. goes, quite probably not. Given its position in Sony's conference, and the implication that it's entirely separate from the game itself - more a bafflingly complex mood palette than a demo - it seems unlikely. But anecdotal evidence, and a palpable lack of official word to the contrary, suggests that the full game will be a multiplatform affair.
Wanna see real people playing the Silent Hills teaser?
Sources: Sony, Gamescom assests, Telegraph, Google assets, Metro, PSN, Gamertag Gaming