Well played Moviepilot, well played. When I took your little 'Fandom Quiz', I didn't think you'd be able to pinpoint my interest so well. But you did, very correctly guess that I write mainly about superheroes. Honestly and shockingly, I didn't even realize how much I wrote about heroes. Sure I had written about other things before, but the majority of my articles have to do with the superhero(s) of some story. Well today, I'll be taking that quizzes advice, and writing about something different: videogames.
Yeah I've written about games before, but not nearly as much as anything else.
And even my videogame-related articles had something to do with superheroes! So I'll be using this opportunity to talk about something I've been wanting to get off my chest for awhile now, Silent Hills. Specifically, whether it truly belongs in the true horror game genre.
Silent Hills is an upcoming survival horror game for the Playstation 4. It is the ninth installment of the acclaimed Silent Hill videogame franchise. The game is being developed by Hideo Kojima, known for the critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid series, and Guillermo del Toro, known for his work on films like Splice, Hellboy and the Hobbit trilogy.
Not much is known about the game, other than the fact that it will star Norman Reedus as the main protagonist.
And yet, game critics all over the media world are already calling this game one of the scariest of the decade! This is mostly because of an interactive teaser for the game titled P.T., which was made available for download on the PS4 late last year. P.T. is a first-person short demo that focuses on an unnamed protagonist who awakens in a house and experiences supernatural events. The only actions for the player were walking and zooming.
The teaser is FREAKY. A friend and I had to sleep with the lights on for a couple of days after playing it. In fact, I wasn't even playing it, just watching him! So yeah, this teaser is truly a horror game. But even though P.T is meant to be a playable teaser for Silent Hills, I'm not entirely sure that the finished game will be the same as the demo.
Why's that? Well for one thing, I highly doubt that the final game will be in first person. Norman Reedus is doing motion capture and voice work for the currently unnamed protagonist of Silent Hills. We've already gotten a good look at Norman in videogame form thanks to the teaser trailer for the game.
While it's possible that the game could still be first-person, I doubt that Norman Reedus would be doing mocap if it was. This brings up many questions regarding how the final game will be? And just how scary it'll be. Personally, I don't think it's going to be as freaky as P.T.. Why? Well, one reason is Mr. Reedus himself.
I am a huge fan of Norman Reedus, my favorite roles of his being Daryl (obviously) in The Walking Dead, and Murphy MacManus in Boondock Saints. He wasn't too bad in Blade II as Scud either.
It's true, Norman has a history in the horror/sci-fi genre. But his characters have mostly been badass characters who don't take flack from anyone or anything. Just look at Daryl, arguably his biggest role yet! Daryl is a crossbow-wielding countryman with an attitude, and we all love him for it.
And it's not just Daryl. Norman has always been known as "that tough guy". Heck, his last words in Blade II were "oh great". He had an active bomb in his hand, and he decides that his last breaths would be best used uttering the words "oh great"! WHAT?!
There's nothing wrong with being the tough guy, every horror or sci-fi movie needs one. But here's the thing about the Silent Hill franchise. They are scary, on not only a visual level, but a psychological level. Horror games like the Resident Evil series are meant to scare you with their stunning visuals and intense scenes, which is why it can have tough main characters like Chris Redfield or Leon Kennedy.
But Silent Hill games have always been about tripping out. Ghost popping up for split seconds, scary noises coming from who knows where, it's all meant to mess with your mind. And I mean YOU, the player, not just the person you're playing as. But the character you control plays a part in you reliving yourself in your brand new jeans. In fact, they play a bigger part than you'd think.
This Harry. He's the main character of the first Silent Hill. He's a confused and frightened father, looking for his daughter in a freaky ghost town. He's not exactly the type of character to run with his tail with his legs, but he's no Daryl. And that's what makes him a great SIlent Hill protagonist. Harry and the other Silent Hill series protagonists have different attitudes when they enter the scary environment they're being forced to traverse; but so far, none of them have been tough or ruthless.
But that's actually what you want in a Silent Hill protagonist. Like I said earlier, Silent Hill games are meant to get in your head. This is a formula that works. It causes the player to be more paranoid than just downright freaked out. While part of this comes from the strange and scary imagery in the game, like ghosts and other apparition figures popping out from nowhere and leaving quicker than they arrived, a lot of it also comes from the character you're playing as.
When you're playing as a certain character, not only can you feel empowered by them, but you can also find yourself entering their mind, and seeing the game in their point of view. It almost unknowingly happens in all videogames. When you're playing adventure games like Tomb Raider or Uncharted, you'll start to feel and think like a real adventurer. You'll find yourself solving challenging puzzles with ease, and discovering locations needed to continue in the game. You don't need hints or anything like that, because you're starting to think the way the character does.
"If I was Nathan Drake, I'd probably check to see if that boulder is movable". Thoughts like that help you to connect with the character. This is what makes Silent Hill games so freaky. As you play as Harry, you take control of a character who is looking for his daughter, frightened of what may have happened to her. The longer the play the game, and the more you get into it, you start to think like Harry. Unfortunately, Harry is exactly thinking straight throughout the game. His concern for his daughter mixed with the strange happenings in Silent Hill are enough to make him panicked, the same goes for you. So let's look back at Norman 'Daryl' Reedus.
While it's a but unfair to think of him as only Daryl when he's in a different role, that's just how people will see him. When you do so well in a role for so long, you're bound to be associated with that role no matter what else you do. His performance as Daryl is what makes me think he might not be the protagonist Silent Hills needs though. But it's not just Daryl, all of his roles make me think he won't do so well. Not in terms of acting, no I think he'll do a phenomenal job there. But it all goes back to what people expect of him. If he acts the way he always does, as the tough guy, I just don't think that will fit well with the Silent Hill franchises form of horror.
Like I said before, Silent Hill is heavily psychological, and part of the thing that makes it freaky is the connection you have with the main character. With a rough and tough character played by Norman Reedus, you'll still get scared for sure, but less so when you're put in control of a character who's attitude is "Let's go kill some ghosts!" instead of "W-What was that?" But Norman Reedus is an amazin actor, and I think he could pull off the frightened character type. But then that poses ANOTHER problem. People who have seen him in The Walking Dead, and that's a majority of TV viewers, will most likely find it a bit odd to see "Daryl" acting like that. It's like seeing Batman being all...happy.
I know it's not too much of a big deal, after all the game is still probably going to be incredibly scary, but I've just always felt that the connection between you the player and the main character of the game was the most important. Especially when it comes to these psychological games. Silent Hill is smart scary, not gross scary. So what can they do to make it as smart scary as the others? I'm not suggesting they fire Norman, I definitely want to see him in this, but here's somethings they can do to make Silent Hills as mentally freaky as the rest.
Introduce an 'Escort' A.I.
'Escort' A.I.'s, you either love em or hate em. Either way, they make the game more challenging. Now, not only do you have to worry about keeping yourself alive, there's this computer-operated character that's death results in an automatic game over! Sometimes, they're nothing but annoying nuisances. I'm looking at you Natalya.
But other times, they can be endearing characters that you actually want to keep alive. But no matter how you feel about the person you're escorting, you ALWAYS nearly lose your mind trying to keep them alive! I think that Silent Hills would do well with this formula. Norman Reedus should definitely have a son or a daughter, or someone close to him that he wants to keep alive and fears for throughout the game. This projects towards the player especially if the game can make you feel for the escort as much as the protagonist does.
Just look at The Last Of Us, a game about the zombie apocalypse. You find out that you have the cure to the virus, a way to save the world, and it lies in Ellie. But Joel's father-like feelings towards Ellie projected on to the player, enough to make you (massive spoiler right here)
save Ellie from being cut open to retrieve the cure from inside her, effectively dooming the human race!
That's what I want to see in Silent Hills. The player would be more afraid of getting this A.I. killed than themselves, making the game psychologically frightening again!
Break The 4th Wall
Eternal Darkness is a game for the Nintendo Gamcube, it's known for being one of very few Nintendo horror games, and for being incredibly difficult and unforgiving. One of the most challenging and unforgiving aspects of the game, is it's constant effing with the players minds! Just look at this video of the game DELETING PLAYERS' SAVE FILES!
Yes, that's the game deleting the save files itself, and the player can't do anything about it. Luckily, it was just a hallucination, and the files were never actually deleted. But it's this, and all of its other 'sanity effects', as they are called, that make the game so psychologically fear-inducing. You never know what'll happen next. I think that Silent Hills should use this gimmick.
Imagine, you're playing the game. Norman says a cool thing like "Man, I ain't afraid of no ghosts!" (you know, a line that's never been used before), and all of a sudden, your screen goes absolutely black. You hear little scuffling noises, but the screen is still pitch black. All of a sudden you hear a loud noise, and your graced with this face on the screen:
It then starts speaking DIRECTLY TO YOU! By then I imagine your on your third or fourth pair of pants. Anyway, that would be a freaky tool to use, and would absolutely make this game the scariest of all time!
But maybe I'm just paranoid about this whole thing. I want it to be good, and its got the best team working on it that you could ask for. It's got Hideo Kojima, videogame king, with Guillermo del Toro, horror king. Of course, Kojima may be backing out of the project, but his influence will surely be in this game. So I have no doubt that the game will absolutely and stunningly scary no matter what.
What do you think?
Do you think Silent Hills will be a good game?
Which gaming gimmick do you think Silent Hills should have?
What's that? You want to write your own article about Silent Hills? Or anything else?! That's insane! Where would even find such a place to do—