Kojima and a Silent Hill reboot?
Reviewed by Mar 19th, 2014

RelyonHorror recently posted an article about Hideo Kojima being asked a fan question about what series he would like to reboot. He responded, “Silent Hill.” Bear in mind that this is not the same thing as Kojima announcing that he will work on the series, just that he’d like to. (I mention this because some people apparently misread or didn’t actually read the article, and took it to mean it was a thing that was definitely going to happen.)

For one thing, I would have concerns about five-hour-long cutscenes trying to tell us every aspect of the story. The open-endedness of previous installments was one of their strong points, and this was one of the reasons people are still discussing the nuances of the games years later. I was recently reading an interview with Kojima in Game Informer magazine, and he was talking about how he always wanted to make films, and also how he doesn’t always want to be known as “that MGS guy.” All of this is understandable. All of this also explains some of the long MGS cutscenes.

On the other hand:

“Honestly, I’m kind of a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies, so I’m not confident I can do it.”

This is kind of concerning. Not just the bit about horror movies, but the “I’m not confident I can do it.” I’m not sure that is the kind of person I’d want working on the series: someone without confidence in being able to do it successfully.

Much has also been said about him calling himself a “chicken” when it comes to horror and scary things. I’m not sure how much this would really matter. On the one hand, maybe he’d be good at identifying things that other people might find frightening. On the other hand, he wouldn’t be making the game single-handedly; other people would be helping him. Indeed, he goes on to say he’d love to help out by “supervising or lending the technology of the Fox Engine.” It’s not as if he’d be working on every single aspect, and I’d be more worried about the writer(s) and those in charge of creature and environment design. Those things are some of the most important aspects that make a Silent Hill game a Silent Hill game. And if there is one thing that we need a return to, I’d say it’s good creature design. This was one of the main things I didn’t like about Downpour: the creature design was a bit boring, or at least many of the creatures would have fit better in something like a FPS or action game (I did like the dolls, though).

I can understand liking Kojima, and respecting his previous work. But another thing that concerns me is that many people who would be in favor of the idea are the types who think Japanese people have magical video game powers. This always seemed disrespectful, from my point of view, when people said the original developers who worked on the first few games were good only because the devs were Japanese. The games were good because they were made by talented and creative people who worked hard their whole lives to be good at what they do. So I wonder if people like the idea because he’s Kojima or because Kojima is Japaneses (if you don’t understand this concern, you probably don’t spend much time on Silent Hill forums). Being Japanese doesn’t automatically mean you’d be the best choice for the series.

I can imaging Kojima saying something like, "I've been ordering the art director to make the RPT character more erotic, and he did it well. The initial target is to make people want to do cosplay and for the figurines to sell well."

However, one of the major things I take issue with is the idea of a “reboot.” The series doesn’t need “rebooted.” How many times do we need to go back to original story, and elements from the first game? I think they’ve probably done enough of that with Silent Hill 3, 0rigins, and Shattered Memories (all of which I liked). So if they mean reboot as in returning to the first game again, I am not in favor of that at all. Silent Hill 1 was perfect. I don’t want anyone to touch it because I don’t want anyone to fuck it up. And to change it would be to fuck it up. I’d much rather someone come up with a new story or a new take on things than revisit the same tired old stuff. If I wanted to play the first three games, I would play the first three games.

Perhaps the Fox Engine could be a good thing, though; anything would be better than the constant freezing I experienced while playing SHHD and Downpour on my PS3. If it can make things look nice and and play well, I’m all for that. I’m just concerned mainly about his lack of confidence and the use of the word “reboot.” Of course, that was contained in the fan question that prompted all this speculation; it’s possible that, given the chance to work on the series, that wouldn’t even be what he would do. I think an experienced team with an interest in the series would be a great thing. Actually, I think Kojima would be a far better choice than attempting to get “Team Silent” back together, even if that were possible (since they’ve mostly all moved on to different companies and/or projects). At least Kojima sounds like he would want to work on it; while many of the members of the original teams have said outright that they would not be interested in working on another Silent Hill installment (and it would certainly seem like a bad idea to have people who are bored with the series and don’t want to work on it involved).

We’ll see if anything comes of this, I guess.

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One Response to “Kojima and a Silent Hill reboot?”

  1. Well, now that there’s a bit of hindsight available, I have to say this situation panned out about as well as it could have. The inclusion of Guillermo del Toro pretty much eases any inhibitions I had about Kojima tackling SH. I think that each sort of ‘shores up’ the other, and that a good balance will be struck in Silent Hills.

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