Okay, granted there is still the slim possibility that P.T. isn’t representative of the final product. It’s also possible that the TGS trailer is just a trailer, not meant to represent gameplay. So far though, all indications are that Silent Hills is going to be a first person fearfest.
I get it, Outlast surprised a lot of people, myself included. Running and crouching through corridors in dimly lit closed spaces with popup scares and plays on perception is a great way to freak some folks out. Maybe even adding extra-terrestrials to the main quest of the game is also a way to freak people out but that’s an editorial for a different day.

On the bright side we have Kojima and film director Guillermo Del Toro on board to make the transition smooth. Del Toro has a ton of horror juice built up after his game inSane and his movie based on H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness got cancelled. We also have the chance of this game being the flagship for the possible resurgence of horror as a viable genre. Hills looks like a definite step up from Downpour, which I enjoyed more than most but let’s face it it was no Silent Hill 2. On that front the first person perspective could help the series stay alive among a growing population of gamers who prefer everything in first person.

There’s one thing about Silent Hill that has never been aces and that is the combat. It always tried to walk that fine line between the slow and awkward movements of a normal person with an unusual bludgeon and the unpredictable nature of the horrible creatures that were hunting them. I think Homecoming was onto something but it was never realized. If it does become a first person game there’s the potential for better combat. The numerous whacking objects could be aimed at limbs for crippling, sharp objects at heads for severing, guns for stopping power. The possibilities open up the more you think about it.

First person games can also present a level of personal interaction that fits certain kinds of horror experiences better. You just don’t know what is behind you until you look, and that means paranoia. A third person perspective can give away a lot of what is coming after all. First person can be great for a horror game, but isn’t this supposed to be within the Silent Hill franchise or did I miss something?

silent-hill-town

On the not so bright side a first person perspective flies in the face of tradition. The Room doesn’t count a whole lot for any argument against this either. So far I don’t see a lot of outrage, hence the title, but as a long time fan of a franchise any big change really grates me. It feels like they are using a whole new game and just dragging the established name with it to get extra sales kind of like Final Fantasy.
Also, if it’s first person, is there a person? P.T. is just a demo so we can’t tell but if Silent Hills basically has you as in you as the protagonist that also ends the great tradition of having protagonists that we get a story about and can connect with since we play as them. In first person mode you ultimately get a story with a big hole in it that you’re supposed to put your face through even if the character does get a name.

Environment and atmosphere play an even bigger role in the series than a main character. The city is a character too. Moving about through Silent Hill, stepping lightly or running for your life, panning the camera around through the fog, listening, wondering what’s around each darkened corner, it was all part of living in that cursed area. Doing this in first person would be harder. Putting you on the ground of the town (which this game may not even do, hell it might not even include the town) means a lot less of it would be visible at any time. That would make the environment less of an overhanging, soul sucking horror star and more of a darkness you run past. Putting a rat in a maze like P.T. does just seems to fit this vision.

This vision just doesn’t seem to fit Silent Hill and I doubt we’re lucky enough for there to be a Silent Hill franchise that continues alongside Silent Hills.

Oh Team Silent, we hardly knew ye.

David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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16 Comments

  1. Well what was shown at TGS was a ‘prototype trailer’, so it could have just been showcasing the setting in 1st. I’m hoping since they’re bringing in Norman Reedus that we’ll get the full title in 3rd person. I too will be pretty disappointed if that doesn’t turn out to be the case.

  2. I am still hopeful that the game will be in third person view, and not first person, Outlast (as you mentioned) was awesome, but I am totally sure that an experience like Silent Hills would be way better in a third person view rather than a first person one…

  3. Why do you think they showed us Norman Reedus as the main character if the final game wasn’t third person ? Come on, think.

    1. You can have a voice over and have him in cutscenes and the game could still be in first person. He is thinking.

      1. Are you serious with what you’re saying ? Seriously ? lol

        1. yeah you can tell by what?
          no ,showing him doesn’t mean nothing in fact it just add to the bait of having a well-know well-loved character in the well-know well-loved new territory of fp horror games.
          silent hill is a BIG franchise it doesn’t need a stupid mediocre adaptation of a comic actor.

    2. God knows what the Norman Reedus reference will mean, Kojima does crazy things. It could just be a walking dead reference and Reedus may not have any part.

  4. Ok, as a big fan of the first 3 games, here’s my take on it.

    I don’t mind first person. You said first person takes away the fact that the character is a character. Not always. Look at Booker in ‘Bioshock Infinite’. You can even go further and show the protagonist in cutscenes, which they would do, otherwise why cast Norman Reedus and not a kickass professional voice actor?

    But even if they went with first, third person is not what made Silent Hill. What made Silent Hill was its type of horror. Japanese, indie-style horror. Horror is very much based on culture. While gore and jump scares are common in Hollywood-style horror, Asian horror is much more disturbing. Silent Hill 1-3 were scary, because the horror was subtle, constant, dreadful and deep “straight from sick minds residing in Hell” stuff (this is a compliment for people like Masahiro Ito). It was not about bursts of adrenaline, like Outlast, which is a fine game and all, but not Silent Hill. Isolation, not being anywhere close to the real world, the town, the cult, the personal element and a deep sadness and emptiness all around.

    So what I did mind about P.T was the jump scares and the fact that, a weird eye-covered hallway, a fetus and a bloody fridge aside, nothing felt like Silent Hill. The radio was lovely, I’ll give them that. P.T was promising, I admit. At least the element of a personal hell, like Silent Hill 2, was there. But there has to be a bit more to recapture that. Coming from a Japanese team, if we go by the names at the credits, I expected it to feel more like that style of horror, which it did not. So I have a fear of them using other types of horror to make it more marketable.

    The concept trailer is what ruined some hope for me, really. It was funhouse horror. Things constantly happening, loud, fast-paced, in your face and not really scary. It was a pretty bad presentation and it was a bombardment of the senses, stuffing as much disturbing imagery in a few seconds as possible. I get they wanted to show us they’re “nuts”, but the subdued and slow and dark and melancholic tone of SH was gone. Just like they advertised the reaction videos to the jump scares, I fear an “entertaining horror” is what they might go for, not the type that made the games Silent Hill games.

    Which is great, variety in horror is great, but don’t slap a very iconic name onto things if you don’t have an absolute grasp of what made that icon and an intention to stick to it. We are still in the very early stages, so I’m not crying my hopes away here, but I hope the next promos out will finally provide some Silent Hill-ness.

    And now this text is huge, so I’ll turn it into a blog post too. :P

    1. text huge but response appreciated, lots of good points!

  5. “Okay, granted there is still the slim possibility that P.T. isn’t representative of the final product.”

    Not slim, this is confirmed already at the end of P.T “This game is not a direct relation to the main game” or something along those lines.

    “It’s also possible that the TGS trailer is just a trailer”

    That TGS trailer was a concept trailer for P.T itself, not Silent Hills, despite Silent Hills appearing at the end.

    “The Room doesn’t count a whole lot for any argument against this either.”

    Was expecting to hear why it doesn’t count but I guess it’s a “cause I say so” type deal? IMO the first person parts of The Room were the best parts.

    “Also, if it’s first person, is there a person?”

    That’s a jump. Anyway, you don’t cast Norman Reedus if you want a blank slate character. He’s also a good indicator that the game will be in 3rd person, because you also don’t cast Norman Reedus and not show him off as much as you can.

    Silent Hills is the best thing that could have happened to bring the series back from the brink, the ‘traditional’-style Downpour sure didn’t. (Although I actually enjoyed that title myself besides some technical issues.)

  6. Wait untill the game is fully released. If it’s bad, then complain.

    Seriously respect the developers’ creative freedom and have faith in Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro.

  7. So … there wasn’t any problem when the latest Silent Hill games relinquished the 3rd person cam to go OTS camera, but suddenly FPS cam is a big no-no?
    As long as your character can fight and scavenge ammunition, the game will be survival horror. Only if he defeats monsters by hide-and-seek, does the game become pure horror.
    Personally, as long as the game is truly scary, the camera is the least of my concerns. First person works a lot better with horror, so I don’t understand why suddenly we must be against it.
    Besides, there’s a good chance the game has 3rd person/OTS camera outdoors, and 1st person cam indoors. That would rock big time and make exploration a lot more intense, when you enter houses to scavenge ammunition.
    Let’s all be happy that Silent Hill has FINALLY returned to its rightful genre (unlike some OTHER survival horror game) and skip the camera bitching, m’kay?

  8. Yeah, I’m sure they got Norman Reedus for the main character and modelled his likeness so that they could put the camera in first person.

    1. Its a Cutscene.. -_-

  9. Im far more concerned that PT has nothing in common with SH, and so far I get feeling we get some weird asian horror with SH name on top of it.

  10. I think one of my concerns with it being in first person is first person has been done to death in horror games, and just about every other game. I agree Silent Hill won’t feel like Silent Hill unless it’s in 3rd person with the creepy town as the backdrop, I mean the characters name’s aren’t ‘Silent Hill’ it’s the town. What’s Silent Hill without the town of Silent Hill.

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