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Bloober Team Are Perfect for Silent Hill

Bloober Team have proven themselves up to a point, and the now ridiculously hyped Silent Hill franchise is exactly where they should be heading next. Konami has today announced a “strategic cooperation agreement” – which is enough to fuel the flames of rumours going back to the start of the year.

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Yes, it seems to be happening. Silent Hill may be coming back. Years of rumours are finally paying off, which is good news for insiders who’ve been banking on it for what seems like a decade. Because when you’re vague enough, every rumour comes true. Except the one about Sony’s Japan Studios, more the pity.

The Medium was a beautiful love letter to 90s horror. What it lacked – combat, I guess – can be built into future titles. But the proof was there: they get what the genre was. Probably better than most other developers in the industry. Furthermore, they’ll bring that ever-important focus to a once-loved franchise.

Silence on Silent Hill

I say once-loved, because Silent Hill isn’t really anything in 2021. All that hype you read about? All the constant calls for it to be revived? Those aren’t about Silent Hill. Those are about the potential of Silent Hill. It’s about PT, and about the rumours that it’ll be a Sony exclusive. The last Silent Hill game – Downpour – scored 64 on Metacritic on PS3. VG Chartz, for what it’s worth, says it sold about 300,000 copies – compare that to the 12 million sold by Resident Evil 5. This seems to tie in with official announcements from Konami, who say the total sales for the franchise rose by about a million across the HD Collection, Book of Memories and Downpour.

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This is my nice way of saying Silent Hill was in a critical and commercial slump long before the final game. It died for a reason. Horror is niche unless it has the words “Resident Evil” slapped on it, and even then the movies did a lot to keep the franchise in the public eye between 3 and 4.

People who get annoyed about Silent Hill by Bloober Team don’t care about Silent Hill. They care about the image of Silent Hill that they had in their head. That version died with Kojima’s exit from Konami. A Sony-produced Silent Hill would probably follow their formula which, while not a bad thing, isn’t really what the series is about. Hell, it’d probably be more palatable to the mainstream though.

It’s easy to feel sorry for Bloober Team when you take all this into account.

The Future of the Franchise

What can they do? They can point out that every single one of their games, on average, has scored higher than any Silent Hill game since the PS2 era. That’s a good start. Even if their next game is exactly the same as their last, they’re bringing the franchise average score up.

They can just do their best. They can produce a really good title that’s in the style of the PS1/Ps2 games, with awesome graphics and a combat loop mixed in, and it’ll be well-worth playing.

Unfortunately, this won’t be enough for some, but what can you do? Most things aren’t enough for these people. They’d only be excited if it had a $100m budget, and then they probably wouldn’t buy it full price anyway.

Bloober Team aren’t up against a failing, dead franchise that they’re going to lovingly revive. They’re up against a failing, dead franchise that people have built up in the head over most of a decade. That’s the challenge, and there’s no way of living up to it.

So they have to ignore the hate, focus on what they’re good at, and the end result can speak for itself.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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