Earlier this year, the internet was awash in rumors, reports, screenshots, and vague Instagram posts pointing to a new upcoming Silent Hill game. Maybe even multiple games, including a remake of Silent Hill 2. Now Konami has finally made the news official, including that the Silent Hill 2 remake will be helmed by the Polish devs at Bloober Team. The studio had tried to tip-toe around the speculation, but that didn’t stop some players from freaking out about what the beloved PS2 classic might end up like in the hands of the team that made 2020’s The Medium. Today’s confirmation has only reignited the debate about whether Bloober is up to the seemingly impossible task of winning over Silent Hill 2's cult following while modernizing the 20-year old horror game.
It’s been a decade now since the last new mainline entry in Konami’s Silent Hill series. 2014’s P.T., the Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro demo for the canceled Silent Hills game, is the last meaningful window anyone’s gotten into that horrorverse, and like diehards of other gaming franchises, Silent Hill fans have been desperate for news of a revival. That dynamic was a key driver of last year’s obsession with believing that a mismanaged indie project called Abandoned was secretly Kojima’s next stab at the series.
The rumor mill was up and running again this year as well. Here’s a quick rundown of the where the Silent Hill reboot rumors started and where they ended up:
- July 6, 2020: Leaker Dusk Golem says a new Silent Hill is in the works at a Japanese developer.
- February 10, 2021: YouTuber TheGrateDebate lays out dozens of developer tweets and reports to make the case that Bloober Team could be working on a new Silent Hill.
- February 18, 2021: Bloober Team CEO Piotr Babieno tells Gamesindustry.biz it’s “been working for more than a year on another gaming project, another horror IP, and we’re doing this with a very famous gaming publisher.”
- February 18, 2021: VGC reports that a Japanese developer is working on a Silent Hill project, but that Konami also shopped around licensing projects out to other studios.
- June 30, 2021: Bloober Team and Konami announce a strategic partnership to make games together.
- October 1, 2021: VGC reports Konami is reviving its classic series, including Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Silent Hill.
- March 14, 2022: Reddit user spots new trademark from Konami for the series.
- May 12, 2022: Dusk Golem shares images allegedly leaked from a 2020 version of a new Silent Hill and claims they were later copyright striked by Konami.
- May 15, 2022: Podcaster and leaker NateTheHate tweets that multiple Silent Hill projects are in development including a new mainline entry, side stories, and a Silent Hill 2 remake by Bloober Team that would be a timed exclusive for PlayStation.
- May 15, 202: VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb says his sources corroborate NateTheHate’s tweet, adding that a reveal was originally planned for E3 2021 but later scrapped. According to Eurogamer’s Vikki Blake Bloober Team is definitely working on something Silent Hill related.
- May 16, 2022: VGC reports that in addition to a remake, new mainline game, and episodic stories, according to its sources the images leaked by Dusk Golem were from a P.T.-style teaser codenamed “Sakura.”
- October 16, 2022: Konami broke its silence and announced a mysterious Silent Hill showcase.
- October 19, 2022: Four Silent Hill games are revealed to be in development, alongside a new Silent Hill movie, with Bloober Team making the remake.
Catch all that?
Given the overwhelming evidence even earlier this year that Bloober Team, whose recent psychological horror games include Layers of Fear, Observer, and Blair Witch, was working on a Silent Hill, IGN asked the studio at the time about the rumors at the Polish games conference Digital Dragons earlier this week.
“We can’t comment on anything we are doing because we appreciate our relationship with our partners, of course,” Babieno said. “So we can’t [say] anything. We will make an announcement about our future projects as soon as we can. So then you will know much more.”
To make this non-denial even weirder, IGN reported that Babieno went onto chuckle while adding “officially,” implying the rumors already out there weren’t completely bunk. He continued, “I would say that it’s hard to work with someone who [owns an IP you’re working on], but we are always talking with those licensors, [saying] ‘Guys we would like to use your license, but we would like to tell our own story.’”
Now that we know the rumor was true, it leave’s Bloober with the unenviable task of remaking a classic despite its spotted record of success in the horror genre. Any departure from the spirit and vibe of the early Silent Hill games is exactly what fans are afraid of, and why Bloober’s potential involvement invited a mini-backlash earlier this year and again following the showcase.
“This horror game is not very spooky, but sometimes very boring,” Zack Zwiezen wrote in Kotaku’s review of The Medium. Bloober’s games have occasionally been criticized for struggling to build tension and falling into cliche. “bloober team remaking silent hill 2 is like a student in math class who failed every exam suddenly became the teacher,” podcaster Bobsvids tweeted in May. “The phrase ‘Bloober Team Silent Hill 2 remake’ evokes the same feelings that ‘Quantic Dream Star Wars’ does,” read another tweet that gained traction at the time.
Some people’s disappointment with Bloober’s approach to horror was summed up in a clip of YouTuber Jerma playing Layers of Fear and breaking down cackling as a ghost child slams into a wall and falls over. The game came out just a year after Bloober released the Bomberman-inspired Basement Crawl, one of the worst-rated PS4 games at the time, and marked the studio’s polarizing turn toward first-person horror. Some have found it refreshing. Others have found it extremely meh.
It was followed up by 2017’s cyberpunk-themed Observer which was genuinely excellent and more widely praised, but would end up proving the exception rather than the rule. While there are those who loved The Medium, Bloober’s most recent string of projects has left others feeling like its talent has been stifled by an over-reliance on worn out psychological tropes and cheesy jump scares. A perfect recipe, in other words, to completely bungle Silent Hill 2's return.
Here were some of the reactions immediately following today’s official announcement:
Of course, no psychological horror game could be greater than the one fans are playing with themselves as they pour over comparison shots pixel by pixel while waiting for the game to finally come out.
Update 10/19/22 5:40 p.m. ET: A version of this story originally ran on May 19, 2022. It’s been updated today following Konami’s Silent Hill showcase.