Perhaps you’ve heard that a skilled dataminer recently found that there was more to P.T., the infamous “playable teaser” for the canceled Silent Hills, than meets the eye. Well, he’s not done digging, and has turned up even more scares hiding just out of frame in Hideo Kojima’s horror demo, including a grotesque corpse.
P.T., the infamous “playable teaser” for Silent Hills, is a masterclass in tension using nothing but a looping hallway and a single ghost. Recently, dataminer Lance McDonald, who has also dug into Dark Souls and Bloodborne to find cut content, revealed that Lisa, the terrifying wraith that sometimes attacks players, is always hiding behind the player.
As he continues to poke at the game’s code, McDonald has learned a few more interesting facts about this strange demo turned horror classic.
His latest discovery focuses on how P.T. manages to transform itself around the player and summon Lisa into view at key points. The secret? All those things, from torn photos to Lisa herself, are always there. They’re just invisible until the game flips a switch and decides to show them to the player. This means that while Lisa is technically always following the player, another version of her is perpetually standing in the middle of the hallway and is conjured into view with a quick change of variables.
Of course, this is somewhat expected. Most games track different states with flags and switches. Simply changing a 0 to a 1 is enough to alter a world state. That P.T. maintains its haunted house through fast computer magic makes sense. It’s the implications that are spooky. Ghosts that are always watching. A hallway perpetually torn between states. Toggling these different switches reveals how P.T. can pull of its scares, but it’s still creepy. In the best cases, poking at these different triggers reveals hidden content. McDonald found something grisly as a result: a decapitated corpse that players never see, tucked away behind the bathroom door early in the game.
P.T.’s mythos involves mysterious cases of familicide, carried out by fathers against their wives and children. Lisa is presumably victim to one such murder, but we only ever see her vengeful ghost. It turns out that her corpse is in the game, too. Players just usually never see it, since it’s hidden in the bathroom early in the game before they can enter. By the time they do enter, the corpse is gone. McDonald found that the bathroom has multiple states, and that the early game includes a moment where Lisa’s corpse is hidden just out of sight. It’s a graphic scene: Lisa’s headless corpse is half submerged in a full, bloody bathtub. It’s something that the final game only teases, with gruesome stabbing sounds and a blood-spattered room. Turns out that the horrible results of that murder were in the game’s code the whole time.
McDonald continues to poke at P.T. for more secrets, and has been looking into the game’s code for insight into how players actually trigger its convoluted ending, which still isn’t fully understood. There are more discoveries to be had, but even as we learn how P.T. ticks, the horror remains.