Why Hideo Kojima’s Fox Engine Can’t Save Silent Hill

Hideo Kojima would have to have a lot more involvement than a recent interview indicated he’d be interested in. If he directed Silent Hill, was involved in the writing for Silent Hill, and did the Quality Assurance of Silent Hill, it could once again be the crowning achievement of horror as it was in its heyday. Rather than the hit and miss sometimes quite-good series it has become.

On the other hand, with respect to Hideo Kojima – any competent treatment could save Silent Hill. We’ve already had quite good recent Silent Hill’s that were well received by the critics, and I think, with more polish, a chance at the HD consoles (and PC), and the needed support and talent, that Climax Studios could make a great Silent Hill. But that’s another article (specifically, this one).

Instead we’ve had Silent Hill farmed off to new studios who make glitchy badly running games, regardless of whether or not you think they have any other redeeming features or whether or not you think they’re any good (and the critics in general, myself included, do not), we can all agree they don’t run as well as they could or should.
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Possible Vatra Closure & The Future of Silent Hill

I feel the same way about the possible closure of Vatra as I do about the possible closure of any other producer of sub-standard products that work poorly.

Here’s an idea.

Give the next Silent Hill game to someone with a proven track record, whose optimised code works perfectly, has produced games that stretch what hardware they’re produced on. Remember how poorly Homecoming and Downpour ran? Imagine a Silent Hill for the HD consoles that pushes the limits of the hardware the way Silent Hill used to. The company that has the highest Silent Hill aggregated ratings both from users and critics of the post Silent Hill 4: The Room era. The company that made the games that prove they understand both how traditional Silent Hill works and also how to reimagine it in interesting ways. How much promise would a third game hold?

Maybe it’s time we gave it back to Climax Studios?

Everything That’s Wrong with Silent Hill and Video Game Horror in One Statement

“How do you make Pyramid Head scary when he’s seen from a topdown perspective? You do it by having him SHRED through your HP with every swipe.” – director of WayForward (Silent Hill: Book of Memories), Adam Tierney.

Getting killed quickly in a videogame is not scary or horror – it is inconvenient and annoying.

Otherwise Mega Man is one of the greatest horror games of all time.

We Deserved Amy

Amy was a promising new release for 2012’s promising first quarter in which we were to be treated to several horror games. It was universally panned. Did it deserve to be so? Well, probably, but lots of games are praised for the very same things that Amy was slammed for.

IGN’s Colin Moriarty starts by calling it “a supremely muddled mess of controller-throwing frustration and piss-poor game design choices”. The poor game design choices? “Want to pick up that item on the ground? You better be positioned in a pixel-perfect fashion … How many times can a gamer possibly be expected to do the same few things over and over again? … Amy’s checkpoint system wouldn’t necessarily be so unforgiving if the game was even remotely playable, but since so much of the game requires insane amounts of trial and error — and a myriad of unfair deaths due to terrible controls both in and out of combat — this might be the most frustrating aspect of the entire experience … replaying the same 20-minute segment of a chapter a dozen times as you try to figure out what you’re actually doing wrong … gave up out of sheer anger and frustration”. Continue reading

Screw Survival Horror

There is a reason that when ‘Survival Horror’ and horror games when placed together and conflated with each other, don’t seem to fit. A game like Silent Hill 2 doesn’t really share much in common with Dead Space 2. Perhaps that’s an unfair comparison, since Silent Hill 2 is highly regarded as a classic, whereas Dead Space 2 was beloved for the first week of its release. How about a game like Siren: Blood Curse compared to say, Resident Evil 5? They don’t really go together, and I really don’t think it has anything to do with how good any of these games are. Continue reading