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Silent Hill: Downpour Comes Full Circle on PS3

Sid Shuman's Avatar + Posted by Sid Shuman on Jan 04, 2012 // Senior Manager, Social Media

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

I’m a sucker for horror games, so I jumped at a recent opportunity to watch a short demo of Konami’s upcoming PS3 survival-horror epic Silent Hill: Downpour. In a development applauded by series fans, Downpour strongly emphasizes creeping psychological horror over the twitchy action of recent entries like Silent Hill: Homecoming.

You play as Murphy, a maximum-security inmate with a deeply troubled past. You awaken on the fringes of the cursed town of Silent Hill after your prison transport bus crashes. True to Silent Hill form, you’ll spend the rest of the game evading the town’s monstrous denizens while piecing together Murphy’s deepest secrets — including the dark truths that brought him to Silent Hill.

I spoke with Producer Devin Shatsky, who answered some key questions while playing through the first section of the game. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get you answers!

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PlayStation.Blog: From an interface perspective, how is Downpour different from the last game in the series, Homecoming?
Devin Shatsky, Producer, Silent Hill: Downpour: We’ve gone with a more realistic weapon and inventory system. In past Silent Hill gamess, you had this magic pocket where you could carry a full arsenal of weaponry — Uzis, swords, hammers and more. That took away from the player’s suspension of disbelief, but it also empowered the player a bit too much and it impacts the scare factor. In Downpour, you’re limited to carrying what’s in your hands, plus a holstered firearm. You’ll want to use your weapons carefully. Each weapon is breakable, so wooden weapons will break after a couple of hits while metal weapons will last longer. Most weapons are everyday items: rakes, bottles, kitchen knives. There are no katanas or the like in this game.

The health system has also seen quite a few changes. There’s no HUD; all that information is tied directly to the character, so he’ll limp, bleed, his clothing will develop holes…we tried to focus as much on realism as possible.

PSB: In Homecoming, your character came from a military background and that reflected itself in the action-centric combat system. How is Downpour changing that?
DS: Yep. In Homecoming, you played a somewhat more badass character. But in Downpour, Murphy is more of an everyman. He’s far from a tough guy. He can fend for himself, but overall he veers much closer to the protagonist of Silent Hill 2. You’ll want to run from enemies more than usual: you may be able to stand toe-to-toe with one enemy, but if you’re outnumbered, the best strategy is to run.

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PSB: What lessons did Konami learn from Silent Hill: Homecoming?
DS: It was reviewed fairly well by the critics and it’s definitely a good game. But I think that Silent Hill fans expect a game that veers more psychological horror versus a lot of combat. Homecoming was a fairly combat-heavy game, which turned off certain fans. There’s a dichotomy among survival-horror players: the Resident Evil fans tend to prefer heavy combat, and Silent Hill fans tend to prefer slower, exploration-based horror. There’s still combat in Downpour, but it’s not nearly as frequent as in Homecoming.

PSB: Which Silent Hill game would you say most closely compares to Downpour?
DS: Definitely Silent Hill 2. Downpour has a standalone story that’s not tied to any other Silent Hill game, so it’s taking the broader concept back to its roots. Silent Hill 2 was one of the big fan favorites in the series, so we took elements that were appealing in that game and integrated them here.

PSB: Will classic enemies such as the Puppet Nurses be returning in any form?
DS: No. In Silent Hill games, the monsters are directly tied to the protagonist’s background, so the enemies in this game all have meaning to Murphy. We won’t be shoehorning in Pyramid Head or the nurses just to do it. It wouldn’t make sense. That could be seen as a mistake of Homecoming — the developers paid fan service by introducing monsters from previous games, but it didn’t really make sense. The core fans called us out on that, and rightfully so.

PSB: But the iconic white fog will return, right?
DS: Definitely. Fog is a visual trademark of Silent Hill, but the main visual theme of Downpour is water. We’ve got a cool randomized weather system that impacts the gameplay: when the weather ramps up, so do the amount of monsters. So if the weather goes to hell, you might want to head indoors and find a place to hide…

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PSB: I’m seeing some open-world influences in the environment designs here. Is that my imagination?
DS: The town is completely explorable. The previous games was a series of locked doors that tended to discourage players from exploring. Downpour has a lot of side quests that aren’t tied to the core linear storyline. You might stumble across a room that triggers a side quest, and completing it might reveal a new bit of Silent Hill lore.

PSB: Longtime Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is no longer with the company. Who will be filling in for audio design?
DS: When Akira Yamaoka left the company, we were forced to look elsewhere. The sound design is handled by Nathan McCree, who has worked on Tomb Raider and it an extremely effective audio designer. In terms of the music score, we hired a Dan Licht, who scores the show Dexter. He’s a great fit for the series. We sought him out because we were huge fans of Dexter and thought he’d get Silent Hill. One great detail is that Dan is a highly accomplished mandolin player, and Akira Yamaoka used to incorporate a lot of mandolin as well, so it’s a perfect fit.

On a side note, we also signed up Korn to perform the title song for Silent Hill Downpour. It’s not a heavy metal sound, it’s a very different sound for Korn. They’ve actually sort of changed gears lately in terms of their sound. But they’re only doing the intro song, not the in-game music.

PSB: How is work on the Silent Hill HD Collection coming along?
DS: We’ll be releasing the Silent Hill HD Collection for PS3 in the first quarter of 2012, and it’ll include HD versions of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3. And for PS Vita, we’ll have Silent Hill: Book of Memories for the launch timeframe. For the PS Vita game, forget everything you know about Silent Hill. Book of Memories is a completely new experience, a multiplayer dungeon crawl that brings in a lot of cool elements from the series. It’s not a hack job with Silent Hill slapped on the box — it’s a very cool game in its own right and it explores interesting elements from the series.

//Add Your Own

63 Comments   14 Replies

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51

+ vinamal_1978 on January 5th, 2012 at 3:08 pm said:

Im thinking that the Silent Hill games should now try and bring out some Ltd Edition stuff for the fans. Not entirely sure what they should contain, but with other game developers now bringing out there own special edition versions of games packed with collectables (EG Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition) it would be fantastic for the true fans of the Silent Hill series (myself since the first PS1 classic) to have the chance of owning some special items.

Please will Konami do this?


52

+ TheDster on January 5th, 2012 at 4:07 pm said:

Is this going to be a full pixel 1080p game or a 720p? Reason i ask is cause i got a 46 inch tv 1080p and when most 720p games are played on ps3 the picture looks ps2 at best. I want to know should i get of ps3 or 360 is why i ask?


53

+ C_Y_P_H_E_R on January 5th, 2012 at 6:26 pm said:

The first game was the best! Will we ever see an HD remake!?


54

+ iamdeceased on January 5th, 2012 at 8:14 pm said:

Awsome my favorite game


55

+ AndroidSpirit on January 5th, 2012 at 11:17 pm said:

@48 American’s know psychological horror: Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Rosemary’s Baby, The Machinist, Black Swan, The Game, Donnie Darko, The Sixth Sense (Indian-AMERICAN writer | director). Beyond this, America is made up of many cultures, thereby, your argument lacks substance.

Also, the game was not developed by “American’s”, it was developed by Vatra in Brno, Czech Republic – a country with volumes of dark history that aided in the structuring of the game.

Now, I could be wrong, and Downpour might be a total POS, but I really believe the game and its developers are attempting at making a true to form Silent Hill game. I can’t wait to play it (especially on my PS 3D Display). We will only know once we see the final product.

Also, keep in mind that the main reason psychological horror isn’t so popular in film and other mediums is because studios won’t take million-dollar risks on a niche genre (especially after the 2011 dead-zone in film that theaters hit).


56

+ Phaetill on January 6th, 2012 at 5:16 am said:

I will hope for the best,but I expect the worst…


57

+ lowerclassbrats7 on January 6th, 2012 at 8:30 am said:

+ Sid Shuman on January 4th, 2012 at 10:36 am said:

“I’m intrigued by Book of Memories, though I’ve not seen it yet. And good question on The Room — wonder why they didn’t include it.”

With the PS3 using the BluRay format it surely can’t be a storage space issue. Most certainly it was omitted as to sell it to us in the Silent Hill Collection Volume 2. It would be included with Shattered Memories, Silent Hill Origins, and maybe even the original Silent Hill from the PS ONE. I’m almost certain that’s what Konami will do with the Metal Gear Solid Collection being that the current collection if far from complete.


58

+ ArchAngelMai on January 6th, 2012 at 10:30 am said:

@55
I wouldn’t even consider some of those horror, since they’re not even classified in the genre. Many of them are thriller’s, which is not the same as horror. Sixth Sense has crescendo in music then you see a random dead figure all of the sudden…not psychological. Black Swan…awesome movie, but I don’t see where you come up with it being a horror movie.
I realize it is a Czech team, but their are No Japanese, No Yamaoka, thus it is not Silent Hill, and I bet there will ne more in your face scaring rather than the feeling of foreboding and disturbance that Silent Hill is famous for. Been to the Czech Republic a few times. Most of the country is run down and desolate. Aside from Marienbad and Peshawar, the country is depressing. So I suppose that entitles them to aime capable psychological horror…but from videos of gameplay and interviews so far, it seems anything but.


59

+ XxKyubi_kunxX on January 6th, 2012 at 8:57 pm said:

@48 and @55

I’m going to have to agree somewhat with 55, though I have to call him out on one thing. Vatra did not make any other Silent Hill title, the only one they have and are working on is Downpour. First three games were made by Team Silent. Homecoming was made by Double Helix, Shattered Memories and Origins were made by Climax Studios. Vatra didn’t come in to this until recently. So countering his argument, yes they were made by the Japanese.

However, I will agree with him for the fact that psychological horror is NOT exclusive to the Japanese.

In fact, many of the inspirational works for Silent Hill come from American movies, books and comics, Jacob’s Ladder being the most prominent.. Many things were borrowed from that [The next post I'll post will tell exactly how.]

Others include The Exorcist III, Event Horizon, Alice, The Cell, and Nightmare on Elm Street. [Other examples of not just inspirational movies but books and comics as well can be found here: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Inspirational_works_of_Silent_Hill It also gives reasons as to how they are related]


60

+ XxKyubi_kunxX on January 6th, 2012 at 9:02 pm said:

(CONT)
This post is taken directly from that wiki.

The film has many settings in common with Silent Hill, such as the hospital and subway. In the first game, Harry Mason dies and everything was just a hallucination in the “bad ending.” In the second game, James Sunderland shares the initials of Jacob Singer and his jacket is very similar to Jacob’s US Army jacket. In the third game, Heather Mason must find the Bergen Street platform. There is a scene of Jacob, strapped to a gurney, going down a nightmarish hospital hall that is reminiscent of the scene in which James is wheeled through a hall on a gurney in Brookhaven Hospital. In the texture files, the same poster Jacob Singer sees in the subway can be found. Among other things, the “twitch” that many monsters do with their heads, one example being Valtiel, was inspired by the film. The hospital scene in the movie depicts a bicycle’s wheel turning by itself, similar to a wheelchair seen in Brookhaven’s basement by Heather. A few moments later, a humanoid is seen in a sort of frame/box, which has also been seen in the series, such as the corpses in Pyramid Head’s lair in the Labyrinth, and around bosses such as Mary and Abstract Daddy.


61

+ XxKyubi_kunxX on January 7th, 2012 at 3:42 pm said:

The heck? Why isn’t my last comment showing? :|


62

+ XxKyubi_kunxX on January 7th, 2012 at 3:45 pm said:

@48 and @55

I’m going to have to agree somewhat with 55, though I have to call him out on one thing. Vatra did not make any other Silent Hill title, the only one they have and are working on is Downpour. First three games were made by Team Silent. Homecoming was made by Double Helix, Shattered Memories and Origins were made by Climax Studios. Vatra didn’t come in to this until recently. So countering his argument, yes they were made by the Japanese.

However, I will agree with him for the fact that psychological horror is NOT exclusive to the Japanese.

In fact, many of the inspirational works for Silent Hill come from American movies, books and comics, Jacob’s Ladder being the most prominent.. Many things were borrowed from that [The next post I'll post will tell exactly how.]

Others include The Exorcist III, Event Horizon, Alice, The Cell, and Nightmare on Elm Street. [Other examples of not just inspirational movies but books and comics as well can be found here: http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Inspirational_works_of_Silent_Hill It also gives reasons as to how they are related]


63

+ GarrettHawke on January 15th, 2012 at 8:31 pm said:

If they can pull this off, they will earn my respect. I cannot wait to play it after reading the interview…


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