Following a similar cleansing of the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain site, the Kojima Productions logo is now conspicuously absent from the website for Silent Hills, the highly-anticipated revival of Konami’s classic survival horror franchise. The disappearing logo has stirred up fears that Hideo Kojima, creator of Metal Gear Solid and one of gaming’s most outspoken designers, is no longer tied to the project as initially announced last year.
Gamespot reported the absence, linking to an archived image of the site from earlier this week, which included the Kojima Productions logo on the bottom left corner. On the current site the Fox Engine logo sits alone now in that same location. When Gamespot reached out for a status update on Silent Hills, what studio is developing it, and whether Kojima is still involved, Konami issued a cagey response:
“Konami has switched from a studio-based to a headquarters-based organization, so [Kojima Productions] wouldn’t be listed as a studio anymore. At this time, there are no additional updates to share.”
No news is not necessarily bad news, but earlier, as-yet-unconfirmed rumors that Hideo Kojima would be leaving Konami entirely after completing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have made fans justifiably concerned about Silent Hills’ status.
Kojima had suggested the possibility of him doing a new Silent Hill game as far back as 2012, but Silent Hills was first formally teased at Gamescom 2014 with a mysterious, playable demo for the PlayStation 4 simply called P.T. (“Playable Teaser”). On completing the demo, it was revealed that Konami would be reviving the classic Silent Hill survival horror franchise with an exciting partnership between Metal Gear maestro Hideo Kojima, Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro, and The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus. It was a unique and exciting way to build up hype for the game’s announcement, with over a million people downloading and playing P.T., according to Sony. Other publishers will likely follow suit with similar, interactive trailers in the near future.
The series began in 1999 with Silent Hill for the original PlayStation, a tense and creepy answer to Resident Evil, which traded the latter game’s visceral thrills and action for a more slow-burning and atmospheric horror. Its sequel, Silent Hill 2 for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, refined that formula even further, and is still regularly cited as one of the finest examples of the horror genre. Two more sequels were developed in-house at Konami, followed by a series of spin-offs, licensed to outside studios, which received mixed receptions.
After a detour into more action-driven gameplay with the Dead Space series, fans of the survival horror genre have been hungry to for a return to its subtler roots. Indie titles like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Amnesia: Dark Descent have filled that niche in recent years, but nothing has approached the anticipation generated by the disturbing P.T. and the revelation that it was the return of one of the genre’s most beloved franchises. The fact that it was being helmed by the iconic designer of Metal Gear Solid and the director of fantastic horror films like The Devil’s Backbone was icing on the cake. The possibility of that Kojima may no longer be involved has made fans understandably anxious that the studio might screw up the revival, as happens all too frequently when major publishers try to cash in on nostalgia.