When you ask gamers what they think of the Silent Hill series as it exists now, the response isn’t going to be pretty. After starting out strong on the PS1, the Silent Hill franchise reached all new levels of epicness with Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 – two games that to this day are still regarded highly from a graphics, story and design standpoint. Then Silent Hill 4 rolled around and proved to be ok, if not disappointing. But to everyone’s surprise, Konami decided to go in a different direction with the Silent Hill franchise, specifically have the games developed outside of Konami Japan.
Since the Silent Hill games have been handled by Western developers the series has taken a turn for the worse according to the hardcore Silent Hill fans. The verdict may still be out on Silent Hill: Downpour, the upcoming eighth iteration of the franchise, but the perception amongst gamers is that if Team Silent (Konami Japan) isn’t doing it then game = not good. So why did Konami export the Silent Hill development to Western developers? According to Silent Hill: Homecoming artist Kenzie LaMar, Konami disbanded Team Silent as they merely wanted someone else to tackle the series.
LaMar mentions that Konami reportedly wanted the Silent Hill games to be different, thus they opted to have another developer, one that knows what Western gamers want, to take on the series. For the past few years gamers have voiced their displeasure at what the Silent Hill series has become, but Konami has turned all but a deaf ear at gamers complaints. It’s somewhat puzzling to figure out why Konami would want the Silent Hill series to be different as both SH2 and SH3 offered different elements and gave gamers tales that were unlike what is typically featured in most video games.
Team Silent had an incredible amount of talent, especially in the technical field, so something big must’ve happened for Konami to not only ship the Silent Hill franchise to the West but disband Team silent. When Silent Hill 5 was in production the game was rumored to be going back to its roots with the return of key staff members. So either Konami got really apprehensive about the direction of the Silent Hill series, just didn’t feel like taking a creative risk, or some major internal politics happened between Konami and Team Silent that led to the situation we have today. I think the last option could be the likely reason as to why Konami bailed on Team Silent as SH4 was originally an IP that was merely retrofitted to fit certain elements of the Silent Hill franchise, much to the dismay of Team Silent.
It’s a shame that we didn’t see the Silent Hill franchise flourish as much as it could’ve had, especially if Konami is entirely to blame for how things have shaped up over the last four years. But who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and Silent Hill: Downpour will be a return to form for the once mighty franchise.
[via Hell Descent]