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Video Game / Silent Hills

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"'My voice, can you hear it? This sign, can you read it? I'll wait forever if you'll just come to me.' Her words - To where do they lead? Be the first in the world to find out." (Avoid playing if you have a heart condition.)
— Game Description

Silent Hills was a short-lived horror-themed video game collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, featuring an unnamed protagonist voiced by (and modeled after) Norman Reedus. The game was to be developed by Kojima Productions.

Silent Hills was originally announced at Gamescom 2014 with a free, seemingly-unrelated demo called P.T. by upstart developer 7780s Studio, made available on the PlayStation 4 directly after the announcement. Players who completed the demo's cryptic puzzles got to watch a cinematic teaser for Silent Hills, which revealed P.T. to be a "Playable Teaser" for a long-rumored new game in the Silent Hill series.

Unlike the other Silent Hill games that play in a third-person perspective, P.T. plays in first-person. The game takes place in a suburban home with a single hallway that you simply walk through to the end — only to find yourself back where you started. As the hallway loops, it changes, with the home becoming more dark and grotesque the more it loops, and you will have to solve various cryptic puzzles to advance while avoiding the ghost woman Lisa and learning the vague history of what seems to be the family that lived here.

Thanks to the falling out between Konami and Hideo Kojima,note  distribution of P.T. ceased on April 29, 2015. Konami officially cancelled Silent Hills soon after, then rescinded all digital licenses worldwide for P.T., making the game impossible to re-download (and near-impossible to play) regardless of whether someone had previously downloaded it. Needless to say, fans got pissed — and started an online petition to convince Konami that it should put the game back into development. Kojima, Del Toro, and Reedus at least would re-partner for Kojima's first project after leaving Konami, Death Stranding. So as things stand now, the "playable teaser" will remain a standalone game.

You can still watch the teasers for P.T. and Silent Hills, as well as tons of in-game footage of P.T., on YouTube.

P.T. and the Silent Hills teaser contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Alien Geometries: The hallway you are in perpetually loops in a neverending cycle, with each new cycle being marked by going down a small set of steps and walking through a door, perpetually going downward.
  • And Starring: At the end of the playable teaser, after listing the two main creative minds behind the project, the game reveals Norman Reedus as the voice actor for the protagonist.
  • Arc Number: Near the end of the teaser, a mysterious voice constantly repeats "204863," which is both Hideo Kojima's birthday (the 24th of August, 1963) with the 0 and 4 swapped, and the coordinates to The Bermuda Triangle.
  • Arc Words: "Watch out. The gap in the door... it's a separate reality. The only me is me; are you sure the only you is you?"
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Jokingly discussed; during the Gamescom interview, Kojima said that he wanted to include a pair of trousers in the Limited Edition to invoke this trope.
    Kojima: Originally, we were thinking of making a game that would make you pee your pants. Now we are aiming for a game that will make you s*** your pants.
  • Death of a Child: One of the loops has a baby locked in a fridge dangling from the ceiling, crying out in fear/agony, with blood pouring out of the fridge. Nothing can be done to save it.
  • Door Handle Scare: A door handle suddenly starts to move here.
  • Driven to Suicide: As the loops continue, the game reveals that one of the fathers hanged himself after killing his family.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "You got fired, so you drowned your sorrows in booze."
  • Eldritch Location: The house in which the demo takes place. Time seems frozen at the stroke of midnight, the door in the cellar opens out to the front door in an endless loop, and the whole place slowly goes to hell as the player continues.
  • Evil Laugh: There's a particularly creepy woman's laugh once you cleared the "I can hear them calling me from HELL" puzzle.
  • Eye Scream: A recurring motif in the demo. One puzzle even requires you to gouge out the eye of a woman in a picture. The creepiness intensifies when a gooey substance emerges from the socket.
  • Fetus Terrible: At one point in the demo, there's a creepy deformed baby in the bathroom sink.
  • Foreshadowing: When the protagonist is first waking up, you can just barely see Lisa peeking out from the other side of the door, long before any of her more obvious Jump Scares.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
  • Genre Shift: The demo shifts from previous Silent Hill titles' third-person survival gameplay to first-person exploration similar to such segments from Silent Hill 4: The Room. Whether or not the final game would have kept this perspective remains unknown.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: No matter how long you play for or how many doors you pass through, you will always be in (a variation on) the same hallway and the time will always be 23:59 or 00:00.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The final puzzle requires you to do a number of odd things. The only clues to these are 5 different messages that flash on the screen in Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese and English whenever you collect a photo fragment:
      • After you enter the room, wait until you hear bells chime, signaling midnight.
      • Take ten steps in any direction and you'll hear something behind you. Stop moving, you will hear a baby laugh. ("Non mi mossi più nell'attesa inerte." / "I stopped moving, waiting motionless.")
      • After the noise stops but the radio is still on, speak into your microphone. The baby will laugh again. ("Sussurrei seu nome, mas o vento da noite levou sua voz embora." / "I whispered his name, but the wind of the night took his voice away.")
      • Your controller will start vibrating ("Poi il suo indice scivolò sulla mia mano." / "Then his index finger slipped onto my hand." "つめたい手でした からだがふるえました" / "It was a cold hand. My body was trembling.")
      • Continue to remain still till the vibration stops and the baby laughs a third time. ("Never moving a step, his hand in mine, I waited for it to pass.")
      • The phone will ring. Examine it, then leave the hallway as usual. ("Und durch Nebel schwindenden Bewusstseins glaubte ich, ein Telefon zu hören." / "And through mists of fading consciousness, I thought I heard a phone.")
    • Aside from this, finding the picture pieces is largely straightforward - except one is hidden in the options menu, requiring the player to stay in it for a little bit after picking up a few pieces already.
    • You need to say either "JACK" or "JARITH" in the PS4 controller to end the P.T. demo.
  • Haunted House: The demo takes place in a suburban house being haunted by a dead family.
  • The Hidden Hour: The clock is always at 23:59, or eventually 0:00, no matter how long the player wanders the halls.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Norman Reedus bears a large resemblance to the main character (he was modeled after him).
  • Interface Screw:
    • Part of the game, resulting in messages seemingly left by an indie dev team for internal use.
    • If you stand below the blood pouring from the fridge suspended in the air and look up, your vision will get blurry as if there was actual liquid being poured on your face and eyes.
  • Interface Spoiler: Meta ones:
    • The loading indicator is a reference to the Halo of the Sun symbol from earlier Silent Hill titles.
    • The options menu resembles that of Kojima Productions's Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
    • Of course, there's the use of the FOX engine itself.
  • Ironic Hell: One interpretation of PT: you're playing as one of the fathers who murdered his own family, trapped forever in the house where you killed them. This is reinforced by the fact that during the red-hall speed-run loop, after reliving the murder, the voice on the radio is revealed to be the fetus in the sink, who mentions that the main character's wife had gotten a job at the grocery store 10 months back, and only because the manager there liked how she looked in a skirt. So, the odds are even higher that in that case of Pater Familicide, it was because the man's wife had gotten pregnant from an affair with said manager, and the fetus in the sink was the manager's rather than the husband's.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: It's evident that the teaser has a plot, but players will have to figure it on their own using subtle clues from gameplay.
  • Jump Scare: Lisa (the hostile ghost in the playable teaser) contributes almost all of the game's jumpscares.
    • She will often appear behind you to attack you.
    • If you fail to do a step in the final puzzle correctly, you'll see Lisa standing and convulsing at the back of the hall. If you get close to her, she'll suddenly walk through and past you.
    • If you try opening one of the corridor's doors, she'll pop up from inside and shut the door.
    • The large decoration comes loose and falls onto the ground suddenly with the loud noise of glass smashing. If you look above just after, you'll see Lisa staring down at you from the balcony.
  • Left Hanging: We'll never know exactly what significance any of this has, as the game has been cancelled.
  • Look Behind You: On the seventh and eighth loops the radio may prompt you: "Look behind you. I said, look behind you.". Doing so results in a jump scare by Lisa.
  • Meaningful Name: The "s" in the fictitious 7780s Studio supposedly stands for "Silent Hills." The series' namesake, the city of Shizuoka, Japan, has "7780" as its postal code; "Shizuoka" literally means "silent-hill." Add an "s," and there you go.
  • Mind Screw: Courtesy of a number of visual effects and the "Groundhog Day" Loop gameplay.
  • Minimalism: P.T. crams the maximum amount of creepy into two hallways, a bathroom, an entryway, and a tiny dark room. There's not even a "use" button, at most you can usually just zoom in on something.
  • Mythology Gag: All of which technically double as Foreshadowing given the nature of the demo:
    • The ubiquitous flashlight and radio are both present and accounted for.
    • The roaches aren't new to the series, though they aren't the giant kinds seen in the first few games and they don't attack the player.
    • The creepy baby in the demo looks like one of the aliens from the joke endings in earlier Silent Hill games.
    • Decrepit bathrooms, a staple of the Silent Hill series, return.
    • Ominous red lights appear, as well as subtle sounds of a siren in the background.
    • Similar to previous entries, the teaser features a lot of subtle scares in an empty, mundane setting with things slightly off, suggesting something much more terrifying is going on.
    • At the very end of the demo once you complete it, the Silent Hills title is shown while the Silent Hill theme song plays.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Much of P.T. is walking through an empty hallway, not knowing who or what might ambush you.
  • Offing the Offspring: The news broadcast on the radio talks about multiple familicides perpetrated by fathers. The family that is the main subject of the broadcast (presumably Lisa's family) goes over the husband shooting his pregnant wife, his son, his daughter, and even the wife's unborn child. The broadcaster posits social issues such as unemployment and childcare as probable causes for the familicides.
  • Ominous Mundanity: The same hallway of the unassuming-looking suburban house becomes an Epiphanic Purgatory.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The screen glitches throughout the teaser, especially near the end.
  • Pater Familicide: The subject of the first loop's radio broadcast, which set the implied context of the teaser (regarding Lisa the ghost and the sink fetus). The closing words from the "Radio Voice" are from a deceased victim of such a crime as well ("But one day, he goes and kills us all!").
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The player, who is controlling either Lisa's husband or some hapless guy presumed to be him, is forced to relive the memories of her and her children's murder while she stalks him, snaps his neck, and presumably severs his genitals.
  • Rape and Revenge: Figurative, in that the murder was "the rape" — the husband having controlled her offspring by killing them all, out of his own insecurity that the baby might not be his.
  • Red Filter of Doom: The hallway gets bathed in an eerie red light towards the end of the game as the psychological horror starts to reach its climax.
  • Red Herring: Not all of the things you experience in P.T. affect your ability to progress. For instance, your flashlight will glow different colors just to mess with you, or the ghost will start to appear at midnight in random locations.
  • The Reveal: Built into P.T. After completing the "final loop," you find out that you've just finished playing a "Playable Teaser" for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's new Silent Hill game.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's unknown what really Silent Hills was going to be, considering the ending of P.T. states that the teaser doesn't reflect the final result. Although one could argue that the TGS trailer did show what people were to expect. But again, it's unknown.
  • Scenery Gorn: The increasingly decaying home is impressive.
  • Scenery Porn: The few shots that we see of Silent Hill's streets are gorgeous.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Look behind you. I said, look behind you."
  • Self-Contained Demo: P.T. was meant to be this to a new Silent Hill game. However, the game ended up being cancelled, and eventually P.T. itself was pulled from the Playstation Store.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The baby found in the sink strongly resembles the baby from Eraserhead.
      • Speaking of David Lynch: the style of the long, narrow, and sparsely-lit hallway bears a striking resemblance to the AXXoN N set from Inland Empire, especially when the lights become dimmer, are removed, or change to less traditional colors in later loops.
    • There are a few references to Junji Ito's work, including the spinning and spiralling eyeball paintings - eyes being a very prominent aspect of Ito's art style, and often illustrated in particularly lavish detail in his works - and the very subtle downward spiral made by the hallway loops. Ito is, unsurprisingly, a friend of Hideo Kojima. It was eventually revealed that Ito was to be one of the game's principal artists.
    • There's references to the historical War of The Worlds broadcast in a radio message, although everything you hear (sans the number "204863") is in Swedish. Those references specify "75 years ago"...which is unusual, given that P.T. had actually been released 76 years ago...
    • This isn't the first time a Hideo Kojima product has initially pretended to be a Survival Horror game from an unknown developer.
    • The featureless and empty room the player starts in resembles the rooms of the labyrinth in House of Leaves.
  • Signature Style:
    • The demo ends with a phone call on a black screen, identically to every Metal Gear game Kojima has developed since Metal Gear Solid in 1998. Doubly fitting since a radio to indicate the presence of monsters is a Silent Hill staple.
    • Kojima is known for screwing with the graphical interface in his games. One even results in a black screen, stating "these bugs must be fixed before the final game is released," and then the player restarts.
  • Slasher Smile: Lisa constantly has this expression. Given how she also Death Glares at you in a few encounters, it could also be a Grin of Rage.
  • Spooky Painting / Spooky Photographs: The teaser features paintings and photographs all over the hallways, that later turn into animated spiraling eyeballs.
  • Stealth Sequel: Initially presented as a demo for a completely new game from an independent studio, the ending instead reveals it to be an official part of the Silent Hill franchise... or it would've been, at any rate.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Subverted. Lisa certainly has all the qualities of one, minus the stringy hair. She appears to have Boyish Short Hair that exposes her horrifying face.
  • Surreal Horror: The demo has you looping through a slowly-degrading suburban home over and over again, talking to a mutated paper bag, being lectured by a fetus in a sink, and other strange things. Some of the best scares in the demo come from the sheer oddness and weird, almost uncomfortable surroundings.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • One of the weirdest ever — in a tweet, Kojima explains that he intentionally capped the framerate for P.T. at 30fps, to make it seem like an independent game.
    • Additionally, the amateur photo that appears when you go to download the teaser was a photograph of an employee's backyard. Kojima used it to give off the impression that the teaser was from an indie developer.
  • Theme Song Reveal: At the very end, "Silent Hill" — the theme of the franchise — starts playing.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The P.T. trailer has scenes from P.T.'s stinger that reveal it to actually be a teaser for Silent Hills.
  • Twist Ending: The teaser. A total of 4 major swerves if you had no idea what the teaser was going into it. And they are:
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: Besides a few disturbing rooms, the bulk of PT takes place in a building that constantly loops as the player goes through a hallway and eventually comes back to the beginning.
  • Video Game Demake: One fan has recreated the demo as a 1998 Playstation 1 game.
  • Villain Protagonist: Strongly hinted at. The radio broadcast mentions two different men who both murder their families. If it is the case, your wife, son, and unborn child have a good reason to haunt you. Amazingly, your daughter doesn't seem to hold a grudge. Unless of course, you aren't actually the father. In which case, everything above is a Subverted Trope. We don't (and may never) know for sure.
  • Womb Horror: P.T. involved some pregnancy-based horror such as the talking fetus in the bathroom.
  • Wham Shot: Norman Reedus' face reveal at the very end, as well as the reveal of the Silent Hills title card.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: You start P.T. waking up in a dingy cement room, and will return there each time you "die" in the Haunted House loop.

Alternative Title(s): PT