This transition [in the videogame industry], mostly due to boring shifts in economic and market values, afflicts the horror genre most deeply. Japanese-led horror prizes the abstract, the unknown—ghosts in the family mansion, the secrets people keep from themselves, and all manner of accidental mysteriousness due to cultural gaps and differences in design priorities (bad translations, hollow voice acting and clumsy controls are often what makes these games feel so artful and disempowering, but were probably not intentional choices, as much as we wish they were). A world where Western development has economically and culturally dominated means that clean power fantasies and big-budget cap-and-slash are the norm.
We were raised on blunt, unpleasurable slogs through ill-lit rooms, desperately rattling locked doors. We now have elegant festivals of dismemberment, an arsenal of powerful weapons, and the villain’s motivations are always revealed and understood in full by the end. The scalpel-wielding nurses with their bandage-wrapped faces were a metaphor for entropy and sexual frustration, probably. I mean, we thought so. These days, you automatically tap-flick the fast zombie’s head off before it erupts in well-documented scientific mushrooms.
— Leigh Alexander sings the song of Silent Hill,
Anyone who’s read Liesmith will know its aesthetic is, um, really influenced (to put it mildly) by Silent Hill 2, which was my first SH and absolutely scared the shit out of me when I was about 19 or so.
The SH franchise might live on, but it won’t be doing it coming out of a big budget studio; it’ll be from the indie scene, like most of the actually scary scary horror games of the last few years (e.g. Amnesia, Five Nights at Freddie’s, Slender).
(Speaking of which: for people who liked SH’s combination of ambiguous plot, creepy atmosphere, awful fucking controls, and batshit insanity, y’all should go check out Pathologic, which was a terrible-great game from a decade (?) or so ago, which is getting a Kickstarted remake.)