No one expected Konami to announce a new entry in its Silent Hill franchise, and the publisher’s surprise reveal didn’t end there. Not only is Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima behind the upcoming Silent Hills, but also famed director Guillermo del Toro. On top of that, they released P.T. (Playable Teasuer) for PlayStation 4, a free-to-play demo that did a wonderful job scaring thousands and possibly millions of people around the world; learn more about P.T. here.
While the demo doesn’t necessarily represent the final Silent Hills game starring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, it begs the question of whether or not Kojima will stick with a first person view. Previous Silent Hill video games are in third person, and there’s a chance all parties involved will keep with tradition.
That doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. We think of Silent Hills as a reboot of the franchise, and with that must come change. What better way to mix things up than to switch perspective?
There is of course a valid argument for third person that goes beyond the Silent Hill legacy. Considering how realistic the virtual Norman Reedus appears, it would be a shame to waste the character model and motion capture staring through his eyes instead of at him. Conversely, that’s what cut scenes are for. Silent Hill games are known for having twisted storylines, and cut scenes give Reedus’ character the best chances to shine.
Aside from that, the P.T. demo is great. Once you learn how to avoid the ghost it becomes less intimidating, but the first time through you’re at its mercy; no shortage of scares to go around.
The high level of immersion that comes from going first person is somewhat difficult to achieve in third, particularly because with the latter, players manipulate the camera to look around corners without actually rounding them, a tactic we’ve used and exploited for years.
Not only that, but aside from the Dead Space series, the biggest scary games to come out over the last few years are first person. Case in point, Outlast, Amnesia: A The Dark Descent (and Amnesia: Machine for Pigs), Daylight and Slender: The Eight Pages. That doesn’t mean Kojima Productions should follow everyone else, but there’s something to be said for being on trend.
Perhaps most importantly, P.T. is an excellent sliver of a game that we desperately want more of. Playing it and then transitioning to third person would be somewhat jarring, though by the time Silent Hills comes out, P.T. will in all liklihood be a distant memory.
Still, considering the many times we jumped and screamed over the past few days, Silent Hills belongs in first person. Of course, we’ll play the game regardless.
What do you think? Should Silent Hills be in third or first person?