As companies dig into back catalogs looking for the hits of yesteryear, there are a few games that truly deserve a revisit. Remasters and remakes are usually a safe bet for companies. Instead of investing in an unproven IP, relying on the classics that already have stature is often the play. This is why it is all the more confusing that Konami hasn't decided to bring back one of the true horror classics, Silent Hill 2.
Silent Hill 2 was well received when it released in 2001. This was still early in the PS2's lifecycle, and a number of big developers were just starting to get their big name franchises onto the new hardware. At the time, Team Silent was a dedicated studio at Konami, and its sole focus was on developing the Silent Hill franchise. That intense focus, and passion for the game, shines through, as Silent Hill 2 is a masterclass in writing, direction, and atmosphere that is still revered to this day. Because of this and a devoted fanbase, the game should be a candidate for a full-scale remake.
It has been well documented that the source code for Silent Hill 2 (and Silent Hill 3) has been lost, and what Konami still has is an incomplete, earlier version of the final code from before the game went gold. That incomplete code was used for the Silent Hill HD Collection, the remaster of Silent Hill 2 and 3 released on PS3 and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, the Silent Hill HD Collection featured a number of bugs, and due to both contract disputes and claims of lost audio files, the voice work was completely redone with a new cast. This did not sit well with fans. So for a game that has such enduring appeal, with Silent Hill 2 figures being released to this day, any attempt at a remake would have high expectations.
While games have only become more cinematic in nature since 2001, Silent Hill 2 isn't bombastic and should not attempt to be a Resident Evil-style thrill ride. The game is a tight, focused psychological drama about a man trying to cope with his personal trauma. There is no need to bloat the game with additional lore, or turn the game into a blockbuster, when it's an indie at heart. The gameplay is merely a vehicle used to get the player from one narrative beat to the next, so while a tune up to gameplay mechanics is necessary, getting the story, tone, and atmosphere right should take priority in a Silent Hill 2 remake.
The stumbling block, with regard to any Silent Hill 2 remake, is Konami. The publisher has an unfortunate history of neglecting its storied franchises. The Castlevania franchise has been all but abandoned, despite the resurgence of the action exploration genre. When a genre is named (in part) after an iconic franchise, fans would assume that said iconic franchise would still be alive and well. Fans cries for remakes of Castlevania titles have also gone unanswered, and Silent Hill is more niche than those titles, putting the idea of a Silent Hill 2 remake pretty far out of reach.
- Think back to your time in elementary school. Think about that one kid in your class who snorted Pixie Stix, constantly drank way too much soda
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