gamesVSlife: Konami’s treatment of Silent Hill HD speaks volumes
posted on 09.09.12 at 11:41 AM EST by (@admeady)
Because a bad HD collection speaks louder than words.

If, in years to come, I returned to Gematsu to find my favorite articles edited to include more spelling mistakes, missing commas and questionable voice acting, I wouldn’t be a happy editor. My efforts – the decisions I made – would be invalidated. It wouldn’t be my work, it’d be a mutated, deformed variant, largely in my name.

It’s not difficult to see why series creator, the now defunct Team Silent, might find itself in a similar position. Their creative efforts have been mauled in the name of financial gain; their greatest achievements have been altered – ruined (see this) – and presented as ‘enhanced’ editions. What would’ve been a gleeful and curious generational introduction was transformed into an awkward, clumsy and overpriced nightmare.

Silent Hill, it would then seem, is a franchise lost in the fog. As it blindly clambers for its long lost critical acclaim, it’s searching for a time when the series was synonymous with horror. But it’s being led through this thick, glitchy fog by Konami: it’s bumping into lamp posts; it’s reaching dead ends – it’s trapped chasing its own tail, its own success story.

There’s something particularly insidious about Konami’s treatment of the Silent Hill HD Collection – and it all started when they tried to make money from a pair of games about a decade old.

Silent Hill HD was the perfect opportunity to bring new players into the fold. It could’ve been a title with legs, a title that, with every new release in the series, saw a spike in sales as new, potentially lifelong fans gave it a go, “Yeah, that new Silent Hill’s coming out soon – might be worth picking up the HD collection beforehand”.

This isn’t about the developer, nor is it about a producer – this is about Konami, a company that pushed a clearly unfinished product out the door. They seemingly treated it as yet another product to be shipped on a set date, and not a restoration project that, really, should’ve been done, you know, when it was actually done.

That’s what makes Konami’s treatment of these much-loved games so disgusting. It’s not enough that the horror franchise has yet to reach the heights of decade old PlayStation 2 games, they had to go back to those games – perhaps the most favored in the series – and destroy them, too.

And these are known entities: we know they ran without issue; we know what they look like; what they sound like. No doubt, fans would invest thinking that at a minimum they would meet these relatively ancient standards. Yet Konami knowingly released a broken product, capitalizing on nostalgia and “what once was” in the process.

They could’ve released a pitch perfect port of these original classics. It could’ve been a powerful marketing tool, an initiates’ guide that, as an added side, they could’ve made money from.

If publishers, if Konami, aren’t willing to treat their own properties and their employees’ creative efforts – the things and people that actually make them money – with respect, then it’s difficult to see why anybody else would want to do the same. It’s products like this that suggest that – with all the subtlety of a baseball bat to the head – the people above the developers, the people in control, don’t really care about the games they make – only about the money they make.

Publishers, if you invest time and money into delivering a fantastic product, fans, assuredly, will do the same. If you’re not willing, though, be prepared to face untold horrors – a nightmare that both you, and your bottom lines, won’t be able to handle.

Terrifying, indeed.

gamesVSlife is a weekly column dedicated to video games, life, and how games relate to life. Feel free to leave your comments and stories below.

  • xMCXx

    True!
    This is what I’d like to call the Star Wars-treatment.
    Why new voice overs?  Why new music? Why so fucking buggy?
    I just wanted to play Silent Hill 1-3 the way they were supposed to be!

    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

       You forgot ruined graphics.

  • Kobracon

    Great article! And its very VERY true. Its quite sad. I’m not a fan but i feel sorry for all the diehard fans (my cousin is one) who played this ridiculous excuse of a “HD Collection”

  • http://twitter.com/Alos88 Alos88

    I personally hope Hideo Kojima tries making a Silent Hill- I’d love to see what he’d do with the franchise.

  • Charlie

    It honestly makes me sick to the stomach. I await the day a “true” Silent Hill game ends up in the works. Until then, it’s time to replay SH 1-4 again.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.gatewood Nicholas Gatewood

      Well hey, Shattered Memories is my #1 favorite video game ever. I recommend the version on the Wii very highly, the game is just absurdly good. I played through it seven or eight times in the first week I got it, and it’s around six hours long. It doesn’t really get any better than that game.

      • Charlie

        I beg to differ. SM ruined the entire SH1 atmosphere and characterisation in my opinion. All the emotion I felt when playing the first game was not present in SM. Just compare Lisa’s death between the two games.

      • neo_firenze

         I love Shattered Memories as well.  I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere close to my favorite game ever, but I think it’s damn good!

        I like how did a new take on the original, instead of slavishly trying to make an HD port.  Shows some actual creativity, and the focus on escape instead of combat was refreshing.  Love the psychology aspect too.  I really think this is what a remake should be instead of just a limp port that really doesn’t have much upside and has a lot of potential downside if anything isn’t just perfect as people remember (hi there HD Collection).

        If you want to replay Silent Hill PSX exactly as it was, go replay it.  It’s there, and even easily available on PSN if you missed out or no longer have a copy.   

        Now, SH4… that’s the one I think is an abomination.  Yuck first person, so much backtracking, and I’ll throw out the “it wasn’t originally even a SH game” card.  The classics are SH1-3 to me, and Shattered Memories is a really cool new take on one of those classics.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jack.hammond.14 Jack Hammond

          agreed with him^

  • http://runicfencer.deviantart.com/ Mistral

    Don’t get me started on how they treated Suikoden

  • gold163

    great article; I totally agree. I haven’t had a chance to play Silent Hill HD (nor do I plan to) but I heard a lot of trouble about it, I remember all of the controversy leading up until when we knew it was actually going to happen about whether or not they would get the original voice actors, etc.

    I would have liked to see more in-depth coverage about precisely what problems the remake had and how these could be tied to Konami’s treatment of the product, but it is nevertheless a sentiment I can agree with. Keep it up!

    • Adam Meadows

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wya4XhTPMcc - sums it all up. I try to keep these pieces short and to the point – and the problems Silent Hill HD has seemed secondary. It’s more about Konami’s attitude and the destruction of the series :(
      Thanks for the comment!

  • Kurai Warrior

    I feel like many gaming companies in general are becoming lazier. I don’t know what happened this gen but many fan favorite companies have just become horrible, they’ve become horrible to their fans and horrible to their staff and they’ve started to make half-assed products.

  • LordKaiser

    The only thing they have is Metal Gear and rebooted Castlevania. They dropped Gradius and they dropped the ball with Silent Hill.

  • PrinceHeir

    konami really screwed up a lot of their franchises.

    Silent Hill, Suikoden, Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania, Drummania etc.

    Lords of Shadows is okay, but not really a Castlevania game for me.

    Silent Hill is one of my favorite games back then!!!!!!!

    after playing MGS2 Substance for so long, i notice that at the back of the manual there’s Silent Hill 3 ad on it.

    even though i have the game, i rarely played it because i keep getting stuck at the beginning.

    but once i played it more seriously, the game is soo scary and disturbing and i freaking love it!!!!!!!

    it’s my favorite SH game ever(have yet to play SH2, but i doubt it’ll top it at least for me)

    it’s the same thing with RE. back then a lot of people love Resident Evil 2 than Resident Evil 3, but i love Resident Evil 3 more.

    konami pretty much destroyed the franchises FUTURE and PAST.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jack.hammond.14 Jack Hammond

      i agree with you sh 3 THE BEST OF ALL im 17 now and i have been playing sense i was a bout 6 or 7 and have beat all of them multable times except 4 the crappy wii 1s but yea 2 was good but 3 was better andthe hd collection was ok … but ifu can find the origenal instead evn if its a bit more in price it worth getting!!

  • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

    “Terrifying, indeed.” i just can’t add anything. You’re (and people who see all this overwhelming crap and still care about it) my hero. They (Konami and staff) did everything to ruin such a wonderful series (my all time favourite) and there are no excuses for them. They completely obliterated ART. Nothing said more.

  • xMCXx

    Awwwww, my comment wasn’t approved? :<

    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

       Happy now? :3

      • xMCXx

         Yes! xD

  • Nekmex

    TL;DR

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

    ^^sorry :P

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

     I’ve been a Silent Hill fan since the start, and its my fav video game horror franchise. I don’t get all the hate the HD collection is getting. Team Silent is pretty much dead, and most HD collections are outsourced these days. There are a couple of bugs here are there but those have been patched now. The Silent Hill HD Collection is not as bad as this article makes it out to be.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

      Watch these videos
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wya4XhTPMcc&feature=g-all-a&list=PL48469F805F738538
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxYkNUyBhS4&feature=g-all-a&list=PL48469F805F738538
      closely, again, if you can’t see it for yourself. (sometimes i wonder how, how people can’t see such obvious things? what do they use for it, obviously not their eyes/ears. sorry, nothing personal)

    • Adam Meadows

      I never ever said outsourcing was an issue ;)

      It’s more about Konami’s attitude and approach than it is the quality of the collections, as such. Not everyone has patches or the connection to get them. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

        Pretty sure if someone who can afford to buy PS3/X360 plus games, does have a net connection. I mean in this day and age…. come on :P

        I do kinda agree with you on Konami’s attitude. I believe Kojima said the new Fox Engine can be used for Silent Hill too. Maybe a reboot ?

  • SirRussell

    I myself still love Silent Hill. Really give Konami a break. They had to rework with all the coding. Its not like they still had it laying around. No sense in complaining about bugs when games like Skyrim can get game of the year. To me bugs make a game even more challenging. Get past the bug, get on with your game.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

      it’s not only about freaking bugs, they destroyed games entirely, all things we love it for were ruined: graphics, sound, voice acting. Now it’s completely different, wrong experience.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

         how is it destroyed??? you are taking thing way too seriously. Sure they did screw up here and there but in no-way-is-it destroyed. There is always the PS2 versions, so how did they destroy SH when you can easily play those versions ?

        • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

          PS2/PC versions are hard to find nowadays and it’s getting harder with every single day, sooner or later people will manage to get and play only this screwed ‘Abortion’.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

             this gen is almost done, so in a few years time even ps3 games will be hard to come buy – your logic. i don’t know if you have ever heard of ebay or amazon, cause you can easily get them online.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

              really? originals = 75-250$ vs hd collection = 20$. which one will be chosen by an average customer? the more time will pass, the more it’ll get rare, the more it’ll cost. don’t you know that?

              • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

                 if you truly love the game, and consider it be a timeless classic, then price shouldn’t matter to you.

                also i pretty sure this wont be the last Silent Hill Collection we will see

                • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

                  how can you love smth you’ve never played, i was talking about newcomers.

                  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

                     then how would they know it sucks compared to the original, if they have never played it before? they have nothing to fall back on. only hardcore fans who have played the original will be kinda letdown by the HD Collection, not newcomers.

                    i let my friend, who hasn’t much experience with the Silent Hill games try the HD Collection, and she liked it.

                    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

                      “then how would they know it sucks compared to the original, if they have never played it before?” that’s what i’m trying to say to you all the time. i feel sorry for those who will play these corrupted versions and never knew the experience we’d once got.

                    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

                      like i said before, this won’t be the last Silent Hill Collection to come out. i’m sure Konami will release other collections in the future.

                    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

                      You cannot say for sure but we’ll see. They better give this job to ‘BluePoint’ crew, authors of brilliant HD remasters of MGS and Ico. But before that i wish they stop selling this shit.

                    • NihilTells

                       I fully commend you hammering the point home.  It does no good to consider Konami’s SH HD Collection in a ‘glass half full’ light. It really all boils down to the progressive devaluing of art (and YES, I fully include games like Silent Hill 2 & 3 under that umbrella term) and the effort and conviction that is invested in its production.  People who debate the issue by dismissing appreciation of the original incarnations (as resolved works of art with very specific intentions and design decisions), are simply adding weight to the debunking of the inherent artistic value of games.  Konami’s Silent Hill HD Collection SHOULD be made an example of as a technical and moral trangression.  Trying to argue for the commercial value of debased titles does no good for any of us, not just the ‘fanboys’. 

              • http://www.facebook.com/jack.hammond.14 Jack Hammond

                the origenal . at liest by any true fan. the noobs who now nothing about it would make the mistake of getting the hd

  • margherita mastropaolo

    great article,i’m glad to see that someone is pointing out that in the last years the industry started going downhill

  • http://xcite79.1up.com Keegs79

    I agree. If Konami really cared about their franchises, they would develop it in-house after outsourcing so many terrible titles in the franchise. Konami is one of my most disliked Japanese developers. Without Hideo Kojima, Konami is nothing to me.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XQSNDA4V47UI7LX6IGLZJGP424 Moondrops

       I love Kojima as much as the next guy but Konami has lots of talented developers, keep the hate alive

  • R G

     TL;DR – Silent Hill HD Collection not good.

    This article is
    nothing but fancy words being thrown around without any real substance.
    Why is the HD collection bad? I feel the entirety of this article is
    just repeating the same idea over and over and over and over again: “the
    HD collection is bad.”

    Can we get the “why” instead of an eleven paragraph article on the “what” ?

    • Adam Meadows

      Fancy words? What fancy words? It’s a column – a place where I write about what I think about something, usually. I said the ‘Why’ is irrelevant, simply because it excuse  Konami to an extent.

      You’re right in the extent that it has a rather singular point. But I simply spoke about it in more detail: about how it could’ve been a restoration; how it could’ve benefited the franchise – which has been struggling for years – in the long term; about how I think Konami could’ve waited, delayed – even cancelled – but didn’t likely in the name of profit.

      Thanks for the feedback though, I’ll keep in it mind in the future.

    • fallen

      I don’t feel this piece was written to address the ‘why’. You can read all about the ‘why’ in any number of reviews. This is not a review, as Adam says below – it’s a column. The author wanted to discuss what effect Konami’s decision to rush the game may have had on the series, and what it seems to say about the company’s directives.

      This is not a review.

  • R G

    Didn’t mean to sound offensive. Just not sure what I’m getting from having read this.

  • xxx128

    Silent hill died when team silent left and konami started to outsource the games to shitty western devs.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

      the truth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jack.hammond.14 Jack Hammond

      very true… sh 3 was my fave and sh 4 wasant that great but its godly compared 2 the newer sh titles >.> homecoming was bad but i gave downpour a chance thinking it could hhave just been homecoming but no downpour was bad 2 ….  i do enjoy the movies though

      • http://www.last.fm/user/frogjab l1lyone

        wht? i replied to a different comment.