Silent Hill 2 Movie Adaptation Reveals Its Stars

It’s been five months since Konami broke the internet with a cavalcade of video game and movie-related announcements during its Silent Hill showcase. Today, Konami announced a casting update on the upcoming Silent 2 live-action film, which will enter production next month.

Read More: After Years Of No Silent Hill, Konami Just Opened The Flood Gates

The sequel Silent Hill film, appropriately titled Return to Silent Hill, will star Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as Silent Hill 2’s “wife guy” James. The press release also confirms that actor Hannah Emily Anderson (Jigsaw) is set to co-star, though it neglected to state who she will play, saying only that James is “broken after being separated from his one true love” and that he goes to the town of Silent Hill in search of her. It seems likely that she will play James’ wife Mary, but that remains speculation at this point.

Alongside Return to Silent Hill’s casting announcement, Konami also confirmed that Christophe Gans, the director of the 2006 Silent Hill film starring Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean, will return to direct this one as well.

Return to Silent Hill is a mythological love story about someone so deeply in love, they’re willing to go to hell to save someone,” Gans wrote in the press release. “I’m delighted to have the wonderful talents of both Jeremy Irvine and Hannah Emily Anderson take us on this journey into a psychological horror world that I hope will both satisfy and surprise fans of Silent Hill.”

Read More: Silent Hill 2‘s PS5 Remake Has Everyone Wondering If Horror Dev Is Worthy

Producer Victor Hadida, who’s also working on a remake of The Crow starring Bill Skarsgård and FKA twigs, said he and Gans have been working to create a Silent Hill film “for the theatrical audiences of today.”

“You will still find the iconic monsters–but there will also be new designs. We are confident that this new film and Konami’s updated game together will propel the Silent Hill franchise forward for years to come,” Hadida said.

Speaking of that “updated game,” a remake of Silent Hill 2, which is being handled by The Medium developers Bloober Team, remains in the works, though no release date or new details have yet been announced.

11 Mins Of Silent Hill 2 Devs’ Remake Of Their OG Horror Game

2016 psychological horror game Layers of Fear is, in developers Anshar Studios and Bloober Team’s words, getting not quite a remake, but a “reimagining”—”a unified vision of horror” chaining together the stories of Layers of Fear, sequel Layers of Fear 2, all pre-existing DLCs and a new one, called “The Final Note.” A gameplay trailer demonstrates some technological upgrades, too, including ray-tracing capabilities and 4K resolution.

The original Layers of Fear places players in the mind of an artist wobbling on the edge of insanity, making them wander, in first-person, through a shifting studio filled with sudden scares. It’s “dizzying,” and it “messes with your head,” Kotaku Editor-in-Chief Patricia Hernandez wrote in a 2015 Steam Early Access review.

2019 follow-up Layers of Fear 2 provides a similar hallucinatory experience, but with an actor protagonist on a boat, instead. Forthcoming DLC “The Final Note” recasts the first game’s story from the perspective of a writer, and aims to tie “each entry in the series together.”

At a hands-off preview earlier this week, Anshar Studios creative director Damian Kocurek told me that the DLC has been “years, years in the making,” and he hopes the reimagining it’s a part of (due in June 2023) will help fans understand the “connection” that exists across the entire series.

Layers of Fear – 11 Minutes of Gameplay

See Layers of Fear’s spooky demo yourself.

“There was always bigger and deeper mythology in the Layers of Fear [games],” he said. “It was always kind of under the surface, so we wanted to bring it up more and offer a more connected, bigger setting than it was before.”

The demo they ran through shows the writer protagonist wandering through a creaking lighthouse, already beginning to be tormented by black rats running around paintings that morph into terrifying faces. Later, a fire seems to consume an attic. Beyond it, ink blob monsters threaten to leap out. But a lit lantern—one of several core gameplay changes to come—keeps them at bay, frying them in its glow.

Compared to the visuals of the first game, which I’d place, for the most part, somewhere between grayscale and sepia, the demo gave the impression of a more high-contrast, vibrant game. It has darker darks, woozy smoke clouds, and monsters punctuated by shocking red fire. The sound design, updated by Arek Reikowski—who will also be working on Bloober’s Silent Hill 2 remake—is also rewardingly crisp. Even through my laptop speakers, the walkthrough’s various whispers and squelches land with raw meaty wetness. Gross, yes, but all in the name of enhancing the horror experience.

I’m interested to see Layers of Fear’s story similarly enhanced by this reimagining’s intertwined plotlines. I do find the original game skin-crawly, but more in a forgettable, icky creepypasta way than the searing fear I usually hope for in psychological horror. It’s looking good so far, though. Ghosts seem to go well with ray tracing.

 

The Most Unique Silent Hill Game Just Got A Freaky New Trailer

Silent Hill Ascension, Konami’s cryptic “live, real-time interactive series” game, just got a brand new trailer. It looks tense, with nasty enemies that should provide enough nightmare fuel to last through your waiting for details on other upcoming Silent Hill projects, like the Silent Hill 2 movie and desperately anticipated Silent Hill 2 PS5 remake.

Read More: After Years Of No Silent Hill, Konami Just Opened The Flood Gates

The brief trailer shows characters creeping through shadows and bluish-black woods to avoid lots of monsters—big stumbling ones, ones that look like piles of wet intestines, and one with a notably yonic face. When it’s over, the screen declares “their fate is in your hands,” then “face your trauma together.” Cool, I’ve always wanted Silent Hill-themed therapy.

Genvid Entertainment, a sort of gaming-focused streaming service pushing “massively interactive live events,” released the trailer. Previously, Genvid put out The Walking Dead: Last Mile and Pac-Man Community, both Facebook Gaming-exclusive live events. With that in mind, it’s not likely that Ascension will be a replayable interactive drama horror game like Until Dawn—it’ll probably be more like you’re in the live audience for Jeopardy!, but, in this case, Jeopardy! is evil.

A press release confirms as much, saying that Ascension “follows multiple main characters from locations around the world tormented by new and terrifying Silent Hill monsters.

“[T]he actions of millions will determine the outcome. By the time the last scene streams, which characters have survived? […] Even the project’s creators do not know how Silent Hill: Ascension will end. Instead, the character’s fates are in the audience’s hands.”

In the same release, Konami producer Motoi Okamoto adds that the company is “pleased to tell a new interactive story, in never-before-explored locations, alongside new characters that will be introduced to fans of the Silent Hill universe. It is you who will decide the fate of multiple main characters, which will unfold simultaneously around the globe.”

The project will go live later this year.

 

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman Wants To Die On This Very Small Hill

As you may have seen over the past week, Reddit—the “last page of the internet”—has not been having a good time, after the company’s CEO decided to oversee some changes that affected some very popular apps that people were using to access the site. That CEO, Steve Huffman, is now doing some prominent interviews in an attempt at damage control, and he is not doing well.

Faced with a website where many major subreddits—including most of the biggest video game ones, from r/ps5 to r/pcgaming—went dark for a few days (and in some cases have remained dark), and where many of the top posts on the site’s front page are still protest posts, you would think Huffman would approach these interviews with a humble, understanding tone, especially given the negative reaction to his first round of public comments.

Nope! On NBC he has instead taken the opportunity to attack the site’s moderators for organising the protest, likening them to “landed gentry”, essentially blaming them for the site-wide uproar like a conman/politician would label someone an “elite”, and saying because of this the protests aren’t “actually representative of their communities”:

If you’re a politician or a business owner, you are accountable to your constituents. So a politician needs to be elected, and a business owner can be fired by its shareholders.

And I think on Reddit, the analogy is closer to the landed gentry: The people who get their first get to stay there and pass it down to their descendants, and that is not democratic.

Meanwhile, over on The Verge, Huffman is saying with an entirely straight face that not only was Reddit “never designed to support third-party apps” (maybe not initially, but they’ve been around and using the API for over a decade), but that he had no idea “the extent that they were profiting off of our API”.

Being a CEO, Huffman might have a different idea of what the word means, but those apps were not “profiting”. The payment options in place, for many of them voluntary, were sustaining development of applications that only existed because for a very long time Reddit didn’t even have an app, and then when it got one it sucked.

In defence of all this, Huffman can point to an official FAQ Reddit posted to their company blog yesterday, which exists solely to point out the number of subreddits that reopened after the pledged two-day blackout (and accidentally acknowledging that a full 20% of their top communities are remaining dark indefinitely in protest!), and to commit this sentence to public record:

Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use from our API.

Buddy. Reddit has existed for almost two decades as a weird, sometimes awful, sometimes tolerable collection of human communities. It has even recently become a lot of people’s only way of searching for useful content on the internet. For most of that time the site had no interest in messing with this stuff. So why all the fuss now over profit margins?

The damage control isn’t for us. It’s for potential investors. Reddit’s management are trying to take the site public and make some money, and like this Variety story sums up, they have been having some serious problems doing that. So the next time you see Reddit or Huffman go to the media with attempts to dismiss sitewide protests involving millions of disgruntled users, and pledge to die on the smallest hill just so they can shave a few bucks off the books and appear more profitable—in this case by directing more users to the official app, which serves ads—remember what their motivations really are.

Silent Hill 2 Remake Dev Is Done With Psychological Horror—Good

Polish horror game developer Bloober Team told Engadget it’s leaving the psychological horror subset—a genre that defined all of its biggest titles, like Layers of Fear and the cyberpunk title Observer—far behind. The studio is currently responsible for the (impossible, diehard fans say) task to remake Silent Hill 2 and says it’s time to lean fully into “mass-market horror.”

“This year is like closing the era of making psychological horror games,” Bloober co-founder Piotr Babieno said to Engadget. “Right now we are going into Bloober Team 3.0, making mass-market horror.”

Since Konami’s Silent Hill series features dead wives, hallucinations, and foggy, physical manifestations of grief, its horror is arguably very psychological, and some fans seem confused about Bloober’s distinction.

But all Babieno means, he explained to Engadget, is that Bloober is ready to branch out from the slow-moving, cryptic games it’s become entwined with.

“[In our past games, we] focused on the story, we focused on the mood, we focused on the quality of graphics and music, but we didn’t put a lot of attention on the gameplay mechanics,” he said. “It wasn’t our target. But we decided that there was a ceiling that we couldn’t break if we did not deliver something fresh, something new.”

This seems encouraging to me. Bloober’s recent “reimagining” of the Layers of Fear series was disappointing evidence of the studio’s inability to handle some sensitive topics, like mental illness and women’s issues like “hysteria,” with grace. Bloober needs a refresh. And since the Silent Hill 2 remake, which does not yet have a release date, will also tackle many fragile topics, now is the perfect time for Bloober to reassess its approach to games.

“We are touching something sacred,” Babieno said about working on Silent Hill 2.

He understands that his studio’s interpretation of the 2001 game will be divisive no matter what, but as part of Bloober’s new mass-appeal initiative, Babieno said players can expect all forthcoming titles to have “a lot of gameplay mechanics” and to “be much bigger” than past Bloober games.

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