It seems like Konami’s foundational horror anthology Silent Hill is ready to enter a new phase with the announcement of several games, including Silent Hill: Ascension. The Silent Hill series has been a solid addition to the horror genre for decades, but it’s been a little quiet of late. With the reveal of a Silent Hill 2 remake and a brand new mainline entry entitled Silent Hill f, the franchise is coming back strong after a hiatus, but Silent Hill: Ascension‘s ambitious new formula has taken fans by surprise.
The brief glimpse of Silent Hill: Ascension during the highly anticipated October 2022 Silent Hill Transmission event raised a few questions, and there are still lots of mysteries around how the game will actually function. However, the upcoming title, which is a collaboration between Genvid, Bad Robot Games, Behaviour Interactive, and dj2 Entertainment, certainly looks intriguing. In what appears to be a natural evolution of what games like The Quarry and Until Dawn introduced, Silent Hill: Ascension will be making horror storytelling even more interactive, for better or worse.
Silent Hill’s New Interactive Approach
Chris Amaral, Art Director at Bad Robot Games, insisted that Silent Hill: Ascension will “maintain the tone and the feeling that fans have come to love from the franchise,” even if the overall gameplay will be vastly different. This will be good news for players who love the previous titles, but still want to see the series grow and evolve, as well as push the boundaries for horror gaming. Others involved in the title, like CEO at Genvid Jacob Navok, have also reiterated that this will be a “new kind of Silent Hill,” and that Silent Hill: Ascension will be “an experience that [players] haven’t seen up until now.”
This feels true not just for the franchise, but for horror games in general. Players may only have had a very small glimpse into what Silent Hill: Ascension will entail, but the game’s tagline of “face your trauma together” opens up so many possibilities for interactive gaming. Gaming can typically be a solitary experience, particularly when players are working their way through a story rather than facing off in PvP multiplayer matches. Silent Hill: Ascension will be looking to shake this up, creating a completely interactive media project that allows players to experience the scares simultaneously.
How Silent Hill: Ascension Evolves Horror Games
There have been decision-based stories in horror games before, like Telltale’s award-winning The Walking Dead series. Players could influence the outcome of the game and help shape the stories, but while it felt like there were incredibly high stakes at times, gamers were still only able to play through the various strands of the developer’s narrative. Games like The Quarry and Until Dawn continued to evolve this trend, ensuring that players could have completely different playthroughs that depended on their decisions and the fates of the entirely disposable cast.
Silent Hill: Ascension takes this another step further, and will be even more hands on as gamers take on the responsibility of not only choosing how the story plays out, but what the future canon of the Silent Hill series is. This democratizes the storytelling of video games in a way that hasn’t been explored before, and will let everyone get involved and shape the world of Silent Hill in their own way. Fans will be able to be an integral part of the series while engaging in an exciting, innovative way to immerse themselves. Kavok’s assertion that it will “revolutionize what horror means in interactive media” is bold, but Silent Hill: Ascension might just pull it off.
Silent Hill: Ascension is in development.
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