Silent Hill: Downpour Comes Full Circle on PS3

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Silent Hill: Downpour Comes Full Circle on PS3

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

I’m a sucker for horror games, so I jumped at a recent opportunity to watch a short demo of Konami’s upcoming PS3 survival-horror epic Silent Hill: Downpour. In a development applauded by series fans, Downpour strongly emphasizes creeping psychological horror over the twitchy action of recent entries like Silent Hill: Homecoming.

You play as Murphy, a maximum-security inmate with a deeply troubled past. You awaken on the fringes of the cursed town of Silent Hill after your prison transport bus crashes. True to Silent Hill form, you’ll spend the rest of the game evading the town’s monstrous denizens while piecing together Murphy’s deepest secrets — including the dark truths that brought him to Silent Hill.

I spoke with Producer Devin Shatsky, who answered some key questions while playing through the first section of the game. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get you answers!

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PlayStation.Blog: From an interface perspective, how is Downpour different from the last game in the series, Homecoming?
Devin Shatsky, Producer, Silent Hill: Downpour: We’ve gone with a more realistic weapon and inventory system. In past Silent Hill gamess, you had this magic pocket where you could carry a full arsenal of weaponry — Uzis, swords, hammers and more. That took away from the player’s suspension of disbelief, but it also empowered the player a bit too much and it impacts the scare factor. In Downpour, you’re limited to carrying what’s in your hands, plus a holstered firearm. You’ll want to use your weapons carefully. Each weapon is breakable, so wooden weapons will break after a couple of hits while metal weapons will last longer. Most weapons are everyday items: rakes, bottles, kitchen knives. There are no katanas or the like in this game.

The health system has also seen quite a few changes. There’s no HUD; all that information is tied directly to the character, so he’ll limp, bleed, his clothing will develop holes…we tried to focus as much on realism as possible.

PSB: In Homecoming, your character came from a military background and that reflected itself in the action-centric combat system. How is Downpour changing that?
DS: Yep. In Homecoming, you played a somewhat more badass character. But in Downpour, Murphy is more of an everyman. He’s far from a tough guy. He can fend for himself, but overall he veers much closer to the protagonist of Silent Hill 2. You’ll want to run from enemies more than usual: you may be able to stand toe-to-toe with one enemy, but if you’re outnumbered, the best strategy is to run.

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PSB: What lessons did Konami learn from Silent Hill: Homecoming?
DS: It was reviewed fairly well by the critics and it’s definitely a good game. But I think that Silent Hill fans expect a game that veers more psychological horror versus a lot of combat. Homecoming was a fairly combat-heavy game, which turned off certain fans. There’s a dichotomy among survival-horror players: the Resident Evil fans tend to prefer heavy combat, and Silent Hill fans tend to prefer slower, exploration-based horror. There’s still combat in Downpour, but it’s not nearly as frequent as in Homecoming.

PSB: Which Silent Hill game would you say most closely compares to Downpour?
DS: Definitely Silent Hill 2. Downpour has a standalone story that’s not tied to any other Silent Hill game, so it’s taking the broader concept back to its roots. Silent Hill 2 was one of the big fan favorites in the series, so we took elements that were appealing in that game and integrated them here.

PSB: Will classic enemies such as the Puppet Nurses be returning in any form?
DS: No. In Silent Hill games, the monsters are directly tied to the protagonist’s background, so the enemies in this game all have meaning to Murphy. We won’t be shoehorning in Pyramid Head or the nurses just to do it. It wouldn’t make sense. That could be seen as a mistake of Homecoming — the developers paid fan service by introducing monsters from previous games, but it didn’t really make sense. The core fans called us out on that, and rightfully so.

PSB: But the iconic white fog will return, right?
DS: Definitely. Fog is a visual trademark of Silent Hill, but the main visual theme of Downpour is water. We’ve got a cool randomized weather system that impacts the gameplay: when the weather ramps up, so do the amount of monsters. So if the weather goes to hell, you might want to head indoors and find a place to hide…

Silent Hill Downpour for PS3

PSB: I’m seeing some open-world influences in the environment designs here. Is that my imagination?
DS: The town is completely explorable. The previous games was a series of locked doors that tended to discourage players from exploring. Downpour has a lot of side quests that aren’t tied to the core linear storyline. You might stumble across a room that triggers a side quest, and completing it might reveal a new bit of Silent Hill lore.

PSB: Longtime Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is no longer with the company. Who will be filling in for audio design?
DS: When Akira Yamaoka left the company, we were forced to look elsewhere. The sound design is handled by Nathan McCree, who has worked on Tomb Raider and it an extremely effective audio designer. In terms of the music score, we hired a Dan Licht, who scores the show Dexter. He’s a great fit for the series. We sought him out because we were huge fans of Dexter and thought he’d get Silent Hill. One great detail is that Dan is a highly accomplished mandolin player, and Akira Yamaoka used to incorporate a lot of mandolin as well, so it’s a perfect fit.

On a side note, we also signed up Korn to perform the title song for Silent Hill Downpour. It’s not a heavy metal sound, it’s a very different sound for Korn. They’ve actually sort of changed gears lately in terms of their sound. But they’re only doing the intro song, not the in-game music.

PSB: How is work on the Silent Hill HD Collection coming along?
DS: We’ll be releasing the Silent Hill HD Collection for PS3 in the first quarter of 2012, and it’ll include HD versions of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3. And for PS Vita, we’ll have Silent Hill: Book of Memories for the launch timeframe. For the PS Vita game, forget everything you know about Silent Hill. Book of Memories is a completely new experience, a multiplayer dungeon crawl that brings in a lot of cool elements from the series. It’s not a hack job with Silent Hill slapped on the box — it’s a very cool game in its own right and it explores interesting elements from the series.

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14 Author Replies

  • This looks fantastic. I hope it’s a true return to form, I’m itching for some good creepy horror gaming.

  • I wasn’t looking too much to this game, but after reading this and seeing some of those pics, I’m very intrigued!

  • great can’t wait for it really love the horror of silent hill great franchise

  • Awesomeee! When its the realese date? Any news ?

  • awesome game, buy i miss Akira

  • Book of memories sounds exactly like a hack job, no offense. Also, why isn’t The Room included in the HD collection? aaarrrrgh…
    On a positive note, Downpour looks awesome and I’ll definitely be getting it.

    • I’m intrigued by Book of Memories, though I’ve not seen it yet. And good question on The Room — wonder why they didn’t include it.

  • I’m surprised they brought this back. After the low budget B movie they made of it a few years ago I’d thought had killed the series off.

  • The Images doesn’t look good (looks like a old gen game).

    Is so sad see one of my favorite franchises dying like that :(

    I will never understand why Konami decided to dissolve the Team Silent.

    • The game looks good in action, it’s based on Unreal tech. The producer told me that Unreal was a blessing because it enabled them to focus much more on gameplay and environments rather than custom-building rendering engines.

  • I’m prepared to be freaked out. It has been a while. Too long.

  • The only thing I didn’t like about SH: Homecoming, it was too dark even with the flashlight on, hopefully that is fixed in this game.

  • I actually enjoyed the movie (looking forward to SH: Revelations), not as good as Tomb Raider, but really re-created a few of SH1’s scenes just right.

  • The game looks awesome can’t wait to get it

  • This suddenly grabs my attention. I had already dismissed this game since Homecoming was such a disappointment. He talks like they’re really trying to bring a fresh experience while returning to the roots of the series. I hope the execution is good.

    • Yep, he really stressed that. He told me several times that Downpour is directly focused on returning to the roots of the series.

  • I’ve been waiting for this game for a long time, and I know (or rather hope) that it will do the Silent Hill name proud.

    For those wondering, it releases March 6th.

    • Ah, thanks. I’m interested in how the dynamic weather impacts gameplay — i think that could be a killer gameplay mechanic.

  • Little typo Sid, should Homecoming not Homefront ;).

    PSB: In Homefront, your character came from a military background and that reflected itself in the action-centric combat system. How is Downpour changing that?

  • Well, looks like I made a typo myself. I should have said “should be Homecoming, not Homefront”.

  • How does the combat feel? Do u feel inferior when you fight the monsters in the game?

    • I saw only a brief battle with a “Screamer,” and he ran away. :) It’s possible to bludgeon one enemy to death, but when there’s another, and another…

  • Silent Hill, it’s good to have you back!
    Seriously, it looks like these guys actually *get* what SH is all about. Traditional survival horror games haven’t fared well this generation (I liked RE5 as a standalone game, but it didn’t feel remotely like Resident Evil, and Dead Space is a solid series, but the jump scares get tired after a while) and Silent Hill is about the atmosphere as much as anything.
    The two PSP games are actually surprisingly good too, but we need a true current-gen iteration.
    Can’t wait!

  • Oh, Korn are rubbish though!

  • You’re lucky! I can’t wait to see what kind of story unfolds.

  • “I spoke with Producer Devin Shatsky, who ANSWERED SOME KEY QUESTIONS WHILE PLAYING through the first section of the game. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get you answers!”

    he answered your questions while he was playing?
    surely you must’ve been so frustrated, Sid! :P

  • Great!! it will come with spanish dialogs?

  • if its coming out by march and still doesnt have a release date they are in a bad position lol

  • I hope there is few obscene language (with regards to what I saw in the gameplay trailers). All those F-words just turns me off. That’s why I like the PSone era…..everyone could enjoy different genres no matter what age you were. Just because you’re gonna make an M-rated game doesn’t mean that you’re gonna have to add every mature element that exists out there.

    Btw, this article made me reconsider getting Downpour. I have both a strong love and an extreme fear of water so that’s a plus and I really, really hope it’s like SH1/2/3.

    Having enemies match the psychological troubles of the character is what SH was about. It was stupid of SH5 to do otherwise.

  • Will at least 1 level or area have the bloody creepy wall that moved or seem to be alive like in the first game? Man I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen in a game. Sid, PLEASE ASK. thanks & can’t wait to play because I know this is gonna be GOOD! ;)

  • At the last pic he looks like Joel from The Last Of Us. :P

  • Yeah I miss Akira too, but if we all get stuck on him, we can’t learn to like someone who could be a good replacement~
    I too would like Sh4:he Room on an HD release, I liked it as much as the others.
    I do hope there are a decent amount of weapons available.
    James Sunderland had a good amount of things at his disposal despite the fact that he is the most mentally insane main character of the franchise xD

    Though I have two things i’d like to ask and get replied to if possible~~

    1- GIVE ME MY UFO ENDING D: < !!!!!
    I miss them ]:

    2- Umm, ya know..we have a PS Move, and have had for a while now
    SO..any news on Silent Hill: The Arcade ever coming out?
    It's not much to ask, but it's still a SH game that i'd like to play ]:

  • @23 it does have a release date of March 6th

  • There can never be too many Silent Hill games! Hopefully we also see something for the Vita.

  • Nooo, I hate horror games =(

    and that makes them so much more fun to play =D

    I have to give Dead Space a try with the new PS3 headset I got.

    7.1 surround sound FTW!

    Btw, never played a Silent Hill before D:

  • bvbvfg

  • Looking forward to it. Hopefully I am done with the HD remakes before Downpour hits the shelves. I think games like this really benefit from this generations graphics… too bad Homecoming doesn’t have trophies for me to hunt down. ;)

    I find it interesting that everyone is gungho for SH4 in the HD collection, BECAUSE I wanted them all! SH2, SH3, SH4, SH: Origins, and SH: Shattered Memories in one HD collection? Ooooooh, no one could beat that (Assuming 50-60$). Of course I understand why they would have been inclined to not do the work for the less popular titles. It also remains to be seen how the drama surrounding the VA is going to ultimately affect things on just 2 and 3.

    Hopefully things go well enough that they release a second HD collection that includes the other 3 titles (and maybe since they are less popular shoot for 40$ still).

    Anyway I digress, nice to hear some details!

  • I’m a silent hill fan since I love silent hill games. I can’t hardly wait for silent hill: downpour for PS3 comes out on march 31st this year.

  • >We’ve gone with a more realistic weapon and inventory system. In past Silent Hill gamess, you had this magic pocket where you could carry a full arsenal of weaponry — Uzis, swords, hammers and more. That took away from the player’s suspension of disbelief, but it also empowered the player a bit too much and it impacts the scare factor.

    That’s a silly thing to say considering that this was a feature of all the Silent Hill games that people liked. Dark Souls has unlimited inventory space and it never got in the way of scaring the hell out of me. The only reason they’re axing the inventory is the same reason FPS games have health regen now: so that they don’t have to plan for long term consequences and can instead design the game as a series of isolated set pieces.

    Bringing in Classic Tomb Raider’s composer for the sound design is a fantastic idea, but I’m not sold on hiring a TV composer to do video game music. They never seem to understand how to make good game music.

  • Can’t Wait

  • only the “return to the roots” make me soooo happy, i quit after origin. But for me Silent Hill was THE Horror game. So cant wait to play this games. And i want to say the movie was amazing i like a lot. I dont understand why people complain, they are not silent hill fan for sure.
    Yeah and im confident they will do a nice job for the soundtrack (i have no doubt for Korn, one of my best ) but its sad Akira was gone i still listen the bonus soundtrack from SH2, one of the best at all.

  • Looks like a cod clone.

  • I am thankful for this Highlight. I’ve been a huge SH fan right down to the first print graphic novels and SH tatts. I was really starting to worry about the state of SH. However I like what I’ve read, the gameplay etc still hasn’t given me those SH goosebumps I normally get waiting for the next release of a SH game however I am now more so greatly anticipating this game. I am saddened by Akira Yamaokas absence from this project however I can’t wait to hear the new ambient/industrial workings of Nathan McCree. For “Me” a SH soundtrack is key and helps build the atmosphere, I don’t think I’ve made a single playlist since 2001 without a track by Akira Yamaoka. OVER WHELM ME!!! PLEASE!!! MAKE ME EXPERIENCE SILENT HILL!!!

  • I’ve been playing the Silent Hill series since the first game I really hope downpour brings the franchise back to greatness but no matter what I will always support this franchise. Its great at what it does. Cant wait to see what Vatra has done with franchise when I start Downpour in my ps3 in the next couple of months.

  • @37

    Swing and a miss, dude. Not even close.

    I don’t see how this could be close to the crap you call Call of Duty, unless you’re refering to how it seems to be the same game over and over.

    This is a third person survival-horror game, not a generic first person war shooter game that’s released once a year.

    Well, now that that’s out of my system…

    I’ve been waiting on this game for a while. Definitely on my wish list for this year.

    I can’t wait to see what these guys have done with the series. From what I’ve read about, they’ve done well.

    As for Akira not being here, no one can replace him, but I’m sure the new guy will do fine.

  • Is good game lets go! I wanna play this game!! : )

  • I have been waiting forever for a PS3-visuals worthy silent hill with trophies that played like SH2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Resident evil is a shooter now, but this looks like it will stick to its roots :)

  • and LMAO @ reply of post #21 :D

  • Looks good, can’t wait for this game im preordering it

  • yes, i love silent hill and have been waiting for a return to that old familiar feeling…. and about resident evil, ima huge fan but i dont like how they have gone away from zombie and slow play with something popping out of every corner, i want 1000’s of zombies moaning and roaming around wanting to eat my brains lol “gotta shoot them in the head”

  • I can’t wait for this or the collection!!! I have Silent hill 2 and 3 and played them a little bit of each (beat and loved SH on PS1, played it again last year on PSP)… but I stopped playing SH2 and SH3 when I heard that collection was coming. I can’t wait for that!!! SH2 especially was awesome from what I played!!

    SH is the only series to keep to its roots it seems. Resident evil has been catered to xbot cod heads who just want twitch action and blowing stuff up. The co-op crap in RE5 was the worst decision ever! There was no exploration, just arena –> arena –> boss —> arena again…it sucked!!! Capcom doesn’t get it, so glad Konami does….now if only konami would give us some PS1 suikoden 2 love and maybe Suikoden 3-5 as Ps2 classics and a new suikoden for PS3…I would be ever grateful!! But that won’t happen :( At least i get Silent hill this year! (and the mgs collection that i am still rockin!)

  • I also hope this returns to the original Silent Hill form. I loved the first and each subsequent entry seemed to disappoint more than the last. I eventually just stopped playing them. I can’t wait for this to come out!!

  • Well I am excited about the HD collection, still skeptically about Downpour since it’s a completely American production. Japanese Horror is a psychological horror, where as American Horror is jumpy, in your face horror. I can’t imagine American’s, as arrogant as we are, can properly make a psychological horror. Though this mew information does give me a little hope for the game, I am going to rent it only.
    The reason Silent Hill 4 isn’t included is because Silent Hill 4 is very far from the series’ core. It iniltially started as a completely separate title, and then was turned into a Silent Hill title. I sk like the lore in SH4 and the songs, but the gameplay was very far from the traditional game.
    Don’t know what movie you watched, but the payed heavy homage to the original Silent Hill, even doing many scenes frame for frame, even copying the exact camera angles used in the game. The back alley lots and Midwhich Elementary were superb locations. Granted it wasn’t all gravy, but the love for fans was enough to make it the best adaptation of a video game yet.

  • @37 cod clone you must be a troll or you really have no idea what kind of game Silent Hill is

  • Three words: yes, yes, YES!

    I cannot wait for a HD silent hill game. Homecoming hardly counts… didn’t even have trophies. That game was a dissapointment on every aspect man. But I have high hopes for this one (Homecoming set the bar so low anyway that I don’t think this game can do any worse).

    Not too keen about the breakable weapons though, it was one of the things I hated on SH4, but we’ll see.

    Anyway, I haven’t played a true SH since SH3 , this is going to be so much fun.

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