It doesn’t take much to get fans excited about a new Hideo Kojima game. In fact, all it really took to get everyone talking about what Kojima will do next was this tweet from Kojima Productions that simply mentioned the team is currently hiring for a new project.
The tweet doesn’t include much information, and Kojima Productions’ job page proves to be equally unhelpful. It makes vague mentions to requirements such as a 3D designer who can work on “weapons, gadgets, vehicles, mechas” and someone who is experienced with “Event control system[s] in RPG,” but if you were hoping that Kojima would reveal something more substantial ahead of the project’s official reveal, then you just don’t know the history of a designer’s whose enigmatic games often manage to confuse the people who’ve actually completed them. Even right now, we assumed that Kojima Productions is even talking about working on a game when they’ve made it pretty clear in the past that they’re interested in branching out into other mediums.
However, in the minds of millions, there’s only one project they want to see Hideo Kojima work on next: a horror game. Specifically, many want to see him return to Silent Hill.
We highly recommend you check out our deeper dive into the history of the infamous P.T. if you want a more complete version of Kojima’s recent relationship with the horror genre, but you’ve probably heard the short version of the story before. Hideo Kojima was going to team up with Guillermo Del Toro to work on a new Silent Hill game (officially referred to as Silent Hills), but the team only got the chance to release the brilliant, revolutionary, and all-time scary P.T. before Kojima’s messy breakup with Konami put an end to their ambitions.
Since then, Silent Hills has become one of gaming’s greatest “What If?” topics. The triumph of P.T. showed that the dream of Kojima one day making a Silent Hill game was so much more than optimistic speculation. It turned out that when you gave one of the most creative, talented, and often unpredictable creators the chance to work within a universe traditionally defined by madness and weirdness, good things happen.
The desire to answer all of the unanswered questions that the playable teaser of Silent Hills has led to some pretty wild speculation over the years. The most recent round of rumors suggested that Sony intended to buy the rights to the Silent Hill franchise and basically gift it to Kojima Productions. We suppose such deals are never entirely off the table (especially after Microsoft’s recent Bethesda acquisition), but we’re going to go ahead and assume that if such a deal was possible, it’s probably not actively in the works.
The idea that Kojima will never officially work on a Silent Hill game again may seem disheartening, but it shouldn’t be. In fact, there’s really nothing stopping Hideo Kojima from making Silent Hills his next game regardless of whether he has the license or not.
Silent Hill is a lot of things, but one of the franchise’s best qualities is its inconsistency. Most of the games feature the town itself in some way and a few callbacks here and there, but the Silent Hill franchise has included everything from an elaborate interactive psychological exam to a game that was mostly about a guy stuck in an apartment. Even P.T. was wildly different from every Silent Hill that came before.
The point is that when Kojima left Konami, he did so partially in pursuit of opportunities and projects that wouldn’t be weighed down by the burden of…whatever is happening with Konami. There’s a degree to which working within the official Silent Hill franchise was always going to be a burden, and the idea of Kojima officially returning to that series would certainly be a burden now.
Yet, there’s no reason that Kojima can’t take whatever almost certainly weird and wonderful ideas he had for Silent Hills and just put them into a game of his own design. No, it wouldn’t have the Silent Hill name, but as series like Mass Effect and Fallout have shown in recent years, a name doesn’t exactly count for much if the creative spirit that made it noteworthy in the first place has left.
At a time when major single-player horror games are more of a rarity than ever before, there are more reasons to hope beyond hope that one of the few video game personalities who has the Christopher Nolan-esque ability to will a strange project into production through the value of his name power will return to the genre he never properly got to explore in the first place. Of course, there’s also this tweet from the man himself which we’ll always use to justify keeping our spirits high:
We don’t know what Kojima Productions is working on next, but when you look at opportunity, potential, precedent, and demand…well, it’s easy to see why we too keep returning to Silent Hill.