Konami’s brief (and…odd) Silent Hill presentation included a few intriguing announcements and many more unanswered questions. Somewhere at the top of that list of unanswered questions is “Who is Ryukishi07?”
At the end of their recent presentation, Konami aired the first trailer for Silent Hill f: a new Silent Hill game from Neobards Entertainment (the developers of Resident Evil Re:Verse). Unfortunately, the trailer did not give us much to go on. There’s definitely a Midsommar-like folk horror vibe to the whole thing (and the game strangely takes place in 1960s Japan, which suggests a kind of reboot, side story, or reimagining), but this trailer was obviously meant to be as vague as possible.
However, at the end of that preview, we are informed that Silent Hill f‘s story was written by Ryukishi07. That name may or may not ring a bell depending on your preferred reading material, but it turns out that the things we do know about Ryukishi07 may hint at what we can expect from Silent Hill f‘s story.
Ryukishi07 is the pen name for a Japanese writer perhaps best known for his work on the When They Cry visual novel series. Actually, the name Ryukishi07 is a reference to Final Fantasy V‘s Dragoons as well as one of that game’s main characters, Lenna. So, while the writer has only ever seemingly formally worked on one previous video game project (Natsu no Kagerou, which was ultimately canceled), he clearly has a passion for the medium.
What’s really interesting about Ryukishi07’s involvement is the nature of his previously published works. While the specifics of the author’s previous works obviously vary, a few themes and stylistic choices can be found throughout much of his writing. Specifically, Ryukishi07 seems to love a good Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, wields a wicked sense of humor, and, from time to time, has been known to go really, really dark with his more overtly horror stories. There’s an almost Grand Guignol quality to some of his work that would certainly seem to fit the Silent Hill series and what we saw in the Silent Hill f trailer.
Interestingly, Ryukishi07 also loves zombie video games (especially violent zombie games). However, he seemingly laments that zombies aren’t really that popular among many Japanese audiences. He once stated (via a translated interview) that “girls’ panties” get more love than zombie games in Japan so he “hopes we could make a zombie game with girls’ panties so it can get love in Japan.” Make of that what you will.
Perhaps most importantly, Ryukishi07 loves to throw his audience off the right track through narrative red herrings, unreliable narrators, and even the occasional bit of meta-storytelling subterfuge. Some of his fans have compared elements of his writing to being closer to a D&D campaign than more traditional storytelling, which, again, does certainly seem to make him an interesting candidate for a Silent Hill title. Ryukishi07 has even previously stated that he prefers that kind of non-linear narrative design to more straightforward storytelling, which is probably exactly the kind of thing you want to hear if you’re hoping for a proper new Silent Hill story.
Knowing all of that, it’s easy enough to see why a lot of Ryukishi07’s fans are beyond excited that he’s actually working on a Silent Hill game. You can even see aspects (however vague) of Ryukishi07’s previous work in the Silent Hill f trailer. The question now is whether or not Ryukishi07 and the rest of the game’s team will be able to overcome the many burdens and expectations that come with the Silent Hill name. While those aforementioned unanswered questions need to be addressed before anyone gets too excited, it certainly seems like there might be a good reason to be cautiously optimistic about a new Silent Hill game after all these years. Who would have thought?