The real silent Hill Experience




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ROSSETER

The original three games gave you a two and a two and then asked you to add them together to learn what was going on. But, what Tomm did with Downpour is say, "Two plus X equals Y... pick a multiple choice answer for Y and then solve for X," because the facts of the story change based on the ending you get and each one puts forth a different idea about what's going on in the series.


The old games would present you with a scenario and then ask you to fill in the blanks using the clues provided. Downpour fills in all the blanks for you with six different answers and then asking you to choose one. But that's a trap, because the second you pick one of those six the other five show up to negate your answer. It's not vague and open to interpretation like it should be, it's purposefully convoluted and contradictory.
DERFUZHWAR

... I don't understand what you're saying. This is confusing.


ROSSETER

It's not my fault.


"And that's actually my biggest contribution to Homecoming, is I went in and made it confusing again because they had a very set answer that they wanted to provide and that's just not okay in Silent Hill."

- Tomm Hulett


No, what's okay in Silent Hill is to be as confusing as possible for no reason, right? Because that's what Silent Hill does... He's misinterpreting the originals' desire to create a constant feeling of doubt (up until the end) as a desire to create confusion just for confusion's sake.
FUNGO

The things Dahlia says in the first game might seem confusing at first, but once you understand the plot of the game she makes perfect sense. It's the same story with Claudia, only she's more direct. Vincent throws a few curveballs at you to trip you up and make you question yourself, but he freely admits that it's only to screw with you. In all cases, once you fully comprehend the world of Silent Hill everything fits.


Tommvin Huwaltzky's characters, on the other hand, are just as cryptic, but without the part where you eventually get what they're saying. They are written to be cryptic just because it's a "Silent Hill" thing to do. Like having multiple endings, that's a Silent Hill thing to do, right? "How about instead of just one twist ending we do five twist endings? That's so Silent Hill it has to work!"
"Vagueness is a really difficult thing to accomplish in narrative, though. To have a good story, you can't just *not know* what happens. The writer has to know everything about their characters, from the color of Murphy's hair to what his Email address might be. But that doesn't mean you reveal all that—it's just in the author's mind. When you apply that over the whole story, it's even harder. You put in the time thinking about this stuff, so obviously you WANT to share it. But then, how much info will spoil the "vague" aspect of the game? You have to give enough for fans to latch onto and discuss, but leave enough out there's some mystery. Finding that ideal balance is one of the hardest parts of an SH story."

- Tomm Hulett


ROSSETER

So there is an answer, but it's vague and confusing so we can't guess it right away? Well then, stop telling me I'm not allowed to say what the answer is!


DERFUZHWAR

Whenever you do that you state your opinion like it's undeniable fact. Stop doing that, because then you usually say something that makes sense and makes me think my opinion is wrong, and I don't want to think your opinion I want to think my opinion.


ROSSETER

But your opinion's wrong and I can prove it.


DERFUZHWAR

Don't do that! Because then I'll be mad about it...


ROSSETER

Well, get ready to get angry, because I'm about to show you that Tommvin Huwaltzky doesn't believe in Multiple Dimension Theory and his game doesn't believe it, either. Look at this line on the statistics screen that shows the time ticking away in the "Real World" while I'm standing on the edge of a precipice surrounded by monstrous creatures. Well, if I'm in the "real world", then where's all the people?


FUNGO

The Silent Hill wiki people are in denial about that one, just like most multi-dimensional supporters are in denial of this quote from Tomm Hulett's blog:


"The games don't span multiple dimension."

- Tomm Hulett


But if it's not multiple dimensions, what is it, Tomm?
"Generally I don't really think of the powers in Silent Hill as a 'Force' that has intentions or design. I tend to lean toward the idea that it's a gathering of energies in a specific place that happens to give shape to a person's inner mind."

- Tomm Hulett


ROSSETER

That's perfectly in line with what we say. There's a bit of a gray area on whether or not it's conscious, but we'll give him that.


... But, then he contradicts himself:
"Technically 'Silent Hill' – the weird, scary place – is inside everyone's head. But that's just my view."

- Tomm Hulett


"... the way we perceive it is that it's a living, breathing town, and what Murphy sees, or what James sees isn't what everybody else is seeing. It's sort of the parallel reality thing, right? There could be a normal living town of Silent Hill going on right now, and the fact that Murphy is wandering through it and not seeing anybody is because that's what Murphy is experiencing; that's what the town is bringing out of him.
... We want to leave it up to player's own interpretations to a certain extent, but from everything we've read, and from the development team that still exists in Japan that we've talked to, the original intent for Silent Hill was that it's a living, breathing, normal town. What James is experiencing in the time he's there, for example, is just within his own mind, and his own inner demons coming out. It's the whole parallel reality scenario, where there could be people going back and forth and walking down the street while he's there and he's not noticing them or seeing them because he's in his own personal Silent Hill."

- Devin Shatsky


FUNGO

So, the power of the town is that it can make you hallucinate..? That sucks a lot of the mystique out of it. Why is Silent Hill required to do that? You could do that anywhere!


ROSSETER

... And that would mean that, like Tomm said, you're a serial killer running around killing people and just hallucinating the nightmare, which means that Silent Hill is the serial killer capital of the universe... How many killers is that so far? It would have to be at least twelve that we know of, not counting people outside of the games...


FUNGO

... And then there's the fact that people are hallucinating each other's monsters, although we wouldn't expect them to pick up on that since they think it's exclusively the protagonist's nightmare...


ROSSETER

... And that also contradicts their game's purgatory setup, where people getting stuck in their Groundhog's Day Cycles...


FUNGO

... Not to mention the rampant teleportation happening constantly throughout the later games...


ROSSETER

... And if it's just a hallucination, and the people are really there but you just don't think they are, then why does Cybil end up in Silent Hill? Because someone would've picked up when she radioed in and then she never would have needed to go there...


DERFUZHWAR

Tom Waltz thinks the town is just haunted.


"I think a big part of Silent Hill 2 is the human element and human drama that's going on there. Even if they weren't in a haunted town, even if those things just happened, it's traumatic and horrible. I think that's the strength."

- Tomm Waltz


ROSSETER

Ah, there we go! The nightmare isn't a hallucination, nor is it a twisted spiritual power. Silent Hill is just haunted! That explains how completely unscary Downpour is!


FUNGO

Outside of the monsters and chase sequences, Silent Hill: Downpour is nothing but a series of hauntings. Every sidequest is a literal ghost story where you put the souls of the past to rest.


Ghosts talking to you in mirrors... Tire-swings that become hanging bodies... Shadowy reenactments of murders... Reenactments of murders...
"Characters like me turn up out of nowhere..."

- Chai, Shenmue


Apparitions of monster encounters that disappear mysteriously... Literal ghosts that live in paintings and dolls...
The pre-E3 trailer showed everyone exactly what they were getting into, and nobody said anything.
ROSSETER

And then the nightmare world shows up through the power of Disney magic, and you enter the Universal Studios Silent Hill Spookhouse and get chased around by a red light. It's as if they took the Borely Haunted Mansion and hospital nightmare transition from Silent Hill 3 and turned them into this entire game. They use copious amounts of this red and green lighting Silent Hill 2 used so effectively to make their game look as "funhousey" as possible. Then you get on the haunted mine train and check out this strobe-lighted scene they stole from Condemned: Criminal Origins. They must really love Condemned: Criminal Origins...


FUNGO

The way the series' trademark fog has been treated in Downpour is less than satisfactory. Silent Hill's fog was always very thick and severely limited your view of the world around you. This made running around the town suspenseful and played on your fear of the unknown because you couldn't see what might be out there in the frothy brume... Your fear would intensify when your radio started to emit static in warning of a monster lurking just beyond your field of vision... Downpour's fog is more of a light mist that doesn't obscure anything within hundreds of feet. They seem to be using it to create what they consider "atmosphere" rather than just plain old "fear". You can see vast distances that cut down on the feeling of claustrophobia the original fog was able to induce.


ROSSETER

This game is the most pathetic attempt at horror we've seen in a long time. Did they not watch the making of Silent Hill 2 like the SHAZAM guys did? The originals were scary because they had a way of "shaking people's hearts deeply". They had a unique way of screwing with your mind by showing you things that were shocking and disturbing and you didn't know why. "This thing... I don't know what it is, but I know I don't want it anywhere near me right now..." And then they'd mess with your emotions by taking something like that and making it pathetic, so you're disturbed and shocked and you feel bad about it. And it was room after room of this stuff. There was always something new and unidentifiably messed up or creepy every thirty seconds.


FUNGO

That's the stuff that really makes the psychological aspect of the horror in a Silent Hill game; walking into a room, seeing something screwed up, and then sitting there for ten minutes trying to figure out what it means and why it's so disturbing. They did the exact same thing with audio. You'd hear sound effects that had the same effect. In Downpour, all you'll see is a bunch of empty rooms or haunted blood splatters, and you'll hear nothing except that dumb sound that keeps playing.


There is only a ten second section of the game that Downpour succeeds in emulating Silent Hill through the use of sound effects, during the "Dead Man's Hand" sidequest, where you run through an empty sewer until you pick up a beating heart in a jar... The rest of the game is devoid of unique sounds and situations that are disturbing or uncomfortable in a Silent Hill way.
ROSSETER

Silent Hill managed to be so disturbing and uncomfortable by incorporating the themes of sex and death without actually showing sex and death. This is a concept the previous three games failed to grasp, and a concept Downpour ignores altogether. Downpour's theme is death, death, death, death, ghosts, haunted, death.


These sex dolls are the only reference to sex in the game, and they're the kind of thing the Silent Hill wiki lables as "as representation of the protagonist's sexual frustration" (which is the Silent Hill wiki's way of explaining anything in any of the games that looks remotely sexual).
DESIGNED TO SEXUALLY FRUSTRATE
FUNGO

But the real reason this theme should be included in a Silent Hill game is to add the disturbing element to the death theme so you can "shake people's hearts deeply". Otherwise, you get something like Downpour.


ROSSETER

The idea of shocking players in a subtle and disturbing way goes straight through the head of Tommvin Huwaltzky and comes out the other side as blatantly disgusting. There is a scene in Silent Hill: Downpour that is so reprehensible and wrong that we refuse to show it. This scene features their Pyramid Head archetype snapping the neck of a six-year-old child and discarding his body on the floor while Murphy looks on in panicked horror. It's not subtle, it's not scary, it's sick and evil. They're trying to use this scene in a misguided attempt to shock the player in exactly the opposite way a Silent Hill game would do it.


FUNGO

Where an original would provide a story or suggestion about this kind of thing and then let your mind do the rest of the work, Downpour is outright murdering little children on-screen for your entertainment. We know... technically it's not happening on-screen, but it's just above the screen and being silhouetted against the wall, so it might as well be.


ROSSETER

Tomm Hulett, Devin Shatsky, Tom Waltz, you have gone too far. It's disgusting and wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.


FUNGO

New Silent Hill games are not unfamiliar with the concept of blatancy. The way Silent Hill used to handle its symbolism was blatantly subtle. It would scream out concepts and meanings that you might never understand until you beat the game, and then you might not fully understand what they were trying to tell you until your third or fourth playthrough (if you even realized they were trying to tell you something). Not with Downpour. You can't get much more blatant than this game's imagery.


Bars and cages and bars and clocks and prisoners and bars and cages and clocks and bars and clocks and prisoners and cells and cages and bars and clocks and prisoners... What does it all mean!?
ROSSETER

I spent a lot of sleepless nights racking my brain trying to come up with the answer to that question, but I think I've finally got it. You want to know what it is? You'd never guess it...


DERFUZHWAR

It's because Murphy was in prison.


ROSSETER

Pff, no...


Rosseter points at DerFuzhwar.
This guy...
FUNGO

The development team's skill with symbolism begins to shine brightest when it comes to the game's soundtrac — specifically, the licensed tracks that play on the radios scattered throughout the town. You may wonder what the significance is in playing Andy Williams' "Born Free"... Don't even try, you'll never get it.


ROSSETER

Actually, they play "Born Free" because..?


Rosseter looks to DerFuzhwar for the answer.
DERFUZHWAR

It's because Murphy was in prison.


ROSSETER

That's absolutely right, it's because everyone involved with the game was obsessed with the Showtime original television show Dexter, so much so that they chose that series' music composer Daniel Licht to write the original music for Downpour. Which is fine. The music he did... whatever. A lot of people were very upset when they found out that Akira Yamaoka wouldn't be doing the music for Downpour, but as we know from the previous three games, Akira Yamaoka does not a Silent Hill game make.


DERFUZHWAR

But, whoever it was that chose all these licensed tracks thought they were being really clever by choosing songs with titles and lyrics that sound "uncannily" like they're singing about Silent Hill. It's really gauche.


ROSSETER

It's really gauche. We have some examples of the songs they selected as not-so-subtle representations of Downpour's story. Fuzh, if you please...


DerFuzhwar pulls a sheet of paper out of his breast pocket and reads from it.
DERFUZHWAR

This song is titled "I'm Afraid of Storms".


I'm Afraid of Storms

By Jonathan Singleton & The Grove


Sometimes I get scared

Wanna leave the lights on

When I hear thunder

And the wind's blowing strong


And the rain beats down

It's beating down my door

Won't you help me, Lord

Because I'm afraid of storms


Rosseter snickers.
DERFUZHWAR

What's so funny?


ROSSETER

Nothing, keep going.


DERFUZHWAR

The next one is called "Here Be Monsters".


Here Be Monsters

By Ed Harcourt


Fell in the well

Church rang a bell

Priests they just tried to help

But he went straight to hell


Lost in the flames, such a shame

Here be monsters again

Here be monsters again
Rosseter and Fungo burst into laughter.
FUNGO

And here be some unscary monsters again. While there was at least some imagination in Hostelcoming with their awful monster design, Downpour's monsters are not even monsters half the time. They're just people with goofy smiles. But they look like prisoners... What does it mean!?


We don't really have to make a comparison between these monsters and the originals, do we? That's not a conversation we need to have, is it? Because I don't think they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.
"Q: Even today, most fans' favorite game is Silent Hill 2 (and Silent Hill 2)...
Devin Shatsky: In my opinion, that's one that's set the bar up here as far as survival horror goes, so we'd be lucky to be even talked about in the same conversation as that game, so... But, we'll let the fans and the reviewers decide if it's even worthy of that praise."

- Silent Hill: Downpour E3 panel


ROSSETER

Well if you're leaving it up to us, I'll tell you right now that it isn't. Silent Hill: Downpour is not even good as a game on its own, nor is it a good Silent Hill game. It fails both our tests of an adaptation, functional and contextual.


FUNGO

It doesn't approach the bar set by Team Silent's games, and serves nothing more than to cause undue confusion and arguments among Silent Hill fans.


ROSSETER

More than that, Downpour is Tomm Hulett's magnum opus, the game the self-proclaimed walking, talking Silent Hill bible made to prove to the world that he could do better than Team Silent making their own game.


DERFUZHWAR

There you flippin' go again, blaming Tomm Hulett! You've crossed the line this time! I've had enough of this crap! Enough!


ROSSETER

... What happened to you? You used to be so agreeable...


DERFUZHWAR

I just feel like you guys betrayed me! I was looking around the internet and I found this website... You guys are terrible effing people!


ROSSETER

... How?
DERFUZHWAR

You guys are stating everything as fact and leaving no room for other people's hard-earned opinions! You're so obnoxious about it, as if you had a hand in creating the games! Get over yourselves!
ROSSETER

Oh, because we don't say, "In my humble opinion," every other line? That makes us horrible? All we're doing is telling people the truth about Silent Hill.


DERFUZHWAR

Shut up! Nobody's fully right or wrong! It's not all black and white! You can't hold a monopoly on truth!


FUNGO

Why don't you both stop fighting? I can't take the fighting anymore! There's so much strife in this community... People are dying! Don't you get it!? They're dying in the streets over your Silent Hill nonsense! It's just a game, it's not the end of the world! It's not the end of the world!


It is the end of the world!
Fungo screams and jumps off-camera.
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