PT raises the bar very high for the very game it’s advertising. Why exactly is it so awesome and what does it say for horror in this year?
PT is something that has been making the rounds on the internet for quite some time. It’s also something I’ve been meaning to write about for an equally long time. Obviously we all know by now that the mysterious title that appeared on the Playstation Store is a teaser for the upcoming Silent Hills. So why all the commotion?
PT provides everything that I’ve been looking for but in a condensed form. It’s an amazing combination of different elements that sets the bar really high for Silent Hills and the survival horror genre.
A Collaborative Approach to Horror
With such star names working on Silent Hills, it’s no surprise that PT uses the presentation of the game in a powerful way. Film maker, Guillermo Del Toro, has lent his hand to better utilise the mise en scene of PT. Admittedly, there isn’t much outside of the hallway to really appreciate but what PT has done with it is strong. Hideo Kojima is no stranger to story-telling either and creative use of elements outside of the box (think Psycho Mantis, Metal Gear Solid).
Combining such diverse and symbiotic talents has lent PT a tremendous boon. It engages players on multiple levels and is a treat just to see. The world, although small, is engaging and players can relish every detail – something that is actively encouraged with the puzzle.
At its core, PT is the sort of horror balance that other games should strive to reach. The puzzles, shocks, and abstract elements challenge players on a psychological landscape; and the rich, detailed world is engaging for players in a more visceral, physiological way.
Not to mention, the monsters are gruesome and utterly repellent. Because of this, they are amazing.
The Silent Hill Puzzle
There’s no doubting that the central puzzle of PT is incredibly difficult. Not only due to being a hard code to crack but also because of the seemingly obscure logic. While this may have been frustrating for some, it’s something that is genuinely exciting.
This sort of abstract, absurdly difficult puzzle is something for which Silent Hill has become known. So much of the franchise’s reputation is tied to these puzzles that require a dedicated gamer and a boatload of work to solve.
That PT is forcing players to buy into its internal logic and tackle a puzzle that, at face value, seems nigh impossible is a sign that this series is in good hands. Time will tell if this approach is something that translates into the finished product but I’m excited to see these adaptations of existing traditions alongside strides into the future.
It’s a Multi-Layered Minefield
Being a teaser trailer, PT is more than what it is. PT is the promise of what can come. What’s unusual about PT, however, is that it seems to be trying to get as much information from its audience as it gives. As you progress through the trailer, the level of horror seems to go from the tame, to gore, to surreal psychological torment.
How much of this is to showcase the potential for Silent Hills is unclear. What seems to be the case is PT’s variable horror is testing the waters for their final product. The developers appear to be trying to see how far they can push the envelope before players stop playing their game.While the later stages are unsurprising, it’s a nice little step to take in order to make their product more palatable.
If they respond to audience reactions, Silent Hills has the potential to strike the perfect balance. In doing so, they’ll manage to overcome the insufficiently scary for horror enthusiasts barrier while avoiding the pitfall of being too scary for some. This will shape their game to their audience, drive sales, and, hopefully, serve as an example for games in the future.