E3 2008: Silent Hill: Homecoming Updated Hands-On

We met with Konami at E3 2008 to see how Homecoming is shaping up.

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Silent Hill is coming home to roost on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this fall. We sat down with Konami at the E3 Media & Business Summit to check in on the long-running survival horror franchise and see how the latest addition is shaping up.

For those who need a quick recap, you'll assume the role of World War II vet Alex Shepherd, who's come back to his hometown, Shepherd's Glen. But--as is always the case--the town, and himself, aren't quite the same as they were when he left. For a start, he's suffering for a bout of amnesia. If that weren't bad enough, the town is covered in a mysteriously thick, dark fog--and, oh yeah, there are ungodly monsters roaming the streets at will.

Alex Shepherd isn't having the best day. He's dealing with amnesia and ungodly beasts.

While Homecoming features a completely new story, the game is still a part of the existing Silent Hill universe and we're told by Konami that there might even be a few overlapping plot twists between Homecoming and the previous installments in the series. Shepherd's greater goal in the game (besides surviving a range of creatures hell-bent on killing him) is to find his lost brother. To aid you on the quest, you'll have access to a range of weapons including knife, axe, crowbar, pistol, shotgun, and more.

Our hands-on began with Shepherd waking up in the middle of what looked to be the main street of Shepherd's Glen. The town was notably, eerily devoid of people, blanketed in a thick fog during the still of night, and littered with a few abandoned vehicles. We carelessly stumbled down an alley in our quest for answers and quickly encountered an unusual beast with glowing, throbbing sacs around its neck and abdomen, and a grotesque exposed ribcage. While it was able to strike us by lunging, it also sprayed a repugnant black gas from its mouth, quickly reducing our health bar in the process.

Using the knife, we quickly attacked the creature with a few stabs. You can string together multiple attacks using a combination of strong or fast attacks, although rolling out of the way to avoid attacks is an equally wise strategy. After a brief encounter we moved on through the alley to its end at the edge of what looked to be a quarry. Jumping down a ledge and under a stranded truck, we acquired a new weapon--a fire axe--which we were told could be used to break through one of the doors back on the high street to continue the mission.

Despite an all-too-brief time with Homecoming, we got a good feel for the game's controls, which feel solid and sensibly laid out. Hitting the B button will put you on the defensive, allowing you to block attacks. Other face buttons allow you to jump out of the way entirely to avoid damage altogether, perform strong or fast attacks, or access your map; you won't have one to begin with, though--you'll need to find one in your travels. Shoulder buttons pull up your inventory and weapon menus, while the triggers allow you to take a combat stance or fire a weapon.

Homecoming is being developed by Double Helix Games (which was formed through the merging of the game's original developer, The Collective, and Shiny Entertainment) and the game already looks promising. The detail in characters and environments appear quite detailed, and the lighting effects, together with smoke and fog, work well to create a dark, uncertain landscape--always important in horror titles.

It's Shepherd's Glen, but not as he knows it.

Despite a new developer at the helm, Silent Hill: Homecoming looks true to the franchise's roots, and we look forward to seeing it in greater detail as the game nears its fall 2008 release date. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage on Homecoming as it emerges.

Discussion

50 comments
leonheart_z
leonheart_z

looks great! although being developed by an american developer may take away the unique japanese-style horror the game enjoys..still looking forward to it though...

masterarbider
masterarbider

It's scheduled for 9/30/08, a demo on marketplace would be nice, or a PC version.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Dang I better keep track of this game so I can get it when it comes out.

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

It's coming out soon and it still only appears to be "promising"? Honestly, I'm really afraid that the US is developing this game since Western/Eastern take on the horror genre is so different. Better not end up being the "Saw" version of SH

Joman1000
Joman1000

I don't think a lot of you really know what makes a Silent Hill game. It's all about the controls? Seriously? No.

Incetardis
Incetardis

im waiting in anticipation for this game. Silent Hill in next gen? hell yea. I so hope they do it justice. just over a month left...

SolidSnake2506
SolidSnake2506

I can't wait to play this game........ hoping for more action and puzzles...

cachorro25
cachorro25

it's looking awesome, just I hope they don't turn it into another action game, I want to kill monsters as well to solves puzzles!! don't left out the puzzles!!!

marked-one101
marked-one101

Holy Crap, This game looks awesome in all departments: Storyline, Gameplay, Visual aspects, and scare factor. Can't wait for it.

scorch-62
scorch-62

It's not set in Silent Hill...? What?

Treflis
Treflis

I actually have faith in this game despite it being developed by someone other then Konami, the pictures and video clips I've seen does make it look like a Silent Hill game. The fact Shepard ( that's a real popular Videocharater name now that I think about it, Mass Effect and Half life Opposing Force) is a veteran from WW2 should mean he has alot of emotional bagage and I do hope they use that in the Characters behaviour and speech.

Wild_SeVen2004
Wild_SeVen2004

whats important is the control which is silent hill series lack of,i hope its improve

leofiregod
leofiregod

this is one of my favorite series. I hope they don't turn it from horror to action like the Resident Evil peopple did with RE4

aaaaaa12
aaaaaa12

If its really scary then EVERYONE gonna play this game despite all of its noob gameplay.

Joman1000
Joman1000

The way I gauge whether or not a Silent Hill game is going to be disturbing is if it recreates the feeling of having a nightmare... and I hate to say it, but there is more 'logic' in everything I've seen than actual aesthetics. It looks like an interpretation. Then again, Silent Hill Origins was made by an American development team, and no matter what anyone says, they got the atmosphere right in that game, if nothing else. Screw the combat system. Screw Alex Shepherd's hardcore veteran background. If this game doesn't FEEL like the other games do, it's going to suck. Period.

dark_being
dark_being

I'll find a way to enjoy this game. I have to.

Macgyver40
Macgyver40

another silent hill game. I am sur that fans will be happy

IGDetail
IGDetail

What's with the limited info on this game? I'd like to link some vids please! :)

Znuck_King_Ling
Znuck_King_Ling

I'm soo looking forward to the new fighting system. My friends still joke about *Spoilers* How easy the battle against the god in Silent Hill 3 was. Whenever I mention Silent Hill 3, they're like "Oh, with that /totally/ epic battle against the god, right? That was so hardcore. *End spoilers* So yeah, being able to beat the crap out of these scary creatures is gonna rock.

gangsterjc
gangsterjc

Looks awsome!Hope its as good as 2 and 3!

gangsterjc
gangsterjc

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

The mood of the earlier games seem to be intact... the details are awesome.

gamer082009
gamer082009

I love Silent Hill games, but I hope the robotic controlls get fixed. Hopefully it still has it's puzzle ellements that made the past SH games amazing. Ane heres to hoping they don't go in the direction of Silent Hill: The Room!

TwiztedMetal
TwiztedMetal

these are always great games :) keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Agreb91
Agreb91

Looks to be really scary!

xcr33px
xcr33px

already have a space next to my ps3 for this : D and dead space, and killzone 2 and god of war 3 and all the many great titles that will be realeased this year :)

grambyte
grambyte

Man o man, I'm already waiting. Where is the line?

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

Starting to get there....not long now...

Stray-Child
Stray-Child

Looks promising, even though it is made by a new team. The graphics and environments are perfect, the new Alex design is much better than the previous one. The story is new and great. Searching for missing persons is so like silent hill games ^^ can't wait for this one.

Shakezulah
Shakezulah

This game looks really good. The original SH is still my favorite in th series, however. Hopefully this will be the game to change that.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Looks and sounds good, I want to see more

DarkSnack
DarkSnack

it's look like the game keep it style, I love that not the same as resident evil 5 it name must convert to gears of war or halo

carstairs
carstairs

Sounds like the Silent Hill we know and love. Good!

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

sounds and looks impressive..my sister is gonna love this when it gets released

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KaosKetchup
KaosKetchup

hmm, wasn't he supposed to be a Vietnam Vet? i think they need somebody to edit this... anyway, the game is definately in my top 5 most wanted :P

-Twilight-
-Twilight-

I'm excited to see another Silent Hill title coming out. I can't wait for the release.

chechak7
chechak7

silent hill is hill and i f you have weak heart u are so died it is embittered life but if u like this type the play it