Silent Hill 4: The Room First Look

Konami unveils the latest entry in the Silent Hill franchise at its gamers' day.

Hot on the heels of its announcement of the fourth entry in the Silent Hill series, Silent Hill 4: The Room, Konami gave a presentation on the game at its Gamers' Day today. Producer Akira Yamaoka led the presentation, which consisted of an overview of the game, a disturbing trailer, and a brief Q&A session. While Yamaoka was careful about what was revealed, it's pretty clear that the upcoming game matches, if not surpasses, the creepiness of the previous entries in the series.

As mentioned in its announcement, the game will revolve around a man named Henry Townsend who becomes trapped in his apartment. After a week or so, Townsend discovers a mysterious hole in his bathroom and convinces himself that it's the only way out. However, as you'd expect, mysterious holes that appear in the bathroom of your potentially cursed apartment rarely lead to anywhere you'd actually want to go.

The stylish trailer was made up of a collage of cinematics, gameplay, and assorted grainy black-and-white imagery that was just enough out of focus to creep you out. The bulk of the trailer was filled with a disturbing look at the menagerie of creatures and people you'll encounter who'll help and hinder you on your journey. We'll go out on a limb and say that the horribly deformed creatures that looked like torsos with two squealing baby heads, wheelchair-riding S&M-attired individuals, sluglike creatures, floating corpselike ghosts, and demonic doglike things will likely fall into the "hinder" category. In fact, outside of one or two reasonably normal-looking people who popped up in the footage, it doesn't look like Henry will be getting much assistance on his toilet portal-fueled adventures. The trailer was given an extra helping in the creepiness department thanks to an unnerving song, sung like a lullaby, that played toward the end of the trailer.

Following the trailer, Yamaoka shed some light on the gameplay, which will add some new elements to the expected features. The game will roughly divide your time between the interior of your apartment and the disturbing worlds you'll travel to via the portals you find in your bathroom. Your view will change, as you travel in the game, to fit your location. As a result, the game will use a first-person perspective when you're in Henry's apartment and will switch to third-person when you're exploring the environments you'll reach through the portals. While there wasn't much specific information discussed, Yamaoka said that some elements of gameplay were more in line with the original Silent Hill than with the more recent entries in the franchise. Puzzles in your exploration will once again be on hand for you to solve in order to progress. The game will feature a stronger emphasis on action than previous entries and will include real-time weapon and item selection. This change apparently came about as a result of the team's focus on pacing in Silent Hill 4.

As for the game's story, Silent Hill 4 won't share as direct a connection with the other entries in the franchise as Silent Hill 2 did, but there will be some ties to the series. Although specifics weren't mentioned, Yamaoka did say that the portals you'll use to get around will help make such connections.

Silent Hill 4: The Room is currently slated for a simultaneous launch in fall of 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. While the team is investigating ways to offer content unique to each platform, Yamaoka stated that their main goal was ensuring the simultaneous launch of the game. Look for more on Silent Hill 4: The Room in the coming months.

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