Silent Hill: Homecoming Hands-On

We finally got our hands around the neck of this terrifying new entry in the legendary horror series, Silent Hill.

Silent Hill is an enigma, and so is the development of its latest installment, Silent Hill: Homecoming. Where the other entries were spawned by KCET (Konami's Tokyo studio), this one will be nailed together by an American group known as The Collective. This secretive team of dark nerds has stuck mainly to the foggy fringes of the industry, but at the recent Konami Gamer's Day event they were thrust into the spotlight to discuss their latest project, and this is what they had to say.

The Silent Hill formula: One part creepy environments...

Their first priority is to "get it right." While it's impossible to tell from our brief hands-on time with the game whether they achieved this first goal, we were appeased by their claim that this game will represent an evolution of the series and not a revolution. And it was quickly easy to see what they meant, as the game looked and felt just like Silent Hill. If someone just plopped you down in front of it, you would immediately know what series Homecoming belonged in. Thick fog? Check. Dread-inducing atmospheric music? Check. Terrifying shadows lurking at the borders of your vision? Check? And finally, naked white beasts with twin axe blades for heads, and the pervasive theme of a hospital gone wrong, wrong, wrong? Oh yes, this is Silent Hill.

One thing we didn't really get a feel for in our playtime was the narrative. Fortunately, this was the second point addressed in The Collective's presentation: They realize that everything is scarier in the dark, and that includes the plot. Therefore, they promise not to shed light on the spooky town's malicious mysteries, but rather to spread more confounding narrative shadow for players to creep through, eyes wide open, comprehending only grim shapes in the shadows.

You play a man named Shepherd, who has just returned to his sleepy little town from war to discover that everything is covered in fog. His brothers are missing, and his haunted mother seems to be speaking from someplace far, far away, even though she sits right next to him, rocking in her chair, loaded revolver resting in her lap. "You've been gone so long," she says. You promise to find your brothers, but she doesn't seem to hear you. She is lost in the fog, and she's right in front of you. Does that make you lost, too?

As you find your way outside, your quiet little town is covered in the all too familiar fog. Behind a truck, you hear a rustling and investigate. A small child, who was eating something back there, darts away, lost in the mist. You immediately identify him as your missing brother. Funny, though--he used to eat things in the kitchen.

Even though your own family members are now strangers, the controls and combat should be very familiar. The big addition is the ability to block and counterattack. When evil strikes, you can hit a button to block most of the damage. However, if you hit it at just the perfect moment, you'll dodge completely out of the way, leaving your enemies open for a stunning counterattack. Once they're stunned, you can move in and finish them off with a cinematic, lethal blow. While this mechanic wasn't completely smooth at the event yesterday, it's good to know that your character will be better able to handle himself in a fight against the forces of madness. We also heard there will be one finishing move per weapon, per character, though who those characters will be is still shrouded in fog.

… and one part crazy-looking monsters.

Finally, the collective wanted to ensure that Silent Hill's Homecoming was scary, and at least in the cases we saw, they succeeded. There was a startling scene on display where Shepherd entered a flooded basement knee-deep with bubbling water. As he peered into its depths, a gash-faced monster peered back, and then attacked. In another scene, Shepherd was helplessly strapped to a hospital gurney propelled by a grim surgeon past operating rooms full of horrific silhouettes emanating terrifying sounds. Though we're loathe to find out what was going on in those rooms, we can't wait for this September, when we finally get to return to Silent Hill.

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52 comments
TheXenolith
TheXenolith

oh please please have proper voice acting

Sai89
Sai89

Looks promising :)

Berzi
Berzi

Silent hill is a perfect horror game , i will surely get it when it hits the shelves also with dead space

The_used_rox801
The_used_rox801

I can't wait ! I really hope it's not going to be a huge disappointment . It looks really good though ,but either way , I can't wait to play it .

Znuck_King_Ling
Znuck_King_Ling

I think these new guys in charge are going to nail Silent Hill better than any of the previous installations could. Looking forward to it. ^_^

KatieScarlet
KatieScarlet

I'm so excited to see how great this is going to look on the PS3. Time for a few TV perhaps? :)

vette68
vette68

i did think the 4th game was the least scariest of the series but i have a feeling this is going to be their best one yet!

Gray_Wolf-13
Gray_Wolf-13

I was actually surprised when the fourth game turned out to be ok (though the final boss was annoying...). Hope the change of development team doesn't end in disaster...

ichtus
ichtus

UmiOkuri, there isn't a perfect thing after all, but all I was trying to say - the initial creators are the best at making their own game. But for me - every SH game is a perfect being and the voice acting and graphics - these aspects never bothered me. Im not that shallow. And how did you came to conclusion that I haven't played many SH games? I only mentioned things, that could be done wrong - like OFFICIAL names for other dimensions, reanimated nightmares, etc. I have completed SH1 5 times, SH2 2 times, SH3 3 times, SH4 2 times and I have completed Silent Hill: Orphan (aka Silent Hill Mobile). I haven't played SH: Origins yet, true. Because I dont have PSP, but the PAL port are alive, so Im buying it next month. As You can see - I have played them all. Last time - two weeks ago - completed SH1 for 5th time.

UmiOkuri
UmiOkuri

Ichtus, the controllable shift to the Otherworld was in Origins, not Homecoming. And Origins was sorta poopy. It played like a scary Zelda game with breakable weapons, what with the "PUT TOGETHER THE HOLY ARTIFACT TO KILL THE EVIL GAWD BY GOING TO RANDOM DISJOINTED LOCATIONS FOR NO REASON YAY" storyline. It was fun, but the story needed work. And Apparently you haven't really played many Silent Hill games, because it's always been called the "Otherworld" ever since Harry Mason called it that in Silent Hill 1. So there. I do wish that Homecoming stayed "Silent Hill 5" without the subtitle. Homecoming sounds stupid. You would have thought they would have learned the subtitle rule after The Room, but no... But anyway, I'm pretty excited for SH5. With Mr. Shepherd here, one wonders if he's related to Madame Mary Shepherd-Sunderland, hmm? Very, very possible. I was over on the SH5 fansite that gets all kinds of news and supposedly, someone who looks suspiciously like Travis O'Grady from Origins (who shares the same name) is going to be in SH5, so I don't know how that's going to work. But yeah, Ichtus, I am worried about the symbolism. If they screw that up, the collective will be dead in days. But I disagree with the "Only Team Silent can make a perfect Sh game." They've never managed to make a perfect one themselves. SH1's storyline was too vague and had crap voice acting, SH2 had so-so voice acting and graphics and a not-as-scary-as-SH1 atmosphere, and SH3 was scary as hell and had graphics to back it up, but lacked the depth I expected after SH2. None of them have ever been perfect.

ichtus
ichtus

rpgisforme, we are just afraid of things that could be done wrong and lost - but basically - I am worried about the messed up symbolism and controllable shfting to "Otherword" (and about the fact that some name are given to alternate reality. Cliche.) and stuff like that. Yes, You can allways take all the elements of SH universe and throw them together, but the common sense and in-depth symbolism and storyline will, probably, be lost. And by that method - only Team Silent were able to take all the elements of their Silent Hill and make perfect game out of them. But, as it seems, others just dont get what to do with all those elements from SH. Like car repair service - there are many elements (parts) to make a car (game), but only the true engineers (Team Silent) knows how to put those elements together and make the perfect car (Silent Hill game).

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

Okay go ahead and bash me but looking at the screenshots the game looks beautiful. I personally can't wait for it to hit the shelves. There has never been a "bad" Silent Hill game. The Room may not have been the best of the series but still a good game, I enjoyed it anyway. I, as much as anybody would be glad to hear that Team Silent was back at work on a new SH but I don't think it's gonna happen. In any event I love the series and I'll back it 100% and so far this one looks to be pretty good, I don't know what all you people are whining about.

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

No wonder this title looked shallow to me.. As a long time Silent Hill fan since the first game, it seems like another fantastic game is heading down the so-so path.. At least Devil May Cry was still developed by old team, this is is just a entrance for the new population of multiplatforming... Sad.. maybe the next Silent Hill, assuming there will be one, will bring back the true survival horror.

ichtus
ichtus

Yes, Fatal Frame is very beatiful, but the third part was a frustrating experience a little bit - sometimes the objectives were unclear. Scarier than Silent Hill - definately. And I say this as a maniacal Silent Hill fanatic.

bamfer3
bamfer3

i wish they could make another fatal frame for the PS3, that IMO is one of the best survival horror games (especially crimson butterfly) after silent hill itself, i haven't heard about RE5 in a while :/

Castlevania1986
Castlevania1986

I'd rather play RE5. RE4 was good and 5 is going to be allot better. The SH series lost it after 4 and now 5 looks like trash. These guys obviously thought that making the main character a war veteran would make people automatically accept the game. Lone soldiers are so over rated. Metal Gear Solid has taken the lead for that.

1Dimi1
1Dimi1

those of you thinking that Team Silent hold the 'rights' to the franchise are wrong... I'm not one to know the details of it but Konami hold the rights to Silent Hill...therefore Team Silent, who wanted to no longer continue the silent hill games, didn't have anything to do with the 'choosing' of The Collective to develop Homecoming. I'm pretty sure (again not full on with the details) that Akira Yamaoka, the lead sound designer/music composer, was approached by Konami or The Collective and asked politely if he'd like to do the sound for the new game. Also, so far those videos really don't look like the previous silent hill games. More like they're taking and using all the ideas that the film produced...which is a shame because the film was only 'based' on the video games. I have no doubt that this upcoming silent hill game will be scary, and the design looks like it just might be solid. But the only thing that remains from the previous games is the beautiful work of Akira Yamaoka, and the wondrous town. This game is going to be a mere 'interpretation' of the Silent Hill that I personally have come to love. ...but thats just my opinion.

ichtus
ichtus

Yes, those nurses are a ripoff of nurses visual appearance in film. But not a copy from SH3. We have nurses in every Silent Hill installment.

xophaser
xophaser

those nurses are cool. SH has remain somewhat scarely to play or create tension, where RE pretty much left the surival horror genre to just regular zombie busting. Hopefully this is better then the room.

Darkreaper_1
Darkreaper_1

Haven't had a read yet but the last pic...isn't that the "nurse" from Silent Hill 2 and also the film Silent Hill?

Takibi
Takibi

woah! .........scary

truenextgen
truenextgen

I know the grain still their is cool. And I know the guys want to show of what they do. But whatever happened to the thick fog?? I mean I would not have it everywhere do to wanting to show of some areas. But still. Man in 2 you could not see threw the whole thing outdoors. And you would think you saw something, or maybe not, or. Plus im guessing it kind of made it easier to programer with less draw distance? Fog and the flash light only sees stuff was to cool

faToe
faToe

ohhhhhh .....creepy!

toma91
toma91

I think it looks good. Honestly, i haven't played many SH game, but just because they change it a bit doesn't make it a bad game. Sure if ur a big fan of the series, you probably won't enjoy it as much, since ur used to the normal formula the series is known for. It's like RE4, it was a totally different game, yet enjoyable. It just about coming out of ur comfort zone at the end of the day. everyone fears change lol

doorsofparadise
doorsofparadise

idk what you guys are so worried about team silent doesnt just let anyone handle there properties the guy who made the movie didnt just get the rights like that it took him a long time anyway my point is i think he did a pretty good job on it and if they trust these guys to make there next installment of silent hill they must be doing something right

Amir29
Amir29

Thanks to all of your comments, it looks like I will be revisiting SH3 and SH4. The truth is that I didn't enjoy them at first. Maybe I didn't give them enough of a chance? I enjoyed Silent Hill 2 from beginning to end. Well, looks like I have a lot of Silent Hill content to cover before reaching September. Man... With all of these great games coming out it looks like my social life will be at a halt till (at least) the turn of 2009 :P

xsqmko
xsqmko

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kirschwasser
kirschwasser

Why is The Collective making this anyway? Why aren't the people who made SH3 making it? What I'm most worried about from the videos is the onscreen button prompts (i.e. Open, Examine, and the battle buttons). Nothing takes the atmosphere away quicker than seeing buttons for a controller pop up. I'm getting a weird feeling about this one...like it's either going to be amazing or total crap.

worthyofnote
worthyofnote

Awesome, can't wait to get my hands on the finished product.

Newager
Newager

Handled by the American team... then the horror visual coding will be conceived according to the western way. The monster with vagina head for example is a sign of female gender and female power itself being face to face with this monster literally challenge how you, as a man, threatened by a hostile presence of female power. The japanese on the other hand tend to take horror from their past experience when hiroshima / nagasaki were bombed. The air raid before world transition for example pretty much reminds them of how frightening it is.

ichtus
ichtus

1Dimi1, I have observed the same. The symbolisms tends to be disposed. And yes, good point about that cliche :/ That's the reason why I last time completed Silent Hill 1 for the fifth time in a period of, hmm, 6 months? For the reason of authenticy, originalism. All was OK untill we saw SH4. No, SH4 wasn't a bad game - this peace of art scared me as hell. But one thing is clear - this isnt a SIlent Hill game anymore. I just hope, that SH: Origins is more SH'ish. And I hope that SH5 will met the qualities of SH1-3. Ahh, dream on...

ColdRush88
ColdRush88

Definitely on my game wish list. :D I love the Silent Hill series. And like everyone seems to be fond of doing round here i WON'T knock this game before I myself have played it. :)

1Dimi1
1Dimi1

The problem isn't the fact that the gameplay will be different, or that the horror elements might feel a bit more like 'monsters jumping out of the closet'. Its the fact that the original story and the whole universe of SH was written by Team Silent. Unfortunately what I see here, and what I've heard so far makes this seem like all the mystery and symbolism of the previous games has suddenly been discarded and the only thing that really remains the same is the town, Silent Hill...even though as we found out in SH4, the town isn't what the games have all been about. Anyway so far it sounds like a cliched American horror game. I'm not saying the game will be bad...so far it looks alright. I'm simply saying that the feel of the story probably won't fit in with the rest of the SH series. But hey, it's just an observation...

ichtus
ichtus

Pop-up monsters, vagina-mouth monsters. Maybe meanless monsters? Well, I hope not. Well, in some sort the female-genitalia-mouth fits in the series (female-genitalia-holes in SH3 - especially the final hole). Why this series isn't anymore in the hands of gods - Team Silent. Only the initial creators are good enough to keep Silent Hill alive. But I hope, that Im wrong. But I'll see if I'm wrong or not - next month I will buy SIlent Hill: Origins and see what the hell has been done wrong (like mirror-gates to "Otherworld" and nurses in school, Pyramidhead ripoff (aka The Butcher), etc. Ehh). Symbolism. If The Collective will mess this up, I'll be REALLY pissed off on both - Konami and The Collective. But I believe, that I still be able to love Akira Yamaoka and his amazing music, done for SIlent Hill. ------------------------------------- sdkingsht, graphics MUST be dirty as it can be, because that is just the thing, that makes Silent Hill game a SH game - graphics must be dirty because of one aspect - to make the player make some crap in pants because of its own imagination. That polished SH4, for example, just sucked very hard in this aspect, but SH1 kicked nuts. So, I really hope, that The Collective wont mess this up either.

BViking78
BViking78

Dunno... I mean I don't wanna bash this game already but... I started playin' the series with the second installment and I bought it 'cause it was an alternative to the same "Resident Evil" game... In fact I loved the option to set action and riddles level separately... Since then it seems like they went more and more action oriented than exploring, etc. Now we have a block/counter-attack system and I even heard rumors about a combo system... Sure it'll have the SH appeal and all but this series has, unfortunately, lost almost all its charm to me... I didn't even ever finished "The room"...

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

One of the reasons I got into gaming like I have......hope it can build upon the legacy of it's predecessors. A bit worried about one or two things, but hopefully come September those doubts will be washed away.

sdkingsht
sdkingsht

man...this is what i'm talking about. hopefully the graphics get a little better. but other than that this looks like it just might be a must buy.

dutch777
dutch777

now this does sound scary!!!

ocdog45
ocdog45

will this be hte game to finaly scare me again. such a game has not come around for sometime.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I hope this is a step forward after the disappointment that was The Room. It looks good, but, even though I'm not a graphics-centric kind of gamer, I was kind of expecting current-gen Silent Hill to look a bit better than it appears in the screen shots. Still, it looks great as is. I love the SH series and I'm looking forward to the new installment.

Nerosage
Nerosage

They're bringing back dodge and block... How nice, the block made 3's combat more interesting. Nice to see konami working on things... Metal Gear Solid... Silent Hill... This will be a good year

Ultima-Chocochu
Ultima-Chocochu

Sadly a lot of people are hating on this game due to the American team developing it, I think it looks pretty nice so far. What I know/read about gameplay sounded great too.I just hope this one lives up to the rest, and has as great of the story as the previous, and even better gameplay. Can't wait for this one to come out either way, I love Silent Hill.

7loo
7loo

its nice to able to dodge and counterattack the mobs i always wanted to do something other than point and shoot to those evil monsters

ski11buzz
ski11buzz

never played any of the silent hills....maybe ill look into them

sm0ke311
sm0ke311

eu will get it first, right?

Galiant
Galiant

I hope it'll be good. I hope it'll be great, even. Please don't mess it up.

joe_ender
joe_ender

cant wait to play want it now