Hey, remember Konami? Silent Hill? Metal Gear Solid? Castlevania? Some great arcade games? Theirs is a business in mysteriously toxic flux at the moment in regards to the mainstream video game fandom. Perhaps they really are gone to the pachinko world, or perhaps they’re just waiting for a good idea to come their way.
Just in case it’s the second one…
Take the Characters and Mythos of Silent Hill…
Back when Resident Evil first blew up the survival-horror genre, lookalikes flooded the market in droves. Of all that came and went, it’s clear that Silent Hill is the only series of the time that ever rose to peer status. The titular town drank deep of the psychological aspects of horror with quiet stalkers clashing against bursts of indiscernible screams against a background of radio static. The second game is considered by more people than I ever thought to be the best of all time in its genre. There was gold in this quiet little hillside town.
What helped make Silent Hill feel unique is a wicked mixture of creativity, subtilty, and pacing. Many of those copycats were attempting to match the speed and structure of Resident Evil, but Keiichiro Toyama carefully blended together a world that would slowly unveil itself as a self-made hell. Until the series began to repeat itself a little too often, every series was a unique representation of wandering demons and a decaying mental cage. Each of the first 4 games have some new aspect to give to that mixture, which helped keep this series captivating for a long time.
Add the World and Freedom of Guild Wars 2
Yep, online Silent Hill. Open, customizable, terrifying, online Silent Hill.
I choose Guild Wars 2 as a stepping stone into the fact that a shared-realm experience populated by the ghosts, demons, and most deranged fantasies of millions of players sounds f*cking terrifying. Imagine loading into the full world, separated by engorged burrows of the spaces from the games, and having the telltale fog hit you in the face. You’d wander to landmarks, have a map, flashlight, radio, and have weapons to find. The experience should feel like a Silent Hill game off the bat.
Then, you’d hear your radio stir with a buzz. A shadow is shambling towards you from the fog as you raise your rusted pipe, revealing itself to be a massive, grotesque worm-like creature. A battle ensues that you survive and gain some trinkets from, and a small notification pops up in the corner letting you know that this was a result of User1234’s fear of being buried alive.
I imagine a Silent Hill online world where everyone’s fears come to life and cooperation can help you hold down the last shards of sanity. Shreds of your nightmares would populate and roam the landscape as you moved to solve puzzles to find the root of your own depravity. Cooperation could benefit in larger struggles and be signaled by a flare in the fog, especially during larger bosses. In the world, this is basically how I imagine a person flagging that they want to cooperate and bring you into their world. Towns could serve as hubs to prepare for Raid Siren times, which are already built to be tougher/more rewarding zones in the mythos.
Silent Hill has already been depicted as a shared world of sorts in the single-player experience. Taking it into the online world to this extent could lead to some engaging scares inside of a universe of potential creativity. Top that Konami!