Del Toro and Kojima still working together

According to an IGN interview:

In an interview with IGN, del Toro said, “I love working with Kojima-san. We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that’s not going to be [Silent Hills].”

Guillermo del Toro also detailed a bit about what Silent Hills — though still very early in the development process — could have been.

“We were in the planning stages, and it’s a shame it’s not going to happen,” del Toro said. “We were talking about really pushing the boundaries of the new consoles, and making the game really mess with your head. One of the great moments in Metal Gear [Solid] was Psycho Mantis. The idea that a game can actually interact with you, and stuff like that.”

It’s good to know the collaboration will keep going, especially since there is so much uncertainty about what’s next for Kojima.

Also worth noting that some fans believed Silent Hills was in full production, but del Toro says it was in planning stages, meaning that very little real work had been finished.

TGS and the craziness (MGSV + Silent Hills)

It doesn’t really get any better than this.  Kojima has given us lots of new information and video, including the African jungle location, an AI buddy system, a pet wolf, and the return of the most iconic outfit in the Metal Gear series.  It’s glorious.

 

We learned that Quiet has ridiculous abilities, including the ability to turn invisible, move at supersonic speeds, and perhaps phase out of existence altogether judging by the way she simply shed those handcuffs back at Mother Base.  Whatever her powers, the most shocking revelation of all was that depending on how you play, you might not meet her at all!  What kind of game is The Phantom Pain going to be, if the main female character is optional content?

Nothing could surpass the introduction of a new character, however, in the form of “D.D.” — an adopted wolf-dog who eventually grows into a badass companion for war.

 

The gameplay itself is what fascinated me, however.  Big Boss can equip different prosthetic arms, which allow him to electroshock enemies, smash the ground for wide-radius sonar tracking of creatures, and the ability to climb cracks in walls.  He rides into the jungle on a helicopter, and apparently can jump out whenever he wants, which is dangerously close to my fantasy of being able to parachute down to locations as Big Boss freely.

The buddy system is designed to give players a strong incentive to maintain relationships with his comrades (in order to unlock better powers), find new characters to befriend, and basically not become a brooding lone psychopath in the middle of nowhere.  The fact that these are optional means that players will have to be vigilant, and get even more attached to characters whose fates are extremely unknown (ie. they don’t appear in future titles!)

 

Silent Hills

 

We also got a new Silent Hills concept video, which is disturbing.  Apparently its what Kojima and Del Toro discussed for the direction of the game, and it was made by just a small handful of artists at Konami using the Fox Engine.  There’s been a lot of positive reaction to it, but I’ve also noticed some complaints that it’s not very moody or eerie, but more of a parade of insanity.  It’s kind of interesting how big of a difference there is between a playable experience like P.T. and simply watching a video of something scary.  When you’re playing, turning a corner is a terrifying risk.  You almost don’t want to proceed, because you don’t know if you can handle what’s there.  It’s stressful.  A video like this simply can’t deliver that gruesome tension, where you control the pace.

It’s good to see that they are running with the series’ themes of sexualized horror, mingled with childlike innocence, and dark filth.

Thoughts on P.T.

Before I discuss P.T. — the “playable teaser” for the upcoming “Silent Hills” game Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro are making — just know that Forbes says that “P.T. is one of the cleverest marketing gimmicks in the history of video games.”  Of course I agree.

Judging  by the footage I’ve seen of the game, it looks extremely tense and creepy.  And, obviously, accomplished its mission of confusing/terrifying many unsuspecting players.

But I’ve repeatedly criticized games that sacrifice interactivity for the sake of graphics and mood, and specifically complained about “scary” games that restrict you to a flashlight and throw jump scares at you.  It’s lazy game design.  But I’m not ready to criticize P.T. just yet.

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Kojima used my idea to promote “Silent Hills”

You’re welcome Kojima, I’m glad you pay attention!

The idea of releasing a demo/preview/promotional game which contains a big surprise reveal trailer after you beat it, is literally the exact strategy I suggested in my Ground Zeroes commentary back in March of this year:

A better strategy (and perhaps one KONAMI would never have indulged) might have been to keep The Phantom Pain a complete surprise until after you beat Ground Zeroes, at which point it unlocks a trailer that you can watch.

Judging by the delightful surprise that has spread across the internet, I feel pretty damn validated in my argument!  Because I also said this:

Forget the “Moby Dick Studios” bluff and the “Joakim Mogren” nonsense, and just let Metal Gear Solid V be an awesome surprise at the end of the seemingly straightforward extra epilogue mission to Peace Walker, designed for consoles and to show off the Fox Engine.  Hell, sell the thing for $10 so people can be blown away by how generous and appreciative Kojima Productions is.  Goodwill goes a long way.  Make sure every gamer worth his salt feels obligated to check out this amazing little game, with its amazing surprise ending, and its amazing new gameplay direction.  Get people on board, cast a wide net, and make your money with love from the community, not gouging those who try to support you most.

Could this “P.T.” game be any more similar to what I suggested?  If they had hyped up “Silent Hills” for a year ahead of time, and then released this “important story chapter” at retail for $20 with all sorts of little “extras” to drag out the playtime (like they did with Ground Zeroes,) nobody would be delighted about the game, because we’d be obsessing over crap like whether it’s a good value.  Instead, they took my advice and released an understated and generous little demonstration of what they can do, and included the big surprise trailer at the end.  “Brilliant”, as the British Twitch girl said.

If only they had done this with Ground Zeroes, people would be much less confused, much more intrigued by it, much more appreciative of their marketing, and nobody would be complaining about it being a “2 hour game”, or costing too much!  Bah…