2014 in review: PT and Silent Hills

One of the biggest stories of the year came from a franchise many had left for dead. Silent Hill came back in a big way and in a manner that nobody expected.

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It was a good year for horror games, whether it was the blockbuster The Evil Within, the procedural Daylight, or more tales from Outlast. However, there was one horror effort that stood out above all others. This is especially remarkable considering it isn't even technically a full game.

Earlier this year, a major franchise emerged from the shadows. And just like the things that go bump in the night, it jumped out at everyone when they least expected it.

August 12: Sony reveals PT at Gamescom

Sony had quite an interesting reveal during its Gamescom media briefing. The company revealed a teaser trailer for an interactive demo called PT, which was short for "Playable Teaser."

The demo revealed little information, other than some gothic and frightful imagery. Also, there were a lot of frightened players.

There was no other information given. Viewers were simply instructed to download the demo from the PlayStation Store. However, as the hours passed, there was ample buzz emerging from players that tried the demo out. Apparently, there was far more to this seemingly mundane teaser than met the eye.

Little did anyone know...


August 13: PT becomes Silent Hills

Those that survived all the way to the end of the PT demo were greeted with one of the biggest surprises of the year. The demo had turned out to be one giant teaser for the return of the Silent Hill franchise, with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro teaming up for Silent Hills.

While the official reveal was at the end of the PT demo, Bloody Disgusting let the cat out of the bag days after it debuted. The teaser revealed the same protagonist, played by The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, wandering into an abandoned town with a flashlight before viewers were treated to the Silent Hills title, followed by the Kojima Productions logo. The game will be built with Kojima's Fox Engine, the same one used most recently for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Guillermo Del Toro's involvement was somewhat of a shocker, but probably shouldn't have been. He's previously expressed his enthusiasm about the gaming medium and was actually working on a new horror game with Saints Row/Red Faction developer Volition on a new horror trilogy called Insane. Unfortunately, with THQ biting the dust, Insane never came to be and the rights were returned to Del Toro. Now Del Toro looks to pick up where he left off and couldn't have found a better partner to reinvigorate a troubled franchise than Kojima.


August 16: PT terrifies the Shacknews video crew

Come on, you didn't think we were going to have a discussion about PT without reliving poor Andrew Zucosky's trauma, did you?

Days after the PT demo debuted, the Shacknews video crew tried it out for themselves. While Joe and Sam offered moral support (and John stayed behind the scenes, doing his best to avoid looking at the screen), it was largely Andrew that braved the dark halls of the PT house.

The result was pure terror and also one of the single most entertaining videos to emerge from the Shacknews video crew all year. Though Andrew remains in therapy, Shacknews saw this experience as a net positive. Relive the memories with the video below.


September 18: Silent Hills haunts Tokyo Game Show

After all the hoopla surrounding the PT interactive teaser and its eventual reveal, a second trailer had quite a tough act to follow. Unfortunately, the Tokyo Game Show trailer didn't have quite the same interactive appeal as the original game.

What the newer teaser did offer was a newer glimpse into the latest setting for the series. Horrific imagery was all over the place, with the walls bleeding worms, creepy toys wandering the halls, and a mysterious hallway offering asylum from a horrific creature coming down the halls. It was straightforward, but did an effective job of laying out what's next for the beloved horror franchise.


What's next in 2015

Teasers are fine and all, but fans will be clamoring for gameplay in 2015. They'll also be wondering if the new Silent Hills will offer sufficient substance to go along with its slick style. Our own Nathaniel Hohl lined up everything that Silent Hills should aim for. Meanwhile, Brittany Vincent looked at everything that made the Silent Hill series so special with her two part retrospective, laying a foundation of what fans are hoping for with this new Kojima/Del Toro collaboration.

If Silent Hills can keep the scares coming, just as it did with PT, then this should be the franchise rejuvenation that fans have been aching for. Look for more information to come out of the darkness next year.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 23, 2014 11:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, 2014 in review: PT and Silent Hills

    • reply
      December 23, 2014 6:03 PM

      That was a great retrospective. I had missed some of this.

      Everyone watch Andrew get scared.

    • reply
      December 23, 2014 6:15 PM

      I missed out on this Shack review also. I'm a junkie when it comes to horror. PT was one of the bigger reasons why I picked up a PS4, along with Destiny at the time.