The game was released on September 30, 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America and on November 6, 2008 for the PC on Steam. All versions were simultaneously released in Europe on February 27, 2009, including an European retail PC version. The Xbox 360 version is also available as a digital download for the Xbox 360, as well as the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S via backwards compatibility. The PlayStation 3 version is disc-only.
The game was initially banned in Australia, but was subsequently released with the MA15+ rating and censored graphics. The Japanese release of the game was canceled altogether.
The story follows Alex Shepherd, a young man who returns to his hometown of Shepherd's Glen following a supposed military discharge and time spent in a hospital for combat related injuries. Alex returns home only to find that his father and younger brother, Joshua, have vanished without a trace, as have many others throughout the town. He finds his mother in a depressive, near catatonic state. Alex searches through the town for his missing brother while uncovering the causes behind the strange events and the dark secrets of the neighboring town of Silent Hill.
- Note: Silent Hill: Homecoming is set in October 2007.
As the game begins, the echoes of heavy artillery and explosions are heard. The game's protagonist, Alex Shepherd, is bound to a gurney and being wheeled through a dilapidated hospital; a silent doctor pushes him down a dimly lit hallway, and they pass by rooms in which doctors are committing strange and horrifying acts upon patients including dismemberment, strangulation and live burial. Once wheeled into a room and left alone, Alex struggles with his restraints as the doctor leaves the room. Through the blurred glass of the double doors, Alex watches in horror as a mysterious assailant impales the doctor with a giant blade.
After breaking free from his restraints, Alex ventures further through the hospital and encounters his brother, Joshua Shepherd, drawing with crayons. Upon request, Alex retrieves a rabbit doll for his brother. However, Joshua runs away and continues to do so whenever Alex gets close to him. Further progressing through the hospital, Alex follows Joshua's trail into an elevator. During its descent, Alex hears the screeching of metal, and the elevator car shakes violently before a huge blade is thrust through the door towards him.
Upon awakening from a nightmare, a startled Alex realizes that it was only a dream as he sits in the passenger seat of an 18-wheeler driven by Travis Grady. Arriving at Shepherd's Glen, Travis says "Good luck, soldier." This, along with Alex's military jacket and the sounds of warfare heard in the beginning of the game, imply that Alex is a soldier returning home from war. Having been dropped off in his hometown of Shepherd's Glen, Alex discovers that the town is not the same as he left it; thick fog covers the town, all the streets are in a state of heavy disrepair, and almost no people can be found. Alex encounters Margaret Holloway, a judge and the mother of his childhood friend, Elle Holloway. Both Alex and Margaret Holloway are descendants of the four families that founded Shepherd's Glen hundreds of years ago; those families being Shepherd, Holloway, Fitch, and Bartlett. Shepherd's Glen is, in fact, named after Alex Shepherd's own ancestor. Margaret Holloway seems surprised to see Alex and tells him to go see his mother.
Arriving at his childhood home, Alex notices many pictures of his parents with Joshua which, oddly, do not feature himself. Alex comments to himself about his parents' behavior, feeling that his parents had always favored his brother over him. Alex finds his mother, Lillian, in a near catatonic state. After telling Alex that she misses Joshua and that his father has gone to look for him, Lillian refuses to speak to Alex any more. Alex notices his father's revolver on his mother's lap, and he takes it from her before leaving. He suddenly hears a noise from the basement and heads toward the sound. While investigating the basement, Alex comes across a room that his father, Adam, uses to butcher the animals that he hunts, prompting him to have a flashback. In the flashback, young Alex opens the door to his father's hunting room, causing his father to turn around and scold him fiercely. After leaving the house, Alex eventually finds himself traveling through a graveyard near his house, and while there, he sees two tombs belonging to two of the town's founding families.
Alex eventually encounters his childhood friend, Elle Holloway, outside of the Shepherd's Glen Police Station putting up missing persons fliers. She is preoccupied and upset, and she is annoyed with Alex for leaving for the military without ever saying goodbye to her. After talking with him, she gives Alex a walkie talkie, and Alex continues his search for Joshua. He then finds his way to a junkyard belonging to Curtis Ackers, the town mechanic, whom he asks for information. Alex gives Curtis his father's revolver as thanks for his help and Curtis gives Alex a handgun, claiming that he likes a fair trade. Alex then leaves and heads to the tomb of the Bartlett family, one of the four founding families, where he finds a watch. A siren sounds, causing him to black out.
When Alex comes to, he finds that he has been mysteriously transported to the neighboring town of Silent Hill. There, he sees his brother run into an abandoned hotel. Following Joshua into the building, Alex is stalked by numerous monsters before encountering a humanoid creature with a large, metal, pyramid shaped mask locked over its head: the Bogeyman. The Bogeyman notices Alex, who is hiding behind a shoddy barricade of broken furniture and turns to stare at him briefly before moving on. After this encounter, Alex encounters Sam Bartlett, the mayor of Shepherd's Glen, in a large, circular greenhouse elsewhere in the hotel. Mayor Bartlett, like Alex, is also a descendant of one of the founding families of Shepherd's Glen. Alex learns that Bartlet's son, Joey, has also disappeared mysteriously. After questioning Bartlett, Alex is horrified to see a monster, Sepulcher, rise from a hole in the ground and kill the Mayor. Alex manages to kill it, only to fall into Sepulcher's hole and black out again.
Alex awakes to find himself locked behind bars in a holding cell. The town deputy, James Wheeler, questions him for a while before being convinced of Alex's good intentions and letting him out of the cell. The two make their way through the Shepherd's Glen Police Department building, only to be separated. Alex then encounters Elle and they both escape into the sewers where they also eventually become separated. Arriving back on the street, Wheeler radios Alex and tells him to meet up with him so they can find a man named Dr. Martin Fitch, who is also a descendant of one of the four founding families of Shepherd's Glen.
Along the street, Alex finds Fitch and follows him into his clinic, where he finds a slightly disturbing collection of dolls before being attacked by a group of Nurses. Alex finds a key which unlocks a small box containing another doll and as he touches it, the floors and walls peel away to reveal a rusted, bloody, metal world: the Otherworld called Hell Descent. Alex finds Dr. Fitch in a large room where he is seen cutting himself to "repent for his sins". Alex questions him and learns that Fitch's daughter, Scarlet, has disappeared as well. Fitch, now going into a state of depression, says that he forgot to bring Scarlet her present. Once Alex hands him his present, Scarlet's doll, Dr. Fitch's cuts proceed to multiply. He begins to bleed profusely from his wounds and his blood forms a pool around him. As he endures the pain, Dr. Fitch drops the doll and it sinks into the blood pool. The doll then arises now transformed into a large porcelain mannequin-like monster, Scarlet. As Dr. Fitch begs for forgiveness, seemingly to his daughter, the monster kills him by biting his head off, and then attempts to do the same to Alex. After defeating Scarlet, Alex awakens in the clinic, finding a key that leads him to the town hall.
In the town hall, Alex proceeds to use the key to unlock an underground passage where he finds a Ceremonial Dagger. He also finds portraits of the town's founders, the heads of four families who left Silent Hill to found Shepherd's Glen many years ago. Oddly, the portrait of the Shepherd family's head, Alex's own ancestor, has been taken down from the wall. He also finds some Ancient Books, detailing the founding families and their pact with God.
Returning home, Alex realizes that the dagger, aside from being a weapon, is the key that unlocks his father's hunting room door, as well as the other doors featuring the same type of lock. In the hunting room, Alex finds a key that unlocks the attic and there, another flashback scene commences. The scene shows Adam giving Joshua the family ring; he tells Joshua that the ring has been passed down through generations, is incredibly important and special, and is not to be shown to anyone, even Alex. After the flashback, Alex finds a note written by his father stating that he was told he had to "choose just one of his sons". Judging by the preferential treatment that Adam and Lillian Shepherd have always shown Joshua, the family ring that was secretly given to him, and this mysterious note, it would seem that Joshua has been chosen for some special purpose by his parents and the Order, which is an organized cult that is present in Silent Hill. Alex, with the new-found information from his father's note, attempts to question his mother about Joshua once again, only to be interrupted by members of the Order who beat Alex and kidnap Lillian. The house then transforms into an Otherworld version of itself, which Alex escapes by solving puzzles involving the past and guilty consciences of each of his family members.
Escaping the house, Alex meets back up with Elle and Wheeler, stating that they must go to Silent Hill to save everyone. While traveling via boat, the Order assaults them and kidnaps Elle and Wheeler, leaving Alex to wash ashore in Silent Hill. Receiving radio calls from Wheeler, Alex is led to the Overlook Penitentiary where he fights multitudes of monsters and Order members before rescuing Wheeler. Alex asks if he knows where Elle is and Wheeler says that he doesn't know for sure, but he heard members of the Order talking about taking a woman to the Solitary Confinement block.
With Wheeler's help, Alex travels deeper into the prison and reaches solitary confinement, but instead of Elle, he finds his mother. Lillian is chained to a crucifix shaped torture device, which is slowly stretching her body beyond its limits. Lillian begs Alex to end her suffering, and the player is given a choice of whether or not to do so. If the player decides not to help her, Lillian is alive and conscious while the torture device tears her body in half. If the player decides to help, Alex mercifully puts a bullet in her brain, killing her right before the machine tears her body apart.
Alex meets back up with Wheeler, and they proceed to travel through the Otherworld version of the penitentiary, finding Elle's mother, Margaret Holloway, strapped to a chair. Alex releases her, but a caterpillar-like monster grabs Wheeler through a hole in the wall and pulls him in, prompting Margaret to run. As she leaves, Margaret's face changes from a feigned expression of fright to reveal a more sinister intent. Alex defeats the monster, Asphyxia, and sees his brother, whom he follows outside and into a church.
Inside, Alex encounters a shadowy man in a confession booth. The conversation between Alex and the mysterious figure implies that it is Alex's father, or his conscience, asking for forgiveness for the way that he and his wife have always treated Alex. The figure also speaks more of having been given a choice between his two sons, echoing what was said in the note that Alex found in his attic earlier. He also says that he and his wife have always loved their son, but that they couldn't show him. They couldn't let him see the wonderful things in life, like love and joy. While the reasoning behind this has been strongly hinted at this point in the game, it is still not explicitly stated. The player is then given a choice of whether to forgive this person or not.
After solving a puzzle to reveal a door behind an enormous pipe organ, Alex finds his father, Adam, tied up, similar to how he found his mother in the prison. Alex begins questioning his father as to whether or not he knows where Joshua is and it is revealed that Alex was never a soldier. While he thought that he was in the hospital due to wounds sustained during the war, Alex has actually been in a mental hospital. Adam shows Alex the family ring necklace, but does not explain why he has apparently taken it back from Joshua. The Bogeyman appears and slices Adam's body in half before retreating down a staircase. Following after the Bogeyman, Alex disguises himself as an Order Soldier, but is soon captured by Curtis and the Order.
Alex awakens to find himself tied to a chair in a blood-stained room containing a drill and circular saw. Sitting in the room is Margaret Holloway, who reveals that the disappearances of all the children were all part of a ritualistic sacrifice system. She reveals that Shepherd's Glen was founded by four families from Silent Hill, who no longer wanted to take part in the doings of the Order and their demon worship. They were allowed to leave Silent Hill under one condition: every fifty years each of the four families must sacrifice one of their children. This sacrifice has since provided protection to Shepherd's Glen from the troubles that have been felt in Silent Hill, until now.
Margaret reveals that the protection is no longer there because, while three of the families made the sacrifice recently, one family, the Shepherds, failed to do so. Mayor Bartlett sacrificed his son, Joey, Dr. Fitch sacrificed his daughter, Scarlet, and Margaret sacrificed her daughter, Nora. Adam Shepherd was supposed to sacrifice one of his boys, but he didn't do so. Because of this, the protection from the Order's god is no more. Margaret goes on to say that there is no longer any choice for the town but to return to the old ways of the Order and Silent Hill. Therefore, she and her fellow faithful have been kidnapping, torturing, and murdering everyone in Shepherd's Glen that refuses to go along with them.
Margaret then begins to torture Alex by running a drill into his thigh and eye and fortunately, he breaks free from his restraints, and turns the drill to Margaret's chin, killing her. After running through the Order's compound for a while, Alex finally finds Elle, who is being tortured by Curtis Ackers. He manages to kill him and frees Elle. They then find Wheeler tied to a chair with several knives protruding from his abdomen. The player is given a choice of whether or not to save him with a medical kit or to let him die. Regardless of the choice made, Alex then goes on without Elle to face the end alone. Alex pushes further through, finding the tombs of the four families whose children have been sacrificed throughout the years. On each of the tombs are four names: those of the children who have been sacrificed by each family over the years since the town's founding. On the Shepherd family tomb, Alex finds his own name, confirming that his parents chose to sacrifice him and let Joshua live, which explains why his parents were so distant and cold toward him, and favored Joshua; they couldn't bear to love Alex knowing that they would have to kill him one day.
Alex has a flashback: on the night after Adam gave Joshua the family ring, Alex took Joshua out on a boat on Toluca Lake. While there, Alex teased him, whom he felt jealous of due to his parents' preferential treatment. To counter Alex's taunts, Joshua showed him the family ring, prompting Alex to grab it in anger. Joshua stood up in the boat, attempting to take the ring back, however, he fell backwards while struggling with Alex and had a concussion on the boat before falling into the lake and drowning. Adam then retrieved Joshua's body and scolded Alex fiercely, telling him that he doesn't know what he's done. He says that "they" chose Alex, but now Alex has ruined everything, and that everyone else will suffer for Alex's mistake. Alex then goes into mental shock right after Adam's scolding, repeating over in his mind that there was a way he could save Joshua, despite that he was dead. It is implied that many people in the town were told that Alex went off to war rather than that he was institutionalized, as Elle scolds him earlier in the game for not saying goodbye.
The world once again shifts to the Otherworld where Alex fights the final boss, Amnion. After defeating the creature, Alex cuts the monster open, and Joshua's corpse slides out. Finally finding closure with his brother, Alex laments and apologizes to Joshua and leaves.
Depending on the player's actions throughout the game, five different endings can be unlocked.
Similar to Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4: The Room, it is unknown which ending of Homecoming is canon and so it is unclear if Alex and the other characters survived the events of the game. The endings are only named in the official strategy guide. There are a total of five endings and a bonus scene. The three factors involved whether or not Alex mercy kills his mother (i.e. shooting her is mercy killing), whether or not Alex forgives the man in the confession booth who is either Adam or symbolic of him (choose "sounds like you can change" to forgive and "you don't sound sorry" to not forgive), and whether or not Alex uses a first aid kit on Wheeler at the end.
- Smile (Mercy kill Lillian, forgive "Adam", save Wheeler): Alex defeats Amnion and apologizes to Joshua before reuniting with Elle. As they leave Shepherd's Glen, Elle asks Alex what he saw down there, and he replies, "What I needed to."
- Smile (Bonus Scene) (Collect all 11 photos, or beat the game on HARD): After the credits, a special scene will play. In first-person view, Alex enters his house and sees wet footprints leading up the stairs. He follows these into his and his brother's bedroom. Inside, he finds a wet Joshua sitting on his bed with a camera who snaps a picture of him and laughs. The picture that emerges from the camera is the one of Alex found earlier in the game.
- In Water (Mercy kill Lillian, don't forgive Adam, don't save Wheeler): Alex awakens in the bathtub in his house. His father approaches him and claims that with his death, Joshua can carry on the family legacy, before drowning him.
- Judgement (Don't mercy kill Lillian, don't forgive "Adam", don't save Wheeler): Alex awakens to find himself strapped to a chair. Two Bogeymen come out of the darkness, holding two halves of the helmet they wear. They stand over Alex and place the two halves on his head, transforming him into one of them. This could possibly symbolize the "evil" choices made by Alex throughout the game, showing that he has potential to be an apathetic punisher, such as Pyramid Head.
- Intensive Care (Don't mercy kill Lillian, forgive "Adam", save Wheeler): Alex awakens in the mental hospital, strapped down on a table. He is told by the man standing over him, who sounds suspiciously like Wheeler, that he needs to take responsibility for his actions and accept the present. The man who stands behind him appears to be Adam. He is then administered an electric shock. This reveals that throughout the game, the patient in Room 206 was in fact Alex.
- UFO Ending (Don't mercy kill Lillian, don't forgive "Adam", save Wheeler): Similar to the Good ending, only that right as Alex and Elle are about to embrace each other, a UFO appears and abducts them. As they are both floating up, Wheeler limps out and shouts about how he knew that this is why people had been disappearing.
The player assumes the role of Alex Shepherd as he searches for Joshua. Overall gameplay is similar to past entries in the series. The player, as Alex, explores the various environments and locales, searching for clues to advance the plot, such as photographs, drawings and other items which are placed inside Alex's journal, which the player may read at any time. To assist the player, Alex will turn his head towards items and clues to inform the player that the object may be picked up; other recurring items include weapons and ammunition, which give off a glow as a visual cue to the player, and health drinks. Puzzle elements also play a part in the game, and Alex's journal may be used to refer back to photographs and other items that can help the player decipher such puzzles as keypad entries. For the first time in the series, the player may select responses when engaging in dialogue with other characters encountered in the game, which in turn may affect how the player sees the plot unfold.
In addition to exploration, combat is another major element to the gameplay, and the player must fight the various monsters that appear. The player is able to perform light and heavy attacks, or mix them to perform combinations, and may also perform a variety of finishing moves to ensure that the monsters are dead. Attacking enemies also leaves wounds in them that match the motion carried out by Alex in inflicting the attack.
In terms of controlling Alex, the player may also perform new maneuvers such as targeting the enemy before attacking them, dodging enemy attacks, and performing counter-attacks. In addition to the game's melee weapons; a pistol, rifle, and shotgun are available as firearms, which can be replaced with stronger versions later in the game.
The game also marks the first time in the series where the camera never "cuts" to a perspective chosen by the developers, allowing the player to be in full control of the camera outside of cutscenes, puzzles, and sections where the player must select dialogue options.
After Silent Hill: Origins the team which was previously in charge of the series (Team Silent) disbanded for various reasons, one of which was the desire from Konami to give the series a "different feeling", according to Silent Hill: Homecoming artist Kenzie LaMar.
The game began development as Silent Hill V. Ex-chief designer of Silent Hill V, Masashi Tsuboyama announced the game's development in a 2004 interview with Eurogamer. Tsuboyama first clarified rumors that it was not going to be called Shadows of the Past, as previously reported from one website. A video teaser for Silent Hill V was released with a monolog by Alex:
"They say war is hell - but there are worse things. War changes you and nobody back home could ever understand. They never understood me. They say you can't go home again but they're wrong. I just don't want to."
In several interviews, Akira Yamaoka hinted at a return to the psychological roots that were present in Silent Hill 2 and that the team was interested in setting the game's atmosphere in a "sunny environment gone wrong", an idea that was apparently abandoned and discarded considering the dark fog in the final version of the game. Yamaoka said that the game's title may not be Silent Hill V, and it was later confirmed to be Silent Hill: Homecoming.
Homecoming was developed with a stronger emphasis on more interactive combat.
Due to censorship laws, the game was banned in Australia until February 2009, and even then, only the PlayStation 3 version was released. Noticeable modifications were made to certain scenes to supposedly make them less explicitly violent.
When Adam is later cut in half by the Bogeyman, as the camera pulls back to reveal the scene, his remains have completely vanished. The player can still examine the scene, and Alex will still comment "Dad's remains", despite there being none.
In the scene where Margaret Holloway drills into Alex's leg, a hospital bed is conveniently placed in front of the camera, obscuring the actual drilling. When the drill is pushed into Margaret's face, the screen is merely black with the sound still heard in the background. When Margaret falls to the floor, the drill is no longer lodged in her jaw, and completely missing from the scene.
- Main article: Silent Hill: Homecoming Soundtrack
The soundtrack was composed by Akira Yamaoka. Vocals for One More Soul to the Call, This Sacred Line, Alex Theme and Elle Theme were by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. A remix of Alex Theme called Alex Theme (Machine Head Mix) was released on the Silent Hill Sounds Box.
Homecoming received a Metacritic of 71 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version, and 70 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version. Aggregate site GameRankings gave a 71.82% aggregate score for the Xbox 360 version, and a 71.28% for the PlayStation 3 version. Out of all the Silent Hill mainline games, it is considered the "black sheep" by most of the fandom.
The PC version of the game had, by far, the most negative critique of any previous Silent Hill installment, receiving a mere score of 59.38% on Metacritic. This is likely a symptom of older PC ports having less effort and care put into them, as well as patches being less common in 2008. Issues commonly cited are a 30 FPS cap, a lack of optimization and the prevalence of glitches (some game breaking - although it is important to note that these glitches were not exclusive to the PC version). One of the most common complaints of the PC version was that it would crash while entering the Shepherd House. The PC version has received unofficial patches by fans to alleviate these issues.
As the second external outsourced developer working on a Silent Hill entry, Double Helix were under scrutiny from reviewers and Silent Hill fans to see how a new Western developer would handle the Japanese franchise. Some reviewers found the change in developer to be a positive move overall, while others, acknowledging faults in the final product, expressed interest in seeing further Silent Hill games from the same developer.
Praise was given to the graphics and the environments in the game, described as "fantastic," with Shepherd's Glen in particular being "rendered brilliantly," by GameSpy and "the upgraded visuals bestow a filmic quality to everything and the world's eerie transformations look better than ever" by GamePro. The monster designs were generally praised and many players found them to be strange and terrifying, moreso than installments such as Downpour. Character models, however, were criticized for appearing doll-like and unpolished. Another criticism of the game was the lack of lighting: many environments were made difficult to navigate due to this, even with the flashlight. Players also noted Alex controls tightly and responsively, although some wish he could be able to run as his maximum running speed is a light jog.
Also adding to the atmosphere is the audio, with music written by series regular Akira Yamaoka. Yamaoka's music and ambient audio was received well, being "atmospheric, moody and beautifully presented" combined with "an amazing score" the audio goes "a long way toward establishing the expected Silent Hill mood," though some concern was expressed that the music was "somewhat misplaced" with the game and did not fit in so well.
In contrast, Croshaw's Zero Punctuation review was generally negative, stating that while the level design, story and combat were all competent and Homecoming isn't "that bad a game", the game had little to do with what he liked about the Silent Hill series and would have been better served as a completely different franchise.
The game's plot, written by Patrick J. Doody and Chris Valenziano, received a mixed reception. While some reviewers graded it positively, describing it as "intriguing and disturbing," a review by G4TV felt it "isn't particularly original, and there are no great surprises," but it "still makes for a very involving journey into the macabre."
Further to the mixed reception of the plot, some critics expressed disappointment at the predictability of the main twist in the story regarding Alex's predicament, while others found it "genuinely shocking." The twist being that Joshua is dead, Alex has repressed memories, and Alex is responsible for Joshua's death. This is similar to the plot of Silent Hill 2, regarding James and Mary - although unlike Mary's, Joshua's death was accidental.
Continuity errors and questionable plot elements
Homecoming received some criticism due to various elements of the game, ranging from strange continuity errors to odd design choices:
- Some criticism was directed to the unbelievability of Alex believing he is a soldier while being treated in a mental hospital, and the absurd and unexplained levels of increasing insanity he goes through due to Joshua's death, to the point where he writes of make-believe adventures in the war in a diary, hallucinates fictional characters such as Sergeant Nash in his mind, somehow escapes the mental hospital he is at which is never explained in detail, etc.
- The game uses many elements from the first film, such as recycling names such as "Margaret" and "Adam", locales such as the Grand Hotel, the Church of the Holy Way being inspired by the church in the film, the Nurses resembling the film's Dark Nurses, and the presence of Order Soldiers and the Bogeyman, who were similar to the film's Brethren and Red Pyramid respectively. Players also noticed fumes coming out of the ground in Silent Hill's streets, which does not make sense because the game canon version has never been stated to be built over mines like the film version.
- The developers added Pyramid Head into the game, albeit with a different design and re-named the "Bogeyman". Producer Tomm Hulett tried to argue against this with the staff because he felt Pyramid Head was designed for James' story and the team should strive more for originality over recycling elements from Silent Hill 2, mentioning he made a "big stink" with the staff, although he lost the debate.
- Many fans felt the surrealism in the game was toned down and that Alex's Otherworld should have contained more water elements to it because of his trauma.
- While there are several inconsistencies with the map of Central Silent Hill as it appears in Homecoming, the most noticeable is the expansion of Toluca Lake which, according to the map as it is shown in-game, effectively submerges several locations from Origins such as the Greenfield Apartments, Cedar Grove Sanitarium, and the church with its cemetery (see Silent Hill: Homecoming changes for more details).
- Overlook Penitentiary has been criticized because it is a huge prison located in a shopping district, which many players found absurd. Downpour retconned the controversial location of the prison so that it is actually located in south-east Silent Hill, with Tomm stating it was just the powers of the Otherworld messing with its location in Homecoming.
- A strange plot point, when Alex reunites with Elle, he's already encountered several monsters but does not warn her about them, which could have made sense if Alex met Elle near when he met Margaret. Alex is shown to be mentally unwell, however, so him not warning Elle could be a hint of this.
- Elle does not help Alex out in battle while Wheeler can, playing into stereotypes about women being helpless and needing to be protected in video games, even when Alex also carries multiple weapons. Some players view it as a regression from Eileen Galvin, who helped out despite her casted arm, and Henry Townshend could give her certain easy-to-use one-armed weapons he found. Players also felt Elle's characterization was weak, and the game glosses over points such as Elle discovering her mother's dark side and Elle discovering Nora was sacrificed instead of missing. Backtracking to Margaret's corpse with Elle results in no reaction. Elle was originally supposed to be an older version of Laura from Silent Hill 2, and there is still unused text files in the game's data calling her "Laura Elizabeth Holloway", implying the decision to make her an original character occurred mid-way into development, so it could explain her more underdeveloped role.
- Letting the intro play essentially spoils the plot twist that Margaret is an antagonist of the game, when she is seen angrily shouting to a tied up Alex.
- Although a bit trivial, Alex does 360 degree knife swings, showing his back to the enemy. Some players find them to be silly-looking and unfitting in a serious horror game. It is later explained, however, that Alex was never a real soldier (he was merely trained by Adam but during his childhood), so it could make sense that Alex might use moves which make him feel like a superhero as part of his delusions, and foreshadowing he is not a real soldier.
- If Alex mercy kills his mother, there are no bullet holes or wounds on her forehead. It can be theorized Alex didn't shoot her in the forehead, but rather, her heart/chest. However, even if he did, Lillian would still be conscious in the 10 second timespan between the shot and the torture device, making the entire scene questionable.
- It is worth noting that Homecoming teaches improper medical advice. Removing the five knives from Wheeler's chest (which Alex does if the player saves him), in a real-life situation, is not recommended because it may cause further bleeding or open damaged arteries.
- Homecoming is the first game in the series where the UFO ending may be achieved on a first playthrough, meaning there was a certain amount of players who ended a rather dark and emotional story with Alex and Elle being abducted by random aliens, destroying the seriousness of the story.
- The Hospital ending of Homecoming is essentially a rehash of the Bad ending from Origins.
- In order for the player to receive the best ending and the only ending in which Alex doesn't meet a terrible end or is implied to be in suffering of some sort, Alex is forced to forgive the "Adam" figure. In other words, in order to live a decent life, Alex is forced to forgive his neglectful, debatably abusive father (or at least a parallel figure to Adam) who intended to sacrifice him to a god, which may carry unfortunate implications about abuse victims, forgiveness, and morality.
- Of the five Silent Hill games he's worked on, it is Tomm Hulett's least favorite. Although Tomm is the producer of the game, he was put off the project temporarily because he made a "big stink" about Pyramid Head being in the game. He also mentioned "I made edits [to the script] early on but think they were ignored", implying he did not have much control over the project. He was allowed to work on it again when the previous producer left for unknown reasons, and so he tried to salvage the project as much as he could in order to try to make a Silent Hill game fans would enjoy, trying to remove plot elements which broke canon.
- Almost all the bosses in the game are references to the deaths of the children. Joey Bartlett was buried alive and is symbolically represented by Sepulcher in the garden. Scarlet Fitch loved dolls and was dismembered, causing Scarlet the mannequin, a representation of her, to behead her father in a similar way to her death. Nora Holloway was choked to death, and is represented by Asphyxia. The final boss, Amnion, represents Joshua's death by having a tube of water in its mouth, referencing Joshua's drowning.
- Most of the bosses can be interpreted as demonic incarnations of the children, however, they can also be considered the tormentors who desired to claim retribution for their deaths and punish their killers for their sins, similar to what Pyramid Head is to James Sunderland, as all of the founders, filled with regret (with the exception of Judge Holloway), walked straight to their deaths at the hands of their respective "victims/tormentors".
- Adam Shepherd was killed by the Bogeyman. This creature can be considered a "punisher" who represents Adam Shepherd's guilt for breaking the pact and dooming Shepherd's Glen. Another possibility is that the Bogeyman represents Alex himself, wanting to punish his father for the way he treated Alex during his childhood.
- Almost every boss in the game appears after Alex shows an object to a parent that belonged to their child. Sepulcher appears after Alex shows Joey's Broken Watch to Mayor Bartlett, Scarlet appears after Alex shows Scarlet's Doll to Doctor Fitch, and Asphyxia appears after Alex shows Elle's Locket to Judge Holloway. The only exception is Amnion, and this is because Adam Shepherd didn't kill Joshua, Alex did.
- During the first cutscene, Alex sees and hears each parent killing their child in the hospital rooms that he passes while on the gurney. If the player watches closely, the murders can be seen happening in the following order: Dr. Fitch dismembering/mutilating Scarlet, Judge Holloway strangling Nora, and Mayor Bartlett dropping Joey into a hole. The child they're all killing appears to be Joshua.
- The surgeon who is pushing Alex's gurney is actually his father, Adam. It's likely that in the dream he was taking his son to his death to fulfill the sacrifice before he was killed by the Bogeyman. Adam is killed twice in the game with the same method, thus this foreshadows Adam's death later in the game.
- The blades that are hanging above Alex's gurney in the Nightmare Hospital are the same as the set that is located on the end of Amnion's appendages.
- During Alex's nightmare in the beginning of the game, horizontally-severed corpses are prevalent throughout the entire facility. In psychology, this is likely a reference to how Adam Shepherd dies. First one must consider how deeply Alex was offended by his father's behavior towards him since childhood, then consider the composition of dreams and nightmares. Neuroscientists have concluded that most dreams and nightmares are born from one's common surroundings (i.e., residence, peer behaviorism) mixed with their personal fears/phobias or pleasures, while some dreams still remain as perplexing fantasies. Therefore, these in-sleep experiences are frequently called "sideways" views on reality. Adam Shepherd is killed by being sliced in half vertically by the Bogeyman, and his corpse is also found in his son's nightmare, garbed as a surgeon. If one closely examines the surroundings during the dream, it is easily noticeable that there are more horizontally-cut corpses than in any other stage in the game. This could be a hint to the player that what Alex is experiencing is a nightmare before the save point and/or cutscene exposes this, but it can also be another clue of how Adam's nightmare fate will eventually become reality.
- When in the basement of Alex's house, if the player looks through the see-through curtain that leads to the outside of Adam Shepherd's hunting room, Adam's silhouette can be seen. Once cut open, however, the silhouette is revealed to be a dress mannequin.
- The fleshy membranes that replace the tarp and other thin materials to cut through in the game resemble toothed vaginal cavities or vagina dentata. This could possibly represent childbirth, but in a far more vulgar way. During labor, cervical dilation is a natural event that can be seen as an analogy to when Alex slices each membrane open, only to see each side lined with teeth. This could possibly be a reference to Lillian bearing her two sons, knowing one of the boys had a doomed fate, thus they inevitably entered a dangerous world, represented by the teeth.
- If the player becomes lost during a level, they should follow the trail of insects, as they will direct the player to the necessary place. However, they are easy to miss, as they move in a tight formation and only on the floor.
- There is a lot of speculation about the relevance of 206. It is known that 206 is Alex's hospital room number, supported by the ending in which it is revealed that Alex had been in a mental asylum throughout the entire game. In the Nightmare Hospital, when chasing Joshua, if Alex examines the door to 206, he will hear water dripping from the other side, a symbol of Alex's avoided fate and Joshua's actual fate. Room 206 in the Grand Hotel in Silent Hill is the room that Alex falls through before he encounters Mayor Bartlett and Sepulcher. Most importantly, though, is the fact that all clocks in Shepherd's Glen are stopped at 2:06. If viewed carefully, one can see that in Alex's flashback, the time on Adam's watch is also 2:06. It could be a possible reference to tetraphobia, an East Asian superstition concerning the number 4 and death. If one looks at 2:06 mathematically, when the numbers are re-ordered 6 - 2 (six minus two), one is left with 4, a number that, in Japanese, is pronounced similarly to the word for death. Also, even though this is likely a mere coincidence, the German word for 4 is pronounced almost exactly like the English "fear" (which even more strangely is composed of four letters). However, considering that Homecoming was produced by a Western developer, these two connections seem unlikely, though there are several signs in the game which revolve around the number 4, as written directly below, such as the H-A-T-E reordering and the four bosses borne of the four deceased children. It is also possible that 2:06 A.M. is Joshua Shepherd's time of death; when speaking to Curtis, by selecting a certain option he will say to Alex: "It's as if something is keeping things from moving forward," an allusion to Joshua's death.
- On the Grand Hotel sign, 4 letters are not working: A-H-T-E. If reordered, the letters spell out H-A-T-E, which could possibly symbolize the deaths of the four children and their hatred for their parents.
- During the boat ride, Deputy Wheeler mentions a missing female police officer who is heavily implied to be Cybil Bennett from Silent Hill.
- In reference to the Bible, the Shepherd family seems to be a symbolism of the first family. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel, while Adam and Lillian Shepherd (in reference to Adam's first wife, Lilith) had Alex and Joshua. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd who sacrificed the firstborn of his flock to God. Cain was jealous that God favored Abel and killed him and released mortal sin unto the Earth. Although Alex was jealous of Joshua, he didn't kill Joshua with malicious intent, but he still killed him regardless. Upon doing so, Alex broke the pact that the Founding Families held with the Old Gods and released the evil of the Otherworld into Shepherd's Glen.
- Many of the achievements that can be acquired in the Xbox 360 version are references to Silent Hill 2. For example, the "Drowning" ending has the achievement "In Water" which is the same name as one of the endings in the earlier game, but both protagonists have the same fate; they both drown. "Angela's Choice" is achieved by not forgiving Alex's father; a reference to Angela Orosco's hatred for her own father.
- There are several unused voice files in the game, hinting - among other things - that the game was going to have concentrated mainly on fighting alongside allies, and was going to include a cameo by Walter Sullivan when he was a child, in the form of a therapy session recorded on tape. Listening to the tape revealed Walter was being shown pictures of Room 302, and when he was shown a picture of his real mother he denied that he had any relation to her, and threw a tantrum.
- Alex's last name is Shepherd, which is also Mary Shepherd-Sunderland's maiden name. This suggests family relations.
- When asked about the relation in an interview, Tomm Hulett said that while he isn't entirely sure, he believes it is probably a coincidence. However, the story and character names were decided before Tomm joined Konami, so there is no clear definitive answer to this.
- In a promotional diary for Homecoming, Alex asks, "Was she related to me?".
- If the player shines a light on a Nurse's abdomen (not the flashlight - another source of illumination), a fetus can clearly be seen within her womb.
- There was originally a level where Alex meets a hunter in the woods. Alex helps the character out, but he winds up dying anyway. The level was scrapped, but the character model was reused for Travis Grady's cameo. The initials on the hunter's hat in his conceptual art spell "SHV", the abbreviation for Silent Hill V (the working title of Homecoming).
- The opening cutscene of the game in which Alex is strapped to a gurney and pushed through a nightmarish hospital is very reminiscent of a scene from Jacob's Ladder, a film often credited as one of the Silent Hill series' influences. The game plot also has a striking resemblance to that of the film, as at the end of the film, it is revealed that Jacob never made it out of Vietnam alive, it was a drug induced delusion. In the Hospital ending, it is revealed Alex was never really in the military and it was all a delusion caused by the drugs he was given while in a mental institution.
- Scarlet's boss, the embodied doll, may be reference to Silent Hill 3. In Alessa Gillespie's room near the end of the game, the player can examine a set of dolls at the foot of Alessa's bed. Heather Mason (Alessa) will say that one of the dolls was her favorite as a child, and she played with the doll a lot. She will say that she named the doll 'Scarlet,' but she cannot remember the other doll's name.
- At the title screen, Joshua can be seen standing on the front porch of the Shepherd house.
- According to an interview with producer Tomm Hulett, Homecoming was originally supposed to climax in a "Super Saiyan"-like fight scene between Joshua Shepherd and Alessa Gillespie over Toluca Lake, with Alessa representing fire and Joshua representing water, but he dissuaded it from happening. It would also not make sense because Alessa became Heather Mason and her arc was essentially finished in Silent Hill 3. Elle was also originally supposed to be an adult version of Laura from Silent Hill 2, and she would have worn James Sunderland's jacket during the boat ride to Silent Hill.
- Homecoming is the only installment in the franchise where every monster has its own introductory cutscene.
- When Alex has a brief conversation with Dr. Fitch in the Hell Descent, the sounds in the background are from a scene in Stephen King's film It.
- This is the only Silent Hill game where the protagonist is actually experienced in combat to an extent. According to Tomm Hulett, this is due to being trained by his father Adam, which is unusual for a Silent Hill game.
- Silent Hill: Homecoming on Steam
- Silent Hill: Homecoming on PCGamingWiki
- Silent Hill: Homecoming on Xbox 360 Marketplace
For a complete list of images from the game, see Silent Hill: Homecoming images.
|Silent Hill games|
|Main series||Silent Hill · 2 · 3 · 4 · Origins · Homecoming · Shattered Memories · Downpour|
|Ports / Adaptations||Play Novel · Mobile · HD Collection · Slot machine · Escape · Return|
|Spin-offs||The Arcade · Orphan · Mobile 2 · Mobile 3 · The Escape · Book of Memories|
|Crossovers||Dead by Daylight: Chapter XVI - Silent Hill · Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals - Silent Hill|
|Cancelled||Silent Hills (P.T.) · Cancelled projects|
|Production||Konami · Team Silent · Climax Studios · Double Helix · Vatra Games · WayForward Technologies · TAKASAGO|
|Extras||Inspirations · Features|