- "Silent Hill" refers to multiple subjects. See Silent Hill for more uses.
Silent Hill is a psychological horror franchise developed and published by Konami that began in 1999. The video game series has received strong critical acclaim, having revolutionized the survival horror genre of video games since its release. The success of the series has generated the franchise to expand and include various comics, two feature films, and several spin-off video games. "Silent Hill" is the titular title for all regions released in the world, making it a rarity for a Japanese horror game, as some other companies change the name outside of Japan.
The series received its name from the fictional American resort town of Silent Hill, Maine, which is where most of the games are set. Those that aren't, such as Silent Hill 4: The Room and (half of) Silent Hill: Homecoming, are connected to the town through history, people and various events that occur within the other games. Some of these events and people are explicitly documented or named, while others are implied.
Silent Hill is a series intended for older audiences, and the franchise covers many mature and adult-orientated subjects and topics. Many moments of the series are considered extremely "disturbing", "scary", and "full of nightmare fuel and jump scares", although the series is also known for its constant atmospheric dread in which the game is still terrifying even while nothing major is happening. In many instances, there is gore and depictions of graphic and violent content.
As such, the series in general is rated 17 years and older. It is not recommended for the faint of heart, or those who may suffer cardiac arrest (heart attacks) from jump scares.
Focus and themes
Silent Hill, at its core, focuses on corruption in the world, humanity, society, and explores the darkness and evil side of humanity, and how humans are the true "monsters". In Silent Hill, various aspects of humanity are often portrayed and manifested as horribly disgusting, hostile monsters. Because of this, psychological horror is perhaps the series' strong point.
Symbolism is a heavy element in Silent Hill, in which many locations, environments, monsters, items, and imagery often contain deeper meaning.
Silent Hill contains mature themes and topics such as
- Abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, child abuse)
- Addiction (drug and alcohol abuse)
- Animal abuse and animal cruelty
- Body image/shaming
- Brainwashing, peer pressure, and herd mentality
- Catharsis and healing
- Cultural assimilation (in Silent Hill's case, the Native Americans by European settlers)
- Depression, grief, mental illness, and mental health
- Dreams and nightmares (the conscious and subconscious - reality, fantasy, illusion)
- Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse (rape, incest, child molestation)
- Euthanasia and the right to die
- Greed (how humanity is contaminated and corrupted by greed, wealth, money, material, and base desires)
- Guilt and shame
- Gun violence
- Hope and despair
- Justice, injustice, and revenge
- Love and hate
- Pain and suffering
- Parental abandonment
- Redemption and forgiveness
- Religion and occultism (Silent Hill focuses on the perversion and corruption of religion, how religion can be damaging and its negative aspects, how adults can force religion onto children and how it influences their psychology, beliefs and morals, and questions what "God" is)
- Sexuality and sexual frustration
- Strength and weakness
- The human condition
- The meaning of happiness and sorrow
- The meaning of morality (good, bad, evil, right, wrong)
- Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Trust and betrayal
- Truth and lies
The first four games in the series were created by Team Silent and were released between 1999-2004. Team Silent disbanded after the fourth game was released, with many members following different paths and working on separate projects. In 2007, the development of the series became western, beginning with the release of Silent Hill: Origins by Climax Studios, Silent Hill: Homecoming by Double Helix Games, Silent Hill: Downpour by Vatra Games, and Silent Hill: Book of Memories by WayForward Technologies.
The music crew of the series, which consists of Akira Yamaoka, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Joe Romersa, stayed with the series up until the release of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories when Yamaoka departed from Konami. Daniel Licht became the composer of the series after Yamaoka's departure, and continued to work with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn for some songs.
- See also: Games category
- Silent Hill (1999)
- Silent Hill 2 (2001)
- Silent Hill 3 (2003)
- Silent Hill 4: The Room (2004)
- Silent Hill: Origins (2007)
- Silent Hill: Homecoming (2008)
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009)
- Silent Hill: Downpour (2012)
- Silent Hill: The Arcade (2007)
- Silent Hill: Orphan (2007)
- Silent Hill: Orphan 2 (2008)
- Silent Hill: Orphan 3 (2010)
- Silent Hill: The Escape (2008)
- Silent Hill: Book of Memories (2012)
- Silent Hill pachislot (2015)
- See also: Films category
- See also: Literature category
IDW Publishing comics
- Dying Inside (2004)
- Among the Damned (2004)
- Paint It Black (2005)
- The Grinning Man (2005)
- Hunger (2006)
- Dead/Alive (2006)
- Sinner's Reward (2008)
- Past Life (2010)
- Anne's Story (2014)
Masahiro Ito comics
- Silent Hill: The Novel (2006)
- Silent Hill 2: The Novel (2006)
- Silent Hill 3: The Novel (2006)
- Silent Hill: The Film Novel (2006)
The town of Silent Hill was once known as a beautiful, sacred and holy place by Native Americans. However, when settlers from Europe arrived in the 1600s, the Native Americans were forced to abandon their homeland and many were slaughtered. Even then, the land seemed to possess a mysterious power.
As time passed, the power of Silent Hill appeared to increase, which in turn led to strange events such as disappearing citizens, misfortunes at Toluca Lake, and the mayor of Silent Hill suddenly dying. These would later serve to shape the events which occur in subsequent games and the lives of the characters involved.
Three of the games (Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3, and Silent Hill: Origins) strongly relate to the first game's primary storyline, which tells of the attempted sacrifice and burning of a young girl named Alessa Gillespie by the town's religious cult, the Order, in an attempt to bring about the rebirth of God. Alessa's burning served as a catalyst for the dark nature and power of Silent Hill. As such, the first game, Silent Hill 3, and Silent Hill: Origins are unofficially referred to as the "Alessa arc", and the cult of Silent Hill is a major focus, although Silent Hill: Homecoming is also focused on the cult.
Ordinary people with darkness (sins, guilt, or the inability to see the truth) in their hearts are "called" to the town where they witness the supernatural (for example: monsters that symbolize their hidden personas and subconsciousness and an alternate reality known as the Otherworld). In other instances, people who are related to the town in some aspect are also called to the town and can witness the oddities. For example, Harry Mason's daughter is half of Alessa's soul, while Henry Townshend visited Silent Hill many times to take photographs.
While each game features characters unique to that story, many are in some way connected to others. For example, Silent Hill explores the story of Harry Mason, who is searching for his missing daughter Cheryl. The third game is set a number of years later, and the player takes control of Harry's daughter, now named Heather. In the second game, the main protagonist is a man named James Sunderland, and in the fourth game a character named Frank Sunderland is implied to be his father. Likewise, many characters share surnames, but are never specifically singled out as being related (Mary Shepherd-Sunderland and Alex Shepherd, Lisa Garland and Steve Garland, etc.).
Psychological and emotional themes are included in many of the games. Many of the monsters in the series represent different things related to the characters themselves. Many characters often go through character development during the games, such as James realizing the truth about his wife Mary, or Heather beginning to learn about her past and who she is.
Common features in the Silent Hill games include survival horror and action-adventure elements, exploration of detailed and disturbing environments, fighting monsters with a variety of weapons, solving in-depth cryptic and obscure puzzles and riddles, and a complex storyline revealed through numerous cinematic cutscenes and in-game notes. Players often explore Silent Hill in darkness with a flashlight to illuminate dark surroundings, and often have a radio to warn of nearby monsters. The player can also find maps to help them navigate, since many environments are complex and full of locked doors or broken doors.
In contrast to the Resident Evil series, which features obvious and more "practical" items such as lighter fluid, batteries, and key cards, Silent Hill features more "random" items that pertain to the theme of a puzzle, such as a volleyball, a stuffed cat, a shoe, a piece of hair, and chocolate milk. Collecting these random items and trying to find a use for them is a large component of the gameplay. Much of the time, the actual use of the item goes against the item's intended purpose, such as a hairdryer being used to electrocute a tentacle monster or a juice box being used to dislodge a garbage chute.
Each game unfolds like a movie with several possible endings; the player's choices (and often subconscious decisions they aren't aware of) during the game determines which ending is shown. As such, there are no canonical endings for most of the games, the only exception being those few games with direct sequels (i.e., Silent Hill 3 unfolds from Silent Hill's Good ending). On average, games feature one Good ending, one Bad ending, and a UFO Ending, a joke ending in which aliens appear.
|Silent Hill games|
|Main series||Silent Hill · 2 · 3 · 4 · Origins · Homecoming · Shattered Memories · Downpour|
|Ports / Adaptations||Play Novel · Mobile · HD Collection · Slot machine|
|Spin-offs||The Arcade · Orphan · Mobile 2 · Mobile 3 · The Escape · Book of Memories|
|Cancelled||Silent Hills (P.T.)|
|Production||Konami · Team Silent · Climax Studios · Double Helix · Vatra Games · WayForward Technologies · TAKASAGO|
|Extras||Inspirations · Features|
|IDW Publishing comics|
|Dying Inside||1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5|
|Among the Damned||One-shot issue|
|Paint It Black||One-shot issue|
|The Grinning Man||One-shot issue|
|Hunger||Released on UMD|
|Dead/Alive||1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5|
|Sinner's Reward||1 · 2 · 3 · 4|
|Past Life||1 · 2 · 3 · 4|
|Anne's Story||1 · 2 · 3 · 4|
|Masahiro Ito comics|
|Cage of Cradle||Released in Japan only|
|Double Under Dusk||Released in Japan only|
|White Hunter||Released in Japan only|