gamesVSlife: Konami’s treatment of Silent Hill HD speaks volumes

Because a bad HD collection speaks louder than words.

If, in years to come, I returned to Gematsu to find my favorite articles edited to include more spelling mistakes, missing commas and questionable voice acting, I wouldn’t be a happy editor. My efforts – the decisions I made – would be invalidated. It wouldn’t be my work, it’d be a mutated, deformed variant, largely in my name.

It’s not difficult to see why series creator, the now defunct Team Silent, might find itself in a similar position. Their creative efforts have been mauled in the name of financial gain; their greatest achievements have been altered – ruined (see this) – and presented as ‘enhanced’ editions. What would’ve been a gleeful and curious generational introduction was transformed into an awkward, clumsy and overpriced nightmare.

Silent Hill, it would then seem, is a franchise lost in the fog. As it blindly clambers for its long lost critical acclaim, it’s searching for a time when the series was synonymous with horror. But it’s being led through this thick, glitchy fog by Konami: it’s bumping into lamp posts; it’s reaching dead ends – it’s trapped chasing its own tail, its own success story.

There’s something particularly insidious about Konami’s treatment of the Silent Hill HD Collection – and it all started when they tried to make money from a pair of games about a decade old.

Silent Hill HD was the perfect opportunity to bring new players into the fold. It could’ve been a title with legs, a title that, with every new release in the series, saw a spike in sales as new, potentially lifelong fans gave it a go, “Yeah, that new Silent Hill’s coming out soon – might be worth picking up the HD collection beforehand”.

This isn’t about the developer, nor is it about a producer – this is about Konami, a company that pushed a clearly unfinished product out the door. They seemingly treated it as yet another product to be shipped on a set date, and not a restoration project that, really, should’ve been done, you know, when it was actually done.

That’s what makes Konami’s treatment of these much-loved games so disgusting. It’s not enough that the horror franchise has yet to reach the heights of decade old PlayStation 2 games, they had to go back to those games – perhaps the most favored in the series – and destroy them, too.

And these are known entities: we know they ran without issue; we know what they look like; what they sound like. No doubt, fans would invest thinking that at a minimum they would meet these relatively ancient standards. Yet Konami knowingly released a broken product, capitalizing on nostalgia and “what once was” in the process.

They could’ve released a pitch perfect port of these original classics. It could’ve been a powerful marketing tool, an initiates’ guide that, as an added side, they could’ve made money from.

If publishers, if Konami, aren’t willing to treat their own properties and their employees’ creative efforts – the things and people that actually make them money – with respect, then it’s difficult to see why anybody else would want to do the same. It’s products like this that suggest that – with all the subtlety of a baseball bat to the head – the people above the developers, the people in control, don’t really care about the games they make – only about the money they make.

Publishers, if you invest time and money into delivering a fantastic product, fans, assuredly, will do the same. If you’re not willing, though, be prepared to face untold horrors – a nightmare that both you, and your bottom lines, won’t be able to handle.

Terrifying, indeed.

gamesVSlife is a weekly column dedicated to video games, life, and how games relate to life. Feel free to leave your comments and stories below.

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