UPDATE 17/05/2016 5pm: James Brady's Silent Hill stage is now available to download. Here's a link.
I don't know how we got here. A sense of expectation as thick as fog hangs in the air of this hot, dark room. Not for the first time, I wonder how this is happening. How it is I am here, shoulder to shoulder, with my people, waiting, watching a cyclical stream of digital faces - faces I feel I know better than my own - flickering across the screen.
Think you're a big Silent Hill fan? Well you might be, but chances are you've got nothing on Whitney Chavis, whose Silent Hill collection is so big that it's actually set a Guinness World Record.
PSP scarefests Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories are getting a digital release on PlayStation Vita, publisher Konami has announced.
A second Silent Hill movie is officially on the way, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Screenwriter Roger Avary and producer Samuel Hadida, who worked on the first film, have already signed up for the project.
Movie company Davis Films will start shooting next year, once they've finished Resident Evil 4.
Konami is offering PSP owners the chance to pick up two of its titles for 20 quid.
Or GBP 19.99, to be specific. From March 27th, Konami will be bundling games in twin-packs, complete with special cases and original cover art.
The first two packs will both feature Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, with Silent Hill Origins and Coded Arms playing B-sides. So far, the packs are only confirmed for the UK.
One of the most appealing things about Silent Hill Origins' release on PSP last November was the way Climax managed to shoehorn a fully-fledged and exclusive Silent Hill adventure onto a handheld. Played with the lights off on a winter's night, it was a great little stopgap release for long-term fans - not least because, as a prequel, it helped reveal a little more of the back-story of Alessa Gillespie, and the oddball cult that caused all this nonsense to occur in the first place. On that basis alone it was well worth buying, even if it did practically zero to innovate or improve the somewhat clunky gameplay.
Now available on the PS2, its belated release serves a couple of purposes: die-hard fans unwilling to shell out for a PSP can enjoy the first Silent Hill release in almost four years, and series aficionados who prefer big-screen gaming can experience things in a more cinematic sense. But other than a cursory upscaling of the visuals, and improved sound quality, this is the exact same game that received generally warm acclaim the first time around despite being an unapologetic cover version of the first three Silent Hills. So is that good news or bad news?
Sticking rigidly to the wonderful but now-ageing survival-horror template, the things that the series is brilliant at - i.e. atmosphere and compelling narrative - are well up to scratch. And by returning to the puzzle-based, exploration-heavy gameplay of the first three Silent Hills, it's generally a pleasure to work through. Some old niggly gameplay problems remain, but this was never a game that was designed to take the series forward - that's for the forthcoming Silent Hill Homecoming. For now, this is a chance to take a step back and find out where this perpetually intriguing story began.
Konami has exorcised the wispy spectre of speculation by confirming a port of Silent Hill Origins is coming to PS2.
If in doubt, buy your parents something you want and reclaim at a later date - a useful mantra handed down from generation to generation. I once bought my sister a CD that will remain nameless for shame purposes, even though she had no flashy machinery to play it on. But I did. So, when I suggested she hand the disc to me and keep the cassette recording I had selflessly made for herself, I was expecting nothing but cooperation. Bloody witch didn't see it like that though, did she? Threw a right strop. Ungrateful. But looking back at my foolish youth of yester-year I can see how much I have changed. She lives in China for a start, so no need to get her anything. Present for sister: tick.
Sometimes you have to back to go forward, or at least that seems to be the rationale behind Climax's somewhat by the numbers take on the Silent Hill franchise. Origins acts as the starting point for the entire series, taking us back to events before the 1999 PlayStation classic and helping to shed a little more light on the mysteries surrounding this fog-bound town.
The latest unfortunate to run the gauntlet from twisted apparitions, bald, headless bovine and manic showroom dummies is Travis Grady, a lone trucker who finds himself almost running over a young girl on a rain swept night. But rather than drive on and be thankful for this piece of fortune, he chases after her, and finds himself the latest poor unfortunate to try the handles of 900 locked doors in Silent Hill. Like everyone else who find themselves wandering this doomed place, crippling memories of a troubled past come flooding back, and so begins another chilling jaunt through a series of hellish locations and scenarios before he can resolve matters.
No doubt mindful of remaining faithful to the series' legacy, Climax pays such close attention to the ingredients of the first three Silent Hill games that it's basically an unapologetic homage to them. As such, it makes very little attempt to innovate, or take the series forward to any meaningful degree whatsoever, so as long as you're cool with that, you'll get on with Origins just fine. For those of you who've already tired of the increasingly dated formula, though, it's time to move on - nothing new to see here.
Do you remember the first time a piece of fiction - a film, a book, a game - made you genuinely, horribly afraid? Everyone is afraid of something, and for each fear there's a fiction which touches precisely on that most primal of instincts, twanging unsettlingly on the strings that make even us hardy grown-ups wonder, just for a moment, if we really are alone in the dark.
It's been nearly three long years since Konami blessed us with a Silent Hill title, and almost four since the last 'proper' game in the series was released (The Room was only given the Silent Hill brand as an afterthought). You could say it's been a pretty lean time for survival horror junkies, so we're inclined to grab hold of any scrap of information that we can get about one of our all-time favourite series.
Silent Hill Origins
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that the Silent Hill movie will be out on DVD, UMD and Blu-Ray this summer.
Bringing one of the darkest, most sinister game franchises ever to the jolly, shiny world of handheld PSP gaming might not seem the most immediately obvious idea, but since when was anything connected with Silent Hill supposed to make any sense?
Roger Avary, author of the screenplay for the forthcoming Silent Hill movie, has promised that it'll be firmly based around the actual games.