Broken Silence: Making Amends

The Silent Hill HD Collection is a game that’s sure to go down in history. What should have been a simple high definition port of two classic games became a massive PR nightmare for Konami. Not only did the company fail to release a finished product, but they also failed to deliver a patch for the Xbox 360 version of the game. The Silent Hill HD Collection patch was announced for both console versions of the game but only one platform received it.

At launch, the Silent Hill HD Collection for the Playstation 3 was an utter mess. Performance wise, the game was just painful. I own a copy for each console and couldn’t believe how bad the PS3 version was. A constantly fluctuating framerate, crashes, broken audio, and stunted character animations are but just a few of the problems that plagued the game. Konami patched the PS3 version at launch but it didn’t do much.

On July 11th, the PS3 patch released on Playstation Network. After a long wait, the game’s biggest issues were addressed. While improved, there’s still a noticeable animation stutter in the PS3 version—Silent Hill 2 also being scaled back to 30 frames per second. The audio was improves as well as added fog effects. Overall, it became the better of the two versions in terms of sound and visual effects. The Xbox 360 version remains my preferred version because of its overall smoother performance.

Nearly a month after the patch hit Playstation Network, Konami announced that the Xbox 360 version of the patch had been canceled. Why? “Technical issues” and a lack of “resources”. Ridiculous. It’s one thing to release a game that clearly suffers from problems but it’s another to promise a fix for all and then back out of it. As expected, things got ugly.

Konami put themselves on the radar of many upset gamers and gaming publications; the outrage among diehard fans was even larger. Some fans criticized the concept of an HD collection to begin with, spewing the all too familiar argument of Konami treading on the sacred perfection that are the original Team Silent games.

The company’s response was a trade in program for those with the Xbox 360 version of the game: send your copy of the game to Konami and get another one of their games in return. Did they have to do this? No, but the gesture can hardly be welcomed with open arms when gamers, including myself, wanted a faithful HD remaster of two classic and beloved games. The company is clearly capable of such; the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a wonderful collection. Blue Point games did a fantastic job, as usual. So why did the Silent Hill HD Collection suffer so much? Perhaps the company decided to use as little resources as possible by hiring a smaller developer for the job. Hijinx Studios was that developer. Prior to the Silent Hill HD Collection, Hijinx developed Konami’s Frogger Returns. Why the company didn’t go with Blue Point games as they did with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is unknown. My theory is to cut development costs.

Now that the dust has settled, many fans of the series see the HD Collection as a personification of the company’s disregard for the series. Many fans rather stick to the original versions of the games than play or even recommend the HD Collection. I myself still recommend the game to friends that are unfamiliar with the series, because the mistakes and missing details will be unknown to them. The technical issues are also bearable. Still, the Silent Hill HD Collection failed to deliver on a simple, but awesome, premise of giving us an upgraded version of the games we know and love.

Now, how can Konami make amends to this blunder? Make the classic games, as they were, readily accessible. With online platforms like Playstation Network, Steam, and Good Old Games (GoG.com), Konami can easily re-release Silent Hill 24, allowing people to purchase the original titles, unaltered. Such a feat would please many fans who are disappointed with the HD Collection, improve the company’s public image, and potentially recoup the financial loss of the sales figures and trade-in program.

The PC versions of Silent Hill 24 are hard to come by. Not just that, but compatibility issues with current operating systems also factor in. Konami re-releasing the PC versions of these games will give people the opportunity to play the games on their current machines. HD Collections, at least for me, are about accessibility. People want to have a game readily available for play, not jump through hoops. If Konami were to release the PC versions of these games on popular PC platforms like Steam, and GoG, they will have opened up the opportunity for more sales because of accessibility.

The same principle goes for Playstation Network. Sony recently launched Playstation 2 Classics, a service where they release popular games from the Playstation 2’s library, fully compatible on PS3. The PS2 horror classic Haunting Ground is set to release on the service in the future. I don’t think any of us were expecting that. So why not a series that’s a bit more popular? Playstation Network would be able to offer every “Team Silent” title in one place. The PS3 can potentially become the only platform where Silent Hill 1 through Downpour can be played (if Origins and Shattered Memories are added to the PS2 Classic list). Konami just needs to pursue this.

All of these games already exist, so the small possibility of Konami having to affirm their rights, as they did with the HD Collection, would be slim. These games require no alteration outside of possible operating system compatibility, therefore they should be able to be re-released issue free. PC platform GoG bundles older and incompatible games with emulation software or compatibility patches. Konami can easily partner up with GoG.com to release these titles. Steam is also a viable option but full compatibility with modern operating systems would need to be verified.

Konami has a chance to make amends the only other way they can. Not only will many fans be happy to have these games in a more readily accessible place, but the potential sales figures could ease the loss that the HD Collection surely caused. Accessibility is key, and Konami can use that to please us fans.

Update: Rely on Horror reader Richard Goulding took it upon himself to send this article to Konami Support. He received a slightly robotic and generic response, but it’s nice to believe that the idea was acknowledged and has the small chance of being forwarded to Konami’s development teams. Will it help this idea come to fruition? I doubt it, but there’s some comfort in knowing that idea has somewhat made its way to the company.

 

               
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COMMENTS

  • Ross Ingram

    The EU PSN doesn’t even have Silent Hill Origins yet. I really want to replay that on the Vita, but can’t.

  • Sess

    Hmm, does the PS 3 Silent hill 2 HD version AFTER the patch beat the old Silent Hill 2 or even live up to its former glory? I wanna get it, but not if it’s clean and watered down.

    • I haven’t gone completely through my PS3 copy, but from what I’ve heard the missing sounds and music should be fixed. The fog is still a bit iffy, but nothing game ending.

    • ccrogers15

      SH2 is fine. SH3 is completely unplayable.

    • ariessiren

      its 90% but not 100% the stupid achievements still pause the game and cuts off music. plus its not 60fps anymore so its not that much different than the ps2 version. id stick with the originals over the hd versions. its alot better but purists will still see the flaws. minor, but yes they do affect the game.the new ps2 voices are a huge improvement but SH3 voices are painful to listen too

      • Sess

        Ah okay thanks, i was gonna pick up the HD collection to let my friend and brother play SH 2 for the first time. And it’s been a while since my own replay, so i guess i’ll take 90% for the convenience of ps3/hd.

  • Luc

    Konami still having bad behavior with their customers… another example??? silent hill downpour´s patch still a promise.
    Respect the customer
    Do the job right… if it´s wrong fix it and kick

  • Offering Silent Hill titles on PSN is an excellent was to say “hey ! we’re sorry” i mean I’d like titles in their original state. Got SH 1 on my PS3 and despite the outdated graphics, I still love it. To me, there is no need to “HD” the other titles. Heck, no need to slap achievements on the games. Just give us the titles as they were and we’ll be alright.

    Well, written article CJ.

  • Henrikm

    Silent Hill HD was one of the tites I looked foward too alot.
    After all the problems mentioned everywhere I have yet to pick up my version.
    I have to think again as a fan I want it as I have all other games.
    But do I really want a broken game like this when I have the orginal ones?
    Iam not sure…

  • Taylor the Impaler

    I honestly would not recommend the HD Collection to new players. Yes, they wouldn’t notice the faults and mistakes. But why not just show them the golden originals with no faults or mistakes?

    • Accessibility. Some people don’t want to go through the trouble of hooking up the PS2 they have stored away or no longer own.

      Xbox emulation of 2 is also crappy because of the save data bug.

      if you can play the game on a modern console, it would be much easier. Maybe some friends will listen to a recommendation if the games were rereleased.

      Personally, I have much better luck recommending the HD Collection to friends.

  • I agree. And on the topic of GOG and Steam, I really think they’re missing out on a big market there. As well as letting down fans who had played 2 through Homecoming on the PC

    • ariessiren

      its not a big market anymore. single player is not where its at anymore. RE took the action online horror route and now its the best selling horror game around. theres your proof. the new generation of gamers dont like single player as much as us older gamers. survival horror had its peak on ps2 but not on the current gen.

  • Neutron15

    I prefer the PC version of the two plus there is a HD mod out there

    • Yeah, fans can make their own HD improvements as well. I’d like to see that. The one thing I love about the HD Collection are the textures (for the most part)

      • Neutron15

        I dont know on what forums I’ve seen the hd mod, it was way back on 2006

        • I’m sure someone can make a new one that rivals the current HD Collection if given the opportunity.

  • the problem is not in patches, the problem is that konami doesn’t care about fans !! book of memories ? dress your character and play with friends ? come on this is silent hill it is supposed to be scary not funny !!

    • SHF

      Konami is big company that working on a lot of other things not just Silent Hill.
      Book of memories has nothing to do about Konami not caring.
      Just because it exist doesn’t mean it ruins anything.

    • ariessiren

      in konami’s defense, they are trying something new and appealing to the online gamers which is proven to be huge. SH sells okay, but not record breaking. alot of people buy used so the numbers arent there as much as the older titles. they arent gonna put up money for patches and AAA budgets if the fans dont buy as much as they used to. the 360 HD sold terribly and the numbers have gotten lower with each game. just like indie films; low budget. it makes sense. you have to take responsibility as fans if your not supporting the series, konami is not going to support the game as much as their other titles, its pure business. your just encouraging hate on a game you have never played and killing your franchise instead of supporting it. if memories fails, your partially to blame

  • ariessiren

    if I was konami, truth is I would can the whole series because there is no pleasing some of you. you should be happy SH survived to this generation yet all you do is trash book of memories and you have never played it. yes the HD was bad, I get it, but if konami is that willing to let it go, you have to ask yourself why. low sales and high maintenance fans who are never pleased. they lost money, so the “fans” aren’t that supportive because it should have sold better but alot of you hated on this from the beginning. it started with homecoming which was not bad at all. pure hate and now look what happened. you have to take responsibility for premature negative backlash, people see this and dont ever buy the future SH games. if book of memories fails, Sh is no more

  • I really wish they would do silent hill 1 like they did resident evil 1 on the gamecube. If they did that, and actually put effort into it and it be fantastic, I could die happy haha

  • Voidmaster

    CJ, do your research next time please. You go to great lengths to flame Konami for this, even going so far as to say “theyre capable of doing a good HD collection” because of MGS. This port was made by Hijinx Studios. MGS HD was Bluepoint games. I know you’re just gonna say you knew that, but it makes you look pretty uninformed to lash out at Konami without even mentioning the actual developers.

    • Perhaps skimming the article wasn’t the best course of action on your part. *Just below the HDC picture.*

      “The company is clearly capable of such; the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a wonderful collection. Blue Point games did a fantastic job, as usual. So why did the Silent Hill HD Collection suffer so much? Perhaps the company decided to use as little resources as possible by hiring a smaller developer for the job. Hijinx Studios was that developer. “

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