Broken Silence: Wet Components

It was recently revealed that Konami would be bringing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to the PC. Shortly after this announcement, the publisher announced that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow would come to the PC as well, via Climax Studios. Has Konami suddenly grown a soft spot for the PC platform? The last time I wrote a proper Broken Silence article, it was focused on how Konami could make amends for their unfaithful HD Collection with poor ports of Silent Hill 2 and 3. I suggested that the publisher could please fans by officially supporting the re-release of the PC versions of Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3, and Silent Hill 4 by teaming up with GoG.com or Steam. And while that suggestion fell upon deaf ears, as I’m sure the below article will as well, discussing what Konami could do to better the Silent Hill series is still one of my favorite hobbies. So, let me tell you my latest idea!

With the announcement of PC ports of both Revengeance and Lords of Shadow, the latter being nearly a three year old title, it’s time for me to suggest that the publisher extend the same courtesy to Silent Hill: Downpour, the series’ latest main entry. Downpour released on March 13, 2012 to mixed critical reception – this alone may give Konami reason to ignore me, but hear me out. I loved the game; I would also love to see a superior version without the technical hiccups and muddy textures: a version of the game that can reach more people.

A lot of people ask, “where are the survival horror games?” The indie development scene on PC is where many contemporary horror games can be found. Amnesia is one such game in the indie scene that helped show people that quality horror experiences can be found on PC. Mods such as Cry of Fear, Day Z, and SCP showcase the creativity and ease in which passionate individuals have supported the genre on the platform. Silent Hill, as a series, doesn’t top charts. The series is niche, out of the public eye and cursed with a taboo that suggests that it was once great and has nothing else to offer. But amidst the widely known, classic survival horror series with strong legacies, Silent Hill remains survival horror. Silent Hill: Downpour embraced the genre, whether you believe that the gameplay was sub par, decent, or exceptional. It honored what makes a survival horror game about survival. Unlike Resident Evil or Dead Space, Downpour didn’t cave to becoming a more accessible horror title. Downpour gave us an underpowered character, a sad story, and a wonderfully designed town to explore. This is why I believe it deserves its chance among other survival horror games on PC.

Sadly the retail release doesn't look as good as this early screenshot.

Sadly the finished product doesn’t look as good as this early screenshot.

A platform where many developers have the freedom to release a game in the genre that many larger publishers fear won’t sell well, is where Downpour could potentially get some attention from gamers. Even Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, an experimental no-combat survival horror game could receive some much needed attention on PC due to how much it would have in common with indie developed horror games. Book of Memories, an isometric dungeon crawler, could do well on the platform as well.

I won’t pretend that porting a game is a low cost and simple endeavor. If Konami didn’t see fit to releasing the game in a more-finished state and with better promotion before release, I’m sure they would be hard pressed to port the game to a new platform. What I do know – which is widely known information – is that the Unreal Engine, which Downpour was developed on, has been designed to allow developers to make multiplatform video games with less complications. The process will still require Konami to hire a development studio to do the laborious task, but the point is that there would likely be less complication in the process than if the game was developed on a less-PC optimized engine. As for publishing, Konami could easily partner with Steam to eliminate retail publishing costs.

Now, this is just me speculating here, but what if porting costs were relatively low enough that the risk would be outweighed by potential sales? Porting Downpour to the PC gives millions of gamers access to it. The nature of Steam Sales lures many people into dipping into low-cost but interesting looking titles out there. What if Konami were to release a PC port of Downpour at a budget price on Steam for less than $20 (retail console copies sell for about this price)? Would it be far fetched to believe that a low-priced Downpour port would be picked up by not only Silent Hill fans but also random buyers looking to nab some cheap games that look at least mildly interesting? I think Konami could very well make a profit here, which would be their motivation to port this year old game.

I understand that the fear of Konami screwing up exists. They’ve shown that they can easily do so with anything Silent Hill. Silent Hill: Homecoming released on PC some time after the console version and it was a broken game that fans had to patch themselves. Despite a slew of technical faults and mixed critical reception, Konami released Homecoming on PC at full price. Currently, the game is still being sold for $40. If Konami were to do this port, they would need to sell the game at a budget price. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition is releasing on August 27th and that was a critically acclaimed game. A price around $20 at launch would be decent for a Downpour port–at least in my eyes. Konami must also be willing to adjust their price by working with Steam during sales periods. They have to have realistic expectations and be competitive.

It’s unfortunate that the publisher would probably cite Homecoming‘s PC sales and reception as fair reasoning for not porting Downpour, but clearly its failure was their fault alone and in no way an indication that future PC release would fail on the platform. Hopefully, now that they’re flirting with PC ports again, they’ve got a better idea of how to appeal to gamers on the platform. If Lords of Shadow and Revengeance do well, then maybe the Konami will walk away confident in the platform (assuming they do all the necessary things to earn that success).

Artist depiction of effects of Steam Sales on users.

With the onset of the next console generation, I have decided to make the PC my primary gaming platform. Silent Hill no longer appears on that platform, so this was a factor that prompted me to consider the possibility of Konami putting Silent Hill on PC, but I am not alone in sharing this hope. As console architecture becomes more and more like a PC, the “easier” (I use this term well aware that developing and porting is a arduous task) it will become to port their games to the platform.

Millions of gamers either have a gaming PC along with a console, or simply a gaming PC, at home. There is a market out there that Konami has recently decided to acknowledge with Metal Gear and Castlevania games, so why not Silent Hill? The publisher might be surprised if they were to take this potentially beneficial risk, as opposed to their bad ones in the past. If not Downpour, then perhaps Silent Hill 10…whenever that decides to start existing. If we can’t have Downpour on PC, then let’s hope that Revengeance and Lords of Shadow sell well enough to convince the publisher that the PC is a viable platform which money can be made from.

  • Ahmad Al-Hamily

    I don’t know CJ, we’re talking about Konami here. I don’t think that they would go for porting Downpour to PC. It’s kind of sad that the company is not paying attention to the series. But who knows, maybe someday.

    Thank you for the article.

  • qqryq

    I agree with CJ. SH should get back to PC. This may help (i hope) change Konami policy: Guys from Change.org prepared an open petition which need 100 more signs to be sent to Konami.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/dear-konami-release-silent-hill-downpour-on-pc

  • ariessiren

    Konami showed such a lack of care for the HD collection and downpour i seriously think they are done with silent hill. Aside from bad sales, the bad PR from the HD collection and the 360 patch cancelled i would be shocked if konami would continue on with the series after all the bs. They have other AAA games to focus on.

    • luigiix

      Yeah. Pretty much this.

  • TsaebehT

    I’m not interested in MGS but I would be all over Silent Hill: Downpour (Castlevania as well) again if I could play it in proper 3D, even the fake 3D it used on the 360 was good enough at times. But it would be so much better in HD 3D on my PC.

    I’m still waiting for a good sale to buy Homecoming to play that one again in 3D and even though I already own 2 & 3 on discs, I’d probably buy those again too if I had the chance on steam.

    I’d definitely buy The Room, Shattered Memories, Origins and maybe even Book of Memories if they all played well with 3D Vision … my biggest issue with BoM was it was only on Vita anyway, and I’m done with Sony handhelds.

    That never made sense to me, let’s take an already underperforming, sales wise, series and make it exclusively for a likewise underperforming platform …

  • Guilherme Teruya

    I’m so sad to see my current favorite franchise going down like this. I’m not a PC gamer, I prefer to play on consoles, even if it means worse graphics etc… but I see how PC is getting the best part or horror gaming. I still have hope the next generation can bring Silent Hill back to being relevant… I don’t want Silent Hill to end.

    • TsaebehT

      For price, you just can’t beat consoles, but as I started getting into 3D gaming the consoles left a lot to be desired, barely any support for games and for the most part no tweakable options … and there’s nothing you can do about it.

      I built a 3D gaming rig and in no time I was playing Dead Space on the same 65″ DLP using the same 360 controller from the same gaming chair in my living room, just in a way that I couldn’t before.

      Since then I’ve played Limbo, Dishonored, Deadlight, Bioshock, Codemned, and a ton of other games in 3D and there’s a ton more I haven’t even gotten to yet, all games which I couldn’t have played in 3D on consoles, and I was able to play them mostly due to the Helix Mod and the community behind it fixing them for use with 3D Vision.

      • Guilherme Teruya

        I see. I just hate 3D, so I guess that comparison doesn’t really apply to me.

      • ariessiren

        Most families and gamers don’t have time to build rigs, mod this and that etc. its too much of a hassle. Consoles are just more friendly and to the point.great you love yours but lets be realistic, the console is the focus

    • ariessiren

      I’m not a PC gamer either. I’m not even a PC owner anymore. and i don’t care to ever own one again. I do everything from my phone, As most of the people i know also do. I prefer console as it does everything I need it too in the living room. PC is a more tech centered single user option. Konami is more focused on console. I get PC has its perks, but its not mainstream like a console is and is not the focus.

      • Guilherme Teruya

        Yea, I agree.

  • luigiix

    Let’s be realistic here. Downpour probably didn’t sold good enough. Add to that the less than stellar quality of both this and the HD collection. Konami should just forget about Silent Hill. If they’re not going to take it seriously, they should just forget about it and stop hurting the series with outsourced games.
    A PC version of Downpour would be interesting though, perhaps modders could make the game somewhat decent.

  • Grif

    I played the PC versions of 1-4, they were god-awful control wise. Didn’t even support a game pad. If they can make the controls not absolutely horrendous, it could be worth it.

    • TsaebehT

      There was no PC version of 1 … and I played 2 & 3 using a controller on PC, the buttons were all mapped weird compared to the PS2 version but they could be remapped. The only other issue was the tank controls but you can also change that in the options to, iirc, 2D controls.

      • drachehexe

        There IS a PC version of 1! Well, not official, but someone made a PC version using a heavily modified Playstation emulator to specifically bring Silent Hill to the PC quite some time ago. Hard to find but it may be somewhere in the torrent world.

  • TsaebehT

    I wouldn’t mind seeing all the extras from the buggy HD releases of 2 & 3 get added to the original PC release as well. With the option to select which audio to use, of course.

  • drachehexe

    I had the same thought when I saw Lords of Shadows was coming to the PC: Will there be a Downpour port?

    I’d love to see a PC port of Downpour as I, too, was disappointed they skipped the PC for a release. Silent Hill is the only series where I will buy every game in the series immediately on release. Even Homecoming had it’s redeeming values despite its technical and design flaws.

    In a similar circumstance I wish Quantic Dream would get out of Sony’s pocket to once again bring their titles to the PC. They made a name for themselves on the PC and then sold out to Sony and now Sony only lets them develop for the PS3.

    • luigiix

      It might be a good idea to just get a PS3. I guess you’re a PC-only gamer, but having a console along is never a bad idea :)

      • drachehexe

        I will never ever own a console again in my entire life. If they feel they can live without my money, I can live without their games. But that’s just me. My kids are playing Minecraft, a game with 20 year old graphics and gameplay on a $300 XBOX 360 and having a blast…go figure.

        • luigiix

          Hey that’s cool man. I was only making a suggestion. But yeah, different strokes for different folks :D

          • drachehexe

            Yeah. I mean, if money was no object then I’d consider dropping a couple hundred bucks on a console just to play one game, but alas my purchases are limited to the big price-drop on Steam, GoG, or whathave you. And it does seem that the PC is being considered more now for companies that focus on consoles. I think the PC success of Alan Wake had a lot to with that…