Broken Silence: A Change in Forecast

Silent Hill: Downpour has been delayed. What many of us had feared is now true. But is it really such a terrible thing? The most recent Silent Hill games have also had rocky releases: no solid date for months and then a quiet launch. Is this the case yet again, or should we all relax and let the change in forecast comfort us?

Downpour was given both a Fall and Winter release time frame. October was mentioned on numerous occasions by members of Konami and development team. Fans speculated that October 25th would be the day that Downpour would release because of product listings on Amazon, Gamestop and Best Buy. It quickly became October, and Konami officially announced that the game was delayed into Q1 2012. A firm date was never announced, but now it seems we are even further from one. Is this a bad thing, though? I don’t think so.

Looking at Silent Hill: Homecoming, we were given a buggy, and perhaps rushed game. Tech wise, the game had many flaws that made it a hassle to play. I myself play with an inverted Y-axis. Call me weird, but I am the 1%. ( I do not have real stats) Being part of a gaming minority made Silent Hill: Homecoming a frustrating experience. For some odd reason, inverted shooting controls were left out while inverted camera controls made it in. If this wasn’t a sign of rushed development, I don’t know what is. Let’s not forget the bug toward the end of the game that caused the game to crash. Homecoming just felt unpolished and hastily constructed.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories had its flaws, but it turned out to be a much more polished product. It seemed to have had more time to develop, which in turn, made it a blast to play. I’ve heard mentions of a save data bug, but have never run into it myself. Shattered Memories may not be “canon” or even in the same universe as the other games, but it was a fun game that made me buy a Wii. Like any game, I would have had suggestions for it, but it was a well made game and I enjoyed it.

Silent Hill: Downpour has been in development for about two years, perhaps more. With the delay, many fans are freaking out with worries that the game is not finished, it will be dead on arrival, or that it will be canceled. Now, I do not want yet another release date fiasco as with Shattered Memories. We didn’t have a firm release date on that game up until a few weeks prior to launch and that was a huge annoyance. I remember being unsure if the game would even be in stores, because of so many dates being plastered on the internet by fans speculating.

I’m hoping that this delay is the one and only. The broad “Q1 2012” release window is much better than being given a date and then having the game delayed yet again. So, I’m fine with what we’ve been told. As for how far that is from now–Q1 of 2012 is January-March; That’s not too far.

One complaint I had about Downpour’s Fall release was the amount of games it would have to compete with. October and November will see several popular games hit the market. Silent Hill may be my favorite series, but it’s not a number one buy on everyone’s wish list. There’s Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3, and Skyrim to compete with. Alan Wake’s release was destroyed by just Red Dead Redemption. Imagine Downpour up against all of these games. It wouldn’t be pretty.

As a fan of the series that would like to see it continue, I didn’t want to see the game release during such a hectic time frame. Too many games will release, and it would probably go ignored by many. This would hurt the series chances of continuing past Book of Memories. Silent Hill is a product meant to sell. If it had been released next to all of these other games, the potential sales would be hurt, and the likelihood of the series continuing would decrease. Hey, I know some people want that, but I don’t. Personally, if I don’t agree with a new game in a series I just ignore it. A new game can’t hurt what I already own and enjoy.

I think this delay is good for Downpour. Polish and care can make the game—which I already had a chance to enjoy—even better. How is that a bad thing? Let Vatra get in there, tweak some things so we, the players, have a more enjoyable experience come release.

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  • Zack Furniss

    Like Shigeru Miyamoto said: “A delayed game is good eventually, and a rushed game is bad forever.” or something like that, haha. Good article though, I agree with your sentiments.

  • Elyssa

    I agree with yourself & Zach, hopefully this is a good thing. Though make that you’re one of the 4%. My brothers & I all play with the inverted Y axis. It’s just impossible the default way.

  • StuntmanSnake

    Good points, CJ.

    Luckily there are plenty of games coming out to keep me busy which makes the wait not so bad. 🙂

  • Jon

    Good points, it’s probably good that it’s delayed both to give it more dev time and so that it doesn’t come out the same time as Skyrim, Uncharted, and all the other great games coming out in the next two months. Late January / Early February would be a good time, before all the good spring games such as Mass Effect 3 come out.

  • Ahmad S. Al-Hamily

    yeah, delays are … well, delays but there should be some kind of deadline to the whole thing. I remember, and correct me if I’m wrong, the last Alone in the Dark got delayed like forever and the end product wasn’t a charm.
    The ROH’s 40 minutes game-play video showed Downpour as a good Silent Hill game especially at the atmospheric department and the story so far is still a mystery which is good as well.
    If it got delayed to make it better, then its okay. I mean you don’t want Murphy foooor example to wash his face while his glasses is on!
    Yes, I’m referring to the Shattered Memories scene where the “other” Harry Mason goes into the restroom at the Balkan and freshens up with his glasses on.

    But I’d like to say one thing to CJ before I end my comment.

    Of course you don’t mind if it got delayed …… YOU ACTUALLY GOT TO PLAY A BIT OF THE GAME LOL! Yeah, you’re lucky.

    Oh well, guess folks like moi are going to wait for it XD

  • Zack Furniss

    I also play inverted. I blame Star Fox on SNES. My brother and dad used to hate it because when we would take turns in games, we’d have to switch controls. But now they play inverted too! MWUAHAHA. Homecoming angered me so much with it’s lack of inverted controls. It’s honestly super easy to implement. Y-axis multiplied by -1. There you go, Konami, you’re welcome!

  • The Order

    First time commenting. Love the site, BTW. Frequently updated, my #1 for survival horror news.

    The delay came as a shock to me when I reserved it in late September from Gamestop. I planned my vacation in the final week of October because of this game…only to see those plans somewhat blown to Hell. Arkham City is a saving grace in this instance.

    In the end, if this delay is due to ongoing improvement then I am alright with it. I believe the story, music and general atmoshpere are all more important than mechanics, but still. Homecoming was not memorable. Silent Hill needs a knockout entry to remain a relevant fandom for me. It is becoming dangerously close to joining Final Fantasy in my “Game series that were epic but I no longer care about” list. Silent Hill 4 and Homecoming added little to the main canon, were frustratingly difficult, and not very memorable. Shattered Memories had great potential if they had revised it to be an orginal entry that borrowed elements of the original. However, it was a noncanonical retelling so I dismissed it. That and I just plain do not like Nintendo Wii. Sorry folks, the last gen graphics and Wiimote are just…ughhhhhhhhhhhh!

    I remember a line from a review back when Homecoming was released “this old fog needs to learn some new tricks”, and it is true. If the delay is to make improvements so it is a GREAT game, I am all for it. However, if this is another mediocre entry, lets just release the damn thing and call it a day for the series.

  • Henrik

    Its ok for me if the delay is for improvments but if the reason is because large titles like uncharted,skyrim etc is realesed it sucks.

    I dont think Silent hill fans would care much if downpour was released before or at the same time as those games.

    Doubt it would generate more sells for Konami(especially as they are so bad at advertising their games) cus I have preordered both uncharted,Skyrim and Silent hill

    So as a SH fan I would have still bought it if it was released at the date first set.

    Doubt Downpour would generate much sells or new fans for waiting to release it after those bigger titles.

    So sure hope the reason is to improve the game not too try increase sells for that they wont.

    Silent hill is a niche series it has big fanbase enough to be released at the same time as Uncharted,Skyrim etc but doubt it would generate more fans for Konami to wait.

    So yeah somewhat disappointed EVEN more so as it seems Silent Hill Collection HD wont make it this year ethier,had hoped playing that and take a look at the voice changes they made while waiting for Downpour so that suck too.


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