Leaks around a Silent Hill 2 remake being spearheaded by Bloober Team have been circulating for some time, and while some fans have been critical of the idea, the studio has proven through The Medium that it understands Silent Hill 2 and what makes it great - even if it probably shouldn't touch any other part of the horror series. With the original Silent Hill 2 as a blueprint for a near-perfect horror game, one fans have held sacred since its launch in 2001, Bloober Team's considerable skill at marrying art and technical prowess may be all it needs.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
The studio has made a name for itself in recent years, with experience around a variety of differently styled horror games, from Layers of Fear to Blair Witch. Bloober Team has handily proven it can create a compelling environment and atmosphere (something that it has done on several notable occasions), but it's yet to prove itself equally in the gameplay department. The studio has drawn the most criticism from the way it tends to handle narrative and gameplay pacing, and while the thought of it tackling a Silent Hill 2 remake might have some fans already wishing that Silent Hill was dead, it could also mean that a remake is the studio's best chance at crafting a true series masterpiece.
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Bloober Team's horror pedigree is hard to argue with, however one might feel about the individual games for which the studio is responsible. Layers of Fear initially skyrocketed Bloober to international indie horror stardom with an interesting story told through engaging setpiece spectacles, from jump scares to more simmering atmospheric tension. Observer would come later, taking a more sci-fi approach to what was a largely similar gameplay premise, but one that showed evidence of growth as a studio. From there, The Medium's dual worlds, which mirror Silent Hill's, brought a fresh take on hellish otherworldly environments, notably drawing on the paintings that defined much of Zdzisław Beksiński's storied career, and this is where Bloober Team shows the most promise for taking on a Silent Hill 2 remake.
Bloober Team Understands What A Silent Hill 2 Remake Needs
The Medium is directly inspired by Silent Hill 2 in a variety of ways, which at the time of its released earned it both praise and ire from some fans. From its slow opening moments to the end, there's a palpable sense of familiarity for anyone that's played Konami's survival horror classic, and its this shared legacy that shows how much Bloober Team has been paying attention. This is not to say that The Medium and its controversial ending are entirely derivative, as it had plenty of its own interesting twists, but the formula it followed is discernible throughout, with features, narrative touches, and design elements that evoke Silent Hill.
From The Medium's dual worlds, both of which provide their own brand of horror in a similar duality, to its many puzzles, the lessons learned from Silent Hill are on full display over the course of the entire game. Yet it's in the characters and themes that The Medium understands Silent Hill 2 best, with a softer kind of psychological horror that's far less dependent on monsters and combat. There's almost no combat to speak of in The Medium, in fact, even less so than in the game from which it draws its most direct inspirations. Instead, both titles are vehicles for themes of trauma and loss, unafraid to tackle complex family relationships and protagonist flaws, using horror as a canvas upon which to tell larger, immensely human stories.
Bloober Team's Characters Share Silent Hill Sensibilities
The Medium also showcases characters that have a great deal in common with Silent Hill 2. Sadness, a young girl The Medium's Marianne meets in the game's darker world, is heavily reminiscent of Laura from Silent Hill 2, and Marianne herself is haunted by an emotional backstory that would make Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland feel right at home. Even the environments of The Medium seem to share the same somber, sad sensibilities, taking place in an abandoned resort and hotel with a dark past that Marianne sees transform into a nightmarish version of itself. With so much shared DNA, it's a testament to the team's skill that the game ended up feeling like more than just a Silent Hill homage.
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Blair Witch tackles things differently, with a dog companion much more reminiscent of Huey from Capcom's cult classic Haunting Ground, but still packs in plenty of character-driven psychological horror. Despite a fairly middling critical response, Blair Witch's classic survival horror has consistently engaged with Bloober fans, and it makes its oppressive, consuming environment a primary story character in much the same way The Medium and Silent Hill 2 do. The relationship between protagonist Ellis and his dog Bullet is beautifully baked into the game's psychological horror core, and works to draw players organically into the story. While Blair Witch has considerably less in common with The Medium or Silent Hill, it too is unafraid to deal with relationships, trauma, and suicide, further evidence of Bloober's understanding of what has made Silent Hill 2 continue to endure as a piece of art.
Bloober Team is undoubtedly not the perfect studio for Silent Hill as a whole, or for an original title in the series. Even so, it has done much to prove itself capable of handling a Silent Hill 2 remake with the same kind of thoughtful sensitivity that birthed Konami's masterpiece in the first place. Where too many developers are interested in crafting stories that rely on brutal violence and gore, and many others are busy making multiplayer horror games that need to stop, Bloober has focused on more thoughtful single-player horror experiences. With little about Silent Hill 2's original gameplay requiring big changes for a remake, Bloober Team would be able to focus on hanging new skins over the old bones, crafting the beautiful, affecting environments and atmospheres it's proven it knows best. For a game whose only sin, two decades on, is needing a new coat of paint, it seems like a far more hopeful match than might have first been assumed.