Silent Hill 2 Doesn’t Need A Remake

When it comes to entertainment, we are obsessed with the past. Capitalising on nostalgia through the creation of sequels, prequels, remakes, and remasters has become normality because conjuring up new ideas and daring to break new ground is too risky, and we’re far too comfortable revisiting characters and worlds we already know and love.

I’m a part of this reality – we all are – and will always be smitten with ambitious reimaginings like Final Fantasy 7 Remake or platforming revivals in the form of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and Spyro’s Reignited Trilogy. These are all welcome experiences, and serve a purpose by introducing beloved characters and universes to a whole new generation of players while ensuring they remain preserved for the years to come.

Remakes and remasters have a place, and we shouldn’t begrudge them, but it’s equally important to recognise how nostalgia can become a cynical weapon to abuse our admiration for certain media and morph it into a corporate carrot to dangle before our obedient little mouths. I may sound a little aggressive, but it has become abundantly clear in recent years that so many developers and publishers don’t pay their back catalogues enough respect.

Remasters are often thrown out with little care for the original games to capitalise on our existing love and little else. We can choose between this or emulation, so often we make a purchase. I wish the real picture was more appealing, but it isn’t, and we’ll likely forever be stuck between reissues crafted with genuine care and others that are spewed forth to earn a few pennies before we all forget about them. Games as an artistic medium deserve better, but it’s a young one and still has many harsh but important lessons to learn.

This is where the rumoured remake of Silent Hill 2 from Bloober Team comes in. It isn’t confirmed, with only a handful of tweets and whispers teasing the project at the time of writing. It is apparently being made as a timed PlayStation exclusive and will feature reworked puzzles and new endings, alongside all the expected visual enhancements an ambitious remake would likely involve. The source in question also claims that several Silent Hill projects are in development right now, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Silent Hill 2 doesn’t need a remake, and claiming it does discounts the quality of the original and everything it managed to achieve almost two decades ago. It’s a masterpiece, and one that has stood the test of time more than most games of its generation. The macabre journey of James Sunderland as he ventures to Silent Hill in search of his late wife is filled with unnatural terrors, memorable moments, and a sense of unease that permeates the entire experience. The fog that dominates this town is thick and unknowable, drawing us in as much as it threatens to push us away. But we keep moving, eagerly in search of the truth.

Every monster you encounter had thematic meaning, given a reason to exist once layered upon our protagonist’s fracturing mindset and how the town of Silent Hill itself is a reflection of his own mental instability. This wasn’t a haunted house of horrors, it was a place with nuance and meaning, one with a rich history punctuated by a personal tale of loss and trauma that remains impactful because of how raw it manages to be. The ending twist is palpable, making a second playthrough even stronger because everything is recontextualised and makes the horrors you encounter that much more insufferable.

Silent Hill 2 is revered for a reason, and Konami threw that legacy away when it released the HD Collection with busted fog, weird performance glitches, and a complete lack of respect for the classic. Now along comes a remake, and it’s helmed by a studio that simply isn’t right for the job.

We’re harsh on The Medium here at TheGamer – despite our glowing review at the time – but I promise there is a good reason for this continued criticism. Bloober Team has built a career on creating horror games that ape on successes that aren’t its own. Layers of Fear is clearly building upon the popularity of P.T. and subsequent cancellation of Silent Hills, while Observer obviously seeks to expand upon the cyberpunk themes of Blade Runner with a spookier twist. Blair Witch is exactly that, yet fails to understand the original film’s appeal and inevitably descends into a campy load of nonsense that even has an ending that seeks to emulate Silent Hill 2 with little success.

The Medium, at its core, is a Silent Hill clone. It tries to explore controversial topics, has an obsession with rust and decay, and even employed Team Silent composer Akira Yamaoka to conjure up a few tracks to make the comparison all the more apparent. It isn’t a good game, and only makes the absence of a real game in the series that much harder to swallow. Now Bloober Team is allegedly creating a project in the series that once inspired it, and I’m worried. Not just because Silent Hill 2 doesn’t need a remake, but the team responsible for it will likely fumble the ball entirely and place emphasis on all the wrong qualities.

Should I give it a chance, can it really be that bad? Nah fam, even if Bluepoint was responsible for a remake of Silent Hill 2 I would still remain sceptical. The original game is twisted and magical in such a brilliant way, combining realistic visuals with horrific monstrosities and narrative that felt both eerily lifelike and eccentric in everything it managed to achieve. I can picture a remake trying to capitalise on the worst possible things, or believing it will need to expand on certain aspects or meddle with the story so subtle elements are now made obvious because all the wrong lessons have been learned when translating it to the modern day. Silent Hill 2 is a masterpiece, and it isn’t one that needs to be remade. Unlike Final Fantasy 7 Remake it doesn’t offer a universe or characters to be expanded upon in a way that won’t actively damage what came before.

Unless you’re willing to stomach the mediocre HD Collection there is no way to play the original game on modern platforms. It’s been forgotten by Konami, and instead of seeking to salvage that legacy with a competent remaster it’s shooting for a remake. That game in its original form, as it was, deserves to be seen by a new generation of players first and foremost.

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