Silent Hill 2 remake 'rebuilding the combat', won't have fixed camera

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The trailer for Bloober Team's Silent Hill 2 remake recreated several scenes from the original game, only with higher-res faces and floppier hair. We saw James looking at himself in a public restroom mirror, hiding in a closet as Pyramid Head murdered a pair of mannequins, and reaching between bars to grab a key. But we also saw James from behind as he walked around, suggesting the adoption of a modern third-person view rather than the fixed-camera perspective of the original game. 

Mateusz Lenart, creative director and lead designer at Bloober Team, told the PlayStation Blog (opens in new tab) that was indeed the case, saying, "One of the new elements that you could spot in the reveal trailer is the adoption of an over-the-shoulder camera. With that change we want to immerse players even deeper into the game, make them feel like they are a part of this unreal world, and deliver them a more visceral experience across the board."

While Bloober Team's previous game The Medium used fixed cameras, it's not surprising that a remake of Silent Hill 2 might go for a perspective reminiscent of the popular Resident Evil 2 remake. It's not the only thing that's changing, of course. "One change often brings another," Lenart said. "With a new perspective, we're rebuilding the combat system and certain setpieces, among other things. Now that you see basically what James can see, we could find new ways to keep the player on edge."

Combat isn't something we've seen much of in previous Bloober Team horror games, which have almost exclusively focused on stealth and chase sequences. Blair Witch was the exception, with a first-person combat system that involved aiming your flashlight at whatever creature your dog was barking at. That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, but then Silent Hill 2's combat was never its standout feature. Swinging a plank with nails in the end often resulted in accidentally hitting a nearby wall or even your NPC companion.

Lenart also mentioned the engine, saying that, "With the possibilities of the Unreal Engine 5, we're bringing the foggy, sinister town to life in ways that were impossible up to this point." That shows in the Silent Hill 2 remake's system requirements, which are pretty demanding (and for some reason lists Windows 11 as recommended; maybe for DirectStorage?).

According to Lenart, two features of Unreal Engine 5 have been important for the remake: the global illumination system Lumen and the rendering tech Nanite, which lets developers import 3D assets with billions of polygons. "Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes," he said. "It means that the light interacts with the environment realistically, just like in the real world. The whole game environment is lit more naturally this way. The Nanite technology, on the other hand, is an amazing tool for level designers. With it, they can create incredibly detailed worlds and more realistic environments that look and feel almost lifelike."

Finally, Lenart gave a shout-out to the PS5's SSD, saying that, "The superfast data streaming means players won't see any loading screens as they seamlessly explore the entirety of the Silent Hill town." Presumably that'll be the case on PC too.

Meanwhile, there are multiple new Silent Hill projects in the works. Silent Hill F is a prequel set in 1960s Japan, Silent Hill Townfall is being made by Stories Untold studio No Code, and Silent Hill Ascension is an interactive live event with a story shaped by the audience. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.