Silent Hill Ascension is a horror story shaped by the hivemind

Silent Hill Ascension
(Image credit: Konami)
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It's taken them a while, but Konami finally revealed its plans for Silent Hill today. Three videogames and a film are on the way, and alongside them a project called Silent Hill Ascension was announced. In Konami's words it's a "massively interactive live event", with art and sound design provided by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Games studio.

According to what I can glean from the announcement, it's basically a Silent Hill story where the events are decided by the audience. Think Until Dawn or The Quarry, except the narrative is shaped by the hive mind. In the press material's words, Ascension will "immerse participants around the globe in the psychological horror at the heart of Silent Hill in an unparalleled way – by putting an all-new Silent Hill story and characters into the hands of the audience as the narrative unfolds, live on multiple platforms."

Words like "wild", "epic" and "innovative" are bandied around in the announcement (by J.J. himself), but it does sound fascinating. The tech at the heart of Ascension comes from Genvid Technologies, who apparently coined the phrase "massively interactive live event" (or MILE). The most notable example of Genvid's work is The Walking Dead: Last Mile, which is a Facebook affair. That project sounds like a phone game: according to Genvid you can "view and interact with the characters and play mini-games to build up Influence Points, then bid those points on decisions large and small, impacting the story as it happens". Busywork to earn power over plot beats, basically.

What we saw of Ascension today was minimal: a small text message exchange between some panicked companions is intercut with a shadowy baddie wielding some kind of violent stick. The execution is what will matter: a Twitch Plays style approach to a Silent Hill narrative could be really interesting.

It's coming in 2023, but no word yet on what platforms. You can watch the presentation below (it starts at 37 minute mark). Konami also announced a remake of Silent Hill 2 (opens in new tab), a new Silent Hill set in "1960s Japan (opens in new tab)", and yet another Silent Hill game (opens in new tab) developed by the studio behind Stories Untold.

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.