Letter from Silent Heaven: A Love Letter to Silent Hill 2
GameOn Magazine|Issue 146 - Dec 2021
Charr sends love to those quiet places.
Charr Davenport

In the early infancy of the PlayStation 2, TeamSilent, a small development team within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo (KCET), created a vision more so than a game. Celebrating its 20th year on 24th September, Silent Hill 2 is still an important piece of horror media and videogame history. There’s a reason for that.

To fully understand the picture, however, one must not go back to the game’s release on 24th September 2001, but instead September 1996, when Silent Hill began development under the then-unnamed Team Silent. Rumoured to be made of employees who had failed other projects, Team Silent had a rocky start and were tasked by Konami to create a Resident Evil clone for the PlayStation in an attempt to appeal to American videogame audiences. As time went on, the project made little progress until the small team made the decision to ignore Konami’s original orders and create a game of their own, a game beyond a clone.

To go beyond that of a normal horror game, Silent Hill had a focus on psychological horror. The goal was to make the player think, as well as fight. It was here that Team Silent first implemented the “fear of the unknown,” something that would lead to much bigger things in 2001. Silent Hill was released for the original PlayStation on 23rd February 1999 and would go on to be highly reviewed as well as high selling.

But this isn’t about that game.

Coming off of the high of the shocking success of Silent Hill and upping their numbers from around 20 to approximately 50, Team Silent quickly started the development of a sequel in June 1999. With times changing and the team not knowing about the upcoming and unannounced Xbox and GameCube, the decision was made to develop the game for the not-yet-released PlayStation 2; a good decision as the PlayStation 2 became and still remains the best-selling console of all time.

Silent Hill 2 would have a deeper connection with psychological horror while still heavily relying on “fear of the unknown,” the goal to leave the player clueless but also invested in the game’s plot and story revolving around a man receiving a letter from his late wife. The game would also keep its plot separate from that of Silent Hill, only sharing the same town as its predecessor and instead focusing on a more personal and emotional storyline instead of supernatural.

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