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Silent Hill 2 Controversies Are Missing The Biggest Problem With Remakes


Silent Hill 2 Controversies Are Missing The Biggest Problem With Remakes


Summary

  • The Silent Hill 2 remake caused controversy over changes like Angela and Maria’s character designs.
  • Lack of game preservation means remakes like Silent Hill 2 may replace the original version as the more easily accessible version.
  • Remakes can be divisive – while they bring classic games to modern hardware, they may lack creativity or make changes that upset the fanbase.



Last week’s PlayStation State of Play – and the Silent Hill Transmission that followed it – confirmed the release date for Bloober Team’s Silent Hill 2 remake and provided a new look at the game and its recreation of certain characters and scenes. As with anything with a passionate fan base, there was plenty of controversy covering the changes made to modernize the game, from the over-the-shoulder camerawork to the redesigned character models.

[Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Silent Hill 2.]

This was most evident with the backlash to the character designs for Angela and Maria. In the case of Angela, the changes finally made some fans realize just how young she was actually meant to be in the game, with her looking closer to 19 than her original counterpart, who many thought resembled a woman in her 30s.


The changes made to Maria’s attire were even more controversial, however, due to its implications in the greater story of Silent Hill 2, as the character is supposed to resemble protagonist James Sunderland’s wife, Mary, but be far more sexualized in her appearance, being a manifestation of James’ mind and representing his sexual desire and frustration after the death of his wife, which is something the remake seems to be downplaying.

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Silent Hill 2’s Biggest Controversy Stems From Lack Of Proper Game Preservation

When Remakes Run The Risk Of Replacing The Original, Fan Frustration Is Valid

The problem with remakes, in general, stems from a lack of proper game preservation in many cases. While Xbox has tried to keep past generations of games alive through its backward compatibility schemes, Sony largely dropped traditional backward compatibility after the first generation of its PS3 console, only making select titles available to purchase digitally on the PlayStation Store. There was no such feature present on the PS4, as Sony offered up very select “PS2 Classics” and remasters of the PS3 generation’s titles that players could re-purchase, with remastering and remaking games becoming a common but lucrative way for studios to bring their titles to modern hardware.


The first generation of PS2 consoles could play both PS1 and PS2 titles, while later models dropped PS2 compatibility.

By the PS5 generation, which the Silent Hill 2 remake will launch on, Sony did include the functionality to play many of the PS4 generation’s titles on it, either by loading up the digital copy that had already been purchased or by simply inserting the PS4 disc into the PS5. Unfortunately, past generations’ libraries were unplayable on the system without a PlayStation Plus Premium subscription, which offered select PS1 and PS2 titles via emulation and some PS3 titles via streaming. As the original Silent Hill 2 is not one of these titles, any fan frustration surrounding the game’s remake is far more valid, as for those who haven’t got access to a PS2 console or a way to emulate the original, the remake will become the main way to play the game on modern hardware.


The “HD Remaster” of Silent Hill 2 for PS3 and Xbox 360 was also criticized by fans for several changes, leaving the original PS2 version as the best way to play the game to date. These include reducing the atmospheric fog synonymous with the town, bizarre visual shifts between gameplay and cutscenes where the studio Hijinx didn’t have access to high-quality video assets and had to simply upscale the original cutscene clips in their entirety, which didn’t match with the changes to the gameplay visuals, which could be brought more clearly to HD. Of course, that’s not to say the texture changes to the main gameplay were without fault, as the remaster featured the bizarre choice to change the font on many of the location signs to Comic Sans, which has since been memed heavily by the community.


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The Silent Hill 2 remake has several bonuses for those who pre-order the game or purchase its Deluxe Edition.

If The Original Games Were Still More Easily Accessible, There Would Be Less Issue With Remakes And Remasters

Although This Could Also Reduce The Need For Remakes In The First Place

Remakes have become something of a comfort project for studios over the years, with it appearing to be less of a risk to keep producing more of a product that has proven successful in the past, but with modern hardware, which has led to complaints about lack of creativity in not just gaming, but the wider creative industries as well. While sometimes it can be great to see a title from the past in its fullest potential on modern hardware, other times it can be a disappointment.


In the case of movies such as Disney’s many live-action remakes, for example, those who prefer the originals can easily watch them via physical media or on Disney+, meaning there’s still room for everyone to enjoy the content they prefer. This is harder in the gaming space, especially with some companies, such as Nintendo, clamping down on third-party emulation and the options for non-PC gamers being extremely limited.

Despite the release of a remake, if there was an officially emulated version of Silent Hill 2 like the games present in the PS2 Classics collection on PlayStation Plus, it would ensure that there’s room for classic fans and new fans of the series. Of course, with there only being so many resources available, and an easily accessible version of the original potentially reducing the need for a remake in the first place, it’s unlikely a studio will look to do both simultaneously, which is a shame.


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