Silent Hill 2

With the Silent Hill HD Collection being lambasted by fans and critics (my review now available here!), I thought I’d take a moment to discuss exactly why I feel it was so important for the original voice acting of the games (Silent Hill 2 specifically) to be retained. And it isn't just a matter of personal preference based on my familiarity with the original actors; although, that is definitely a contributing factor.

Critics tend to make a simple equivocation fallacy when describing the voice acting of Silent Hill as "awkward" and then calling it "bad". But "awkward" does not necessarily mean "bad". In fact, the awkward voice acting of Silent Hill 2 is actually a benefit to the game's narrative and mood. This is something that should be apparent to anybody who is actually paying attention to what's happening in the game.

Let us first take a step back and look at the design principles that went into Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2 - I'm not crazy
James begins to doubt his own mental stability

Silent Hill 2 is a particular kind of horror game. It differs from other horror games at the time - such as Resident Evil and even its own predecessor Silent Hill - in that it is a very emotional brand of horror. The horror doesn't come so much from being "afraid", but rather, from being depressed, confused, and unsure of what is going on around you. Silent Hill 2 is a very dark and gloomy game, and definitely deserves its "M for Mature" rating with its story and themes alone. Team Silent accomplishes this by immersing the player in decrepit environments and introducing elements of surrealism to the game's reality. They then supplement this by slowing breaking down the foundational pillars of what the main character thinks is real, and then forcing the character and the player to wonder whether their own senses can be trusted.

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I somehow missed this back at the end of September, but apparently, Konami has struck a deal with the Guy Cihi and the original voice actors from Silent Hill 2 in order to be able to re-use their original voice and motion capture performances. Supposedly, both the original voice work and the newly-recorded voice work will be included in the game.

UPDATE November 22, 2011 (3:18 PM PST)

According to an article on gamepur, the version of Silent Hill 3 that is included in the Silent Hill HD Collection will not include the original voice work:

"The HD Collection is on schedule for Jan 2012 release. The deadline for releasing the masters to the duplicators is like, this week. All major actors for SH2 have signed releases and so the SH2 game will offer players both voices – original and new. One SH2 actor was unwilling to sign, or had unreasonably delayed signing, but he has only two lines in SH2, so Devin and Tomm decided to use the new voice for those two lines. SH3, however, is a problem. Konami people have been unable to locate/contact Heather Morris so they cannot get her to sign a rights release. I have tried to find Heather but I was unable. If you know her contact information, please tell me ASAP otherwise SH3 will not have the original voices."
   -Tomm Hulett

Wait, what?

My Silent Hill collection

Why is this the first I've heard about the HD Collection not containing the original voice work for Silent Hill 3? As far as I was aware, Guy Cihi (from Silent Hill 2) was the only one preventing the original voice work to be included in Silent Hill 2. I had no idea they were having problems with the Silent Hill 3 cast as well.

I don't understand why this is such a problem. Doesn't Konami own the rights to the games and all vocal performances within? Why is it so hard to re-use the original voices?

Unfortunately, this means that I can no longer recommend the Silent Hill HD Collection for purchase by any Silent Hill fan when it is released on January 24th. If you want to play the games, buy the original versions. You can find used copies on ebay or Amazon at fairly reasonable rates.

As for the people who know me personally: if you have any interest in playing Silent Hill 2 or 3 (or any Silent Hill game for that matter), you are welcome to come over and play mine or borrow a copy. I have plenty to go around!

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Silent Hill senior associate producer Tomm Hulett has been very active this past week discussing upcoming Silent Hill projects for Konami. I've already talked about the release of the first voice recording samples for the Silent Hill HD Collection - it wasn't pretty. But news about the series didn't end there. Hulett has gone on to discuss more information about the two new games and the HD Collection.

Silent Hill Downpour - Gamescom 2011 screenshot, church interior
The interior of a church with Christian crosses on the gate. Will this game further flesh out the cult? If so, will it screw it up as badly as Homecoming did?

Table of contents

Silent Hill: Book of Memories revealed

Konami recently released the first footage and information from the new PlayStation Vita handheld game Silent Hill: Book of Memories...

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Silent Hill HD Collection banner - black

Konami recently released a preview of the new voice work for the upcoming Silent Hill HD Collection. Due to legal issues with at least one of the original game's voice actors (specifically, Konami refuses to pay James Sunderland voice actor Guy Cihi royalties for their re-releases of the game on other platforms), Konami had to find new people to perform the voice work for the games. So now they've got two sets of people that they will need to play royalties to, and in the meantime, us fans get this:

Nerd Rage Time!

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Konami let slip last week (and confirmed this week at E3) that it will be porting HD remixes of the PS2 editions of some of it's most popular franchises, including Metal Gear Solid, Zone of the Enders, and Silent Hill for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

UPDATE June 8, 2011 (3:46 PM PDT):

Just read the following article from PlayStation Universe:

"For starters, the publisher confirmed that its HD revamps of Silent Hill 2 and 3 will feature fresh voiceover work. No date for the Silent Hill Collection has been announced yet, though the set will be released for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360." -http://www.psu.com/E3-2011--Silent-Hill-Vita-to-include-multiplayer--a011942-p0.php

UPDATE to the update November 14, 2011 (4:28 PM PDT):

Apparently, the dispute between Silent Hill 2 voice actors and Konami has been (at least partially) settled, and it appears likely that the Silent Hill HD Collection will include the original vocal cast.

Update to the update to the update November 22, 2011 (3:18 PM PDT):

OK, so once again, the info provided for the HD Collection was not entirely complete. Apparently, there are also issues with the Silent Hill 3 cast. Namely, lead actress Heather Morris.

Sigh...

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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