Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid, was originally pegged to make Silent Hills with famed horror director Guillermo del Toro. Konami pulled the plug on the project, and now people are asking when Kojima will dive back into horror. Well, the famed game director explained why he doesn't make horror games.
Speaking with IGN at the RTX in Sidney, Australia, Kojima explained to them exactly why he decided to avoid horror games, and it has to do with the fact that they give him nightmares. He explains...
I get scared very easily. Actually, this is true of Alfred Hitchcock as well as Steven Spielberg. Because they scare easily, because I scare easily, it's actually easy for us to make something that is scary, because we understand what is scary. But while in that process, we're constantly imagining, like, terrifying situations so it ends up giving me bad dreams. That's the reason why I don't want to make a horror game.
That actually makes a lot of sense.
Many gamers who experienced the P.T. Demo had acknowledged how frightening it actually was. Unlike other horror survival games, Kojima and del Toro managed to put together a demo where the very atmosphere itself looked horrifying.
A large part of the appeal of the demo came from the photogrammetry that was utilized by Kojima's then-proprietary engine, the Fox Engine. It was one of the first AAA engines to make use of real-time photogrammetry rendering at a fidelity that rivaled photo-realism. It was also the only engine that had managed to achieve near 1:1 light rendering at up to 60fps on home consoles that rivaled path-tracing rendering techniques that were made famous by companies such as OTOY Inc. This was a breakthrough in technology, being able to render to screen on home consoles environments, characters and locations that literally looked like real life.
As you can imagine, a game like Silent Hills looking like real life managed to scare the crap out of a lot of people. But it makes sense, given that Kojima was able to easily tap into the very things that scared him and manage to apply it to the game. This really would have made Silent Hills a very interesting project, because with Kojima's directing techniques and del Toro's monster designs, we can only imagine what the final outcome would have been.
He does explain that the reason the P.T. Demo may have been so popular was because it took something out of the ordinary -- such as an empty house -- and added an unnerving, unnatural element to it. He says that it "confuses the mind" since people know something is off but they're not quite sure what.
Kojima also makes a really good point, saying that the best forms of horror usually come from the viewer/user/gamer not having an understanding of the monster/entity. He uses Alien as an example, saying that it was scary when you could never fully see the xenomorph, but it was less so once you got to finally see it at the end. It definitely makes you wonder what Silent Hills would have been like under Kojima and del Toro's leadership.
In the meantime, Kojima Productions is hard at work on Death Stranding, which is running on Guerrilla Games' Decima Engine.