Sony Behind Push to Revive Silent Hill
On this week’s podcast Sony’s rumoured efforts to revive the Silent Hill franchise were discussed at length, but additional information has made itself apparent since then. On the podcast it was revealed that two individual ‘trusted’ sources had leaked this information to Rely On Horror independently from one another. The rumours suggested that Sony was behind two possible Silent Hill projects which may potentially see the light of day as exclusive releases for the PS5. The first is a reboot of the franchise, which will likely be simply called Silent Hill. It is being worked on at Sony of Japan by the team responsible for Sony’s Siren games. The project is being helmed by Keiichiro Toyama who was the writer and director of the original Silent Hill game, who subsequently moved on to work at Sony where he directed every Siren game and every Gravity Rush game. The game is also being worked on by Masahiro Ito who was the original creature designer of Silent Hill, and Akira Yamaoka who was the original composer of Silent Hill. So basically if there were to be a reboot of the Silent Hill series then these would be exactly the people you would want to have working on it. Allegedly, this project has been in production for about a year.
The other potential Silent Hill game that was discussed is far less interesting, and is apparently not even off the ground yet. The rumour simply suggests that as of now Sony is acting as an intermediary and is attempting to bridge the hostilities between Konami and Kojima Productions, with a view on resurrecting Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills as a Sony exclusive. Sony are apparently doing this because the buzz surrounding Silent Hills still has not died down five years after the PT demo was unceremoniously pulled down from PSN. The PT demo was a miserable experience, so it is something of a mystery as to why Silent Hill fans would still be pinning for that shitshow when the original key creators of Silent Hill are already working on a PS5 reboot.
On top of this information that has already been discussed, One Angry Gamer has dredged up an alleged leak from all the way back on January 14 which supports it, but which also suggests some further exciting implications. The leak occurred on 4chan, and as such was unverifiable, which is likely why it has stayed under the radar until now – yet it supports most of the content of this current leak, and then adds further claims on top of that. According to the rumour Ikumi Nakamura now works for Sony of Japan, and she may also be working on the Silent Hill reboot. Nakamura was the lead art designer for The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2, and was serving as the creative director and art director of GhostWire Tokyo before she suddenly left Tango Gameworks in September of last year. Nakamura has made something of a name for herself in recent years due to her super cute presentation at last year’s E3.
This is not where the rumours stop though, and the remaining implications are potentially more exciting to general fans of Konami’s past franchises. According to the rumour Sony is attempting to get the rights to several Konami properties including Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Silent Hill (obviously). In terms of Metal Gear Sony is allegedly attempting to get remakes of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake off the ground, and they will allegedly be overseen by Hideo Kojima himself. In terms of Castlevania Sony is attempting a reboot overseen by Igarashi – but before Akademician gets too excited about this, some cold water: it is being rebooted in the style of Bloodborne. Bloodborne already is Castlevania rebooted in the style of a Souls game, so it is a little bit perplexing as to why Sony would also wish to reboot Castlevania into this niche, though I guess you really cannot beat that name recognition.
At any rate, this is all rumour, and so this is a reminder to take it with a customary grain of salt. The initial Silent Hill rumours have been verified by the outlet that reported them, for whatever that is worth. The Metal Gear and Castlevania rumours have not been verified, but they contain a lot of the same information seen in the verified rumours, for whatever that is worth. Silent Hill was great, and Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 are two of this author’s favourite games, so this prospect seems very exciting.
Series X Specs Fully Unveiled
In following the release of Series X information, we have previously been made aware of the console’s general composition. A 12 teraflop GPU. A sixteen threaded octacore CPU running north of 3 gigahertz. 16 gigabytes of RAM. A solid state drive. This week however, the information has now been stated in a very specific fashion, and there are some interesting details and quirks worth discussing.
The GPU will offer up precisely 12.155 teraflops of performance. It is running at 1825 megahertz and features 56 compute units, with four of those compute units disabled to improve yield. Digital Foundry had access to a quick and dirty two week port of Gears of War 5, which the Xbox team had ported over from PC using all ultra settings, and which also ran with diagnostic information such as frame rate. They found that this unoptimised port was performing about as well as the game running on an RTX 2080, Nvidia’s current high end graphics card. That being said, Gears of War 5 is running on a game engine which is firmly tied to current gen technology, so arguably it is not the greatest benchmark for either the Series X or the RTX 2080, both of which are designed to support next generation features.
Where this information begins to get interesting is with the system’s CPU. The Series X CPU will run at 3.8 gigahertz in single thread mode, but will run at 3.6 gigahertz in hyperthreaded mode. In single thread mode each of the eight cores will process and execute one thread of instructions, for a total of eight simultaneous threads (which is also the case for current gen consoles like the Xbox One), but in hyperthread mode each core is capable of running two threads, for a total of sixteen software threads, albeit with a very marginal decrease in clock frequency. Most games will presumably run in single thread mode, because that is the configuration that is utilised by current game engines. One of the CPU cores, and thereby two software treads, will be reserved for running the Series X operating system; meaning that game applications will have a maximum of fourteen threads available to them if they run on hyperthreaded mode.
The Series X memory set-up is also very interesting. One would normally assume that when RAM is available to developers in a unified pool, that all of that RAM would be of the same type – but no. 10gb of the Series X’ unified pool of 16gb of RAM is capable of running at 560gb/s, while 6gb of the RAM is only capable of running at 336gb/s. Of that 6gb of slow RAM, 2.5gb are reserved for operating system functions, while 3.5gb of it are available to developers; meaning that developers will have a total of 13.5gb of RAM available for games. It has been suggested that the slow RAM can be used for less pressing tasks like storing game audio, while all of the graphics assets should be stored in the 10gb of fast RAM. It is interesting to see Microsoft attempt to shave a penny in this way, and it will also be interesting to see whether Sony follows suit.
Finally, there are three interesting little system features that are worthy of comment. Microsoft are using machine learning to simulate HDR in games that never shipped with it, and in fact Digital Foundry got to sit down with games from the original Xbox that were running with simulated HDR, and were suitably impressed by it. The Series X has an expansion port on the back of the console to accomodate a 1tb expansion of SSD storage. The SSD looks about the size of a PS1 memory card, and one really hopes that Sony has an equivalent to this, because 1tb of storage is absolutely not enough. Finally, Xbox One controllers will be compatible with the Series X, and vice versa, Series X controllers will be compatible with the Xbox One.
Obviously what Microsoft chooses to do with their next generation console is of limited interest on this site, yet the technical make-up of the Series X should still be fairly interesting because of what if may suggest for the PS5. Sony will have had most of the same technologies available to them when designing the PS5, and so it will be interesting to see what decisions they made in attempting to design an affordable box.
Heavy Is the Head…
By now most everyone will have heard that E3 has been called off this year due to the lingering Caronavirus. Ironically, this is the first E3 in years that Nintendo was to attend, but because this was to be Nintendo’s first E3 in years it does leave them better placed to deliver the content of their presentation by other means. It may seem like overkill to cancel such a big event so far out from the date it was to be held, but the cost and logistics of attending E3 are such that publishers really need to have a degree of certainty before beginning their E3 preparations in earnest. Moreover, it really makes sense for developers to not want to send their employees out to potential Caronavirus hotspots, and then risk having the virus sweep through their entire office like wildfire (or like a like a gleefully pestilential Reggie Fils-Aime). At any rate, rest assured that the ESA most certainly did not wish to call off this year’s E3, as the conference comprises roughly 50% of their yearly revenue. The ESA was left little choice in the matter, as so many publishers had pulled out of the event that it really could not have gone ahead.
This actually does not seem like bad news at all. It sounds like a lot of publishers are now planning to stream their own presentations around the time that E3 would have occurred, and so we will have an all digital E3 steamed directly from the source to our computers, and thereby cut out the privileged gatekeepers who we would have to go through in previous years to get our E3 streams. Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Devolver Digital have all committed to having their own streamed events, while Nintendo and Square Enix have given strong hints that they will do the same, while not actually stating as much. In fact it looks like Nintendo and Square Enix may have used the same boilerplate in drafting their press release.
Nintendo supports the ESA’s decision to cancel this year’s E3 to help protect the health and safety of everyone in our industry–our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners. We would like to express our concern and support for all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak during this challenging time.
We”ll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future. But we are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues.
As the world has echoed and united, nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of our employees and their families, our partners, and unquestionably, our fans. We support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020 and send our strongest heartfelt appreciation to everyone that works tirelessly to bring unforgettable games and experiences to E3. We understand this is disappointing not only to our respective developers and publishers, but also to thousands of fans who venture from afar to celebrate games at E3. We’re right there with you.
Our 2020 lineup, and the next-generation that lies beyond, is stronger than ever for Square-Enix. Where E3 has always been an incredible moment in time to showcase our upcoming games, we’re exploring other options to share our games with you. More to come, stay tuned.
They are not exactly carbon copies of each other, but if you were marking them as essays then you would probably be on the lookout for evidence that one had copied from the other. Not that it really matters, it is just funny is all.
At any rate, one feels that E3 will be refreshingly simple this year. That said, companies usually go all out for their presentations in years where a new console generation is about to begin, so it is probably a shame in that respect. Are readers happy with the downscaling of the event, or will you miss the pomp of previous years?