P.T. Part 2 – They’re Calling to Me From Hello

By Shamus
on Aug 21, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

128 comments


Link (YouTube)

I think this demo / trailer / teaser thing ran out of ideas after about half an hour. At this point it’s just being obtuse. Like, if Chris wasn’t reading from the guide, how would we possibly know what we’re supposed to be doing? We have no character, no goal, no context, and no direction. That’s fine in this case, since it’s not supposed to be a game. I’m not asking for cutscenes or anything. But it does need to let you know what your goal is or when the demo is over. I can’t imagine I would have ever found that pencil-point hole on purpose. I would have stumbled around, growing more restless and annoyed, wondering if the demo was over or not. Instead of ending on the high note, I would have been pissed off at the dumb game that wasted a half hour of my time.

Also, let’s think about these controls. We have one button: Zoom in. We don’t need to select weapons, aim, shoot, reload, open inventory, toggle flashlight, interact with objects, crouch, jump, or sprint. We have over a dozen available inputs, including the convenient and familiar face buttons. But no, we’re going to bind our primary means of interaction to holding down the right stick. I’ve had to do that before in games, and I know it’s incredibly uncomfortable. That’s a pretty egregious sin from an interface standpoint, but then making the little cutscene reset when you stop pressing down on the stick is where it goes from uncomfortable to infuriating.

THIS is the Kojima influence I was worried about. I’m sure the thinking is, “Hey! It’s uncomfortable to depress the stick, just like the character would be uncomfortable looking through the hole. And it’s tense, because you’re always worried your finger might slip and you’ll have to watch it again. And you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, which makes it mysterious like Silent Hill.” That’s pretty standard Kojima thinking: Make something incredibly obnoxious and then use a complete confusion of in-game and out-of-game logic to justify it. I know this is his shtick, and I know I’m risking the wrath of his fans by even bringing it up, but this sort of thing drives me nuts. I don’t begrudge Kojima his particular style and I’ll admit it’s made the Metal Gear series a powerhouse with an army of enthusiastic fans, but this is not what I’m looking for in a Silent Hill game

I don’t want to be thinking about the controller at all. If I have an emotional connection with my avatar then I’m perfectly capable of empathizing with them without needing to contrive a bunch of immersion-breaking gimmicks. These two feelings are mutually exclusive…

  1. I am trapped in a psychotic hellscape, and the only way to escape is to go deeper in by looking through this pinhole and facing whatever nightmares this world has to show me.
  2. Ow. My finger is uncomfortable and if I adjust my grip I might slip and waste a bunch of my time watching this again.

….and the first one is a thousand times more potent than the second. Moreover, Silent Hill is pretty much the only series that’s even willing to attempt that sort of thing. All the other AAA spook games have turned into shooting galleries and quicktime button-mashers.

Having said all that…

Meh. I gripe, but it’s not actually a big deal. This is a demo for an idea that might become a game someday, and the final product might not look or play anything like what we’ve seen. There’s no point in getting worked up about any of thisHe said, once it was too late.. We wouldn’t have bothered with it, except we wanted something low-stakes to test our recording setup.

We’ll finish up the demo (sort of) in the next episode. Next week we’ll go back to Marlow Briggs. After that, we’ll launch the new season.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] He said, once it was too late.



A Hundred!20827 comments. Suck it, base ten!

From the Archives:

  1. fdgzd says:

    liberate tutemet ex inferis

  2. The Schwarz says:

    I actually gave up on the very first loop, because the game never *tells* you that holding down R3 will zoom in. I tried walking around, then I tried all the buttons (including R3, but I never thought I’d have to HOLD it). Then I tried waiting for a few minutes (played something on my phone), then I gave up and walked away.

    I only came back after realizing I’d experienced about 1% of the content (and reading how to move on in a walkthrough). Then I almost gave up again at the point where you need to press X, because OF COURSE the little “X” painted on the in-game picture is a reference to the controller button, what do you think this is, some kind of immersive interactive experience?

    So I guess what I’m saying is, maybe there is a point in getting worked up about this.

    • ET says:

      I can understand if a game dev wanted to mess with the player, by making them fiddle with things in the real world, but it needs to be done obviously, so you always know what the right thing to do is. Like, in one Super Bunny Hop episode, George explains that one of the Metal Gear games tells you to unplug and replug a cable, or whatever. It’s explicitly told to the player. If it’s vague, or painted on some in-game object, then it’s basically as bad — no, worse — than the obtuse adventure game puzzles from the 90s, where you need to rub the cat on the oven, to unlock the roller disco. Because now instead of trying X^Y combinations of clicking on things and combining things, we have to add in all of the controller buttons, cables, etc and have even more combinations of possible crap, without even any in-game feedback.

      • They’re also setting up the collapse of the atmosphere they’re trying to cultivate. Repetition of the familiar with subtle differences can lead to horror. Repetition of the familiar because the player can’t figure out what to do or what’s changed is just irritating. It’s the spooky equivalent of hiding game lore in an obscure box buried under rubble that you only notice is movable if you use the “kick” command on a specific rock that looks slightly different than all the other rocks.

        I hope this kind of thing is relegated to the realm of Easter Eggs and that the central plot of the game uses more intuitive mechanics.

        • The Schwarz says:

          Yes! Exactly that. I’ve spent most of the game being frustrated and exasperated, rather than scared or creeped out, because I spent half the time just walking around the same stretch of corridor and bumping into doors. Even if there’s a crying baby in a bloody fridge tied to the ceiling, it gets old after you’ve stood there for 2 minutes doing fuck all.

  3. The difficulty curve in this reminds me of “Escape Games” or those “input the answer in the URL to advance” puzzle games. It’s as if they’re made to be solved by one in five thousand and the rest of us have to look it up on a walkthrough. And that’s done by design, either by making a puzzle immensely difficult or (in the case of finding one small pixel cluster) highly unlikely.

  4. Mersadeon says:

    Your comments about Kojima really remind me of how awkward it was to SHOOT in some of the MGS games. Like, shoulder button to go to first person, triangle to raise weapon, other shoulder button to shoot while you adjust your aim with the right stick (even though your thumb is already on the triangle button). Argh.

    • straymute says:

      I would always wonder if Kojima did that kind of stuff on purpose or if he was just kinda slow at adapting to the dual analog controllers like some other developers were. I still remember how it took FROM about half the run of the PS2 to learn to put look on one analog stick and move on the other. This was also why I never really bought the argument that RE or the original Silent Hill games were clunky on purpose. Everything from Tomb Raider to Syphon Filter to Armored Core was clunky as hell back then and it took years for these series to work things out.

      • Thomas says:

        Towards that argument, holding the right thumbstick in is the traditional ‘zoom in’ button for a console game. (If zooming in isn’t the major mode of play)

        • Paul Spooner says:

          Conversely, if there are no other controls, then this is fine, but every other button on the controller should do this too. Use all the available inputs!

          In light of the “it’s supposed to be hard to figure out” comments though, I can see why you might want to limit inputs. But if it was supposed to be difficult to figure out, still make all the buttons zoom in, but only the thumbstick button actually advance the plot.

          • Asimech says:

            A toggle for the zoom would improve things a lot. Best would be to have the zoom in another place, like one of the trigger/bumper buttons. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re saving those for combat controls.

      • Mersadeon says:

        I mean if you asked him, he’d probably say it’s because “killing people is hard” so it should be uncomfortable to do.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I don’t know. I thought the Metal Gear Solid games had the best shooting controls. Press button to draw gun, press harder to pull trigger. Too bad they decided to remove analog buttons on the PS4.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        That? Yeah, that’s not bad.

        Having to hit four different shoulder and face buttons to perform common actions, like shooting? Less so.

        Metal Gear Solid had good controls, and then MGS2 stacked on them, and then MGS3 stacked on some more, then MGS4 scrambled them… Seriously, MGS4’s controls were unforgiveable, even for someone familiar with the series. I can’t imagine how inaccessible the games must seem to newcomers.

        • Thomas says:

          I thought MGS4’s controls were marginally better than MGS3. You can move and aim with only minimal fingerbending unlike MGS3.

        • Zukhramm says:

          I don’t remember pushing more than 2 buttons to shoot most of the time. Besides, I don’t judge controls based on number of buttons needed. It worked and it felt good, that’s all that matters.

        • Cybron says:

          MGS4 was my first MGS game and I didn’t have any problems with the controls. I avoided gunfights though, so maybe that’s why.

          It’s also only one of the two MGS games (the other being MGS1) that I liked the controls in. I couldn’t stand the controls in MGS2 and MGS3 for some reason.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Too bad they decided to remove analog buttons on the PS4.”

        Wait,they did?Why?

    • Tony Kebell says:

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! Brimming over with wrongability. It was simply thus.

      Hit SQUARE.

      You could fire from firstperson by holding R1 before hand.

      That was it.

      It also, rather nicely, used the PS2 pressure sensitive face buttons, halfway holdinging SQUARE and slowling pressing the button made Snake/Raiden raise the weapon and slowly squese the trigger.

      It was simple, intuitive enough that I as a 10 year old figured it out and it worked fine.

      (my only gripe is playing the Xbox port is impossible, since Xbox had binary buttons.)

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Watching a horror game played by Kermit the Josh is the best way to experience a horror game.

  6. Regarding the right controller stick: “I’ve got my hand on it now.”

    What were you using up until that point?

    • ET says:

      His thumb by itself, I would assume. i.e. He mashed his entire palm onto the stick, just to hold down the awkward, easily-released thumbstick button. I wish those buttons would die off. Modern controllers already have like, 10 other ones to use.:S

      • IFS says:

        They work well enough when you just need to click them in once (for example locking on to an enemy in Dark Souls, or meleeing in Modern Warfare) what they don’t work well with is when you need to hold them down (see this, or for another example crouching in Bulletstorm on the console requires you hold in a stick and keep it held in to stay crouched which is just annoying). You can get used to it after a while, but its always somewhat finnicky.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          What’s really awful is if you need to hold a stick down while using that same stick to perform other actions. Not many control schemes are that stupid, but I’ve run into that once or twice.

          • Humanoid says:

            Playing some old Wing Commander games lately, a chief frustration is that the control for adjusting speed is button 2 + up/down, making it impossible to do at the same time as changing pitch, and also introducing a lot of accidental inputs. But then these controls were made for 2-axis, 2-button controls, modern games have no such excuse.

        • Josh says:

          Also, as much as I love the Dual Shock, the stick buttons on the DS4 seem quite a bit firmer and require more force to press than the same stick buttons on my 360 pad. I guess it’s the DS4’s punishment for having such a better D-pad.

      • Did I step into a different internet that doesn’t know a straight line when it hits it in the face? What’s wrong with everyone?

  7. Also, why is this episode not titled, “You Had Me At ‘Hel'”?

  8. Sagretti says:

    Reading through some of the coverage, the game was supposed to take at least a week for everything to be discovered, including the Silent Hills info. It seems that the teaser was intended as a viral-ish challenge that would take cooperation to solve, but was figured out almost immediately. I doubt that the extremely obtuse nature of the teaser is that reflective of the next Silent Hill.

  9. Ardis Meade says:

    Had to stop watching at one point because of the crying. I felt less scared by it than I felt a desire to find the kid and solve whatever its problem was. Screaming baby is a instinctually affecting sound and can be overwhelming if overused.

    • ET says:

      Yup. Eventually the player is going to quit the game, or shut the volume off. ^^;

    • Ilseroth says:

      A friend and I were actually going through P.T. last weekend and this is exactly what I said as soon as the baby crying kicked in.

      It is without a doubt unnerving but not because the developer did a good job of setting it up, but rather that humans are biologically designed to act on that particular sound. Essentially it is a cheap shot.

      It is to horror games as fast food is to cuisine, the reason why it works is purely biological (fast food is enjoyed because it has crazy high fat and salt, things you are biologically driven to seek out.)

      • Ivan says:

        Fun fact, cats make a sound very similar to a baby crying for this very reason (it will get them handouts from humans). )At least that’s one hypothesis anyway.)

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But kitties predate humans and their mewling offspring.Maybe its us that imitate cats because of how cute they are.

          • Humanoid says:

            More games need scratch ‘n’ sniff cards with the smell of various fast foods as cheap psychological ploys. (I know LSL7 had one)

            But yeah, I’d mute crying sounds pretty quickly too I imagine, though I can’t recall a situation where I ever had to.

            I’ve seen sex and I think it’s alright, it makes those little creatures come to life…

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Bah,crying sounds are not the problem for me.Not after playing thiaf,and listening to its “dialogue”.The only time any game has made me mute the sound.

  10. Thomas says:

    I had to go turn the lights on in my room whilst watching this. And that was whilst _watching_ over cruddy youtube compression a group of people talk and make fun of and try to break the horror game that they’re playing.

    I really want to play the Last of Us, but maybe games with any horror at all aren’t for me :P

  11. Chris says:

    “Oh my gosh we’re not going to give directions on a five second delay, that’s a circus of idiocy.”

    Yes. Yes! It starts.

  12. Zukhramm says:

    I’m not sure I’m blaming Kojima for the “hold it down” thing. Non of the Metal Gear games have that, so what indicates it’s him? Might as well be the idea of someone who hasn’t actually made a game before.

  13. Ilseroth says:

    With regards to jumpscares in horror games.

    Part of me is for and part is against them. On one hand, they are cheap and easy scares. Your body is wats to react to the unexpected with fight or flight response and the sounds and sights used in jump scares are rarely comforting.

    But at the same time, the serve as a non-combatitive method of resolving tension. Most games would build up until theres a lot of pressure then have you run away or fight whatever it is that was causing the tension.

    The issue I think is when a game *forces* a jump scare on you. For instance, the only means to progress in the P.T. teaser is to get attacked by the ghost. It essentially is failure as the sole method of progression.

    If I had to put forward an example of a game that does this right, it would be Five Nights at Freddy’s. A simple game, but simultaneously it used jumpscares purely as a failure state.

    This works from both a horror and gameplay method. You don’t want to lose AND you don’t want to get jump scared. This means that it builds tension. You know what will come if you fail, but it is extremely easy to miss something.

    So jump scares as a failure state I think are a reasonable way to use them in a game with no combat, but just throwing them in as a method of progression is awkward and feels railroady.

    • Radio Silence says:

      Jump scares are like the breadsticks of horror cuisine. Trivial to make, and easy to fill up on leaving no room for the rest of the meal. Five Nights at Freddy’s uses them as an after-meal snack, filling in the corners after you’ve had a serving or two of anticipation and ghost stories.

      I’m not a big fan of Freddy’s, but it does a lot of bright stuff with pacing and simple mechanics that bring out the flavor of what would otherwise be just another shovelware YouTube bait side dish.

    • modus0 says:

      The Moira Asylum in NuThief uses jump scares several times, and being someone well acquainted with the spookiness of the Shalebridge Cradle, all they did was elicit the standard body jerk response and nothing more.

      Contrast with the Cradle, where one of the early jump scares is something banging on a door in a building that is supposedly haunted, but which you haven’t encountered anything. That one made me go back down the stairs to re-search the area I had access to with opening the door something I wanted to do as a “last resort.”

      The difference? The Shalebridge Cradle had atmosphere while the Moira Asylum does not. I was creeped out exploring the grounds outside the Cradle, while progressing through the grounds outside Moira Asylum gave me the impression that the devs were trying to evoke the feel of the Cradle.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You can relieve tension without a jumpscare.Take the example of first introduction to fast zombies in half life 2.The spooky town,the zombies you encounter and everything is a buildup.Then when you finally get to the fast zombies,they dont immediately jump you,they howl while striking their pose,and then run toward you.Much more effective,and makes you flinch every time you hear their scream.

      @modus0
      Ah thiaf.It had almost an atmosphere.There is this invisible thing in one wing going around shutting all the doors youve opened,and its creepy.Until you run into it and realize that its just an invisible enemy that triggers death animation,docks some health,and puts you in one of the rooms.Potential wasted.

      • Ilseroth says:

        I specifically said in the original post the issue is specifically with non-combat games. Technically that “howl and run away” sequence isn’t even a reliever since the real concern is the unknown nature of the conflict that is going to take place.

        I am not saying HL2 does it poorly, but simple fact is, the confrontation is the primary reliever. For instance when you are up on the roof tops and hear the pipes shifting back and forth from the fast zombie, that is a builder. Eventually they hop up and press the attack, which is the reliever.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Replace that combat with running away or hiding,and you get a non combat example of a scare that is much better delivered than a simple jumpscare.

          • Ilseroth says:

            Well in the case of Freddy’s that is pretty much exactly what you get 95% of the time. The threat comes and you hide. the jump scares are when you fail.

            But the thing is, hiding and running are both builders of tension as well, they aren’t a release. When your running you are thinking “Oh god I don’t want to get caught” and when you are hiding it is “I hope they don’t check in here” neither of them are a resolution. As I mentioned I am not for jump scares just for the sake of progression or the primary driver of tension and fear.

            They are a resolution, a possible climax to the tension and paranoia derived from hiding/running, with the other resolution being escape and relief.

            I am not saying they are the only option, but with regards to purely *failure* in a non combat horror game; the only other resolutions are fairly lackluster. For instance the screen fading to black or what have you. It lacks resolution fitting to release the tension.

  14. The Rocketeer says:

    Now, see, it seems odd to me that Chris says the pictures with eyes seem “Silent Hill;” that seemed hokey to me, not Silent Hill at all. Maybe if the images weren’t moving, and if there weren’t so many of them, and they weren’t so obvious. If there were one or two pictures that were just black rectangles with a (still) pair of eyes laying around, that might seem Silent Hill to me. I guess what I mean is, it would fit better if it was toned way down.

    Counterpoint: The refrigerator, hanging from the ceiling? Classic Silent Hill. Having it swing around like that is pushing it, the early titles everyone wants to imitate so damn badly busted out the “common object completely out of place, made unsettling by context” thing pretty often, and often to great effect. It was what passed for comedy in the Otherworld, I guess. (°_o)/

    Actually, I realized what the eyes really remind me of: The White Chamber, which I really liked and is free and you should play it if you like point-and-click horror adventure games. In space.

  15. Phantos says:

    Geez, Josh, step up your game, man!

    Even the Game Grumps figured this out, and they need to lie down and rest their heads if a game tells them to press the X button.

  16. Jeff R. says:

    Remember, this was supposed to be something that wouldn’t get solved for several weeks. So the puzzles were specifically designed to be incredibly obtuse (and they underestimated the ability of large crowds to figure things even this obtuse together.) That’s not going to be the design goal of the game.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      It isn’t even a matter of figuring it out. If you put something in front of thousands of jerks, one of those jerks will luck into the solution. It’s like, the goal of an advertisement is to reach as many people as possible, but they make the actual ad something difficult to reach, but then invalidate the difficulty by giving so many people a crack at finding out and then posting the goods online… What are they even doing?

  17. SlothfulCobra says:

    Hideo Kojima isn’t really an expert on making the interface fluid and easy to use, but it’s not like that has ever been a feature in any of the Silent Hill games.

    What Kojima does best is craft completely crazy things that nobody would ever expect. Convincing his audience that MGS2 was going to feature Snake and swapping him out for Raiden was nothing less than insane. The plot to MGS4 is nothing less than the product of a madman. And that’s really Kojima’s strongpoint; he takes insane risks to put out products totally unlike most things on the market.

    Love him or hate him, he breaks out of the standard mold for videogame designers, and I give him kudos for that. Regardless of how “good” the new Silent Hill ends up, it’s guaranteed to be something at least interesting.

    • Tizzy says:

      A game creator doesn’t necessarily have to know about interface design, but should have enough sense to know to hire someone who does.

      It used to be gaming was by and for hobbyists, more or less. Nowadays, every aspect has been submitted to thorough cross-disciplinary academic scrutiny, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting behavioral psychologists and the likes working on interface designs.

      you can’t afford to be amateurish if you want to reach a mainstream audience.

  18. Starker says:

    It seems to me that the teaser demo could’ve benefited from more interactivity — things like being able to flush the toilet, fiddle with the radio, etc. It would give the players something to do besides just looking at things and it’s a good way to give some feedback and/or deliver scares.

    I hope that the actual game will take more after the immersive sim genre and add some level of world simulation instead of having things just baked into the scenery. Seeing the teaser rely so heavily on scripted content was a bit disheartening.

  19. Lalaland says:

    I think the obtuseness of the puzzles was largely an attempt to encourage twitter and forum chatter. An awful lot of the game is determined by a random number generator, I always thought the attack was inevitable but the game grumps video shows that is also not guaranteed. We look for patterns in the noise of randomness which keeps what is otherwise a 10-15 minute throwaway experience a discussion topic for much longer. I’ve read threads that claim that pausing the game is essential, that all sorts of precisely measured steps are required but I’ve also seen numerous videos where none of that happens and the trailer plays anyway.

  20. Humanoid says:

    Huh, I thought the P.T. Episode was a one-off since it seemed like it was over (I don’t know if that’s the fault of the ‘game’ design or the way the episode was structured).

    Yes, I somehow blatantly missed the bit where the previous post was titled “P.T. Part 1”, but then again, we also have 8 By Zombies Part 1 and Synergy Part 1.

    • I think Josh said he was still working out the new editing software to be able to effectively add end credits & music.

      Though this game would seem a poor choice for an ending montage if one wanted a ton of variety. :)

    • Josh says:

      So with Synergy, we recorded a bunch of extra footage of us dicking around on the coast. But like really early on Rutskarn’s internet dies (because Rutskarn) and so it’s really just Campster, Glitch, and I left and not much structure to what we’re doing like the prior episode (we sort of give up on the race idea and it just becomes a deathmatch). The problem I ran into was that Rutskarn sort of announces the episode and then promptly disappears and I was having trouble at the time working out how to handle the subsequent ten minutes we spent slowly progressing while going, “Where’s Rutskarn?”

      I do still have the footage lying around so I suppose I might be able to resurrect it at some point.

      8 By Zombies, on the other hand, aside from the incredible complexity of editing two video and four audio streams (and the fact that Ruts and I had our sound set up very differently so our footage sounds really weird together), Rutskarn also lost the footage of almost the entire last level (I think there was a problem with him recording it) which meant that the last level would have been entirely from my point of view. Also by the second half it was pretty clear that Rutskarn’s team was having no fun, and getting really frustrated. I was never really sure how I felt about putting up an episode where half the cast was just fed up with the game.

  21. Artur CalDazar says:

    I’ve only recently got into Metal Gear Solid games but they do some things that would work great in a Silent Hill game. I understand being apprehensive about Kojima, especially now he’s swimming in the deep end of crazy, but I don’t understand why Shamus thinks it to be so terrible.
    Direct Question: What Metal Gear games have you played that gave you this impression?

    Also I do not know why but when the clock finally showed a different time I got a little spooked. It was something that I had expected to change, but after so long with it not changing I had kinda accepted it as a static time to expect. So thats rather well played.

    • Merkel says:

      I was also curious about this, and I also think that del Toro is an excellent fit for the Silent Hill series. Have any of the Spoiler Warning team seen his earlier films like “the Devil’s Backbone” or “Cronos”? Even “Pan’s Labyrinth” has the eerie, surreal horror that Rutskarn said he preferred, and fits Silent Hill like a glove.

  22. Ithilanor says:

    First Talking Heads, now Clapton? Rutskarn, I applaud your taste.

  23. Decius says:

    Somehow I doubt that the creepy lady was either heroin or heroine.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont get the attitude you guys have towards del Toro.Yes pacific rim had nothing to do with horror,but its not the only style of movies he did.Remember pans labyrinth?That was creepy.Or how about mimic?That was classic monster horror.

    To me,del Toro means imaginative monsters.Which are surprisingly not present here.

    • Humanoid says:

      I know him as a horror director, and so am only dimly aware of his work (having no interest in the genre). So I opened up Wikipedia and the first thing that caught my eye scrolling down to his filmography was Kung Fu Panda.

    • He does do imaginative monsters, true, though I think in some films he gets carried away and wants the monsters for the monsters’ sake (see Hellboy II) and loses the thread a bit.

      Also, he’s not the greatest fiction writer ever. I give him props for the setup in “The Strain,” since he made vampires actual monsters again, but the plot was such a mess it made me hate the heroes of the story more than the villains because they’d just do amazingly stupid things. One character goes after her demented, elderly mother, risking her own life (bonus: She’s a doctor, so therefore valuable to the resistance) to save someone during an apocalypse scenario that can’t contribute, is barely coherent, and does nothing but impede the protagonists. What’s worse, we’re not given any reason to care about her mother and how she figures into her life until we’re well into not liking the doctor for apparently holding the idiot ball and going after her in the first place.

      Still, he’s a better director than most. I’d happily take Del Toro over most people working in FX-heavy films today. I just think he needs an editor or two.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Indeed,the vampires in the strain are practically the only reason to watch it.They are awesome.Plus,they are space aliens(it seems).

        • I haven’t watched it, but I read about 2.5 of the novels. The Master and his ilk were more like fallen angels rather than aliens, though they could’ve either changed that for the TV show or it’s a red herring. I thought it was too much like Queen of the Damned to be considered wholly original, but it’s vampires, so it’s more about execution of the concepts & characters than creating a monster from whole cloth.

          How they can be killed (in the novels at least) becomes important for the endgame, naturally.

    • Cybron says:

      As I recall, he’s also been trying to make a Call of Cthulhu movie for ages

  25. Galad says:

    I admit I haven’t watched the video yet. But I’d like to say that if I am sufficiently immersed in a world – not necessarily that of a game – I would not simply forgive it for using out-f-game discomforts like the one described at

    “Ow. My finger is uncomfortable and if I adjust my grip I might slip and waste a bunch of my time watching this again.”

    I would even embrace it. A bit like having watched ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ a few days ago, and registering 2 or 3 times some nonsense within the movie with my mind, but ultimately forgiving it, and not letting it reduce my tense enjoyment of the movie, because it’s so damn good (read: intelligent and well-made).

  26. TSi says:

    Since that bathroom was lit, i think it would have made sense to have some light shining out of the hole decal so you wouldn’t miss it that easily.

    I agree with the cast about the stick controls. It’s pretty inconvenient. Someone pointed out that it’s the “standard in consoles for zooming”, i don’t know if it’s true but still, it should only serve for zooming then, not interactivity.

    Also, i think it’s the first demo i see that doesn’t present you in the main menu or loading screen what the control mappings are gonna be. The minimum would be to tell you that the “use” action is mapped to X.
    Anyway, it’s stupid that you have to press X one time to stamp a decal on that picture and later you can’t press it to interact with the hole in the wall ?!

    But still, Shamus, i don’t understand why you think the controls are “Kojima’s influence” and why you worry so much about it. Tell us why.

    • Shamus says:

      The controls feel like Kojima influence because, as has been pointed out elsewhere in the thread, obtuse difficult controls are something he does on purpose. Sometimes for realism, or to make things harder to do, or as part of a joke, or whatever. The part where “an object has an X on it in the gameworld, therefore you’re supposed to press X to interact with it” feels VERY Kojima to me.

      And I worry about it because this genre (psychological dread) barely exists, and we’ve had more horrible Silent Hill games than good ones. I suppose this is what it feels like to be a Sonic fan – forever waiting for the series to repeat that one accidentally perfect note from years ago. I’d just like to see another good one come along before I get too much older, and a game with fourth wall breaking tricks is the opposite of what I’m looking for.

      But like I said: This might just be for this demo or whatever. We don’t know anything about the “real” game they’re supposedly working on, so I’m just commenting on what we’ve been shown.

      • Talby says:

        It’s still a bit unclear where you’re getting the clunky controls thing from. What you describe sounds more like what I’d expect from Quantic Dream, aka the folks behind Heavy Rain, who are big on “immersive” controls that are actually just an unintuitive mess that detract from the immersion.

        The Metal Gear games from MGS4 onwards all use the shoulder buttons for aiming and shooting, which is standard for shooters now. The last Metal Gear game to use the old-school style of needing to hold down a button to go into first-person mode was Metal Gear Solid 3, which came out a decade ago in 2004. Plus, the latest Metal Gear game, Ground Zeroes, has extremely fluid and intuitive controls. (compare that with another recent game in the same genre, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which is very cumbersome and clunky by comparison)

        I’m not trying to discredit what you said, but I know that you’re mostly a PC gamer so I’m wondering if you’re basing the clunky controls thing off experience of playing the games or if you’re going by hearsay.

        • Merlin says:

          The only funky control scheme I remember from Heavy Rain was in the section where you’re contorting Ethan to get through electrified wires. For that, you had to hold down 4-6 buttons that appeared in a sequence intended to yield weird, impractical, maybe slightly uncomfortable results. But given that it was a fairly short, one-time thing that was well-suited to the in-game actions, it felt pretty clever at the time.

          Is there something else you’re alluding to that I’ve forgotten? To be fair, I’ve tried to black out any memories of Madison and NORMAN JAYDEN, FBI AGENT FROM THE FUTURE

          • Talby says:

            Having to hold a trigger button to move forward instead of just using the stick for movement and the silly “move the stick in a certain direction to interact” thing it had going. Unconventional controls that were desgined to be immersive, but due to being so weird and frustrating it just resulted in breaking the immersion if anything.

      • Thomas says:

        Kojima has never made controls purposely obtuse for any one specific moment. The controls for MGS1, the 1998 PS1 stealth game, were pretty horrible to shoot with. The controls for MGS2 and 3, stemming from MGS1 and adding way more features and gameplay possibilities were also very clunky (particularly for shooting).

        So the argument was made that he makes the gun controls bad _because he doesn’t want you using them_ (and that’s up for debate). But he’s never made them bad so that they’ll feel bad to the player and create some sort of gameplay immersion.

        For MGS4 and Peace Walker he takes a lot of steps to try and make MGS’ controls very simple. It’s hard because the Metal Gear franchise wants to gives you 20 more things to do than a standard shooter but the attempt is there.

        Have you actually ever played the games or is it all hearsay?

        • Thomas says:

          You remember how Mass Effect 3 struggled to figure out how to fit ‘take cover’ and ‘crouch’ on one gamepad? It’s kind of funny the order of magnitude harder it is to create a control scheme for Metal Gear Solid.

          In MGS you need to be able to:
          Move
          Walk at different speeds
          Look
          First person view
          Zoom
          Crouch
          Go Prone
          Draw/Holster gun
          Shoot
          Reload
          Melee
          Aim gun without shooting
          Equip/Unequip Guns (of which their might be 10=)
          Equip/Unequip Items (separate from gun, also lots and lots of them)
          Use Item
          Drop Item
          Combat Roll
          Grab Guard
          Throw Guard
          Hold Guard Hostage
          Use Guard As Human Shield
          Knock Guard Unconscious
          Kill Guard
          Interrogate Guard
          Knock on Walls
          Press up Against Walls
          Dive into water
          Hang from branches/ledges
          Interact with environment (open doors/climb etc)
          Menu
          Then normally some menu shortcut, like CODEC

          … and probably more that I’ve forgotten. It’s a mess of context sensitive prompts, half pressing buttons, holding some down because it’s got a _lot_ of things it wants you to be able to do. For what it’s worth, whether or not he made the shooting bad on purpose in the PS2 days, he’s said that he’s trying to make intuitive controls nowadays (although probably still failing)
          http://www.dualshockers.com/2014/03/09/hideo-kojima-shares-details-on-metal-gear-solid-vs-controls-and-need-of-constant-awareness/

        • Shamus says:

          Played Metal Gear 2 and 3. Not all the way through. I played about 4 hours of MGS3.

          As for the argument over “he makes the controls obtuse on purpose” versus “it’s stylistic” versus “he’s just crap as designing interfaces”. I don’t care to argue over authorial intent. I’m just saying this “hold down the right stick” and “press buttons according to stuff you see in the gameworld” both feel VERY Kojima-esque to me. If someone wants to argue otherwise, fine. We’re reading tea leaves here and there’s no sense in haggling over the details.

  27. Neko says:

    I remember feeling utter disbelief when a game – I think it was a PS2 game – told me to press “R3” and my friend told me that yes it was a real button and it meant clicking the thumbsticks. Just no. No one in their right mind could design a controller like that, this must be a joke.

    I’m dismayed that it’s become standard.

    • Chris says:

      Waaay back in 2001 I got stuck in GTA3 when in one of the very first missions you had to honk your horn outside of a girl’s house to get her to come to the car. I hit every single visible button on the controller and nothin’ happened. Was stuck there for an alarmingly long time. I did get to know the first island rather intimately as a result, though.

      • Wait, the PS2 had…hold on…

        HOLY SHIT THE PS2’S HAD THOSE BUTTONS THE WHOLE TIME!?!?! I thought that was implemented for this last generation! I’ve NEVER used them in my PS2 games! Now I wanna go back and see what they do! Gotta fix my PS2 first though…

        • Neko says:

          I seem to remember using them in God of War. *checks* Yep, to activate some special power, you had to click both thumbsticks. Happily not a frequently used ability, but still, hitting two little fiddly microswitches didn’t feel quite right for “super special uber power mode”.

          In Katamari Damacy, it would make you do a quick 180° flip. This is a reasonable, completely optional shortcut.

          I think most games took the sensible approach of either not using them or only using them for nonessential abilities. Click-and-hold to zoom in is just absurd.

    • The fact that console controllers have the setups they do and that such setups are acceptable to gamers is as surprising to me as if the controls from the old standup arcade games Zwackery or Discs of Tron had become standard.

      Note: For those unfamiliar with said controls, imagine a flight stick with a trigger and thumb button. For your other hand, there’s a hockey-puck-like paddle you can twist 360 degrees that also does things if you push it down or pull it up.

  28. hewhosaysfish says:

    So Josh wanders around lost looking for a hole in a wall – in a Silent Hill game! – and none of you guys giving him directions thought to say “There was a hole here; it’s gone now”?

    I haven’t played Silent Hill and even I know that one!

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