P.T is something we’ve only ever seen once before as far as we can remember. The rest of the article contains massive spoilers about what exactly that is, so if you don’t want it spoiled, you can download it for free right now on the PS4 and experience it yourself. If you’ve already done that, or don’t have a PS4, or just don’t like really scary game and want us to do the trembling work for you, then read on.
Starting off in a darkened room with a door in front of you, we thought it was a CGI cut-scene at first. Some of the texture work and lighting is simply astounding. We’re not sure if this is running on UE4 but despite there not being much going on, if this is any indication of the finished game we’re in for a graphical treat. Going through that first door you’re placed into an L-shaped corridor. Along the corridor there’s a digital clock, some house plants, a phone, a radio, a little entranceway with a swinging light, a shut door and a path down some stairs. If you take the path down the stairs the whole thing will loop again, except maybe this time the bathroom door will be slightly open or the lighting will have changed. So far it seems impossible to say what your experience will be as much of it is randomised or based on variables we don’t understand.
Don’t make any mistake though, this is definitely a horror game. You have limited ways to interact with the world, focusing on the use of R3 (clicking in the right thumb stick) but there’s a few more that are part of the secret. One of the puzzles even uses the options menu. Everything about the game is confusing – there are mysterious sounds all around you, occasionally the graphics will distort Eternal Darkness style, sometimes things will be subtly different and other times everything will change in horrific and dramatic ways. There’s gore, violence, ghosts (or a ghost) and attempts to make you question your sanity. For some people the whole experience is over in an hour or so, others have taken six hours to find the trailer that is your reward for finishing it. What a trailer it is.
Turns out P.T is actually a teaser for a new game – Silent Hills. This is a brand new SIlent Hill game being created in a collaboration between Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima, starring Norman Reedus (of Walking Dead fame). It seems like we might actually be getting a big-budget Silent Hill game and based on this teaser, they know what they’re doing. Of course there’s a notice that the demo is nothing to do with the game and doesn’t reflect it in any way, but it’s hard to imagine that at least the production value won’t be similar. This tiny little teaser is more polished (and longer) than many retail games and this is just the announcement. The only other time we can remember seeing anything like this was the Super 8 teaser attached to the PS3 release of Portal 2. In that you could explore the train that crashes at the start of the film just before the fateful moment as it was filled with little bits of information and curiosities to explore. It must be a horrifically expensive way to make a teaser but lets face it, it’s got people talking about it far more than any kind of simple trailer release would have done.
Kojima has come out and stated some disappointment, he wanted the teaser to take a week or so to work out, with players working together all over the world. Apparently the final puzzle is fiendishly difficult, but thousands of players have managed to stumble across the solution without really understanding what was happening. The theories are covering the forums and bulletin boards of gaming sites at the moment, and it’s certainly a fun treasure hunt, but the Silent Hills announcement came out almost immediately after the demo was released, removing the tension somewhat.
Still, if you’re in the mood for something scary, mysterious and beautiful, it’s well worth a download and we hope it inspires more developers to have a go at doing something similar.