P.T., the Cancellation of Silent Hills, and the Indie Games that Filled the Void

When P.T. made its way onto the PlayStation Store, nobody knew what it was. A week later and the internet had it all figured out. It was a demo (or playable teaser) of a new Silent Hill game, Silent Hills.

With Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima and famed horror director Guillermo del Toro involved, it’s little surprise that this project was as weird and terrifying as it was. However, the relationship between Kojima and the Konami soured, the Silent Hills project was cancelled, P.T. was taken down from the PlayStation Store, and Konami removed as many Kojima references as they could in his then-upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

For those who never had the opportunity to play P.T., it was outrageously good, completely terrifying, infuriatingly complicated, and pretty much a masterpiece. I still have nightmares about it and yet, I’m also saddened that it’s gone.

I clearly wasn’t the only one, either, as this left a void in a lot of developers’ and players’ hearts. In the years since P.T. disappeared (except for those who never deleted it from their consoles), I’ve noticed that plenty of indie games that have taken the torch from P.T. and really run with it.

The Park (2015)

Funcom‘s The Park is a first-person psychological horror game in a similar vein to P.T. It was released to mixed reviews and much like P.T., this game involves no combat or HUD and a limited amount of interacting with the world.

It’s available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Layers of Fear (2016)

Layers of Fear is a Polish psychological horror puzzler from Bloober Team that has you playing as a troubled painter trying to finish his greatest work. You’ll regularly be subjected to jump scares, as you are in most of these games.

You can pick up Layers of Fear for PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.

Visage (2018)

Visage is another indie game considered to be P.T.’s spiritual successor. The game has you exploring an old house in the 1980s and finding out about the grizzly deaths of the house’s inhabitants.

The game has been in Early Access on Steam since October 2018.

Devotion (2019)

The Taiwanese game Devotion seemed to be the spiritual successor to P.T. and it coincidentally met the same fate as it was removed from Steam once the Chinese discovered a hidden political message in the game.

Allison Road (TBA)

Allison Road is currently in development and started life as a fan project following the announcement that P.T. was being taken down and Silent Hills was cancelled. It was initially going to be a crowd-funded project but Team 17 provided funding for it so the crowdfunding campaign was cancelled.

The cancellation of the project was announced in June of 2016 but it was later announced that the game would be finished without Team 17’s involvement.

Why was the cancellation so good for indies?

P.T. effectively was a proof-of-concept for a lot of indie developers. They could see that this type of game was not only technically viable. The teaser’s success and the subsequent outrage at the cancellation of Silent Hills also showed that players were interested in this type of experience.

With P.T. removed from the store and Silent Hills not being released, there was also gap in the market that indie developers could jump into. Resident Evil 7 wasn’t released until the start of 2017, after all. Games like The Park and Layers of Fear were able to capitalise on this while Visage and Devotion show that consumers are still interested in the genre.

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