Silent Hill

is a survival horror video game franchise developed and published by Konami. As of 2008, most installments have been created by Team Silent with the exception of two titles, Silent Hill: Origins by Climax Studios and Silent Hill: Homecoming by Double Helix games.

There are currently six main Silent Hill games, all of which were released to strong sales and critical acclaim. The success of these games has generated a series of comic books, a film adaptation (with a second under development), and novelizations.

Common features in the Silent Hill series include horror and action-adventure elements, detailed and disturbing environments, a chilling soundtrack provided by series composer Akira Yamaoka, and a complex storyline revealed through numerous cinematic cut scenes and in-game notes. Each game unfolds like a movie with several possible endings; the player's choices during the game determine which ending is shown.


Silent Hill is a small town situated around the edge of Toluca Lake and a large forest, with the older sections of town located to the north and along the banks of the adjacent river. Due in part to heavy commercial development, the town is fairly self-sufficient; it has an elementary school, a shopping mall, a church, two separate hospitals, a sanitarium, and other stores and attractions. The majority of the town's businesses are locally owned mom and pop stores, with no apparent influence of chain stores or franchises beyond a burger joint called "Happy Burger". Old Silent Hill and Paleville hold large residential areas with both apartments and homes, as well as several motels and the grand Lakeview Hotel. The beachfront area of Paleville also has a lighthouse and hosts the Lakeside Amusement Park.

Prior to the 1600s, the town of Silent Hill was the home of members of an unnamed Native American tribe that used the land for sacred rituals. At the end of the century, settlers arrived and founded the town; shortly thereafter, they began to rapidly die off. The deaths were attributed to an epidemic, and Brookhaven Hospital was built to treat those affected. Eventually the settlers fled the town, leaving it abandoned for nearly a century, until it was resettled as a penal colony in the early 1800s. Twenty years later, another epidemic broke out, and Brookhaven Hospital was rebuilt and reopened. In the 1840s, the prison was closed, and the town once more abandoned; in the 1850s, coal was discovered there by another wave of settlers, and it became a boom town.

During the American Civil War, the town served as a prisoner of war camp; after the end of the war, the prison used to house prisoners was converted into a state penitentiary, and shortly thereafter, Silent Hill became a resort town. Around roughly the same period, a group of religious zealots founded a series of small doomsday cults based upon the escathology of the unnamed Native American tribe which occupied the land before settlers arrived. Collectively referring to themselves as "The Order", the cults-- each of whom worshiped a different sub-deity- practiced human sacrifice and necromancy in an ongoing effort to resurrect "The God", an ancient deity which they believed would usher in an age of paradise by killing all humans. In order to fund their efforts, The Order dealt a psychedelic drug called White Claudia, manufactured from a plant indigenous to the town. The drug trade served to increase tourism to the town from the residents of surrounding areas, who traveled there to obtain White Claudia. The drug trade was crippled in the early 1980s, in the midst of a war between The Order and local authorities, during which members of the order murdered several police officers.

Three parallel layers or dimensions exist within the town: a normal, populated town; a quiet, seemingly abandoned town veiled by supernaturally thick fog; and a dark and decaying town (called the "Otherworld") filled with disturbing, hellish imagery. Only the latter two layers are explored by the games' protagonists, where demonic and disfigured creatures roam the streets and buildings (appearing in greater numbers in the Otherworld). Electricity and lighting are extremely limited or nonexistent as well. Occasionally, characters will transition between dimensions, and in some cases the dimensions may collapse into each other, creating an incoherent space called "Nowhere."

The different appearances of both the town and its inhabitants are made manifest from characters' personal fears, though not necessarily those of the protagonists. These manifestations may be shared between characters, or otherwise appear exclusively to only one of them. It is implied that Silent Hill always held a supernatural presence, but the town's violent and deadly history since the early modern period had perverted these energies into something darker.

Commentary published by Konami has stated that the power of Silent Hill has "intensified greatly" since the events of the first game. While the first two games featured protagonists who were drawn into Silent Hill, in the third, fourth and sixth games, the Otherworld has reached out to people in nearby towns of Ashfield and Shephard's Glen.


The location of Silent Hill is ambiguous, with hints of it being in New England (although California and other locations have also been suggested). There are a number of clues regarding town's location throughout the series:

  • The manual for the original game stated that the town was somewhere in New England.
  • In Silent Hill Origins, Travis discovers a theater ticket from the real-life town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
  • The body of water that surrounds the town on three sides is revealed in the second game to be called Toluca Lake. The only real-life Toluca Lake is in California behind the Universal Studios Hollywood lot.
  • In the first game, there are license plates from Michigan, and the license plate on Douglas' car in the third game is from California. Both of these license plates may be from out of state, however.
  • The liner notes in the Japanese version of the Silent Hill 4: The Room soundtrack CD give an address for Heaven's Night, a strip club visited by the protagonists of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, that would put it in Maine.
  • On the official Konami web site, the "map" section is imprinted with a fleur-de-lis, a traditional French symbol, implying that the town may be in either northern New England, or Louisiana, two areas in the United States with heavy French influence.
  • Many of the buildings in Silent Hill 2 appear similar to real-life buildings in San Bruno, California.
  • Heather, the main character in Silent Hill 3, is stated as being from "Portland", which may refer to Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine. Silent Hill may be near one of those cities.
  • The film adaptation places the town in the fictitious Toluca County, West Virginia. However, the film is not canonically connected to the game series.
    • The film's screenwriter, Roger Avary, used the real town of Centralia, Pennsylvania as an inspiration for the town of Silent Hill. In 1962, a fire in a landfill spread to the coal mines underneath Centralia and has burned since then, which forced most inhabitants to leave forever.


The first Silent Hill title, which served as the model for all but the fourth game, utilized a third-person perspective with fixed camera angles at certain points. Most sections take place indoors, connected by open streets and alleyways (though the third and fourth game feature greatly reduced exploration of outdoor environments). The alternating fog and darkness only allows the protagonist and player to see within a ten-foot radius at any time. At the beginning of the game, the character is usually equipped with a pocket flashlight and a radio that emits static in close proximity to monsters.

Much of the series' gameplay revolves around solving puzzles, often to obtain a key or other item essential to the plot. Various monsters are also encountered in nearly all parts of the game. The player has access to a variety of improvised melee weapons and firearms, although most characters do not show any indication of experience with firearms.

All the games feature multiple endings. Silent Hill, for example, had a progression of endings from "bad" to "good+," depending on how many side objectives the player accomplished prior to the final boss fight. The endings of Silent Hill 2 were presented as being all equal, with no clearly defined "bad" ending. There are also humorous "joke" endings in every game (except Silent Hill 4), most commonly referred to as the "UFO Ending" because the main character comes in contact with extraterrestrials. Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill: Origins, however, both force a "good" ending on first-time players, with "bad" and "joke" endings for players who use a continuing save.


Composer Akira Yamaoka has provided atmospheric and emotional music for every game in the series, ranging from gritty post-industrial to trip-hop and alternative rock pieces. Oftentimes in the Otherworld, music will play that is much louder than that of the fog world, making it harder to hear enemy presence and causing it to frighten the player. In addition, some environmental sound effects are included simply to frighten and alarm, rather than cause actual physical harm in the game (e.g., loud breathing or faint rustling in dark, empty hallways).

Beginning with Silent Hill 2, the series introduced the Noise Effect. it has become a staple in the series and is explained in the "Book of Lost Memory". The noise effect acts like a film grain filter, giving the game a constant sense of noise and presence, especially in the dark. This can severely inhibit the player's sight, as common objects such as pipes, walls, and posters can appear from far distances as monsters, and vice versa with distant monsters appearing as objects from a distance when not in motion. This effect has been expanded in Silent Hill 4 and Silent Hill Origins by causing noticeable increases when in the presence of monsters/spirits (even without the radio or flashlight on). This feature can often be shut off after completing the game once.

Main series

Silent Hill (1999)

Conceived by the game designer Keiichiro Toyama, the first Silent Hill was released in 1999 for the Sony PlayStation. The plot of the game centered around Harry Mason arriving in Silent Hill and his subsequent attempts at finding his adopted daughter, Cheryl.

During the progress of the game, the protagonist Harry finds that Cheryl has a disturbing past as the details of her genesis are revealed.

This game was followed by the release of the side story for Game Boy Advance called Silent Hill: Play Novel which is detailed below.

Silent Hill 2 (2001)

The sequel, Silent Hill 2, was released in 2001 for the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and PC. The extended versions for Microsoft Xbox and PC are sometimes referred to by the name Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams and feature an extra subplot scenario, as do the "Greatest Hits"/"Platinum" re-releases for the Sony PlayStation 2. The plot centered around James Sunderland, who had received a letter from his deceased wife informing him that she is waiting for him in their "special place", which leads him to Silent Hill.

Silent Hill 3 (2003)

The second full sequel, Silent Hill 3, was released in 2003 for the Sony PlayStation 2 as well as for PC. Highly tethered to the events of the first game, the plot surrounds a teenager named Heather as she uncovers the mysteries that surround her past - including her own link to the haunted town.

Silent Hill 4: The Room (2004)

Silent Hill 4: The Room was released in 2004 for the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and PC. Partly related to Silent Hill 2 and briefly set in Silent Hill, the plot follows Henry Townshend who finds himself mysteriously locked in his own apartment until a hole appears in his bathroom wall. The game features characters that are mentioned in previous titles.

The game was not originally meant to be a part of the Silent Hill series, but the decision to transform it into a Silent Hill game was taken early in the development of the game, so it was heavily reworked.

Silent Hill: Origins (2007)

The prequel Silent Hill: Origins, developed by Climax Group, was released in 2007 for the Sony PlayStation Portable, and in March 2008 for the PlayStation 2. The plot features Travis Grady, a trucker with a disturbing past who becomes trapped in Silent Hill after rescuing a girl from a burning house. During his quest to find the fate of the burned girl, he encounters characters from the first game and some new ones from his own subconscious.

Silent Hill: Homecoming (2008)

The sixth installment was officially confirmed on July 11 2007, during E3 2007 for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. The game tells the story of Alex Shepherd, a soldier who has returned from a war overseas. Shepherd discovers upon his arrival that his father has gone missing and his mother has become catatonic. Joshua, his brother, is the only one who can provide solace, but he soon vanishes. The game will chronicle Shepherd's search to find his missing brother. Like Silent Hill: Origins, Team Silent did not develop the project; instead, development was done by Double Helix games from Foundation 9 Entertainment. Silent Hill: Homecoming has arrived in stores October 1 2008,

Spin-off titles and promotional discs

Silent Hill: Play Novel (2001)

In 2001, Silent Hill: Play Novel was released in Japan for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. The game consists of still images and text and is played in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Full Motion Video sequences from the first game are also included. While the main game retells protagonist Harry Mason's journey through Silent Hill, it also deals with Cybil's adventures in the town as well as the exploits of a boy named Andy. It is considered a gaiden story and it has not been released outside of Japan.

Art of Silent Hill (2002)

First multimedia DVD focusing mostly on material from Silent Hill 2 such as artworks and renders. It contains exclusive up to date music video 'Caramel Mix' as well as 'Ki-no-ko' and 'Fukuro' (both of which appeared on future media discs).

Lost Memories: The Art and Music of Silent Hill (2003)

Released only in Japan, it is a second and most popular multimedia DVD. Most of the content found on "The Art of Silent Hill" is included here in addition to new content cited below. Divided into seven sections, it contains full soundtracks, trailer collections, artworks, renders and creature galleries from all three games as well as additional music videos: Ki-no-ko, Fukuro, Usagimu and video with Heather performing the song 'You're Not Here' from SH3 OST.

Inescapable rain in Yoshiwara (2004)

Audio drama added to Japanese version of Silent Hill 4 OST. It was made by Akira Yamaoka and Teisui Ichiryusa and lasts for 57 minutes, however there was later released additional 16 minute chapter to the story. The story is not linked to the Silent Hill series in any way.

The Silent Hill Experience (2006)

This video Universal Media Disc was released on April 6, 2006 for PlayStation Portable by Sony Entertainment as a promotional item for the 2006 Silent Hill film. It is the third multimedia disc related to the series.

The Silent Hill: Cage of Cradle (2006)

Interactive manga comic book written by Hiroyuki Owaku and illustrated by Masahiro Ito. It is currently only available on cellphones in Japan. Not much is known about the story and images of the comic have been mostly concealed. What is known, however, is that the story will focus on Lisa Garland before the events of the first game in the series. Promotional images reveal that Doctor Kauffman will appear, as well as the notorious Pyramid Head and Alessa Gillespie. These images show noticeable influence from the visuals of the Silent Hill movie.

Silent Hill: The Arcade (2007)

At the 2007 Japan Arcade Operator's Union trade show, Konami revealed a forthcoming light gun arcade shooter game based on the Silent Hill series. The game deals with two characters, Eric Lake and Tina Townshend, who have entered the town of Silent Hill after the mysterious return of the "Little Baroness" after it vanished 89 years earlier in 1918, and must battle enemies which include Nurses and Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2. It is said that the two-player arcade will play much like The House of the Dead.

Silent Hill: Double Under Dusk (2007)

This is the second Silent Hill manga to appear exclusively to Konami's cellphone network. Many details, such as the synopsis and the involvement of Owaku and Ito are currently unknown.

Silent Hill: Orphan (2007)

Orphan is a cell phone game focusing on solving riddles, released on Japanese market. The multi-language version (Including English and German) was also released the same year. The story revolves around three main characters, Ben, Moon and Karen, who had been drawn to a mysterious orphanage in Silent Hill where they spent their childhood. It is a first-person point and click adventure which retains most of the psychological thrills, riddles and puzzles of the Silent Hill series. There is only one type of monster in the game, a four-legged type which resembles a water strider. Combat involves aiming the crosshair at the correct position of its body and shooting it.

Silent Hill: The Escape (2008)

The Escape is the first Silent Hill game for mobile phones presented in 3D format. The game is played in a first person perspective in a maze-like environment, and uses the phone's built-in camera to monitor a user's movements allowing for aiming and reloading of the character's gun. The player will meet various familiar monsters in the game, most prominently, The Nurse.

Film adaptation (2006)

In 2003 a motion picture based on Silent Hill was officially announced, with French director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) attached. The film was released in April 2006.

While incorporating elements from the first four games, as well as original material, the film adaptation generally follows the plot of the first game in the series. However, there were significant changes such as a role reversal for the prime antagonist, and a religious cult resembling Christian fundamentalists rather than devil worshippers.

Harry Mason was replaced with Rose Da Silva (played by Radha Mitchell), a married mother. Rose's adoptive daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) wanders and cries out "Silent Hill" in her sleep. Against the wishes of her husband Chris Da Silva (Sean Bean), Rose takes Sharon to find the elusive town of Silent Hill, in hope of finding the source of Sharon's nightmares. On the way Rose encounters a police officer, Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden), who is suspicious of the distraught mother and her actions. Cybil follows Rose into Silent Hill where they are caught in a living nightmare, and encounter a religious cult connected to Sharon's past.

The film featured music from series composer Akira Yamaoka. The musical score featured several selections of original game music, such as the opening from the first game "Silent Hill", "Promise - Reprise" from Silent Hill 2, and "Theme Of Laura" and "Laura Plays the Piano", also from the second game. Also, the song featured in the intro of "Silent Hill 3" is played during the end credits; that song is titled "You're Not Here".

The film was released through Tristar in the United States, and Pathé in Europe. Although panned by most professional critics, general audiences reacted more favorably, and the film was considered a financial success, opening at #1 in the US with $20.1 million dollars on its way to a total of $47 million domestically. A sequel has been commissioned with the IMDB predicting a 2010 release, but presently little is known about it.


All books are officially available only in Japan.

Lost Memories (2003)

Guidebook detailing various aspects of the first three games like symbolism and ideas behind games or development process. The book has been the subject of unofficial translations outside Japan.

Drawing Block: Silent Hill 3 Program (2003)

Artbook added to limited editions of Silent Hill 3 together with Lost Memories DVD and two posters.

Silent Hill (2006)

Not to be confused with novelization of the film released the same year and under the same title
Novelization of the first game of the series by Sadamu Yamashita only released in Japanese. It is divided into three chapters: Fog, Darkness and Nightmare.

Comic books

A series of comic books written by Scott Ciencin with artwork by Ben Templesmith (Dying Inside #1 and 2), Aadi Salman (Dying Inside #3,4,5), Shaun Thomas (Paint It Black, Among The Damned) and Nick Stakal (Grinning Man, Dead/Alive #1 to 5) have been published by IDW Publishing. An earlier standalone graphic novel from defunct British publisher Com.X was completed in 2000 but never released.


The games' developers have acknowledged that they are fans of the film Jacob's Ladder and its technique of inducing fear through a more psychological level of perception. The films of David Lynch are also acknowledged to be an influence on Silent Hill. The series also borrows elements from Stephen King's novella The Mist and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. The movie "Session 9" was also an influence and Silent Hill 3 features a homage to the movie

See also

Notes and references|-the-escape/

External links

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