When Konami announced a new version of Silent Hill 2, I didn’t think it could get any better, but there’s still 45 minutes left on the clock. The publisher then put together a detailed explanation of how the series expanded, revealing new games and a movie.
After two decades of waiting, Konami’s comprehensive roadmap for Silent Hill is a big swing. There’s the mysterious Silent Hill Townfall, an outlandish game made by developer Stories Untold No Code, and the thriller of a Japanese horror game called Silent Hill F. But why do publishers feel the need to publicly chart the future of their big series?
Well, the MCU is to blame.
When I stopped to think about it, this type of large-scale roadmap ad wasn’t the first I’ve seen lately. Before Konami broke their silence, Ubisoft and CD Projekt made similar announcements about Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher, and Cyberpunk 2077. Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed Mirage, along with new details about Assassin’s Creed Infinity, and funny games with simple code names, Red, Jade, And Hicks. We don’t know much about the games, but we’ll have Assassin’s Creed content for a very long time.
Having a good idea of where your franchise is headed is one thing, but it is quite another to publicly plan step-by-step where you are going and what you will be doing long into the future. All this detailed management and corporate marketing is something we’ve seen before, but not in games: in the movies.
The games take a page from the Marvel comic while drawing their own version of the cinematic universe.
Game publishers and developers will likely follow Marvel (and Disney’s leadership) for similar reasons. It encourages investment, both from fans and shareholders.
By dedicating a decade to games in the same series, you’re telling fans that the time they spend on a game isn’t wasted, and the science and world will continue to expand. Let’s not delve into whether the time you spend on a game is more valuable if it is part of a developed series, there are many examples of excellent discrete games, once released for this argument to carry a lot of water. But, there are active communities surrounding series like The Elder Scrolls and Mass Effect, precisely because they want to see the world grow with new games and stories.
For contributors, the publisher says, “Look, this hit series that our fans love, we’ll be back at it well over the next decade. We plan to turn one success into a series of successes. If you invest your money in us, it will grow.”
However, the MCU has influenced what fans can expect from their favorite series and how much. Many are looking for reassurances from game developers and publishers that series will not end, characters will return, and stories will have sequels, prequels, and spin-offs.
This reassurance may be needed for some games to keep fans (and contributors) on board. For example, it was important for CD Projekt Red to explain its plans to fix Cyberpunk and continue the series, to show that it was worth buying the game even after the bad reviews. While Silent Hill fans have long heard nothing of it, Konami needed to reassure them that Silent Hill is here to stay this time around.