From his beginnings with the vampire flick Cronos and the monster-slasher Mimic, to the kaiju blockbuster Pacific Rim and the upcoming supernatural suspenser Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro has demonstrated that he’s a true student of film’s darker, more fantastical genres. Whatever story he tackles is approached with knowledge, respect, and more than little innovation. But the filmmaker has also revealed himself to be a student of the videogame medium, and has expressed the desire to make “the Citizen Kane” of games. So far, his efforts have focused exclusively on a game genre close to his heart: survival horror. But unfortunately, his thwarted ambitions in the gaming field mirror his greatest frustrations as a filmmaker.
The fate of Silent Hills, the ninth iteration of Konami’s Silent Hill franchise — which was to be directed by del Toro and co-director Hideo Kojima — is well known to survival horror fans. After years of development, a successful demo, and the attachment of genre icon Norman Reedus as the lead character, the game was inexplicably canceled. For del Toro, the doom of Silent Hills was a sequel of sorts to his experience with Insane, a survival horror project that was his first foray into game development. So, why were these potential blockbuster games canceled?
Not even Guillermo knows. In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, the director had this to say about the project:
“It was curious.
We had a great experience and had great story sessions with hundreds upon hundreds of designs. Some of the stuff that we were designing for Silent Hills I’ve seen in games that came after, like The Last of Us, which makes me think we were not wrong, we were going in the right direction.
The thing with Kojima and Silent Hills is that I thought we would do a really remarkable game and really go for the jugular.
We were hoping to actually create some sort of panic with some of the devices we were talking about and it is really a shame that it’s not happening. When you ask about how things operate, that makes no ****ing sense at all that that game is not happening.
Makes no ****ing sense at all.”
Del Toro went on to compare the fate of Silent Hills to the “randomness” of the film world when it comes to studio decision making, for which he said there was “no strategizing” against. The reasons behind the games’ cancellations remain a mystery, but considering the whisperings around Metal Gear: The Phantom Pain, the likeliest scenario is that Kojima left the Silent Hills development team because of his feud with Konami, during the development of The Phantom Pain, after which Hills was dead in the water.
All of this is most unfortunate, because we think del Toro and Kojima had as good a chance as anyone of making the Citizen Kane of games — which, apparently, would come in the form of an interactive horror opus that del Toro hopefully hasn’t given up on. Judging from del Toro’s versatility and dedication to numerous genres, and from his comments above about how smoothly the process was going (Kojima’s feud with Konami notwithstanding), it’s not much of a stretch to think that the two could’ve pulled it off. And now, del Toro is facing similarly inexplicable threats to his next big studio film, Pacific Rim 2.
Perhaps we’re lucky that del Toro has managed to have the long and varied film career that he’s had, even though a filmmaker of his caliber should have no problem getting movies made, especially movies that fans are begging for. Let’s hope he eventually breaks through on the videogame front.
Source: Bloody Disgusting