PlayStation 4

P.T. is terrifying, and is a secret demo for Kojima’s Silent Hills.

ptP.T. was announced as a demo during Sony’s Gamescom conference just a few days ago, and nobody knew anything about it. They tossed up a video of people playing and getting really freaked out, and then told us it was a free download we could play right now. Then they continued on through the conference without another word of it.

As a fan of horror games, I had already finished downloading it before the conference ended. I was hoping it would actually be scary. I got a little more than I bargained for.

You walk down a dark hallway, then another. You come to a door and open it, and you appear back at the beginning of the first hallway. The you do it again. Here’s the thing: the house is always changing, and you never knew when or how. You could go through the same hallway three times, see nothing, go through one more, and a mirror explodes off a wall. It’s horrifying in ways most games don’t understand how to be, and it’s already one of my favorite experiences this year.

Also, secretly, it was actually a teaser for the new Silent Hill game from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. Starring Norman Reedus (Daryl) from the Walking Dead. So there’s that.

silent hills

The creator of Metal Gear Solid and the mastermind behind Pan’s Labyrinth are teaming up to make “Silent Hills” for the new console generation. If P.T. is any measure of its potential quality, this is going to be big.

The game catches you off guard by throwing surprises at you, but not doing so every five seconds. It isn’t afraid to make you wait in the darkness, and to have you suffocate in your own fear of what could happen. Then, just when you’re safe and surely nothing is going to happen in this room, a spooky ghost chokes you out onto the ground.

The game eventually devolves into some obtuse pixel hunts, but that’s because Kojima wanted players to take a long time before they found the secret ending that revealed the true nature of the project. Of course, somebody figured it out within hours of the game being released, because that’s just how the internet works now. The first 45 minutes before all of that stuff sets in, though, is one of the scariest games I’ve had the pleasure of being terrified of. Let’s hope Silent Hills actually does make us “shit our pants.”

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