Rather than just coming out and saying, "we're making a new Silent Hill game," horror legend Guillermo del Toro and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima this week released a free demo for PlayStation 4 entitled P.T. (as in, "playable teaser") from a non-existent 7780s Studio. Only after finishing the game does the player learn about Silent Hills, a new horror game starring The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus.
But even knowing the big reveal, if you have a PS4, you owe it to yourself this weekend to download P.T. (it's free!), turn off all the lights, and get scared stupid.
Don't have a PS4? Live vicariously through Polygon's playthrough
It can take upwards of an hour to get through, but the experience itself is a fairly simple first-person puzzler. Basically, you'll be running through the same stretch of hallway for several loops looking for clues and triggering scares. One of the only options you have — at least, the only one you're explicitly told — is that you can press R3 to "zoom in" on things, which is necessary at times to trigger certain moments. It's subtle at first, but with every loop, there's always something different.
The puzzle element that isn't always clear, but part of the charm is looking (and listening) for all the subtle, eerie changes, knowing that at any moment the game will throw something jarring and surprising right in your face. Here are a few opaque hints that might help:
- It isn't enough to just zoom in; sometimes you have to watch long enough for the creepy moment to finish
- When the basement door unlocks, you've pretty much done everything you can for that loop
- Always look up at the foyer
- HELLO!... HELO!... HLO!... LO!... O!
That should get you through the first bit (IGN has a more detailed walkthrough if you're still stuck). Once you've seen the first ending — and after seemingly starting over — you'll now tasked with finding six picture fragments. That can be frustrating (zoom in everywhere! Turn around! Look up! Look down! Pause the game!) but it's nothing compared to what you do after finding all six.
The final puzzle is incredibly arbitrary. Count steps? Whisper sweet nothings?
Everyone seems to have their own theory about how to trigger the final ending, from counting your steps to whispering / screaming certain phrases into an attached microphone. Nothing seems to work 100 percent of the time, and yet it all seems very arbitrary. Truth be told, that's the moment I gave up, after looking up several suggested methods that didn't seem to work. All that's left from there is the teaser, which is easy enough to look up, and honestly I felt like I got enough scares at that point.
P.T. reportedly has nothing to do with the upcoming Silent Hills game, but even so, if this is the tone and detail del Toro and Kojima are going for — if this is the future of horror games — I'm sold.