When Konami announced a Silent Hill 2 remake, I didn’t think it could get better, but there were still 45 minutes left on the clock. The publisher then laid a detailed explanation of how it would expand the series, revealing new games and a movie.
After two decades of waiting, Konami’s extensive roadmap for Silent Hill is a big swing. There’s the mysterious Silent Hill Townfall, a strange game made by Stories Untold developer No Code, and a tease of a Japanese-set horror game called Silent Hill F. But why do publishers feel the need to plot out their big series’ futures publicly?
Well, the MCU is to blame.
When I stopped to think about it, this kind of large-scale roadmap announcement wasn’t the first one I’d seen recently. Prior to Konami breaking its silence, Ubisoft and CD Projekt made similar announcements for Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher, and Cyberpunk 2077. Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed Mirage, alongside new details about Assassin’s Creed Infinity, and teased games with simple codenames, Red, Jade, and Hexe. We don’t know much about the games, only that we will have Assassin’s Creed content for a long, long time.
It’s one thing to have a good idea of where your franchise is heading but another thing entirely to have publicly plotted out step by step where it will go and what it will do long into the future. All of this micromanaging and corporate marketing is something we’ve seen before, but not in games: in films.
Games are taking a page out of Marvel’s comic as they plot out their own version of the cinematic universe.
Game publishers and developers are likely following Marvel’s (and Disney’s lead) for similar reasons. It encourages investment, both from fans and shareholders.
By laying out a decade of games in the same series, you’re telling fans that time spent with a game isn’t wasted, and the lore and world will continue to expand. Let’s not get into whether time spent in a game is more valuable if it is part of a developing series, there are far too many examples of excellent standalone, one-shot games for that argument to hold much water. But, there are active communities surrounding series like The Elder Scrolls and Mass Effect, precisely because they want to see the world’s growth with new games and stories.
For shareholders, the publisher is saying, “Look, this successful series our fans like, we’re returning to that well throughout the next decade. We’re planning on turning one success into a series of successes. If you invest your money in us, it will grow.”
However, the MCU has affected what and how much fans have come to expect from their favorite series. Many look for reassurance from game developers and publishers that series won’t end, characters will return, and stories will get sequels, prequels, and spinoffs.
This reassurance may be needed for certain games to keep fans (and shareholders) on board. For example, it was important for CD Projekt Red to make clear its plans to fix Cyberpunk and continue the series, to show it was worth buying the game even after the poor reviews. While fans of Silent Hill hadn’t heard anything in so long, it was crucial for Konami to reassure them that this time Silent Hill is here to stay.