Why Hideo Kojima’s Fox Engine Can’t Save Silent Hill

Hideo Kojima would have to have a lot more involvement than a recent interview indicated he’d be interested in. If he directed Silent Hill, was involved in the writing for Silent Hill, and did the Quality Assurance of Silent Hill, it could once again be the crowning achievement of horror as it was in its heyday. Rather than the hit and miss sometimes quite-good series it has become.

On the other hand, with respect to Hideo Kojima – any competent treatment could save Silent Hill. We’ve already had quite good recent Silent Hill’s that were well received by the critics, and I think, with more polish, a chance at the HD consoles (and PC), and the needed support and talent, that Climax Studios could make a great Silent Hill. But that’s another article (specifically, this one).

Instead we’ve had Silent Hill farmed off to new studios who make glitchy badly running games, regardless of whether or not you think they have any other redeeming features or whether or not you think they’re any good (and the critics in general, myself included, do not), we can all agree they don’t run as well as they could or should.

And this is why the Fox Engine can’t save Silent Hill, at least not on its own. After all, Downpour ran on the Unreal Engine, and that is also an engine with a lot of money behind it, which is optimised to within an inch of its life, and runs well on many platforms. It is designed for consistent speed for the fast-paced action of Unreal Tournament, but versatile enough to be used for any genre, horror included – Bioshock ran on Unreal for example. The engine can be used to give consistent smooth gameplay where others would stumble.

If the developers of Downpour can make Unreal run that poorly when studios with less budget do better, the Fox Engine wouldn’t help them there.

It isn’t just the developers of Downpour, after-all, Homecoming also ran very poorly, especially on the Playstation 3. And before anyone writes in – I don’t care if the Playstation is supposedly harder to program for, I really don’t. That’s their job. They’re paid to do it. Besides, they’ll have to learn something similar like CUDA eventually anyway. It’s the future. Once again, this criticism doesn’t apply to Origins and Shattered Memories which both ran great on far more limited hardware.

Then of course, there is the lamentable Silent Hill HD Collection.

To get the full impression of just how badly it ran, there are two salient facts to remember.

The PS2’s graphics card is clocked at 147.456 MHz and has 4MB of dedicated memory.
The PS3’s graphics card is clocked at 550 MHz and has 256MB of dedicated memory.

On the PS2 the games ran perfectly.
On the PS3, not so much.

If only Silent Hill’s problems were simple engine issues.

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Peter has played a lot of games over the years. He made this website due to an exasperation with traditional videogame reporting and reviewing, reiterating what they've read on Kotaku and 4chan making almost all game reporting painfully generic. This is Peter's answer. He has a degree in Computing and Networks.

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