The last few years have seen some of the most beloved games of all time receive massive remakes, from Resident Evil 4 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake to Super Mario RPG. Konami is just the latest to join the trend of reimagining industry-defining titles with Silent Hill 2.
We know very little about the Bloober Team-developed remake, but a new listing on Best Buy Canada gives us a small glimpse of what to expect, including a potential origin story for the iconic Pyramid Head — an idea that feels horribly misguided at best, and just about the worst thing this remake could do.
Of course, it’s important to point out that even though this is an official listing, the Pyramid Head origin story is still unconfirmed. Konami did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If it is true, however, it’s something that’s entirely unnecessary — and could even actively harm the identity of Silent Hill 2 as a central pillar of the survival horror genre.
For starters, you need to look at the history of the Silent Hill franchise and how Pyramid Head has evolved. Over the years, the villain has turned into the de-facto mascot of the franchise, but in the context of Silent Hill 2, he’s simply a manifestation of James Sunderland’s own tortured psyche.
The town of Silent Hill latches on to James’ broken mind and uses his fears and insecurities to manifest the creatures of the game. For example, the nurses are a manifestation of James’ pent-up sexual frustrations, while Pyramid Head represents the man’s overwhelming guilt and belief he needs to be punished.
So much of the experience of Silent Hill 2 hinges on James himself being such a broken person, and how the narrative evolves around that idea is fascinating. Pyramid Head is a big part of that, but the character was only created as a justification for James’ own psyche.
Applying some kind of origin story to Pyramid Head could cheapen the impact of the story’s revelations, or drastically change the entire interpretation of the experience at large. An origin story could suggest that Bloober Team is trying to introduce more of a supernatural theme, making Pyramid Head more of his own character. That could detract from the psychological elements of James inflicting all of these unspeakable horrors on himself.
Pyramid Head proved to be overwhelmingly popular with the release of the original Silent Hill 2, so much so that Konami would bring him back for multiple later games. In Silent Hill: Homecoming he became known as The Bogeyman, a creature that exacts justice and punishment on those who deserve it. Crucially, this entry still retained a sense of mystery about the creature’s origins.
We don’t need to know Pyramid Head’s story because he represents the fear of the unknown. His human form gives him a layer of familiarity, but he’s still monstrous and unpredictable. He’s a force of nature that feels utterly unstoppable. It’s a classic horror trope of having a monster that’s made all the more terrifying because you know nothing about it and therefore don’t know what it is capable of.
An origin story could — and likely will — damage that idea in the long run. And while Pyramid Head may still be terrifying visually, the thematic ideas behind him could lose some punch.
There is precedent for things like this as well — just look at how Prometheus affected the Aliens franchise. The Xenomorph worked so well as a horror villain because it was, well, an alien. The first two films tell us almost nothing about the Xenomorphs, and that’s exactly why they work so well, because they’re otherworldly horrors that are simply primal in nature. Convoluting the origin story of the Xenomorphs made them less terrifying, and less ethereal, if you will. Imagine how much less horrifying John Carpenter’s The Thing would be if we knew exactly where it came from.
The exact same thing can be said for Pyramid Head, who should remain just as mysterious and ambiguous as he was in the original 2001 release.
If Pyramid Head really does get an origin story, that will create larger worries about how the finely-tuned experience of Silent Hill 2 could be even further changed.