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Last year we have had four important Silent Hill releases, and generally speaking, all of them were found wanted. The Revelation movie was universally panned, HD collection was famously bugged for a long time , Downpour also had its share of technical issues and bland design ... Book of Memories could almost be considered a success, since it at least never claimed to be horror. Now there is a (hopefully temporary) hiatus and we have seen some speculation here about what the next Silent Hill game could be and what would be the most feasible development for the franchise.
Leaving the non-game media alone (though that is also an interesting subject: some game series did manage to regain their lost standing through the tie-ins), I think that for now the best course of action would be to look inwards, and cardinally rebuild one of the earlier games. I'm not talking about a cosmetic update (HD collection) or cardinally changing the entire game (Shattered Memories), but something in between, a "Director's Cut" re-release that addresses all the issues which have previously held the game back and brings it to its full potential.
This might seem like a somewhat lazy and unusual move, but it would make a lot of sense for the franchise like Silent Hill, because the writing has almost always been its core strength, and so would still captivate with updated gameplay, and also because as the town is getting more and more used, each game ends up with fewer places where gamers haven't been before. It can also be mentioned that there was at least one recent case when the game was re-released with a major design update: the Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, although even that final re-release was far from perfect.
Now the question is: which game? The original trilogy and Downpour are off-limits for now, because it's simply too soon to announce another re-release (to a lesser extent, same would apply to Shattered Memories) . Because of the general weirdness of The Room, a remake would be difficult to get people excited about at the moment: the players tend to love and hate different bits of it, and so improving the game for some could mean ruining it for others a lot easier than with other titles, IMHO. Homecoming is the "almost" I have mentioned above and while the game's plot could still be made into something great and on the level of the original trilogy, it isn't really feasible at the moment. As such, we end with one game: Origins. It was released nearly six years ago, and so could be comfortably remade, and while this might just be my opinion, most of the complaints about the game were of the "not enough" nature (such as the bland storyline or enemies respawning far too often), rather than at the structural level (except for the mirrors, but we'll get to them in a moment).
So, without further ado: here are my ideas of what should be done to the prequel in a proper re - release that is unlikely to ever happen. I have been thinking about this for a while, so it is going to be a very long read. If you don't feel like reading all 7000 words, you can always skip to certain parts and come back later.
As we know, Origins had two main plotlines: Travis' resolving the psychological issues from his childhood and the Alessa's plotline of how her soul was split into the two halves. The former ended up relatively bare-bones, while the story of Alessa and the Flauros isn't really connected to Travis' motivation enough: the question of "why doesn't he leave the town after visiting hospital?" never really gets adequately addressed.
Thus, Travis gets more inner monologue and will often be questioning what is happening and react to his surroundings more like Murphy Pendleton does, to allow us to get greater insight into his character. He would also get the dialogue choices with the positive, neutral and negative responses (and if possible, not the three of them like in Mass Effect, but more like Dragon Age: Origins, where there is a neutral, mildly good, strongly good, midly negative and strongly negative) as well as being able to ask questions about certain bits of backstory (Alessa's father, Kaufmann's background and other such topics). Two main endings will gain variations depending on his morality and there would be a couple of false endings as well to increase the replay value.
Some of his cutscenes/monologue will also change, with positive, negative and neutral variations. Note that neutral is not absolute but a range that increases as the game is played: let’s say at the hospital he can have his total morality vary from +10 to -10, but at the theatre you could have it vary from +30 to -30: in the first case you’ll be counted as neutral if it is from +3 to -3, but at Artaud theatre neutral cutscenes will trigger if it ranges from +10 to -10.
Plotline changes: Intro and Hospital
The opening cutscene will change slightly: after Alessa runs away, Travis will firstly get back into the truck and turn the ignition key (seriously, who leaves their truck in the middle of the road like this?), only for it to fail before running after her. After rescuing Alessa, Travis would also try to check on the truck first, only to come to a halt as the road out is blocked by a crevice, which would trigger a cutscene with him pondering what happened.
When he reaches hospital, he will automatically ask Kaufmann about this crevice (negative response) and truck maintenance (annoyedly pointed to a service station, but the road is blocked later anyway). With dialogue choices, you are able to inquire about town in general (mainly stuff veterans know), hospital, its founding and position and his job (some new flavour text here.)
When you leave Kaufmann, town already changes to the Fog World by itself and you find the first nurse: once you defeat her, there will be a cutscene of Travis looking at a corpse, still scared it might have been a normal person. After verifying it isn't, he would still attempt to wipe any blood off him and surroundings, look at whatever weapons he used and wonder if he should dump them somewhere.
When you find the mirror, the cutscene is almost the same (well, he is disturbed and asks what the nurse was, how did she get in the mirror and other stuff in the same sentence until she cuts him off), but it's the same otherwise and he puts the hand on the mirror and changes it to Otherworld. You're not allowed to change it back afterwards: the mirror itself will be encased in steel bars and become translucent at best, as Travis wonders aloud again: the puzzles requiring transitions would be adjusted to omit them.
Once you finish the area and talk to Lisa, you can again have more dialogue and ask her about her job and and experience at the hospital (how long she's been working, etc., etc.), about Kaufmann (you can ask about his family, if he's native to town and how he became the clinic's head). Finally, you will ask about Alessa's family (she replies about Dahlia, her store and Alessa's father (see below for elaboration on the topic). There would be an option to ask if Kaufmann is the father, which will immediately end the conversation.)
Plotline changes: Sanitarium
Once you walk out, Travis would be quite hesistant to go to sanitarium (dialogue in the cutscene changes slightly depending on the morality so far), but then you'll meet one of Kaufmann's accomplices in drug trade (not one mentioned in the note in Silent Hill 1), who will try to get you interested in PMV. amongst other things (see next paragraph) he will accidentally mention that he doesn't have it with him, because he failed with a batch and had to pour it down the sink at the hospital. This instantly gets Travis suspicious and the accomplice verifies that the sink was the one with the mirror near it, before saying that he has another stored at the sanitarium and leaving, saying he'll meet you there. Like in other conversations, you would have the three - five replies there: one of them, (probably the strong positive, since strong negative would be to say that the tourists make their choice and deserve it) is to say you'll be bringing this up with police: he will bluff and say that the police already know and are being paid off. You can concede or counter that Kaufmann wouldn’t have been able to pay his debts off then, and he will grudgingly admit that, but say they will have the evidence destroyed by then and police respect them more than him. You can again concede with this or threaten to bring this up with federal police, at which point he begs you not to do it, with you getting another set of choices, and then walking off.
Once he leaves one way or the other, there is a relatively long cutscene/internal monologue where Travis desperately tries to explain the Otherworld transition as him accidentally inhaling the drug and imagining the nurses. He also tries to explain the earlier supernatural events as sleep deprivation taking its toll before stopping and deciding to go to sanitarium to get the full picture. On the streets of Silent Hill, Travis will internally wonder how drugs and sleep deprivation can tie in with their nature and when finding the Butcher for the first time, he’ll try to explain it as either the drugs wearing off and his mind fighting back, using the location to base Butcher off it, or as him witnessing a murder (might change with morality).
Once you get to the Cedar Grove, Travis will finally talk properly with the drug distributor (you can suggest a good name below). There will be general stuff about the drug and suspected effects, and Travis will say some of what he’s seen, which will surprise him greatly. You can ask about how Kaufmann first found it and how long they've been doing it and he will reply that Kaufmann first discovered the effects a while ago, and tried to build up the evidence for its use as a new painkiller over the years, but was forced to abandon these plans after his bank went bust. (people rarely start out evil, and there needs to be some tipping point for Kaufmann.). At the end of the conversation he will offer Travis to sleep it off and then try the controlled dose of the drug to solve the mystery. Travis will bring up his smoking in a manner dependent on the morality so far: wonder which one is worse with negative, say that his health is already weakened, but he cannot be at peace with himself otherwise in positive and joke about which one will kill him first in the neutral. At this point, however, the green nurses will show up, and the accomplice will flee. Once Travis defeats nurses, he will try to extend the “drug” explanation, but then reject it in frustration.
Remember how I brought up Travis threatening Kaufmann’s underling with police above? Well, this entire conversation that I described above doesn’t happen if you bring it up and then refuse to bulge and mention going to the federal police. If that happens, than Travis will simply get shot at the entrance to the sanitarium and he lies dying, he will come into view and apologise, saying “You were a good person, but not at this place. The world needs more people like you out there, not six feet under.” You die, but instead of a game- over, you’ll get shown the entire ending cutscene with the newspaper headline “Trucker shot in Silent Hill; police stumbled”, police speaking to Kaufmann and him but getting driven off, Travis’ funeral and then the camera panning back and then the ritual complete and the God finally reborn properly. The last thing we see is the map of Maine with the town of Silent Hill getting erased off it by blood and rust, which then spreads outwards and consumes the entire state before the credits run.
If you don’t stuff up that badly, game would be roughly the same from there until the Otherworld transition, although Travis will comment on the Remnants and other stuff more often. The mirror can only be activated at the right time and if you try to transition before, Travis will refuse to do that, and say that he’s not going to take more risks than needed. Once the time is right, the cutscene will play where he’ll think of his mother and her going insane because of the mirrors, and then her ghostly face will suddenly appear behind him in the mirror, and the room begins to rapidly fill up with greenish gas as the control is wrestled back to the player and you need to quickly touch the mirror to Otherworld before Travis chokes on the gas and dies. If you succeed, then he will collapse in tears on the floor of the floor of the Otherworld, and then becomes generally enraged and swears at the enemies in the sanitarium, with the cutscenes before and after Helen Grady fight changing depending on morality.
If you get killed, though, another false ending will play. This one is completely non-supernatural much like the Bad ending of the original Silent Hill and it instead shows Travis falling down dead at the floor and then his corpse being carried into the morgue as Kaufmann looks on in shock. Several newspaper headlines flash by: “Murder spree in Silent Hill: 11 killed in hospital, sanitarium”, “Trucker targeted nurses, mental patients, drug suspected to play a role”, “Maniac stopped by fatal overdose” and “Victims’ families condemn the failure of police force”. We then see several policemen being discharged and a funeral for the people killed, with the grieving families and colleagues present (including Lisa Garland and Kaufmann) , while a lone trucker (possibly one in the opening cutscene) looks on in shock. The camera sweeps the row of victims’ graves and then focuses on the Grady family graves before cutting to credits.
Theater and Motel
When you finish sanitarium, you will wake up and see the theatre ticket as usual. Travis will wonder if that is where he is really meant to go, until it gets stained in blood before his eyes and the “surplus” streets get cut off with more ravines. He will get the point and follow. When you get to the Lumber Yard, there would also be changes. The area itself would be larger, and broken up into two parts: a pile of crates or something similar resides about 2/3 of the way through it. Once you walk past it, you’ll discover a mutilated body of the drug distributor from the clinic and then look up and see the Butcher himself, who is standing next to a parked open-topped truck full of felled tree trunks. With some effort, he will overturn the truck, causing an avalanche of lumber that you then need to flee from. Besides simply running as fast as possible and avoiding obstacles, you’ll also have a Straightjacket emerge from nowhere and jump at you, initiating the QTE sequence: if you fail this time, both of you get crushed under the avalanche, but if you succeed, you’ll throw it off into the tree trunks’ path, slowing them down and allowing you to escape.
The theatre is the same plot-wise, although you get the dialogue with Lisa at the theatre where you can mention the monsters, the Butcher and death at the Lumber Yard, as well as recall Lisa’s behaviour at the Sanitarium, which she’ll explain away as her being unwell. As soon as she walks out, Travis will wonder how come no –one else seems to see the creatures much and recalls how he didn’t actually see the Butcher kill the drug dealer at Lumber Yard: he only found the body and his recollection isn’t clear.
As Travis finally approaches the door to the mirror room it will suddenly get broken down and fly a couple of metres at high speed, inflicting high damage if you don’t dodge it in time. Travis will automatically heal then if damaged, and then a cutscene will play of him, breathing heavily and firing several pistol shots into the room (which will be subtracted from your inventory), then rapidly running in to Otherworld. As soon as cutscene ends, you’re attacked by one suspended and two grounded upgraded Ariels in the Otherworld version of the room (changes depending on the difficulty). Like before, the mirror will go translucent and grey after use: instead of steel bars, though, a quote from Tempest will be etched across it in metal to add atmosphere.
When you get to adjust the Otherworld stage, it would also be a lot more tense, as Travis wonders if the town truly lets him control it at one point … only for the next transformation to unleash a rain of blood on him.
In the motel things could probably stay the same plot-wise, with the obvious exception of the Otherworld transition. This time, the cutscene will begin as Travis is walking towards the door. He will carefully approach it from the side, slowly open it from the side, wait, then walk in as nothing happens, taunting Alessa and the town about what has happened so far (changes depending on morality) and slowly approaching the mirror as he’s saying it, then suddenly smashing it as he finishes speaking. The glass will rapidly break and then the rest of the screen will transition to the Otherworld in a broken-glass effect. As the screen is cleared, it’s re-focused on where the mirror used to be: there is only a deep, jagged hole and as the control is handed back as 5-7 Creepers crawl out of this hole and attack you.
As I have said before, the two real endings change depending on morality. With the good ending, there is a scene as the truck drives out with Travis’ voiceover reflecting his personality (i.e. “All done … it’s a pity I couldn’t burn this town to the ground as well” with negative) but other than that it’s the same. The Butcher ending is quite different: firstly, the requirements for it become lower for each morality (i.e. 100 dead monsters is enough for negative, while good morality still has to claim all 200 to trigger this ending). The ending itself will be intercut with the early footage of the good ending: as Travis struggles on the hospital bed, we simultaneously see flashes of him walking out towards the truck and turning the ignition key much like in the good ending (without resetting the dial, though). Travis on the hospital bed stops struggling as the we hear the sound of the truck engine driving off.
Then, there is nothing but silence (or maybe something like metronome in the background) for about 7-10 seconds to symbolise passing of time, and then the faint white light flickers on above Travis. He looks up and we see that it’s a TV screen, where we see a news report about a maniac slaughtering people across America, with the police remaining stumbled. The morality comes into play here, as the neutral Travis will simply target whoever is convenient (“There is no discernible pattern amongst the victims killed, other than ending up in the killer’s way.) , the negatively-aligned Travis would specifically pick off women of all ages, while with the positive alignment he still has some principles left and only selects proven or suspected criminals, although report mentions he got it wrong several times.
It’s important to note that neither ending proves or disproves Travis being a serial killer BEFORE he came to the town: the best psychological horror relies on ambiguity and so it’s up to each player to decide whether the violent side represented by the Butcher has ever manifested strongly enough for him to kill, or if Travis’s good side had been strong enough to fight back and prevent that from happening.
I’m putting this into its own separate section because I haven’t quite settled on the right candidate here. I DO NOT think it’s Kaufmann: in the original Silent Hill, there is not a hint of Kaufmann being motivated by anything beyond his own benefit: when they finally talk to each other as Dahlia lies dying, there is no real feeling that the two have ever been lovers, and it’s the same in Origins. Plus, since many in the fandom already assume that to be the case, it would hardly be surprising for the players.
Now, virtually everything in the established lore implies that Alessa had always been raised by Dahlia alone, so whoever the father is, he either needs to be the outsider or die before her birth/soon after. The problem lies in how to make that scenario compelling, since we in Silent Hill are already quite used to people just dying prematurely in characters’ backgrounds. It would still work, of course, as a safe and relatively bland way of filling in backstory.
What is the risky and interesting alternative? In this scenario, I believe it would be to make Richard Grady the father. This scenario would require several important adjustments to the plot of the game (i.e. the date of Richard’s death would have to be moved to 1968 or 1969, since that is when Alessa was born, the cutscenes would be quite different, etc.) but ultimately the pay-off should be worth it.
Just imagine this from Richard’s perspective for a moment: it’s the third or fourth year since Helen has gone insane and he is slowly realising that the woman he loved would never be back. He is already beginning to get the idea that her spirit must have survived on its own and he could be reunited with her. During another visit to town, he walks through the Central Area in an attempt to drive these thoughts away when he notices the Green Lion Antiques. Inside, he meets young Dahlia into her late 20’s, still beautiful and enjoying life, not overly concerned with rebirthing God at the moment. The process is slow, but in a few years’ time, they become lovers in secret and from about 1964 to 1968, they’re somewhat happy, and he’s largely put Helen behind him.
In 1968, however, Helen Grady finally dies, and not only do the memories come back, but he accidentally blurts out that he’s going to a funeral to young Travis, who is shocked that his father had lied to him for so long. Just as he’s trying to deal with all that, he finds out that Dahlia is pregnant, and he’s pushed over the edge. Feeling immensely guilty and unable to confess to his now- 13 son that he’s been unfaithful for so long, he hangs himself in his final stay at the motel. This affects not only Travis, but also Dahlia, who feels that the child has taken Richard away from her and contemplates abortion, before taking the legend of Samael seriously and deciding to use her to birth a God.
The biggest gripe of many players, the inventory would now be highly limited, and not in the abstract way of The Room, Homecoming and Downpour (you can only carry two ammo clips/ can only carry two weapons), but in the physical way of the early RPGs. The items are divided into four size categories:
Light – takes up one inventory slot. Flashlight, map, radio, Ammo boxes, health drinks, energy drinks, short-range melee weapons (screwdrivers, scalpels, etc.) and pistols all fit into this category.
Long – four inventory slots in a row, used by the pitchforks, hammers, Pokers, etc. , as well as by the shotgun and the two rifles.
Heavy – four slots in a two- by-two combination. Used by the rest of the thrown weapons.
So, these are the categories. The slots here are not something imaginary but real, physical compartments. At the beginning, you are restricted to what you can carry on your person: that’s four light slots in the jeans (two back pockets and two hip pockets), two medium slots for the vest’s outer pockets (I know his current model doesn’t have, so they’ll need to be added in), three light slots for internal pockets and flashlight mounting (always occupied by flashlight, but you can dump the flashlight and carry something else if you REALLY want to.), and one heavy/long slot on his back. In addition, he can pick up and carry any other weapon in his hands, but will drop it if he’s switching to one carried in his inventory.
Later on (either at the beginning of sanitarium or near the end of hospital) you’ll also pick up a rucksack, which will replace the long/heavy slot on your back and will basically give about 16 - 20 more storage spaces in total, allowing you to carry two thrown weapons or “long weapons” in addition to the many light slots that most players will use for ammo and health (though you can fill it all up with jagged wood or screwdrivers if you so dare). One final storage upgrade will occur at the Artaud Theater, where you’ll obtain a shoulder-mounted holster in addition to the service pistol.
If realised properly, this system will make the game far more realistic and grounded (something breakable weapons failed to do on their own) and greatly increase the element of choice and tension. What is more important: another health drink or a pistol clip? Do I keep the hunting rifle and its ammo after obtaining fake AK-47 or dump it in favour of more melee and health? Should I employ my combat skills all the way through the game and dump the energy drinks, or stockpile them and then pray the next room has good weapons to pick up? Speaking of weapons…
Now that the inventory is suddenly limited, you cannot just switch weapons on the fly and so they become much more important. Also, because the Origins as it is now has made some weapons a bit too breakable by the general consensus, here are waht I think are the needed adjustments:
If you think that something is not quite balanced yet, then feel free to tell me in the comments! The only other adjustments to the present weapons could be to fix the baton’s attack animation (seriously, you can’t stab anyone with that thing) and change the sprite of the Lamp Stand so that it matches its description.
There wouldn't be much else to do here, as Origins has more than enough different weapons in it: perhaps a pipe could be added in to maintain the proud tradition, but not much else is needed at the start. I said at the start because as I plan for two false endings (see above), they should also have their own weapons to unlock in the proud Silent Hill tradition:
“Getting shot” ending: Sawn-off shotgun. This uses the same ammo as the regular shotgun and has considerably reduced range. However, it is quicker to fire, does slightly more damage, fits into the medium slots: (i.e. it takes up half the space of regular shotgun and can be carried in the vest’s pocket) and because it’s a different shotgun model, it fits four shots in the magazine rather than 2. You would also get something like the Chicago gangster suit to go with it.
“Drug Overdose” ending: You’ll find several previously locked cupboards containing bottles full of alcohol and a lighter to go with it: you effectively unlock Molotov cocktails as thrown weapons to use. The fire burns for about seven seconds and inflicts even more damage than the TVs, instantly killing everything up to small Carrions, and significantly wounding large Carrions and Calibans. Remnants and the Alessa’s Dream are invulnerable to it, however. Ending would also unlock a “Chemist” costume with it, with lab coat, safety glasses and all that jazz.
I have actually started writing this blog with thoughts on how to make the enemies more challenging, but then realised that horror in Silent Hill is especially delicate in regards to this. Donwpour was often criticised for trying to compensate for the bland enemy designs with enemies easily reading and interrupting combos. Homecoming probably has it even worse: from I observed so far, it seems like familiarity with “slasher” games is the key: those who aren’t familiar complain about enemies easily knocking you down and blocking your attacks, while ones with experience learn to avoid the same enemies and then stun-lock them with knifes. As such, I think that the best way to circumvent the problem is to put in two difficulty selections: one governing the numerical difficulty (frequency of supplies, health you possess, damage dealt, etc., etc.) and another governing enemies’ AI and how many abilities they use. On Easy it’s much like Origins in their current state, with just a few adjustments. When on full-strength, the enemies change like this:
Faceless Nurse – they gain group AI much like the Shattered Memories (or better, if possible), so that they learn to attack from multiple directions and surround the player. They will also gain better hearing and they will try to search for the player by sound. In combat, they would remain similarly slow-moving, but they will also try to flank the player as much as possible and side-step any particular obvious attacks: if the nurse is walking towards you and you’re have raised your hammer for an overhead swing while it’s still 3-4 metres away, it would notice it and step backwards to avoid it, and same would apply to all charged attacks. They would also be able to side-step thrown weapons if you launch them too far away and give them time to dodge.
When it comes to offense, the nurses at the hospital and sanitarium will differ in more than just appearance. Both types of nurses will only use syringes for melee attack, but each Alchemilla nurse also carries a purse on her left side: if during combat the player gets 6 or more metres away from the nurse, she will search inside her purse, take out a scalpel with her left hand and throw it at you, inflicting low damage if it hits. The entire procedure takes about 5-6 seconds, during which they try to keep their distance. They will also randomly throw scalpels around the room if they spotted you once, but then lost sight (i.e., you turned the flashlight on, then off).
Sanitarium nurses are not capable of throwing scalpels: when facing them, Travis will remark that there is no need for extra sharp objects in a place with mental patients. Instead, they learn to block your melee attacks (since nurses at mental hospital can often get attacked), although their reaction time remains quite slow (i.e. they can't block all attacks perfectly) : they will also still absorb a fraction of the damage unless you’re using a really weak weapon (i.e. bare hands or baton), but wouldn’t flinch, allowing them to get a free hit on you or to grapple you. Tying in with Travis concerned about drugs at this point in time, each hit from their syringes will cause your vision to blur slightly, as well as slow you down somewhat. The effect becomes FAR more pronounced if they succeed at their grapple sequence: however, using a health drink will negate the effects. For both nurses, there is also a bonus stage to the grapple sequence: if you push all the required buttons to throw them off, time will slow down for a second before you throw them off and 1-2 additional buttons will flash. If you get them correctly, Travis will intercept nurse’s arm and stab her with her own syringe, inflicting great damage.
Straightjacket – They fully embrace their supposed “madness and isolation” symbolism to differentiate them from Lying Figures. They will never walk, but instead jog or run in unpredictable patterns, constantly changing speed and direction. They will be able to spit their acid at you from about the same range as nurses can throw scalpels, but will do so while moving. If they’re sufficiently far away from you, they will stop moving, their whole body shaking and producing a kind of muffled scream/groan for 3-4 seconds: this is a warning for Travis to keep moving away as they charge up for a burst fire of three acid globules at your location, all of which can still be dodged by running in circles.
In Otherworld, they will change their appearance slightly to become more disturbing and they will gain another ranged attack: they would stop and bend down for about 5-7 seconds, before rapidly straightening up and spitting a very large acid globule on the floor in front of you, leaving a corrosive acid pool for several seconds that other monsters would avoid. From Artaud Theater onwards, they will also occasionally be able to drop down to the floor as you lock onto them with firearms, causing you to waste a shot if you’re not careful. Finally, their grapple sequence also gets a bonus section: if you succeed, Travis will hit the creature hard at the knee as he’s throwing it off, preventing it from moving, grappling or performing the Otherworld attack, effectively turning it into easily avoidable stationary turret.
Remnant – these creatures don’t really need more attacks, since they represent the shadows of the old and insane patients, so giving them complicated moves or allowing them to block would miss the point. Instead, they will simply gain 1.5 times more health regardless of difficulty, and will constantly try to stay out of the flashlight as they’re closing in on you.
Carrion - small ones don’t need any more changes, since they’re powerful enough as they’re and represent their theme well. Large Carrions will have a few graphic wounds on them and will occasionally be able to summon a large fly swarm from them. The fly swarm is temporary, only lasting for about 10 seconds, but it is indestructible and will chase after Travis at decent speed, inflicting low, but constant damage if it catches up.
Ariel – when they grapple you from above, a bonus section will allow you to pull them down with you, inflicting damage and downing them. On the ground, they will be able to surround you, side-step and block your attacks much like nurses, but will also be able to drop to the ground to avoid weapon fire like Straightjackets. In Otherworld, they become almost blackish-grey in colour and at short ranges will also be able to drop to the ground and then lunge forward to pull you down by the legs like Slurpers in SH3.
Caliban – virtually the same, but in order to make the melee combat more challenging, they’ll be able to suddenly slide backwards 2-3m after roar if hit from behind or if you just stay behind them for too long, to prevent the players from just constantly hitting them in the back with light weapons. They will also attempt to block melee attacks, but their reaction is slow, so it will only succeed occasionally.
Two-Back – gains far more complicated acid spit patterns: one normal with almost no delay, three normal in a burst like Straightjacket’s with similar delay, one large and powerful with the same delay as the three-shot burst, five in a long burst with a 5-7 second charge-up time and finally a regular shot followed by a corrosive shot on the floor in your path (also with 5-7 second charge-up time.) Each of the special attacks will also have a different audio cue and charge-up animation to make it fair. Because of their mini-boss status, there is no bonus section to their grapple sequence.
The updates here will probaly need to get done regardless of the enemy AI meter, because all bosses were far too easy at their original state.
Momma – Her health probably needs to be tripled (not even doubled!) , because she’s way too weak as it is. I think her present attacks do a decent job at short- to – medium range, but are easily avoided when players simply run to corners and shoot from there. As such, at long range the gibbet around her will rapidly spin with a screeching sound, deflecting all bullets and melee attacks while a green gas cloud will break off from her and chase you at decent speed, dissipating after about 15 seconds.
Butcher – when you finally fight him in the kitchen, the introductory cutscene will change slightly: he will have the Two-Back restrained with a large, thick chain tipped with a meat hook, and rip it out of the corpse when he spots you. When the battle begins, rather than slowly walking towards Travis and getting shot, he will immediately throw the chain right at Travis' feet, and you’ll only have a second to step behind the counter. If the chain hits you, it will knock you down, the hook embedding itself in your body and another grapple sequence will begin, where you will struggle to pull the hook out, slowly losing the rest of your health, as the Butcher slowly walks towards you to finish you off with a cleaver.
If you succeed at dodging the chain, however, the hook will get stuck in the floor, and it will take Butcher 5 – 7 seconds to pull it out. During that time, you cannot just pop back in, as the chain is thick and prevents entrance, so you’ll have to run past the other side of the counter and shoot at Butcher from there (not melee him, since if you walk too close, he will still swing back with his cleaver). This leaves you with about 2-3 seconds of shooting before he starts walking towards you, with the same attacks and grapple sequences as usual. Once you manage to put about 5-6 metres distance in between you, he will stop and swing his chain again, and it will continue like that until you kill him.
Sad Daddy – like with Helen, while his symbolism is OK and the transformation is creepy, his health needs to be doubled or even tripled… it’s really not funny when the fight takes less than a minute with firearms! His attacks can no longer be interrupted as well.
In addition to his current attacks, he will use another one at long range (i.e. if you're too far away for the tentacles and biting to reach you): there will be a sound as if he's choking and struggling for 2-3 seconds and then the two “leg” metal platforms will rapidly slam into the wall behind you with a monstrous clang. You need to recognise the sound and move away from the back of the room closer to him, because while the attack will disorient you regardless of where you’re standing due to the sound (kind of like the Prisoner Minion ear-slapping in Downpour, except that you don’t need to shake the controller for it to go away), the impact force will throw you off the platform if you’re standing near the wall, which is obviously an instant-kill.
Alessa's Dream – has doubled health and two phases: first phase has the same appearance, but taller, wider and more muscular. Its attacks get significantly revamped: in order to prevent cases [like this], when players can just let loose with bullets while it charges up, then quickly dodge and continue shooting, it will only use the chest beam attack if it isn’t attacked for at least five seconds. If you start shooting straightaway, it will not open its chest but instead quickly backhand a fast-moving fireball at you, with only a second’s warning. If it misses, it will fire a couple more in rapid succession until you’re far enough away, then let loose with its rain of fire. If one of them hits, it will inflict moderate (i.e. 40% - 50% health) damage and stun you for a couple of seconds when you’re on fire and the boss will begin charging its chest beam straightaway to take advantage of that, so you only get a couple of seconds to dodge. The only other way to get this attack is to stay relatively close to the demon without shooting: effectively, you must bait him into using this attack to take advantage of its charge-up and recovery time.
The chest beam attack itself gets much wider and lasts for several seconds, but knocks you down straightaway, so that it does large (70% health) damage instead of an insta-kill. The space around the beam also gets blurred and distorted, and the time slowed down.
Second form – once you get its health halfway down (at which point the original Alessa’s Dream would have been dead) , its reddish flesh will melt away in a cutscene, covering the entire floor in its sticky blood, which will slow Travis down during the actual fight.
For this second phase, its thinned body is set on fire, so any attempts to melee it will inflict plenty of damage on you. Its rain of fire attack remains roughly unchanged, and it will still use it if you’re just keep moving around without attacking. The fireball attack will now leave a fire blazing on the floor where it hit for a few seconds, if you were at long-to-medium range. At short range, the demon will instead shoot a flamethrower-like jet of flame, though still with the same “charging-up” animation. Finally, instead of the chest beam it will create a semi-circular wall of fire in front of it, which will reflect all bullets while it’s charging up, and once ready, it will spread out in a semi-circle, starting out 2.5 – 3 m tall and slow, but rapidly getting shorter and faster, over in about five seconds. The only way to avoid this attack is to get to the monster’s side while it’s charging up.
Technically speaking, Origins had eight puzzles in it: same number as Silent Hill 1 and 3. However, since we're updating it this much, a couple new puzzles might well be added in. I could come up with some ideas, but I would really appreciate it if you could suggest the best locations for the puzzles to go in.
Some graphics update is likely to be in order, but this is definitely NOT the most important thing here. What I’m more interested in are any suggestions to the level design/visual design: any details you felt were missing and could be added in to increase the atmosphere even further.
So, I think that this is it! I hope that this wasn’t too long and that it was at least somewhat refreshing for you to read! I'm very interested to read your reaction to this blog!