In our video series, The Real Silent Hill Experience, we stated that the ‘Good+’ ending was the real ending on the basis that it was the ending most difficult to achieve and contained the most plot information. Our statements were met with disapproval, even outrage that we would go against the ‘canon’ established by the later Silent Hill games and Konami published books such as the Lost Memories section of the official Japanese Silent Hill 3 strategy guide, all pointing in the direction of Silent Hill’s ‘Good’ ending.
Discrepancies such as this were the subject of The Real Silent Hill Experience, where we drew a line between old games and new; what was the ‘intent’ (laid out in Silent Hill 1-3) and what was canonical. We had done something nobody had ever done before: formed a full analysis of the series using only information from the games and creators, and in doing so found that not everything Konami releases agrees with the first three games. In fact, many sources with Konami’s stamp of approval contradict the first three games outright. We determined that what is considered part of the ‘canon’ of the series is not necessarily in keeping with the original intent.
Jeremy Blaustein, series localization and voice-acting director, defined “canon” as it relates to Silent Hill.
Blaustein: “Let me clear something up: “Canon” is anything in the Silent Hill games that was produced by Konami. For SH2, 3 and 4, that means anything written by me. Period. End of story. In fact, that is the definition of Canon. If tomm says it, it is canon. If I say it, canon. Devin? canon. If a former actor says it or if some kid in their moms basement say it, not so much. Pretty clear?”
Current series producer Tomm Hulett makes regular blog posts lecturing players on the subjects of ‘authorial intent’ and ‘canon’. Indeed, there is a post inspired by us dedicated to the discussion of which Silent Hill ending is canonical. Tomm states that the Silent Hill series is an exception to the rule that “the author’s intent is the final word”, and that all answers are right answers until the ‘canon’ shows otherwise. But this can lead to confusion when two sources of canon are contradicting each other.
Tomm Hulett has on one occasion provided an argument against our view of a singular-dimensional Silent Hill, and more recently stated, “the games don’t span multiple dimensions.” (This after the release of our supplementary video describing our argument more completely…) This last statement was (vaguely) contradicted (maybe?) even more recently by Jeremy Blaustein in a lengthy discussion on our Facebook fan page.
When sources of canon are contradicting each other, where does one turn? We at Twin Perfect turn to the intent of the original three games and their creators (with the games taking precedent). They are the only sources of information that remain constant and consistent.
Recently, Twilight Nebula citizen Taylor the Impaler had a correspondence with Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama (via series art director Masahiro Ito over Twitter) about the true ending of Silent Hill 1. The quote was originally translated by Ito below.
Toyama: “I started to write that story without to decide ending, but I thought it was necessary to make a great change and surprise in it, toward writing the ending of the story. So I thought up the dead of Cybil and “Good+” ending. I thought it was desirable that the “Good+” ending would be become clear after few weeks since it was released, but it was found out immediately.
I remember that I said “Good” was the true ending, because Good+ is a game’s game. Probably, Owaku rememberd that and he wrote SH3 story as a sequel to “Good”.But, now, I change my mind and consider the “Good+” is a true ending.”
Many have found some of this translation to be a bit confusing, so we asked Jeremy Blaustein to translate the original Japanese message (apologies to Mr. Ito).
J Blau’s translation of the original Japanese:
“I wrote the ending without deciding on it, so by the time I was finished, I thought that a big surprise was needed and I wrote the Sybil death~hard difficulty rescue ending. I thought the existence of the Good + should best be made several weeks after the game went on sale, but it was quickly discovered.
As a story, the Good+ is too game-like and so I remember saying that the Good is the true story and so I think that SH3 was a continuation of Good. However, now I have changed my mind slightly and think that perhaps the Good+ ending is the correct version.”
Previously, we had made another case for the Good+ ending, thanks to YouTube commenter MegaBearsFan, who reminded us that Hiroyuki Owaku, Silent Hill’s writer, can be quoted in ‘Lost Memories’ stating:
Owaku: “What happens to [Cybil] afterwards is left to players’ imaginations.”
Since Cybil does not live through the Good ending, nothing would be left for us to decide, and the only viable option then is the Good+. In this case, two (if not three) of the original creators have stated their intent, and it contradicts the statements Tomm Hulett makes as part of his “all endings are true” argument, which allows for Cybil’s death at Harry’s hands. We have no choice but to chose the side of author intent. The line between ‘intent’ and ‘canon’ is becoming ever more solid.
Even then, we are faced with criticism for coming to any conclusion at all. Tomm takes a passive-aggressive stab at us for forcing our will onto others when it comes to our video series (this from an article that supposedly celebrates any and all interpretations of Silent Hill’s story). But, if the conclusions in our video series made sense to someone and changed their views, who is Tomm to say that’s wrong? Is the reasoning power of our viewers not considered in this case?
He believes that any attempt to piece together a definitive answer to the series’ questions defies the spirit of the series. We could not disagree more. We think the games are a puzzle with a definite answer that’s up to the player to piece together. The fact that Toyama is providing us with a definite answer that disagrees with popular opinion seems to back up that claim. Even Tomm stated, “There are answers and Konami has them,” so why provide a mystery and then discourage the conclusion to which an investigation leads?
Perhaps because it’s the only way to justify the incongruities that materials outside of the original three games create.
These incongruities are what truly defy the spirit of the series. It’s as if you are putting together an “author intent” jigsaw puzzle, and then someone comes along and dumps a deceptively similar “canon” puzzle into your pile of puzzle pieces. You may complete a whole section of the puzzle only to discover that it doesn’t fit with the one you were already putting together. This is what it’s like to be a Silent Hill fan nowadays.
The real slap in the face is that we payed the company that gave us the original puzzle for the offending pieces.