The Medium Game Controversy: Heres Why Silent Hill Fans Despise the Medium

Silent Hill is back in the news as rumors about various projects in the works continue to surface. If reports are correct, we may expect remakes, new titles, and even short tales, with Konami suddenly finding renewed faith in a franchise that has been on the back burner for decades.

This is all really exciting news for survival horror aficionados like me, but there is also cause for caution when looking into the rumors and who is involved. I dont want to keep pounding the dead Bloober Team horse, with the company behind Layers of Fear, Blair Witch, and The Medium being constantly linked to rumors of a Silent Hill 2 remake. I dislike its work, and Im concerned about how it will approach Silent Hill and grasp the nuances of its ideas and characters.

The Medium Is a Terrible Game

It fails to grasp any of the reasons Silent Hill is a horror icon while repeatedly attempting to imitate its style, concepts, and characters with the elegance and decorum of a reversing dump truck without its tires on. Even before this game, shows like Layers of Fear and Blair Witch addressed topics about mental illness with almost hilarious zeal, attempting to explore them in ways that were ultimately harmful and pointed to poor writing and a lack of expertise on the issue.

The Medium exacerbates these issues to an unbelievable degree. Mechanically and graphically, it is a perfectly great horror game, and people who arent interested in going deeper may not see it as worrisome, so allow me to explain why die-hard Silent Hill fans are worried about Bloober Team taking over.

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The Medium Follows Marianne

A young lady is lured to the abandoned tourist town of Niwa in Poland a few years after the Soviet Union collapses. On the surface, this is a captivating scenario that draws on the culture of the Bloober Team.

Marianne soon encounters Sadness, a spirit who has assumed the shape of a little girl. In the next hours, it becomes evident that she is a depiction of Lilianne, the resorts managers daughter, whose personal trauma gave birth to a monster that slaughtered everyone who formerly called this place home.

Sexual assault at the hands of Thomas, a family acquaintance who took advantage of his position to molest a defenseless young girl while threatening her to keep silent, resulted in the birth of this monster. It all comes out eventually, leading to further fatalities, fire, and the appearance of the aforementioned monster.

This subject matter isnt intrinsically awful, and it might have been a powerful dramatic core if handled with delicacy. Its insulting, and harmful, and portrays victims of abuse as unsalvageable, as individuals who do nothing but continue the patterns of abuse that have characterized so much of their life. Its repulsive, and theres no way to justify it.

Thomas was molested as a youngster, and his paedophilic impulses stem from a traumatic history that he has been unable to overcome. In a flashback sequence, we see his youth and are asked to sympathize with a man who has previously been proven to be an abuser.

Its terrible that he was abused by his parents and was raised to be so fundamentally influenced by them, but that doesnt justify raping a little girl and trying to cover it up, and it appears to assume that those who have been abused are doomed to repeat history and tie themselves up in a fate that will always end in tragedy.

Many have overcome terrible upbringings to become better individuals, raising and loving their own children. Their trauma may follow them for the rest of their lives, but it is not a vice that holds them back.

The Medium implies we are incapable of development or healing, and it should be ashamed of cobbling together a story with such a comical knowledge of psychology and damaging assumptions about cycles of abuse and how we might break them.

Marianne and Lilianne reunite at a wharf by the river towards the end of the game, offering our heroine a revolver and imploring her to take her life. It is, in her opinion, the only way to silence the demon spawned by her terrible background and restore balance to the planet.

The Medium concludes with a girl who was sexually assaulted as a child pleading with someone to kill her since she has been so damaged by this trauma that the Bloober Team believes she is no longer worthy of love. Shed sooner die than seek therapy or reconstruct her damaged psyche with the support of loved ones.

This conveys a chilling message to actual victims of abuse who play this game that they arent worth saving and that whatever experiences theyve had are only capable of repeating cycles of abuse and harming people around them.

Destroying the cycle is impossible without breaking ourselves, with our own death considered the only way to effect change and make the world a better place. This viewpoint is callous, unreasonable, and inexcusable.

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The picture fades to black as the gunshot rings out, so we dont know what happened, but the implication couldnt be clearer. Silent Hill 2 the game said to be remade by Bloober Team with extended endings, puzzles, and gameplay takes a lot deeper and more careful approach.

Certain characters are over-the-top, but James Sunderlands narrative of coming to grips with his own crimes and constantly confronting poisonous pictures of his own guilty psyche has aged nicely because the game can explain its harsh themes.

Given that it was released two decades ago, the fact that it manages to weave a more meaningful story with sophisticated psychological inquiry is a remarkable achievement, and further condemnation of everything The Medium gets wrong.

For the most part, Silent Hill fans are a wise lot that loves horror that doesnt hold their hand and is prepared to tackle the challenging subject matter with superb writing to back up all the risks they are willing to take. Silent Hill 2 is the pinnacle of that ambition, and the fact that Bloober Team has been granted the authority to not just remake but also change this classic is a very troubling possibility.

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