As of this writing, Silent Hills has been cancelled and P.T. has been completely ripped from the Playstation store. This may change, and I can only hope that it will, but Konami has set an unprecedented example of trying to remove a digital game from existence. Those who had ‘purchased’ P.T. on the Playstation store for free can no longer download it from their libraries, effectively making P.T. incredibly rare. There can only be less P.T. to go around anymore.
This breaks my heart, for a lot of reasons.
Back in August of 2014 I talked about why P.T. was the smartest and most interesting way to announce a video game. It was tactile, you had to touch it in some way in order to experience it. Beyond being a trailer for something you could play, it was something you could play in order to learn about something else you could play in the future. Some may call this kind of time-consuming experience just to see a trailer worthless, but it wasn’t.
Especially now that Silent Hills, the game that P.T. was a ‘playable teaser’ for, has been canceled, P.T. is more standalone than it was before, and all those who scoffed at P.T. being a game don’t have a leg to stand on. It isn’t a demo for something to come, it just is what it is. This was the perspective I took with it from the get go, since there really is nothing like P.T. on the market. It is magical in its own way, especially if you enter the teaser with zero expectations and not knowing what you’re going to get.
The reason I see this more as a “tragedy” in place of something like a supreme bummer is because it’s being swept under the rug and Konami is attempting to remove P.T. from our minds as well as our Playstation accounts. P.T., like I have said before, is different than any other game announcement before it; it was tactile. In a way, P.T. was just a cool video game that so many people played because that’s what the marketing machine wanted them to do.
Saying P.T. was unlike anything before it is an understatement. At it’s core, a viral marketing gimmick that most people didn’t care about, but it was also, on its own merits, a video game. You could play through and finish P.T. making it more than what Konami posited to be, allowing it to stand on its own two legs. I said it before, but if P.T. wasn’t attached to the Silent Hills marketing announcement, it would have been praised as one of the most interesting and powerful individual gaming experiences of 2014.
But past that, the time spent with P.T. was a commitment. For all of the annoying design you had to force through in order to finish it, there was something there, a unique experience that people put time and effort into. Unlike trailers or press releases, it was a measureable amount of time and effort that players committed to, and some absolutely loved. Konami is not only treating their fanbase poorly by taking P.T. off the store and making that unique venture that they, both Konami and players, invested in, but by acting so brashly like it doesn’t exist is offensive to the people that sunk hours into figure out it’s final puzzle.
It’s a general mistreatment of anyone and everyone who put time into P.T. and it’s goddamn depressing.