Hideo Kojima may be poised to unleash his latestest, eccentric opus on the world – that'd be his babies-and-ladders drama, Death Stranding – but in another, less depressing reality, he'd probably have already finished Silent Hills.
This, you may recall, was his planned entry in the long-running survival horror series, made in conjunction with his filmmaking chum Guillermo del Toro. But then Kojima fell out with Konami, Silent Hills was cancelled, his name was not-so-quietly scrubbed from the promotional materials for Metal Gear Solid V, and Kojima departed to set up his own, separate studio.
Even P.T., the 2014 demo intended as an appetiser for Silent Hills, got caught up in the drama – Konami pulled this from the PlayStation Store, too, which has only added to the teaser's sinister allure. Unless you already have P.T. downloaded onto your PS4, there's no way of playing the demo through official channels.
If you have actually played P.T., though, you'll know that it's one of the most eerie experiences ever committed to a console: a first-person tiptoe through a shadowy haunted house, complete with its own malevolent spirit – Lisa.
As you explore the building, solving puzzles, Lisa is barely-glimpsed yet seemingly omnipresent – and, thanks to the findings of game hacker Lance MacDonald (thanks, Gamasutra), we now know this is literally true.
As soon as you pick up a torch early in the game, the Lisa character model is attached to the player camera, and will follow behind for the rest of the loop. MacDonald knows this because he's hacked the game, and found a way to lock the camera so that Lisa's tricked into walking straight out in front of the player's view. Take a look:
In P.T., it's common to hear noises as if Lisa is right behind you, or see weird shadows moving around in front of you, but when you turn around, there's nothing there. I hacked the game to allow the player to see behind them without actually turning around and... pic.twitter.com/bj1P0ymIZ6— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) September 9, 2019
She actually attaches to the player's back as soon as you get the flashlight, here, I demonstrate how you can see some strange shadows. I then lock the camera in place and walk forward, showing how she's always there... following you... pic.twitter.com/zarhwjNmZz— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) September 9, 2019
It's a small yet fascinating insight into how some of P.T.'s scariest moments were created – those shadows flickering on the wall, which vanish the second you turn around – and how simply they were created. Far from demystifying the game's scares, though, we'd argue the information only adds to the game's sinister allure. After all, what could be more fitting for a horrror story than the revelation that she was behind us the whole time.