What is with this mystery game?Blue Box Game Studios
Blue Box Game Studios began teasing its upcoming horror game Abandoned back in June. Those teases seem to have strange ties with Metal Gear Solid developer Hideo Kojima and the Silent Hill franchise. Some believe it's part of a secret plan to announce a new Silent Hill game, while others believe it's just hype.
Gamescom, a video trade show in Cologne, Germany, kicked off Wednesday with Opening Night Live. Those who believed in the conspiracy, who call themselves Team Real, were hoping for some big surprise from Kojima that would confirm their suspicions. However, that didn't happen.Get the CNET Culture newsletter
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The possibility of a new Silent Hill title sent many gamers down a rabbit hole to understand how Blue Box, an unknown Netherlands-based developer, could be linked to Kojima, one of the most well-known developers in the gaming industry. It's created a lot of buzz around Abandoned, which hardly anyone cared about previously.
Here's what you need to know about the theories around Abandoned.
What is Abandoned?
According to a PlayStation blog post from April, the game is a "cinematic, first-person horror survival shooter set in a highly detailed open world environment and favours a realistic approach to survival." Players step into the role of Jason Longfield, who was kidnapped and left in a forest for some dark purpose.
Abandoned will feature 60 frames per second and native 4K resolution visuals. It'll also make use of the PS5's DualSense wireless controller to let players "feel each and every interaction during gameplay." There are still no details on the game's release date.
Why is Abandoned getting so much attention?
On June 15, the Blue Box account on Twitter sent a now-deleted tweet:
"Guess the name:
Abandoned = (First letter S, Last letter L). Reveal closing in…#PS5 #Exclusive"Twitter
This tweet caused gamer communities across the internet to light up in excitement. The most prominent game that fits the criteria laid out in the tweet is Konami's psychological horror series Silent Hill.
The original Silent Hill first was first released on the original PlayStation and became a favorite for horror fans. Follow-up games garnered more praise and grew the series' fan base over the years. Silent Hill Downpour came out in 2012, and publisher Konami has yet to make another game in the franchise, as it stopped work on big-budget titles in 2015 (though the company said in January that it didn't cease making games altogether).
Those that came to this Abandoned-Silent Hill revelation also likely remembered the mystery surrounding the PS4 game P.T.
What was P.T. and how's it connected to Abandoned?
Back in 2014, Sony quietly released P.T. on its PSN Store after the game was briefly teased during the company's press event at gaming trade show Gamescom.
P.T. is a horror game that takes place in one corridor in a house, and it was created by an unknown developer called 7780s Studio. Beating the game required players to figure out the final puzzle, and their reward was a cut scene showing a digitized Norman Reedus walking through the streets of a city. Then came the big reveal: a new game from Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima and movie director Guillermo del Toro called Silent Hills.
The reveal led many to the realization that P.T. actually stood for "Playable Teaser."
For those who saw the Blue Box tweet that appeared to hint at Abandoned being a Silent Hill game, everything made sense. Here once again was an unknown horror game from an unknown studio.
One user on Reddit compiled even more evidence, such as an interview with Silent Hill composer Akira Yamoaka saying a new game was coming this summer; similarities between the Blue Box and PlayStation logo; and a tweet from the developer mentioning "snowflakes of blood," which was the visual shown in a Gamescom teaser in 2014.
Internet detectives also looked at Kojima's social media feeds for other clues, such as him taking a picture with a "blue box" and a June 9 tweet that had the words "silent" and "hill" in it. There are also strange coincidences between Kojima and the founder of Blue Box, Hasan Kahraman.
Who is Hasan Kahraman?
Kahraman is the founder of Blue Box and creator of Abandoned. When people began looking into this mystery, they noticed strange similarities between Kahraman and Kojima.
The first obvious one is both having the same initials, "H" and "K." While that's hardly mind-blowing, internet detectives dove further in, translating both developers' names and saying that Hasan Kahraman is Turkish for "handsome hero" while Hideo Kojima means the same thing in Japanese.
There was also the question of timing around tweets from the studios. Blue Box is based in the Netherlands, but many of the tweets from the developer's account come at what would be after midnight in the Netherlands but about 7 a.m. or later in Japan.
When the chatter about a connection began spreading, in June, Kahraman posted a video on the Blue Box Twitter account saying he has nothing to do with Kojima.
"I'm a real person, and I'm not really associated with Hideo Kojima," Kahraman said in the video. "I'm not an actor. I'm not working on Silent Hill."
What is the Abandoned: Realtime Experience app?
On July 27, Blue Box tweeted an image promoting the Abandoned Realtime Experience app for the PS5. The developer said in later tweets that the app would let players experience how the game looks and feels.
One thing internet detectives immediately recognized was how the blurry image in the tweet looks like a man wearing an eye patch, like the Metal Gear character Big Boss.
The app was available for download on the PS5 on Aug. 13 after some delays by Blue Box. What many found after downloading it was a screen showing trailers and demos. But only one clip, of a person walking, was available to watch.
The only available clip in the Abandoned Realtime Experience app.Blue Box Game Studios
This is the same clip the developer tweeted on Aug. 10.
The lack of additional content left many scratching their heads. There was also the question of why the app was approximately 5GB but consisted of only a 10-second clip. As of Aug. 24, only one video was available to watch.
Another confounding question is how an indie developer that has yet to release a game on the PS5 could release its own app. It's a strange move from both Blue Box and Sony, which would have to approve the app in the first place.
So is Abandoned another Silent Hill game?
Well, don't hold your breath. As strange as some of these things may be, there's still reason to doubt Blue Box is a cover for a secret Silent Hill game.
While some internet detectives inspected every possible link between Blue Box and Kojima, others focused their attention on Blue Box's history. The doubters took the name Team Fake in contrast to Team Real. In particular, Team Fake points to the previously announced games Blue Box failed to release.
Blue Box was founded in 2015, and it created a Kickstarter for a game called Rewind. The project raised only $205 of the $11,737 goal. In the following years, Blue Box announced three more games -- The Lost Tape, The Whisperer, Unseen Face -- and none were released.
In 2019, it released Tales of the Six Swords for Android Early Access, but the game never came out. The studio was also accused of taking an image from an anime as its game's icon. The following year, it released The Haunting for early access but then abandoned the project and handed it over to another developer.
Gamescom's Opening Night Live was a two-hour showcase of some major games coming out soon. The show ended with news from Kojima, but it was regarding his upcoming Death Stranding Director's Cut. Abandoned was a no-show and it seems unlikely it will make an appearance at the event.
Blue Box Game Studios, Hideo Kojima and Sony didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.