Fans of the Silent Hill franchise love to make connections between the games to see how they all link up. There are many references to draw upon in Silent Hill: The Short Message, but even hardcore players might miss them if they’re not paying attention.
There are connections to be made in every Silent Hill game. Some are more obvious than others, such as Pyramid Head showing up in Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill: Book of Memories, and Silent Hill 5: Homecoming. Others are much more subtle, such as the note in Silent Hill 2 that was the springboard for the entirety of Silent Hill 4: The Room. There are loads of connections between the wider franchise and Silent Hill: The Short Message players can make, but they need to be paying attention.
How is Silent Hill: The Short Message Connected to the Silent Hill Universe?
Spoilers ahead for those who have not played Silent Hill: The Short Message.
While playing Silent Hill: The Short Message, we noticed many links between it and the rest of the franchise. We’ve attempted to do this in the order of the games as a fan would play them to help the links make sense. First of all, protagonist Anita was abused as a child, just like how Alessa Gillespie of the first Silent Hill was. It’s the trauma these two have experienced that has shaped their surroundings. While Alessa revels in her creation, Anita wants to escape hers and must battle with it.
The Short Message also references a witch and how Anita was tarred with the same brush as her grandmother, the alleged witch, at home and in school. This isn’t as fleshed out as it could be, but it sounds to us very much like Anita and Alessa share a lot of trauma. It’s possible this is why Silent Hill chose to reach out to her.
Towards the end of The Short Message, players see Anita hide in a closet, similar to how James Sunderland does when he first encounters Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2. In both games, this is when players get a glimpse of the toughest and most obvious physical form of each character’s inner turmoil. Both monsters hunt the people whose psyche they’ve been created from. They’re both forms of punishment that these protagonists won’t let go.
The only connection between Silent Hill: The Short Message and Silent Hill 3 is the ending, from what we can tell. In both games, the protagonists experience happiness, and a new world of possibilities is revealed to them. This future is only afforded to them because they have conquered their demons.
The Short Message features a piece of the story that’s never fully explored. A pregnancy test dumped in the trash. We believe that this is meant to dignify an unwanted pregnancy, much like Heather’s in Silent Hill 3, but without more details we can’t be sure.
We noticed two connections between Silent Hill: The Short Message and Silent Hill 4: The Room. First is the chained door mechanic. In Silent Hill 4, there is one chained door that is used as a sort of antagonist, keeping Henry Townshend locked inside his room, forcing him to visit various locations through the scary hole in his bathroom.
These doors bear the initials of the protagonist’s love interest/source of trauma in The Short Message. This is because the individual they represent was locking them out of certain parts of their life, trapping them.
The second link with Silent Hill 4 is the drawing of a hole in The Short Message. This hole is the way Henry Townshend escapes his room in Silent Hill 4, but in The Short Message, the drawing represents the protagonist’s inner feelings. It’s large and black, and grows in size the more depressed, abused, and traumatized they are in their life. In a way, it looks like Anita is trying to create the hole from Silent Hill 4 so she can escape.
There’s one obvious link to draw between Silent Hill: The Short Message and Silent Hill 5: Homecoming. In both games, the protagonists kill someone close to them, though they don’t mean to, and feel a lot of regret over those deaths. We can also use this to link The Short Message to Silent Hill Downpour, the sixth entry since Downpour’s protagonist is a prisoner of his actions too.
It’s difficult to say if Silent Hill: The Short Message is a direct sequel to P.T., but we believe it is. Aside from the similar visuals, there are small nods, such as requirements for players to zoom in to examine objects, and a baby head that drops to the floor like one from a trailer for P.T..
For us, the biggest link is the story. The Short Message’s story feels to us like that of the antagonist in P.T.‘s daughter. It’s as if Anita was abused by Lisa and taken away before the events of P.T., but both have ended up being affected by Silent Hill for the trauma that hits their lives.
This final connection is going to sound bonkers, but it does exist. The inciting incident of Silent Hill: The Short Message relates to a book. Silent Hill: Book of Memories is about exploring the pages of a book that take players to Silent Hill. It’s a very loose connection, but we can’t help but note it because, ultimately, Book of Memories is a part of the series.
To close, we want to make a connection that feels solid. In Silent Hill Origins, the protagonist is drawn to the town of Silent Hill at the moment it becomes an entity that alters itself for each individual. Anita is drawn to the apartment complex in The Short Message because of the death she caused, and that’s why we believe Silent Hill also reaches out to her. This brings the series full circle and shows that the town can be a part of anyone’s life anywhere.