Both P.T. and Silent Hill: The Short Message were shadow-dropped during video game showcases, and each bears many similarities that make them look like a series. However, the reality of whether Silent Hill: The Short Message is a sequel to P.T. is much more complicated.
When P.T. was released, it was one of the first games to ever be shadow-dropped during a video game showcase. It took the world by storm as players struggled to find their way through the complex hallway loops to the conclusion that revealed it was a teaser for a game called Silent Hills. While the game was a teaser that never came to fruition, it has clearly inspired the next mainline entry, with Silent Hill: The Short Message pulling a lot of inspiration from it. But fans might be confused as to whether the latter game is a sequel to the former.
Is Silent Hill: The Short Message a Sequel to P.T./Silent Hills?
We believe that yes, Silent Hill: The Short Message is a sequel to P.T./Silent Hills. The problem is that P.T. was created in secret by Hideo Kojima against publisher Konami’s instructions, which is why he was eventually forced out of the company. Due to this unfortunate set of circumstances, we’re sure publisher Konami would say The Short Message is not a direct sequel to Kojima’s game.
Spoilers ahead for those who have not played Silent Hill: The Short Message.
However, The Short Message uses so many of the same mechanics and even draws upon parallel themes, leading us to believe that it must be a sequel in only the way that Silent Hill games can be. For example, the looping apartment system is used in chapter 3 of The Short Message just before the most complicated boss fight.
There are a few reasons we believe Silent Hill: The Short Message is a sequel to P.T.. Firstly, The Short Message is set in an apartment building where the town of Silent Hill is reaching out to protagonist Anita and feeding off her inner turmoil and trauma. This is most present in the school hallway scenes and locker puzzle. This is exactly what was happening with P.T.‘s protagonist, who was the town’s target because of his actions towards his family.
The second reason we strongly feel The Short Message is a sequel to P.T. comes in chapter 3. Notes and dialogue outline how the protagonist’s mother restarted her life as a single parent. She was hopeful until she met a new man. She wanted to ensure the man would stick around and began to neglect her children.
Eventually, this neglect leads to social services getting involved, causing a lot of trauma for the game’s protagonist. The death in this sequence mirrors one players explore in P.T., that of a baby boy. Furthermore, the man just wants to relax and drink beer, much like the protagonist of P.T..
The Short Message is, to us, the tale of the daughter of Lisa, the main antagonist of P.T.. She was abused away at a young age, much like Alessa Gillespie from the first and second Silent Hill games. While the events of P.T. tell the tale of what eventually happened to Anita’s mother, Anita’s story is separate but intrinsically linked.
It’s very easy to link Silent Hill: The Short Message and P.T. because of the way they play and the apartment buildings they take place in. We believe this is more than deliberate; it shows that the games’ DNA is interconnected, but indirectly. Anita’s story is her own because she escaped her mother, Lisa, but Silent Hill managed to reach out and affect both of them. Anita overcomes her trauma and emerges hopeful at the end of The Short Message, while Lisa, who P.T.‘s protagonist kills, is used by Silent Hill to traumatize someone else.
Note that this is our interpretation of how the games are linked and is not official. It would make sense for Konami to insist these games are unrelated, but as Silent Hill fans, we believe that’s impossible because of the way the series and the titular town work.
Is Every Silent Hill Game Set in Silent Hill?
No, not every Silent Hill game is set in Silent Hill. Every Silent Hill game shows how the town is either changing because of that game’s protagonist’s inner turmoil or how it’s reaching out to pull them in somehow. In the case of Silent Hill 4: The Room and Silent Hill: The Short Message, the town is reaching out, meaning it can fit as a mainline entry.
After Chapter 2 in Silent Hill: The Short Message, the floor around the apartment building disappears as the roads in Silent Hill do in other entires in the series. This confirms for us that Silent Hill is reaching out to the building this game takes place in.
Those who have seen the ending to P.T./Silent Hills may even recognize, as we do, the area beyond the fog because it looks like the rendition of the town shown at the end of that playable teaser.