They've changed something...

It's true: Bloober Team is remaking Silent Hill 2. Talk about it in here to keep Remake talk separate from the original!

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jdnation
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They've changed something...

Post by jdnation »

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Subtle changes can make a significant difference.

A sad thing for those who appreciate visual artforms and the language and techniques employed in film, paintings etc. is to see casual dismissal of changes as being irrelevant.

I'm starting this thread in the hopes of trying to explain how and why certain changes being made are not insignificant, almost to the point that similar scenes despite having the same beats and dialogue, can in fact be very different and convey different meanings in how they are acted and depicted visually.

Note: I will leave the question about whether or not the changes are better or worse up to everyone's own subjective judgment. I will not be critiquing whether the changes are good or bad, only that they are different and that their differences are significant.

As a kind of overview of how the simplest things can change significantly based on how they are adapted, please take a look at the following.

1. First 15 seconds of dialogue from this Sears Air Conditioner Commercial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rqZZgVxnCk

2. Four dramatic reinterpretations of that 90s sears air conditioner commercial by ProZD channel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxrCyqXzHI8

As you can see from the second video, the exact same lines of dialogue, when depicted and acted out can vary greatly depending on the style, direction, and character context.

A similar thing is evident in the trailer for Silent Hill 2 Remake.

There is nothing inherently wrong in remakes adapting and changing things based on a new direction. Music performances of classical pieces, for example, can be scored based on how closely they match the original composition as it is intended to be played, but are also scored based on the player's own interpretation of the piece, about which parts they choose to emphasize or slow down or speed up based on their own creativity. You can't lose points for playing the sheet music exactly as it was meant to be played, but the creative version can be either a hit or a miss that could cost you points. Nonetheless, people in the audience can still enjoy your rendition all the same, and it is sometimes possible to improve on a piece by playing it a different way.

So too, the director of SH2 Remake may choose to add in or interpret scenes differently. It is possible that these turn our better or worse. The fact that they have access to new technology not available to the original game's staff does mean there are forms of expression possible to them that were not possible before, and these can either be used to translate the original faithfully, or improve upon it, or radically alter the scene.

Technological superiority, does not automatically result in a better product. Sometimes the limited expression of older technology can force the creators to use more straightforward and obvious visual cues that better direct a scene, whereas the inclusion of more articulation and expression, while opening up the possibility for greater depth can shift away from what worked more simplistically.

As an example you can check out comparisons between the original Disney Lion King 2D animated movie and the CG remake.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btNL1q-yU7E

The SH2R trailer provides us with a scene from the opening of SH2 that is long enough to merit comparison and dissection. And it may be fun to compare things as we go along and see more things until the game's release when we can finally do a more thorough examination, that undoubtedly other YT channels etc. will examine in greater detail than I can here on a forum thread.

IGN also has a comparison video here that will come in handy and that I'll try and reference as we go.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbZC2HrT_JY

Also the Making-Of Silent HIll 2 has good info on what the staff had in mind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1VKvED76WQ

1. James
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I don't have any issues with James' new character model. Old James and new James do have obvious differences, where the new one looks skinnier and more chiseled. Likely the changes are to better capture the performance of the new actor. Which by itself is fine, though new James arguably has a more rugged and handsome quality. The stubble on new James is a difference to the old more clean-shaven looking James. The differences could all be down to technological limitations of two eras, where maybe the designer may have added in more details if it were easier, but we don't know. We only know that visually we may perceive the two James differently.

Usually an unclean, less shaven face may indicate a character who in unkempt, or stressed out, conclusions an observer naturally draws judging by appearances. The stubble on new James' face does match the performance of the new James who is acting out of breath and less calm than old James, so the appearance does fit the scene that is being played out of a more visually anxious, trembling, stressed out James.

The two characters first appearances and impressions are different as are the context of the scenes.

In the original, our first glance of James is someone calmly examining themselves in a mirror. The more defined shadow cast over the eyes is classic visual shorthand for someone hiding themselves, whose motives are unknown. The next motion of the character's hand over their face as they seem to wipe their face somewhat oddly, which struck some fans to interpret the scene as similar to "putting on a mask." The expression may have been the best they could do with the old mo-cap suits, but we know that this scene also had Sato hand-animating the CG cutscenes, so the gesture and finger articulation is more deliberately hand crafted.

In the Remake, our first impression seems to be James busting in through the door, he is noisy, breathing heavily, his movements are more hurried and fast paced. He's trembling, and trying to calm down. The lighting on his face in the mirror is similar to the original, his eyes hidden, but the lighting is more realistic and not as hard lit so there is a more emphasized tenderness to his eyes. Instead of covering his face with his hand, his fingers lightly touch his cheek.

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Given we already know the story of SH2, the context of both these similar scenes is markedly different:

Original:
James is already suffering from a delusion, like a traumatic victim who is inhabiting a different reality already. The letter from his dead wife is a mystery to him, but he is not panicking, only puzzled and wonderous, which is why he is there in Silent Hill and overlooking Toluca Lake. He is rationally telling himself that it is not possible for a dead person to write him a letter.

Remake:
The James in the remake evokes a more sympathetic portrayal. The letter has him shook. He's running on adrenaline and almost looks afraid and is trying to calm down. This James is still in the process of reaching the stage where the original James is when we first encounter him. His guilt is probably still weighing on his mind, he is likely still in the transitional phase towards being completely caught up in the amnesiac delusion.


2. Toluca Lake overpass

Then there is the outdoor scene where both of them exit the bathroom for the first time.

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In the Original, the first thing we see is the view of the lake, it is a still, calm, serene lakeside. The slow panning camera lets you take in the vista. Likely due to technical limitations, the vegetation is still, but this scenery does add to the more 'stable' mind of James, where he is firmly set in his delusion. This then leads into the long trek down where this intentional long walk was to make it feel such that you have gone on for so long that you don't desire to turn back. The long trek also serves to build tension.

In the remake, the first thing we see is the parking lot and the trees beyond it, the scene is noticeably windy, vegetation is moving. Paper signs on posts are flapping rapidly. The environment is more shaken and stirring, matching the new portrayal of James whose own emotions are shaking and shifty. Windy weather scenes and blowing vegetation are more indicative of stormy conditions, so it is a different type of foreshadowing when intentionally used to establish a foreboding mood of things to come. Tension has already been established visually through both James' mannerisms and the environment before the long trek down.

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This is all we have to go on so far, but already, straight from the opening scenes, the visual language and direction between the original SH2 and the Remake is markedly different. The establishing moments for James character is different. As are the establishing shots of Toluca Lake for the first time.

The remake's direction and visual language are all far more tense and foreboding than the dream-like intro of the original game. It would help to have the Remake scene in its entirety to truly judge it, but so far the trailer itself does have enough to draw a rational interpretation.

Undoubtedly the Remake will have access to a greater range of cinematographic techniques, so I expect there will be a lot of new liberties taken to change what we see first etc. left up to the director. This is aided by the fact that the PS5's greater asset streaming allows for quick seamless transitions from going indoors to opening a door and stepping out into a new outdoor level, versus the PS2 where transitions between prerendered CG and real-time scenes is more broken up with different cuts.

I wouldn't jump the gun and assume anything we've seen is final, as there seem to be some scenes, such as Laura just standing in front of the hospital doors that obviously seems like just a static shot for trailer purposes that would otherwise be awkward.

There seems to be a greater emphasis on weather conditions in the remake, more emphasis on windy conditions with blowing leaves, and also noticeably heavy rainfall in various scenes, so Bloober is definitely deliberately making scenes more overdramatic visually through the environment. The wind seems okay in the foggier sections that I think of them as a good enhancement. As for the more rainy scenes, I think run the risk of detracting from what should be an unnatural darkness, and I hope Bloober is not interpreting the darkness moments for overcast skies or rainy weather. There are moments in the game where it is dripping and rainy, but there wasn't any pouring weather. But I guess we'll see in context.

Anyway, these were just my thoughts on the opening scenes that we've seen so far. You can like the new version over the old, as there is nothing inherently wrong in reinterpreting an old work, but the fact remains that even these slight changes have altered the impression they make such that this is now acting as more than just a face-lift.
Last edited by jdnation on 10 Feb 2024, edited 5 times in total.
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otto2302
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by otto2302 »

I sort of wonder how this nervous shaky James is about to deliver the line ”I don’t really care if it’s dangerous or not, I’m going to town either way” to Angela only minutes later [after leaving the observation deck].
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by WhiteHarbor »

I think the emotion is different but the source is the same. Even in the original James is trying to convince himself that the letter means what he wants it to mean. Before he enters the town he's still wondering if it's even possible. He's trying to convince himself to go out there. I honestly still find it quite engaging and it puts you right in his head.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by NanayaShiki »

I think it would be interesting is James looked sad/shaky in the bathroom and then normal when he walks out or something but from what we've seen he looks ready to have a break down in every scene... it's a bit much, to be honest.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by Droo »

NanayaShiki wrote: 23 Oct 2022 I think it would be interesting is James looked sad/shaky in the bathroom and then normal when he walks out or something but from what we've seen he looks ready to have a break down in every scene... it's a bit much, to be honest.
Granted, besides the bathroom scene there are very good reasons for James to look as upset as that in those moments. His facial expression is more understated during the apartment encounter with PH.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by Jonipoon »

Frankly I've gotten used to both film and game characters acting overly sad and depressed nowadays, so it was pretty expected to see James tremble and scream in the most melodramatic way possible.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by NanayaShiki »

Droo wrote: 23 Oct 2022 Granted, besides the bathroom scene there are very good reasons for James to look as upset as that in those moments. His facial expression is more understated during the apartment encounter with PH.
Sure but I think it's turned up to a 11 a little too much in every scene. Like part of the whole story is that James is actively denying those thoughts and the town is forcing him to confront it. If he seems sad and and ready to break in every scene it will seem like he's not really running away from them. The more detached performance worked better for that aspect of the story. I don't mind him being more emotive in general of course but stuff like him looking ready to cry as he pulls down the noose feels like they are throwing out any semblance of subtlety.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by jdnation »

Bloober has confirmed seamless loading with no loading screens.
https://www.ign.com/articles/silent-hil ... ng-screens

There will probably still be jump cuts when necessary, otherwise like the opening shot to Toluca from the restroom, we can expect the camera to follow the player through doors, and naturally the first things you see will be from behind James looking forward. It'll be interesting to see whether they may alter room layouts to accomodate what you first lay eyes on. But it is not necessarily a negative thing if they don't. It just means that some neat camera angles from the original could be lost. Though, these can still be replicated if they don't mind temporarily disorienting the player when stepping through doors for the first time in some instances. A quick transitional fade in/out of black could achieve it, but I doubt they'll bother.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by jdnation »

*Bump*

Time to take a new look at the latest trailer... though there aren't really any cutscenes that we can really dig into this time.

The focus is more on the combat, and contrary to my thoughts here, it looks like Bloober might be leaning more into the RE style of action than I'd have thought, or at least the constant barrage of action in the trailer made it seem that way.

IGN also has a nice gameplay comparison video here to draw from.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mVLduRA03Y

Right from the get-go we have at least one cutscene remade. The one of James examining the body in the armchair watching television. There are significant lighting differences. It's possible that the color was tweaked for the trailer, so this is not a confirmation of how the final game will look, but for now we'll have to take it as it is.
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The lighting in the Remake is probably more realistically accurate where the ambient light of the TV would saturate the dark room with a blue-whitish hue. The original has a warm feeling, the remake a colder feeling. So each has a distinct feeling in terms of cinematic portrayal.

The room is also of a different design. In the original, the room has sliding doors that seem to lead outside to the balcony. The remake just has windows. A lamp instead of a coffee table. The wallpaper and style of the room seems to be a faithful recreation.

Next is the camera angle. The original keeps the focus on the body with James barely in the shot as it slowly trucks in, building tension. The Remake has a fixed steady shot where you see the silhouettes of both James and the armchair with something/someone in it framed by the TV's light. Remake James' flashlight is not turned on for some reason.

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More to the point, the person in the armchair in the original is visible and coverede in blood, but in the remake is covered with a bloody cloth. And James is slowly reaching towards it to pull it off. The tension of the camera movement in the original is replaced here by the slow movement of James reaching towards it.

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It's hard to make out whether or not there is a trail of blood on the floor leading to the armchair like in the original. We can't tell if there is a bloodstain on the TV.

The camera movement ends with a cut in the original where James shakes his head and waves his hands and says, "Oh my God. Who could've...?" and we don't see the rest of the body, whereas in the remake, going from the trailer, the first cut is a direct shot of the covered body.

It'd be interesting to see how this scene is handled in its entirety. As I believe notably, the body on the chair is a double of James's model. The remake's straight-on shot avoids showing it by having it covered. Whether or not James is interrupted or sees what is under there remains to be seen.

------------

The trailer has a lot of quick cut shots all over the place, so I'll just pick some of interest.

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I assume the above are the same areas. Lighting is noticeably showing the same difference. There are several fridges, but this is the most likely candidate with a body and legs sticking out. The original's legs are naked. The remake's are wearing jeans.

I don't think we ever saw directly into the fridge in the original, but we did get another angle.
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Then there's the infamous doorway between two buildings.

Remake:
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Original:
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The scene, outside of camera angles and color grading is pretty much the same. But with one exception. In the original, it is a window that James hops in through a door. But in the remake, it's doors on both sides.

Overall, from the action bits and the scenes, the approach for more real-time lighting solutions does make the game darker overall, so the flashlight is necessary, and I imagine the gunshots will also light the scene for more dynamic action in the dark. But it could be said that the overall lighting solution does change the feel of many scenes and environments from the PS2 original.

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Other things of interest.

Woodside apartments

Remake:
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Original:
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While both the remake and the originals serve on first impression to be abandoned apartment blocks, the Remake seems a bit fancier in scope for a more appealing gentrified architecture with a lot more windows, versus the generic cheaper-looking apartments of the original. Even in better times, the PS2's Woodside Apartments would still feel like a less desirable place to live.


Clock

Remake:
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Original:
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Or is this the original? And the above from mods/Ps3 remaster?
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Not much to comment on here, but the remake looks pretty nice.

Woodside Apartments Reception?

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There are several areas in the trailer from Woodside and the Hospital that I don't recognize as they go by too fast, but it's also likely because if IGN's comparison up there is true, then Bloober have radically redesigned many areas to be entirely different.

A reception area like in the Remake adds to the comparison I made above of the woodside entrance, where the Woodside Apartments now look more upscale and fancier.
------------------------------------

Anyway, that's all I've got out of this for now. There are lots of quick cuts of scenes of James getting the gun from the red trolley, and holding up a knife etc. that are definitely different. For example, in the original, James picks up the gun without much comment or intricacy, but the remake plays a cutscene emphasizing James picking up and examining the gun. But otherwise... there's not worth much else outside of combat to comment on at this point. But maybe I'll try giving my opinions about that in the other appropriate threads.

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Re: They've changed something...

Post by Tuniko »

Well, I really hope I’m wrong. But I just… can’t like what I saw to this day.

See what I mean, check the pictures that you posted there… the original is a 2002 game. Remake, at least 2024. It’s a 22 years of difference. And the graphics of both aren’t thaaaat much different. You know what I mean?

The original is much more creepier… Dirty places, dirty rooms, blood marks everywhere. Look at the apartment room. The remake looks… clean? Wtf? This is not part of the SH environment..

Well, again, I really hope I’m wrong. But, I’m really disappointed with the game so far.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by leftshoe18 »

> And the graphics of both aren’t thaaaat much different.

Are you looking at the same games? The graphics of the remake look leaps and bounds more advanced than the original game's graphics.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by Tuniko »

leftshoe18 wrote: 10 Feb 2024 > And the graphics of both aren’t thaaaat much different.

Are you looking at the same games? The graphics of the remake look leaps and bounds more advanced than the original game's graphics.
Ofc it will be different

Its been 22 years between both games, lol

I’m just saying that, with 22 years, we expected better graphics. I mean, go check the graphics difference between RE4 original and the remake. There’s a huge difference between both. And, at least for me, I don’t see the same on the sh2remake.

Well, I hope I’m wrong. But I’m disappointed so far.
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Re: They've changed something...

Post by jdnation »

I can see why some may not be feeling the new graphics. Which I believe comes down to primarily to lighting for the most part.

While the assets in the Remake are undoubtedly a generation ahead, there are drawbacks.

For one, the closer you come to realism, the more some things stand out for not being realistic enough.

For example, look at the streetlamps in the Remake as James approaches the Woodside Apartments. They are a clear white.
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There should be a little bit of translucency, or caustic reflections. Even if we assume it's covered in dust. It should be more glossy and glass-like.
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It's not a big deal, but those things will stand out as the quality of graphics is lifted.

Compare new Woodside versus the old woodside. Colors have a lot more hue being more red and green.

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But the foggy overcast lighting conditions of Remake are more accurate to reality. But reality is naturally more washed out and duller.

Similarily, the lighting in the Remake is closer to simulating reality, versus the baked, limited lighting of the PS2 original. But realistic lighting ≠ better. Even Hollywood movies have experienced lighting crews and cinematographers who rig lighting NOT necessarily to look realistic, but to make the image on screen look artistically better.

Given the limitations of PS2 hardware, the artists naturally had to lean into making the quality of the set better. So the art-direction does a lot more heavy lifting. Even if Bloober directly lifted the same sets and textures of the original and lit them in UnReal V with realistic lighting, you'd still get the same effect. In the dark, you really wouldn't see much of anything.

To nitpick a few other changes...

When moving between two buildings, in the original you go from a door to a window. James comments that the other building is new, and that at one point the door led to a fire escape that was now removed, implying the door should've been boarded up (some buildings do have features like this, either due to post-architectural changes, incompleted work, or simply the occasional screw-up).
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https://ironsandladders.com/2010/01/11/ ... o-nowhere/

But in the Remake, it looks like two doors. This is weird. If a new building was put there, there'd be no reason to have a door built there. Likewise, you could argue that there would be no reason to have a window either, other than because the design said to put it there and construction crew just follows the design. But that is more in line with reality, and fore thought if the other building was torn down someday. Or just pointlessly there because of the need to stick to the blueprint.

BUT - the problem is that in the Remake, that's the ONLY door there, whereas in the original, every floor on the other side has windows. So in the original, James is naturally traversing a normally set-up neighboring building. But in Remake, there's a random door there... because...

This is Silent Hill???
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Original James easily seems to move through the gaps. The direction of the Remake, has a slightly longer distance, and wants to emphasize the long drop down, in case James missteps.

Also the thing with the body in the fridge. The original doesn't let you see what's going on directly inside the fridge. This is ideally better for horror, because it allows your imagination to run wild as to WTF is inside there.

The Remake now seems to show you what's in there, and it's like... oh... that's it?

Less is more, in this regard. And the body is obviously clothed now, because otherwise then you'd see a naked body inside the fridge, thus either requiring some awkward art-direction to disguise the nudity, or risk a more restricted age rating.

To be fair, this was likely also a decision made due to the player being able to more freely move the camera, allowing them to peer into the fridge.

The part of James encountering the dead body on the couch. The camera work of the original, emphasizes the body, almost like the audience is seeing through James' eyes as he moves closer to examine the body. The framing of the remake from the trailer divides our attention between who's on the couch and James himself. Then requires an additional cut to show the hooded body as the focus. The tension is somewhat reduced in the Remake imo.

On another front, I also think another consideration for heavily changing the layout of the apartments to be more luxurious and wider hallways, is a consideration for combat purposes. To match the OTS shooting and allow for creatures to chase you, notably for nurses to hop over the 'chest-high walls' trope, though at least I feel confident enough that Bloober isn't making SH2 a cover-shooter. :lol:
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