Microsoft held its first Xbox Series X gameplay presentation on Thursday, and one of the major standouts among many upcoming next-gen titles was The Medium from Bloober Team, developers of Blair Witch. We may never get another Silent Hill game, but this terrifying next-gen psychological horror title looks like it'll fill that dark void in your heart.
The cancellation of Silent Hills left many horror game fans disappointed, and rather than the next-best thing,The Medium looks like it could be even better. Shown during Microsoft's Xbox Series X presentation on Thursday, The Medium official reveal trailer focused on cinematics and just a bit of gameplay. The official press release confirms it will be released "in the 2020 holiday season," which almost certainly means that it'll launch with the Xbox Series X sometime later this year.
In the trailer, a pregnant woman weeps in the hospital before the camera shifts to her praying in a dark church while it snows outside. Clips shift between these scenes as the world crumbles and she's given grim glimpses at some kind of shadowy spirit world that looks like the Upside Down from Stranger Things.
What is the game about? The press release for The Medium gives more context to its characters and story: "Players will find themselves in the body of Marianne, a medium hounded by visions, living and interacting across two worlds: the real, and the spirit world," it explains. "Nothing is what it seems, everything has another side. As a medium with access to both worlds, you have a wider perspective and can see more clearly that there’s no one simple truth to what others perceive."
The game will mainly take place in a hotel that Marianne goes to seek answers to a vision that haunts her. It takes place in Krakow, Poland during the '80s. Bloober Team's CEO Piotr Babieno also elaborated on the story in the announcement press release, teasing that it has a "focus on perspective and perception. When you change your point of view, you discover that things are more complicated and nuanced than you initially thought." Marianne's powers as a medium will be a major aspect of this shifting point of view.
The Silent Hill connection — The Silent Hill vibes almost immediately set in with The Medium's themes of sorrow and a demonic spirit world that blends with the real one. As of now, The Medium is the most exciting horror game for next-gen consoles that already looks like a spiritual successor to the Silent Hill series.
The connection to the Silent Hill series doesn't even stop there: the third person gameplay looks reminiscent of later games in the series and it even shares a composer. Akira Yamaoka, the composer that created the iconic Silent Hill theme, is collaborating with Bloober Team on the game's soundtrack.
"In one way, his music is heavy, disturbing, oppressive, and in another way, it can be nostalgic, emotional, and melodic," Jacek Zieba, a Producer from Bloober Team explained in a post-show interview. He also confirmed that the game drew a lot of inspiration from Silent Hill 2. So even if this is not a Silent Hill game in any way, it will feel like one in many ways.
Why is it on Xbox Series X? During a post-show interview, Zieba said that "we spent a lot of years thinking about this game and how can fulfill our dream about it, but we had a problem with the platform." While the Xbox One would've been "too week to fulfill our vision" the added power of the Xbox Series X means that the game can have a stable frame rate and no loading screens.
Because the technology is so critical to this game's vision, The Medium will not be on current-gen systems like PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch. So far, the only confirmed platforms for it are Xbox Series X and PC, so a PS5 port is up in the air.
The Inverse Analysis — Out of all the games shown during Microsoft's show, The Medium definitely stuck out as a major highlight. The setting and premise seem like a creative riff on the Silent Hill franchise, though it's just similar enough to a game like the canceled Silent Hills to sustain our interest. Bloober Team is one of the most exciting developers in the horror game space right now, and titles like The Medium and Observer: System Redux will show what they can do with next-gen consoles.
The Medium will be released in time for the 2020 holidays.