You may have heard about the problems that plagued the Silent Hill HD Collection . Unresponsive controls, framerate drops, hitching, fog and grain effects completely missing. It was a complete mess that somehow left the games in a worse condition than the original releases. We now have a reason for that.
Senior Associate Producer of the Silent Hill series, Tomm Hulett, explains.
"We got all the source code that Konami had on file -- which it turns out wasn't the final release version of the games! D'oh!
"So during debug we didn't just have to deal with the expected 'porting' bugs, but also had to squash some bugs that the original team obviously removed prior to release, but we'd never seen before. A lot of assets such as textures and sound had to be taken out of the compiled game, and that brings with it a host of unique issues, especially taken on top of the tricky coding workarounds at play in the original games. We certainly had our hands full. I think at one point Heather was blue.
"Ten years ago, a lot of game companies assumed the games were 'done' once development finished, and that they wouldn't need to use that data ever again. Now it's clear that having all that data in an easy-to-manage format is important. Many consumers don't realize you can't just buy a copy of SH2 and then open up its code in a usable state.
I can't imagine how hellish the process of porting these games was. Considering what they had to work with, it's a miracle the game is in the state it is. But how did other HD collections turn out so well while this one turned out so poorly? To find the answer, we'll look at Bluepoint Games.
Bluepoint Games is the company responsible for HD collections such as the God of War Collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection, arguably the best HD collections on the market.
Andy O'Neil, president of Bluepoint Games, explained their process of HD-ifying old PS2 games.
"We don't use archive data. We take retail discs of the game and reverse engineer them. That way we can be 100% sure we have all the final retail data and that it matches up. That takes a lot time. Then to get it working, we basically have to go in and change every single piece of data. We get the code and we use that to build a PC version of the game. It's not something meant to ship, so a lot things don't work. It doesn't have sound for example. The engine though is the same, the data layout is the same, so we get that working first. If you have a lot of stuff coming through the VU assembler, you need to do lot of super detailed work to convert it all. We don't emulate any of this stuff, we hand convert it."
There you have it. Konami really should have hired Bluepoint Games to take care of the Silent Hill HD Collection as they seem to have it down to a science at this point. Instead, we're left with a buggy, unfinished mess.