For the past few months, gamers have eagerly awaited Abandoned. The mysterious new game from indie developer BLUE BOX Game Studio has held surprising promise. For some, it’s a matter of real interest: the game looks atmospheric and spooky, and promises a realistic experience. But for others, the interest comes from the believe that BLUE BOX is a cover for Hideo Kojima, and we’ll all be playing a new Silent Hill game soon.
Delay after delay has plagued the release. Most recently, Tuesday’s scheduled release of the game’s “realtime experience” fell flat thanks to technical difficulties. Some are theorizing, but others have given up. But is it time to walk away?
If Hasan Kahraman is a real person, he must be having a heck of a time right now. Gamers, especially fans of Hideo Kojima’s work, have theorized that Abandoned is another Phantom Pain scenario. (Recall that before we knew the game as Metal Gear Solid V, Kojima set up an elaborate ruse involving a fake Swedish game developer.) The idea that Kojima could be messing with his audience again in the lead-up to an announcement has merit. But for every clue, there’s an inconvenient fact.
Fans note the men’s shared initials, “H.K.” But they also state incorrectly that their names share a meaning (the translation is tenuous at best — not what you’d do for an ARG.) They note that “Blue Box” could be a David Lynch reference, and “BB” could signal that this is part of a real-world Death Stranding experience. But they also fail to mention that BLUE BOX has been around for years, in a capacity somewhat too complex even for a Kojima-level long game.
The State of the Game
When asked about Abandoned and its history of delays, Kahraman stated that the Kojima rumors have had a negative effect on the game’s development. Between the overall distractions and the lurking knowledge that the world is expecting your game to be Silent Hill, that makes sense. And while anything is possible and anyone online can just be a convincing actor, there is ample room for doubt that this is an alternate-reality game in play.
One major reason for this, as many have stated, is that it isn’t especially fun right now. It’s left hundreds of fans disappointed and one game dev (at least) distraught. There’s also the fact that fans appear to be perpetuating the rumor all by themselves. The narrative has run away, no matter what it is.
After Tuesday’s technical difficulties, much of the Internet decided en masse that this was on purpose. Could the “realtime experience” advertised not be a trailer, but rather the act of being literally abandoned and let down? Is it that deep? We don’t know. It could be; but it could also be a game dev hitting a wall.
So what do we do? Do we “abandon” Abandoned? One of two things is definitely going on: either it’s real, or it isn’t. If we assume that this is all real, development isn’t progressing. If we assume this is an ARG, the story isn’t progressing. Either way, it may come to pass that we never see this game — whether it was meant to be seen or not. Perhaps it’s time to walk away, one way or the other, and let it cook for a bit.
Watch this space for updates on the trailer’s technical fixes.