Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Blue Box Game Studios, Hideo Kojima and Silent Hills, let me take you back to late 2012…
Gangnam Style was still in the charts, Django Unchained had just dropped in cinemas and cryptocurrency was still just a weird obscure thing that only sweaty nerds your paranoid uncle cared about.
Then, – completely out of nowhere, – a trailer appears on the internet teasing a new trippy-looking game called The Phantom Pain.
It is from a developer that nobody has ever heard of called Moby Dick Studios with some weird dude covered in bandages called Joakim Mogren at the helm.
The code-cracking began in YouTube comments and on gaming subreddits. The conspiracy unfolded and eventually it turned out to to be a complex hoax that led to the unveiling of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Then, a few years later, Kojima does the same thing again when he releases the red herring that was the P.T demo, which wound up being a “playable teaser” for the much anticipated, (sadly since cancelled,) Silent Hills.
Could the same thing be happening once again with the upcoming PS5 exclusive Abandoned from unknown devs, BLUE BOX Game Studios? Could this title actually turn out to be the long-awaited resurrection of Silent Hills?
Because it’s either that or a very clever marketing strategy from a small-time developer riding the Silent Hills hype train to promote their title. Either way, there are too many parallels that can be drawn for this whole thing to be a coincidence.
Don your tinfoil hat and join me friends as we head down the rabbit hole together. I hope you all have your whiteboards and string at the ready, as I am about to blow your mind.
Part 1: Previously unheard of developer BLUE BOX Game Studios announces ‘Abandoned’
On the 7th of April 2021, a post by Hasan Kahraman appears on the PlayStation Blog unveiling a teaser for a PS5 exclusive, first-person survival horror game titled; Abandoned. Kahraman is the Game Director at BLUE BOX Game Studios.
The sleuths over on Reddit have since pointed out that if you go to the 49 second mark in the video above, you will see the image below showing writing on an outside wall that reads; “Kill The Trespassers.” A tree blocks a couple of letters of the text. Those letters being blocked just so happen to be “T” and “P,” or PT.
Other than that though, upon first glance, the post appeared to be just like any other PlayStation Blog post announcing a new title. These kinds of posts certainly aren’t rare on the blog and initially nobody paid much attention to the post other than some negative reactions criticizing the amateur sounding VO work and the complaining about the poor frame rate.
A few months down the line, BLUE BOX Game Studios announce that Abandoned will receive its very own PS5 app which will allow gamers to watch the game’s trailers in real time on their PS5 console. This is a notably odd thing for a studio to implement and it is certainly not something that is normally done by first-party PlayStation Studios whilst promoting their upcoming game. Therefore, this strange announcement left more than a few people wondering why this small, unknown game studio are the first to pioneer this marketing strategy.
The app was initially slated to go live this Sunday on the 20th of June. However, another tweet from the developer states that the app will in fact go live on the 22nd of June. This date is probably the correct one as it is a Tuesday, which is normally the day that new games and apps go up on the PlayStation Store.
Part 2: Why this could actually be Kojima leading up to the announcement of Silent Hills
Shall we go deeper down the rabbit hole?
A couple of days ago BLUE BOX Game Studios Twitter account posts a tweet suggesting that “Abandoned” isn’t actually the title of their game. They tease fans to “Guess the name, which begins with an S and ends with an L.
This tweet perks up the ears of gaming conspiracy theorists all over the internet rumours start that Gaming’s God Of Mischief himself, Hideo Kojima is in fact behind this account and this title and Abandoned is yet another ruse concocted to lead up to the re-announcement of Silent Hills. The developer panics and quickly back-tracks to shut down any rumours that may have started based on this tweet.
This back-pedalling only becomes more frequent over the next day in comment sections etc. This inevitably leads to the Streisand effect taking place and more people across the internet begin to take notice.
In a later tweet, the developer refers to “Abandoned” in quotation marks, further suggesting that Abandoned is not the true title of the game. In yet another tweet, they confirm that Abandoned is simply a working title for the project. In another, it is stated that teaser that dropped back in April was only ever intended to be an announcement that the game was in development and that “the game itself has never been shown.”
If we look again at the game’s title, the choice to use the word, “Abandoned,” could also be a reference to how Silent Hills and by extension Kojima were abandoned by Konami seven years ago. If this false project is actually an elaborate tease for Kojima Productions to eventually announce that they are in fact returning to work on Silent Hills, then Abandoned would a very apt working title under which to restart development on the game.
Are you still with me? Because this is still just the tip of the iceberg.
Part 3: You Wanna Get Nuts? Let’s Get Nuts!
Strap in Alice, because we are past the point of no return.
We shall begin with the logo for BLUE BOX Game Studios. Look familiar? That is because it is pretty much the exact same as the PlayStation Studios logo, right down to the font.
Another parallel that can be drawn, is how the animated logo for PlayStation Studios that is always featured at the top of any trailer for a PS first-party game glows blue for a second as it forms. Thus, creating a literal blue box. Also, take a look over at the shelf beside your console. What are those things holding your PS4 and PS5 discs? That’s right, a goddamn blue box.
Another glaring oddity of this whole thing is how BLUE BOX Game Studios apparently only have one solo employee called Hasan Kahraman, a gentleman who just so happens to share his initials with legendary troll Hideo Kojima. Despite Kahraman claiming that he has worked in the industry supporting other studios for a number of years at this point, there is absolutely no record of this anywhere on the internet. Also notice that they are called BLUE BOX Game Studios, rather than BLUE BOX Game Studio. Why would this allegedly small developer choose to use the plural?
There are only a few games that can be connected back to BLUE BOX, the first of which being an early access title called The Haunting: Blood Water Curse on Steam. In the game’s description it states that it is inspired by Fatal Frame, which for those that don’t know, is another classic series in the Japanese horror genre. You seeing it yet?
CREATEQ Interactive have since taken over development of The Haunting. CREATEQ are yet another studio that strangely have virtually no online trace whatsoever.
The second game previously linked to BLUE BOX called The Whisperer on the Android store, that again has oddly vanished. The game’s logo was a black handprint, seemingly calling back to imagery from the Death Stranding trailers. The Whisperer only ever had 5 downloads before it disappeared. The third game that has a connection to BLUE BOX is another early access title for Android devices called Tales of the Six Swords. Again, this title has since mysteriously disappeared from the storefront and was only ever downloaded 5 times. Could both of these examples be nothing more than an attempt at building up a false profile for the fictional company?
Now, let’s get back to our man of mystery, Hasan Kahraman. Kahraman does have a profile on the Apple App Store that has a few basic low-quality asset flip titles under it. The only app linked to the profile that is not a game is a fitness app called Go Fit XL and the description of this app reads “Personal Training ( PT ) Programs.” C’mon Hideo, you are making it a little too easy for us at this point.
Kahraman also has a LinkedIn profile. However, it is extremely sparse and the developer almost no connections on the site. The only information that can be gleaned from the profile is that he has allegedly been with the company since April 2014.
Do you still feel like all of this is pretty tenuous? If so, let me give you something a little more solid. If you translate the name “Hideo” from Japanese to Turkish, it becomes “Kahraman.” Kojima obviously couldn’t use the anagram route again after Joakim Mogren was decoded so quickly, so he went with a translation this time instead.
Despite having pretty much no presence elsewhere online, Kahraman’s PSN account, “SneakyWarriorr,” is somehow verified. This sought-after tick is usually only given out to major PlayStation creators and other figures prominent in the industry. If you go into his account on your console, you will see that he has played a game that doesn’t yet exist on the PS Store called Demon Blood. The artwork for this unknown title features the popular online character of Siren Head, which horror manga artist Junji Ito recently reacted to in a YouTube video from VizMedia. Just a year ago, Kojima revealed that he was in talks to collaborate with Ito on an upcoming project.
Kahraman’s PSN account uses an image as its avatar that reads “Dev Con 2021.” Could this be an innocent abbreviation of developers convention, or could it be a hint that this is a major game developer conning his audience? The PSN account also contains a link to a YouTube channel called TwentySeven27 and the announcement that Silent Hills was officially cancelled was made on the 27th of April.
Part 4: But Wait, There’s More!
If you go onto the BLUE BOX Game Studios’ website, there is not much to be found at all. There are no trailers, no blog posts and no job listings. Other than various links to their social media pages, (which also don’t contain any information,) there is nothing on the site at all. This seems fairly odd, considering their game is apparently due out later this year. Therefore, you would think that they would be doing everything they possibly can to promote the thing since they are such a unknown developer.
Their Twitter handle is “@BBGameStudios,” which is strikingly similar to how the baby was referred to in Kojima’s previous title, Death Stranding. While some of the tweets put out by the account were posted at some very strange hours for the Netherlands time zone, if we head over to the Japanese time zone, they do happen to line up pretty well with typical office hours in Tokyo.
If you go onto the BLUE BOX Game Studios YouTube account, you will find no videos. However, you will see a header image showing some foggy hills. This imagery is strikingly similar to that of the classic Silent Hill games and the choice to picture literal hills seems pretty self-explanatory.
At this year’s Summer Game Fest, a trailer was shown for Death Stranding Director’s Cut. As pictured above, the trailer shows Sam Bridges wearing his blue suit and jumping into a box in what was initially seen as nothing more than a cheeky reference to Kojima’s iconic Metal Gear Solid series. However, revisiting the trailer in with this new evidence in mind, could it in fact have been a double meaning alluding to BLUE BOX Game Studios? The flag on the back of Sam’s suit in this trailer is the Netherlands flag, which is the country where BLUE BOX Game Studios allegedly originates.
The main thing that could debunk all of the above connections is the Silent Hill licence being owned by Konami. However, earlier in the year, we reported on the possibility of Konami licencing out their IP to other studios. In that article, it was reported that, “the Japanese publishing behemoth plans to outsource franchises such as Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and Castlevania franchises to allow other developers to create new entries in each series respectively.”
Update 1: I couldn’t help myself and kept digging.
This was posted by the PlayStation Europe Twitter account back in 2016:
KojiPro Amsterdam? As in the same neck of the woods that Hasan Kahraman and BLUE BOX Game Studios hail from!
These trees also look really familiar based on that teaser at the top of the article:
And we all know about Kojima’s friendship with Guillermo Del Toro, who was originally set to appear in Silent Hills.
Finally, a few more Tweets have been put out by the Blue Box Game Studios account that are definitely teasing that all is not as it seems.
What do you think that the Blue Box could be referring to? Let us know down below.
Update 2: There are only 2 days to go now until the trailer reveal, but the Konami merch Twitter account had interesting timing when they put this up:
Cool image right? Notice how the text above the image looks slightly off though? Almost as if there is a letter missing off the end?
When a fan questioned the company via DM to try and deduce if this has anything to do with Abandoned, they chose neither to confirm not deny.
Update 3: So the trailer reveal has unfortunately been delayed again since the previous update to this article. We are now expected to see the full reveal on the 10th of August, two weeks from today at the time of writing.
This was announced today in a tweet from Blue Box:
Notice how this allegedly Dutch studio decided to specifically state that the trailer reveal for their game will be available in JAPAN on the 10th of August? As in the country where Kojima Productions are based!
Around the same time that this was tweeted out, the star of Kojima’s last title Death Stranding, as well as the previously cancelled Silent Hills, Norman Reedus tweeted out this image.
That big creepy anthropomorphic bunny looks extraordinarily similar to Robbie the Rabbit from Silent Hill 3 to me.
Update 4: So a few hours after the above tweet was put out by the Blue Box account, they went ahead and posted this image:
There is no longer any doubt in my mind that Kojima is behind all of this. Either that or Hasan Kahraman knows exactly what he is doing and is using the rampant speculation as promotion for his game.
If this is indeed the case, then I hope he is prepared for the immense backlash that he will feel after letting down millions of fans around the world.
Seriously though, why would they post a purposely blurred image of a guy wearing an eyepatch with obvious blurred text above the title? Speaking of which, folk on the internet are already hard at work trying to crack the code of what that text actually says:
Update 5: Never in my life have I had to update an article 5 times! That alone suggests that this is some Kojima-level shenanigans are going down.
The Blue Box Game Studios Twitter account put out this tweet yesterday:
The parts about, “a new gameplay narrative,” and, “done differently and unique,” may sound familiar to those of you who are fans of Kojima’s other projects:
Based on all of that, what do you think? Could all of this be Kojima back up to his usual tricks? Could this lead to a proper re-announcement of Silent Hills? Or do you think that everything above is nothing more than a whole bunch of crazy conspiracy theory nonsense? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.
Personally, I do believe that there is something to this. If it turns out that it is just a new IP from some small studio trying to do their own thing, they will have to contend with a lot of disappointment from gamers due to a good amount of unfortunate coincidences.
Regardless, I guess we will find out in a few day’s time on Tuesday the 10th of August when the trailer drops and either unveils the truth we have suspected all along or lets all of us down collectively. Alternatively, knowing Kojima, it could just end up adding even more mystery and speculation as to what this thing actually is. However, you can rest assured that if it is in fact the re-reveal of Silent Hills, we will certainly be reporting it on the site.
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