A developer named Blue Box Game Studios is working on some sort of horror game that will be a PS5 exclusive. Unless you were paying attention you probably missed this announcement back in April. Even if you did catch the blog post and short reveal trailer you might not have thought much about it. But over the last week or two this little indie game has begun making waves. On Friday an app will be released for that will house an interactive reveal trailer. The game is currently codenamed Abandoned and the developer has hinted at the name starting with an S and ending with an L. And now the Internet has put on its tinfoil hats and begun putting together one hell of a theory: Abandoned is really a new Silent Hill game, and legendary troll Hideo Kojima is behind it all. So let’s delve into this murky and complex theory, shall we? Oh, and maybe grab some red string, a pot of coffee, a marker and a big, open space because this is going to get weird.
First, we need to get some context. Hideo Kojima, crazy auteur and the mad genius behind Metal Gear Solid, is known for his elaborate tricks, often hiding secrets within secrets then wrapping them in enigmas before finally burying them inside a fake company. The trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was first shown in 2012 with a video featuring a logo for an fictional company called Moby Dick Studio. They even hired an actor to play the head of the studio, Joakim Mogren, for an interview. Joakim is an anagram of Kojima. It was an elaborate trick and helped cement Hideo as the mad scientist of the video game industry.
Then Kojima used another fake company for the demo of horror game PT in 2014. When you completed the demo you got a teaser for a new Silent Hill game. That project, billed as a collaboration between Kojima and Guilermo Del Toro – who has directed some of my favourite films – was cancelled a year later as part of the rough split of Kojima and Konami. Y’know, the breakup that led to Konami putting out the bloody awful Metal Gear Solid: Survival and millions of fans crying out in fear and pain as they realised Kojima may get to make another Metal Gear game.
Combine all of this this with Kojima’s barmy storytelling, love of cinema, his eccentric style and the numerous hints he adores to drop into his games and it’s no wonder that when anything remotely weird happens in the video game industry, everyone expectantly glares at Kojima. If something seems strange or doesn’t quite add up, blame Kojima.
Now let’s shift over to the name game from Blue Box. The game, currently code-named Abandoned, was revealed by in April on a Sony blog post with scant details, but it was described as, “A cinematic, first-person survival horror shooter set in a highly detailed open world environment and favours a realistic approach to survival.” A brief teaser was shown and gave barelyanything to go in, displaying little more than trees while a voice over talked about how you have no food, no water, nothing to survive. A false prophet was mentioned, either a solid hint at the potential story or an in-your-face hint that Hideo Kojima is playing with us all, depending on which camp you end up in. It would be later revealed that the trailer was made up entirely of assets bought in the Unreal Engine story because Sony apparently wanted something to show but Blue Box didn’t have anything so they cobbled together the teaser. According to Blue Box, the actual game won’t look anything like what was shown, begging the question, why did Sony push them to put out the teaser?
It was an innocuous reveal, given little fanfare and the world carried on like nothing ever happened. But then Blue Box put out a Tweet (that has since been deleted) which teased the real name of the game as starting with S and ending with an L. And that’s where things went crazy.
Fans began pondering if the name could actually be Silent Hill, and since then they’ve begun to unearth various things they point to as proving that not only is it a new Silent Hill, but the resident King of Crazy, Hideo Kojima, is involved. A subreddit was set up, dedicated to finding any possible hints that Abandoned is some sort of big smoke screen. People have split into four camps: those who believe, those who want to believe, those who think it’s just a regular game and those who are watching from afar while munching on popcorn.
Let’s get an idea of who the hell Blue Box are, first. Their earliest known appearance is 2015 where they launched a Kickstarter for a horror game called Rewind, asking for $12,000 to fund its development. They raised just a shade over $207 dollars and cancelled the Kickstarter. However, the game was seemingly saved because Blue Box out out an update state that the game was being funded by a private investor, although they could not say who. Interestingly, in a fairly recent interview it was revealed that Sony has been working with Blue Box since 2015, indicating that they were perhaps the mysterious private investor. Rewind, however, has never been released.
Apart from that, Blue Box has worked on a couple of small projects over the years They’ve also put out a couple of mobile games over the years, none of which have achieved any real success. In short, they are a generic indie studio. I don’t mean that as a slight or insult, but purely as a statement of fact: they have done nothing of note to date, which is why Sony’s interest in them is so surprising.
It’s already a little strange that Sony may have jumped in to save a project that the general public didn’t seem interested in, and even stranger that Sony appears to have been working with the company now for six years. But things get even stranger when you consider that a special app will be released this week that will be used for the Abandoned’s interactive reveal trailer. Oh, and Geoff Keighley is going to help reveal the game to the world. Speculation only got louder because of this since Keighley and Kojima are friends. That’s a lot of fanfare for an unknown game from an unknown developer.
Blue Box currently only has one known Turkish developer named Hasan Kahraman. Fans have pointed out that if you translate Hideo from Japanese to Turkish it comes out as Kahraman, which is certainly an incredible coincidence. Both Hideo and Kahraman mean Hero in English. It wouldn’t be the first time Kojima has played around with his name, after all.
Blue Box claims to have 10 employees, yet nobody seems able to find any of them and none of them have come forward. According to Hasan Kahraman, the studio is network of friends. Visit the studios LinkedIn page and what you find are stock images of people. Odd, perhaps, but maybe the team just likes its privacy, which is even more understandable at the moment given the media whirlwind currently surrounding Blue Box.
As for Kahraman, he seems to have a string of mobile games and apps to his name, none of which have done very well. These appear to be separate from Blue Box, but he also seems to have been involved in all the team’s prior projects. Take, for example, The Whisper: A Paranormal Investigation game that the company put out in 2019, in which Kahraman provided some voice acting.
The point is, Blue Box does seem to have a legitimate history of launching games across multiple years, making it harder to believe that they might be a purely fictional creation.
The initial Sony blog for the game promised 4k and 60FPS, a challenge for even big studios, let alone a small team with seemingly little experience. Perhaps this is why work has been outsourced to “six or seven” studios, according to Kahraman during an interview with Bloomberg. In the same interview he revealed two of those studios to be named Nuare Studio and Dekogon Studios. According to Bloomberg, both declined to comment. Naure Studio handles stuff like concept art, 3D characters and environments and has recently worked on Marvel’s The Avengers and Halo Infinite. Dekogon is also deals in things like asset creation, modelling and lighting. Their recent work includes Godfall.
In the same Bloomberg interview Mr. Kahraman said several other things of note. He said that none of his team would be available to be interviewed and only named one other employee who apparently did not want to offer a comment. He also revealed that they had signed a contract with Sony, but couldn’t mention any specifics. He also said that the game was being funded by an investor/s but could not say who. “There is a reason for that, but I really can’t talk about it,” said Kahraman during the interview.
So, the Netherlands based studio is already a tad weird, but all of this could easily be written off as a small company who are either under tight NDAs or unsure of what they can and cannot safely say without getting into legal trouble. The teasing of the game’s name could also be easily written off as nothing more than them having fun and not even realising some people might link it to the Silent Hill franchise. After, Blue Box themselves later Tweeted out that,
Things might have ended there but fans are nothing if not dedicated and willing to spend a whole lot of time investigating stuff. How about this? Blue Box Game Studios is based in the Netherlands. In the Director’s Cut trailer for Death Stranding, created by Kojima Productions, lead character Sam is sporting a Dutch flag.
Not convinced? Kojima Productions was considering setting up a studio in the Netherlands, but nothing ever came of those plans. Unless instead of setting up a new studio Kojima decided to fund Blue Box instead. Another link to the Netherlands is that Guerilla, who are based in the Netherlands, recently partnered up with Kojima Productions using Guerilla’s Decima engine to create the open-world package delivery game Death Stranding.
Whenever Blue Box or Hasan Tweet it always seems to be around the hours of 1-4am in the Netherlands. But those hours are right in the middle of the day for Japan.
The studio logo uses the same box design and even font as the Playstation Studios logo. And the colours are actually inverted Playstation logo colours. The Playstation Studios logo is a black box with white text, while Blue Box is a white box with black text. In fact, the new Playstation logo ends on a Blue Box. In the Playstation Studios animation, a the square transforms into a blue box which shifts into the Playstion logo.
Just a few days after Blue Box out out their initial S and L Tweet, Konami announced they have new merch coming out. That new merch? It’s Silent Hill related.
Blue Box has no registered trademarks and was founded on April 12th 2015, exactly one year after PT was released.
Still not convinced? That’s fair. But let’s get into some of weirder things than people have dug up, starting with the fact that Hasan Kahraman has a confirmed PSN account where he is playing a game called Demon Blood, which does not exist. It isn’t common practice for Sony to upload builds of unfinished games like this, and even if they did developers would typically hide their profile. And, of course, Blood Demon doesn’t match up with the teased name for Abandoned.
Hasan Kahraman’s PSN name is Sneaky Warrior and he appears to have 1238 Trophies. That number is coincidently the same number used heavily in the Japanese trailer for Silent Hill. You could also point to Sneaky Warrior being a reference to Solid Snake. However, that trophy count has since increased, suggesting that it isn’t just a static profile. Some have suggested this is a deliberate move to further play with fans, but of course it could simply be Kahraman playing some games.
Let’s get even deeper into this. The image for Demon Blood was created by Trevor Henderson who you can find under the Twitter handle @slimyswampghost. That image is of Siren Head, a massive monster the artist created a few years ago, and the same image was used in a video titled Let’s Scare Junji Ito. Who is that, you ask? Well, Junji Ito along with Guillermo De Toro, collaborated with Kojima on PT.
If you want more oddness to the whole story then look no further than The Haunting, another “cinematic” first-person horror game that Blue Box launched into Early access on Steam in December of 2020. It’s a bit strange that a small, 10-person team would be working on two very similar games at the same time, with one being a PS5 exclusive, seemingly at the behest of Sony. Even more strangely, on the Steam forums a developer going by the name of Sneaky Warriorr, which was confirmed to be Kahraman’s account, says that Blue Box is working on Abandoned for the PS5 and that, “the haunting will be done by us (CREATEQ Interactive.” And yet, Kahraman is the confirmed head of Blue Box.
Jumping back to Naure Studio, in just the past few days they’ve culled their Following list on Twitter, dropping it to just ten people, including Kojima and Blue Box.
But let’s pump the brakes and examine the other side of the argument for a while, because while there’s a trail of potential evidence that paints a compellingly fun story, there’s also pesky common sense getting in the way.
The 2015 Kickstarter which raised only $207 of a request $12,000 does seem to suggest the company has been around for a while, unless Kickstarter agreed to fake the project. Both the company and Kahraman seem to have been involved in creating games over the years, none of which did very well but act as reasonably solid proof that Blue Box isn’t some new shell company set up by Kojima purely to hide this new game. That doesn’t eliminate the possibility that Kojima came in later and has been working through them or is the private investor, of course, but we can at least confidently say Blue Box is a real studio.
Kahraman has shown his face on a brief Twitter video and promises a Q&A soon. In the video he once again states they this is no a hoax, that he is not an actor and that there is no relation to Kojima. He seems genuine and he seems uncomfortable, like he’s trying to deal with an absurd situation. Blue Box haven’t helped themselves by leaning into speculation several times now, but this could be a company who isn’t sure whether to ride the popularity wave or run away from it. There’s certainly more eyes on Abandoned now than there ever was before. Hell, you could even argue that this was all a massive PR ploy.
It is, however, surprising that neither Kojima or Sony have put forth any official comment on the subject. In particular, you would think Sony would want to squash this rumour as quickly as possible, unless they are enjoying the extra attention as well. Or they just don’t care that much. As for Kojima…well, maybe he’s sitting in his massive spinning chair in his huge lair and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
This whole mystery is insane. There’s certainly a trail of crazy coincidences and odd events. However, I’m reticent to say this is Kojima because if it is just Blue Vox then I don’t want to put all that pressure on to them. If they really are just an indie team trying to get a game out then it’s going to be horribly unfair for them to wind up as the subject disappointment through no fault of their own. And sadly the Blue Box conspiracy subreddit changed from a place of fun speculation to one of bullying and anger.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the intrigue and mystery, though. I love a good mystery, a good puzzle to solve and I can’t deny the numerous oddities are hugely compelling. As humans we tend to seek order within chaos, finding patterns and links where none actually exist. These could simply be a few weird coincidences that equate to nothing.
Or could this really be Kojima’s biggest troll yet?
Or maybe Kojima finished the game and then went back in time to plant clues throughout the years. I would not put it past him.
The way I see it there are three likely scenarios. The first is that the Internet is right and this is indeed a new Silent Hill game with Kojima either involved or completely in charge of development. Perhaps Blue Box are indeed a fake company, or perhaps they were bought or funded by Kojima Productions for the creation of the new title. Regardless, if any of this true then we shall all need to stand up and gift Kojima with a slow, slightly annoyed clap.
The second is that Blue Box actually are working on a Silent Hill game with the blessing of Sony and Konami without the direct involvement of Kojima. It would be pretty spectacular if an unknown quantity like Blue Box managed to score a beloved IP like Silent Hill, but crazier things have happened.
The third and final option is also the most likely. Blue Box are a small team just trying to make something cool who have been caught in a conspiracy maelstrom that could result in them selling many, many more copies of Abandoned than they ever thought, or becoming the unwitting target of disappointment.
One way or another, we might find out on June 25th.