Technology

Hobbyists resurrect Kojimas “lost” game P.T. as a free PC download

  • Welcome to Unreal PT, a fan-made recreation of the lost Hideo Kojima horror "demo" that launched for free on PS4 in 2014. Unreal PT
  • This gallery includes a taste of various creepy moments as recreated by Unreal PT.
  • Spooky lighting, check. Ominous sentences appearing on walls for no reason, check.
  • A creepy message appearing underneath a faded, Laura Palmer-esque portrait, checkity check check.
  • And that says nothing of the writhing, crying fetus in the sink.

Roughly a year after Konami released P.T., a free "Silent Hills teaser" experience for the PlayStation 4, the Japanese game publisher removed its listing. Ever since, the only way to play through this eerie, atmospheric horror vignette has been to find a PS4 that had already downloaded the demo.

That changed on Friday with the release of a free, and largely authentic, replica of the experience. Unreal PT is now available for Windows PCs, and it offers a nearly identical playthrough of the PS4 original. Ars has played through the 1.6GB experience and confirmed that it delivers a remarkable version of the Hideo Kojima original.

Meaning you'll want to put on headphones and get a fresh pair of pants. Many years later, P.T. still offers a uniquely unsettling experience, thanks to its mix of repetition, simplicity, creepy touches, and impeccable sound design. Unreal PT transfers all of those aspects to Windows PC, all while scaling up to true 4K resolution, leaning into impressive Unreal Engine 4 visual effects, and maxing out at your preferred frame rate. Unfortunately, the game's "wake from the ground" intro and pre-rendered conclusion are not included, so anybody brand-new to P.T. will want to watch a playthrough on YouTube after finishing to see what's missing. (In good news, the download includes a helpful "guide.txt" file to explain how to get through P.T.'s most confusing moments should you get stuck at any point.)

The project's lead developer, Radius Gordello, posted a development log alongside the release to confirm roughly nine months of development time. It details the team's effort to build many of his version's assets from scratch, including "textures, models, animations, gameplay, and code." But Gordello makes no bones about reusing specific, key assets, including "Lisa's, Norman's, and the baby's models, the radio, and the pictures in the picture frames," along with every original sound effect and dialogue recording. That sheer fact makes the download's legal status particularly murky.

As a bonus (or a minus, depending on your point of view), Unreal PT purports to work with VR headsets in a sit-down capacity. However, Gordello makes clear in his notes that the demo's VR implementation is far from optimal, owing to his lack of sufficient VR development equipment (he simply ran a few VR tests at a school's computer lab). In addition to being creepy as all get-out, Unreal PT's VR implementation is absolutely broken; its only truly interesting aspect is that it fails to properly align your 3D avatar, so you can reposition your body in real-life space to see the game's real-time render of actor Norman Reedus.

P.T.'s original purpose, as a teaser for a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and film director Guillermo Del Toro on a "Silent Hills" game project, has long since flown the coop. Kojima was fired from Konami less than a year after P.T.'s launch, and all of the studio's Kojima-helmed projects, including Silent Hills, ground to a halt shortly afterward. (The firing's timing, ahead of Metal Gear Solid V's launch, led to later speculation about why that game's ending seemed rushed.)

Kojima, Del Toro, and Reedus have all since reunited for the Sony-published, PS4-exclusive game Death Stranding, whose release date still has not been announced.

Listing image by Unreal PT

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