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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Waiting for Hollow Knight: Silksong is the new waiting for Elden Ring

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I fell for it again, dammit. I should know better than to get psyched up for any particular game to show up at a big press conference like today’s Summer Game Fest, but I did it anyway. After a Twitter exchange between Geoff Keighley and a Hollow Knight marketing rep, I was pretty damn sure we’d see Hollow Knight: Silksong appear at the show, maybe even as the big finale. 

Well, it didn’t.

Time for Geoff Keighley to go back to gamer prison, and time for me to learn my lesson: expecting to see Hollow Knight: Silksong is now as foolish and painful as waiting to see Elden Ring was for the last few years.

In the grand scheme of things, Elden Ring wasn’t on silent running for that long. It was announced at E3 in June 2019, and finally re-emerged at Summer Game Fest in June 2021. Only two years! (Indie game Routine, just re-revealed today, has been in development for a decade.) But compared to how relatively quickly FromSoftware announced and then released its previous Dark Souls games, it felt like an eternity.

What really drove players crazy was that during those two years, FromSoftware barely said a thing about Elden Ring. It kept footage of it completely under wraps, and every Gamescom, Tokyo Games Show, Game Awards, and other similar event stirred the Elden Ring subreddit into a hopeful—then despairing—frenzy. Surely they’d get something. Anything. But no.

Hollow Knight: Silksong has now reached a similar status.

Here’s the Hollow Knight subreddit after Summer Game Fest ended without the indie metroidvania making an appearance.

That sure feels like the Elden Ring subreddit after yet another disappointment, though there aren’t quite as many poor souls posting in pain. It’s understandable: Hollow Knight: Silksong was announced in February 2019 and shown a couple times that year. Then it was quiet for a year, until our sister publication Edge magazine ran a cover feature on Silksong in December 2020. Since then, nothing—a year and a half without a scrap of new information. We’re closing in on the same amount of time Elden Ring spent in silence.

Since 2019, while Team Cherry has been hard at work on a sequel, Hollow Knight’s prestige has only continued to grow. I see a discussion thread from someone new playing it for the first time, and the takeaway is usually: I heard Hollow Knight was good, but I didn’t think it would be this good. Metroid Dread kicked up a lot of comparisons, too, and I don’t think it’s too controversial to say that Hollow Knight’s combat, art and level design are a cut above. When Silksong does come out, I expect it’ll make a bigger splash than a Metroid sequel that was 20 years in the making.

But when will that be? Agonizing as the wait is, I’m okay with Team Cherry working away without the distractions of maintaining a development blog or tweeting out art or screenshots every few weeks. I want Silksong to preserve the same mystery that I felt in Hollow Knight: I really don’t want to know how big the world will be or what kind of enemies I’ll run into. I want to be surprised again and again, just like I was in the first game, as I kept stumbling into new areas.

As with Elden Ring’s 2021 Summer Game Fest appearance, I think Silksong will be worth the wait when it does re-emerge. Until then, I’m going to do my best to stop expecting to see Silksong again anytime soon. It’ll happen when it happens.

…although surely another Nintendo Direct is happening sometime this month. 🤔

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