It’s been a little over a week since Hideo Kojima surprised the world with an “indie” game titled P.T. at Gamescom 2014 and gamers still have no idea how to beat it. That’s not to say no one has completed Kojima’s looping hallway of horror, because several have done so and revealed that it’s actually a teaser for Silent Hills (read our earlier post on it here). But after a week of theories, YouTube videos, Twitch streams, and forum arguments the internet is still completely clueless on how to trigger the ending of the interactive teaser.
Warning: Spoilers ahead. Like 100% spoilers for P.T. All of it. Dead dove, do not eat.
Whether you’re out of the loop or just don’t have a PS4 to be able to play the demo, here’s a quick rundown of how P.T. works and what is so mysterious and intriguing about it:
The gist of the demo is that there were murders, you are stuck in a seemingly never-ending loop of a hallway, given hints about the murders through radio broadcasts and a talking fetus and you are being haunted by the spirits of the deceased.
Every time you exit through the door at the end of the hallway you loop back to the beginning where a clock informs you it is 11:59 PM. And almost every time you loop something in the world changes. Sometimes it’s seemingly useless like the lighting being red or green, and sometimes there is a fridge dangling precariously above your path, or occasionally there is even a terrifying and still somehow alive aborted fetus in the bathroom sink that talks to you and laughs. If you fail to solve the murder and loop through the hallway too many times, the spirit of one of the victims, Lisa, will eventually get fed up and just kill you.
Should you succeed somehow, the phone will ring and allow you to exit through the front door where you’re treated to the cut-scene revealing that you’ve been playing as Norman Reedus the entire time and that the game is actually a teaser for Silent Hills and not the mysterious indie game P.T. that you’ve been lead to believe.
That is where pretty much everything we know for sure ends. We know the hallway loops, we know things change and we know it’s actually Silent Hills. How you actually win and trigger the phone call is a complete mystery. Most players’ first thought is that the whole thing is just random. It’s a horror game – maybe you’re supposed to just stay on edge through these randomly changing details and eventually just randomly win when the game decides it’s done screwing with you. But this is Hideo Kojima – the same trolling enthusiast that had a boss in Metal Gear Solid read your movements and be unbeatable if your controller was plugged into the one-player slot. Nothing is ever that simple on the surface level.
Based on the sole fact that this is a Kojima game has lead to many theories popping up all over the Internet. Some simple explanations that have already be proven false are floating around such as “it only triggers if you’re streaming on Twitch” and “it only triggers if you sit in the pause menu for a certain amount of time” among others. Most of these simple explanations have already been disproven by players claiming to have beaten the game without streaming it and several streamers triggering the phone call without ever sitting in a pause menu.
Another popular theory is that you need to find a way to make the creepy sink baby laugh three times. It’ll laugh twice fairly easily, but no one seems to know how to trigger the third or even if it is the key to freeing Norman Reedus from his Kojima hallway hell. A lot of ideas around the laughing baby revolving around waiting until digital clock reads midnight, taking a certain amount of steps and staring at a random painting. Which all kind of makes sense; they are all seemingly random events that someone could happen upon while playing after all. But alas, I’ve yet to see it to work during a steam or YouTube video and the number of steps or which picture to stare at varies to the point where the theory starts to fall apart.
The most absurd, and probably my favorite theory that I’ve seen streamed live, is the idea that you have to stream Kojima YouTube clips into your microphone while playing. Needless to say, that one failed.
A radio in the room will also continually tell you the numbers 204863, causing several theories to sprout from that mysterious sequence. There’s a chance it is just Kojima’s birthday as he was born on the 24th (20-4) of August (8) in 1963 (63) but, again, knowing Kojima, it’s intended to appear to just be his birthday but to mean something deeper. One Gamefaqs forum user went through some convoluted hoops to translate the number to a Japanese phrase meaning “look in the bathtub” and another noticed that the number sequence is the same as gene model for Populus trichocarpa – the first tree to be genetically sequenced that also grows near a lake in Los Angeles.
Both of these are flimsy at best (not to mention even if the bathtub theory is true, it doesn’t help much. Plenty of gamers have obviously looked in the tub and are no closer to unlocking P.T.‘s secrets), but they both go to show just how far everyone is willing to go to figure out how to beat Kojima’s mind games.
Another theory that has less to do with solving P.T. and more to do with the impending Silent Hills is the idea the main antagonist of the game may in fact be aliens. This is thought to be the case based on a radio transmission played during the P.T. demo – the transcript (translated from Swedish) can be found on Kotaku, but the most important section for this alien theory are these two lines:
Yes, the radio drama from 75 years ago was true.
They are here on our earth and they monitor and see all.
That 75-year-old radio drama, as Kotaku points out, may be Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds – the radio broadcast detailing an alien invasion that took 1938 by storm until it was revealed to be nothing more than a story. If the P.T. broadcast is true then it’s possible that, in the Silent Hill mythos, that broadcast was not a work of fiction and could give us our first hint to the story of Silent Hills.
Like anything Kojima, there’s a chance this all could be a red herring (noticing a trend?) or simply a reference to Silent Hill‘s popular UFO alternate endings.
No matter what comes of all these theories, the fact that they exist and are so prevalent is what makes P.T. and in turn Silent Hills so brilliant. It’s far and away the game most talked about from Gamescom and, assuming no one solves the riddles in time, will keep fan’s interest well into Silent Hills‘ development cycle when Hideo Kojima and crew have more information to release about it. Maybe to some this is nothing worth even noting but to me and I’m sure a lot of others this is one of the most fascinating things to happen to gaming in a long time. Anything able to stump the entire gaming community in the age of the internet, strategy guides, and corporate leaks is a-ok in my book. We can only hope other developers are taking note about how to make an interesting teaser.