Opinion: Allison Road Was Doomed from the Start

By | 5 months ago 

The recent cancellation of P.T. spiritual successor Allison Road came as a surprise to some, but find out why one writer thinks the game was doomed from the start.

As someone that is a big fan of the horror genre in gaming, I was devastated last year when I learned that Konami cancelled Silent Hills. The game’s playable teaser, P.T., left me wanting more, and to find out that Hideo Kojima’s vision was to never be realized left me disappointed. But then, I caught wind of Allison Road, an independently-developed game that aimed to carry on the legacy of P.T. as a spiritual successor, and hope was at least somewhat restored.

That same hope, however, was dashed just recently when Lilith announced that– like its inspiration – Allison Road has been cancelled. Further details on Allison Road‘s cancellation have yet to be shared by the developer, so it’s hard to say exactly what brought about its demise, but speculation points to the game being over-budget or the team at Lilith not reaching development milestone deadlines. Regardless of why Allison Road was cancelled, however, I think there were warning signs that the project was really doomed from the start.

As some may recall, Allison Road was initially funded through Kickstarter, but near the end of its Kickstarter funding campaign, it became clear that the game wasn’t going to meet its funding goal. Despite the clear enthusiasm for Silent Hills, and the uproar from fans after P.T. was removed from the PlayStation Store, it seems as though there just wasn’t enough people interested in Allison Road to get the game developed. However, Worms publisher Team17 swooped in to the save day, and picked up the publishing rights to Allison Road so that the game could finish development.

Allison Road Has Been Cancelled - Disfigured ghost face

Team17 is presumably the one that made the call to cease development on the game, but that’s just speculation at this time. However, it seems like Team17 picking up the publishing rights to a game that failed on Kickstarter was probably ill-advised. After all, if there wasn’t enough people willing to help fund Allison Road, who’s to say that there would be a large enough market to make the game a sales success following its launch?

I think that the reason why Allison Road didn’t have enough enthusiasm to propel it to a successful Kickstarter campaign was that it didn’t have a pedigree on par with the likes of other games that have looked to the site for funding. Take Kickstarter successes like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Yooka-Laylee, for example. Both of those titles are developed by people that actually worked on their inspirations, with Playtonic Games comprised of former Rare developers, and Bloodstained headed by Koji Igarashi – the man behind most of the Metroidvania style Castlevania games. Allison Road, meanwhile, was being developed by an unknown studio called Lilith Ltd., and didn’t have P.T.‘s creator on the team to help generate fan confidence in the title.

Of course, snagging Hideo Kojima to work on Allison Road would have been virtually impossible for Lilith. Kojima has no interest in making another P.T., and has moved on to other gaming projects since his departure from Konami. Without Kojima or other key members from Kojima Productions at the helm, I think Allison Road was perceived more as a copycat than a spiritual successor.

Allison Road Revives PT Silent Hills Style

If Allison Road had finished development, I think that it would have simply been living in the shadow of Hideo Kojima and P.T., and that alone could have kept it from being that much of a success anyway. While I can’t speak to the talent of the folks at Lilith, I think that ultimately Allison Road would have felt derivative, and would have probably failed to expand on the initial experience that P.T. brought to the table.

P.T. was something unique and special, and I think part of the reason why it was so popular was due to it being an original, short, and sweet experience. While elements of P.T. would have probably translated into the Silent Hills game, I think Silent Hills would have been a much different experience overall. Stretching the narrowly-focused concept found in P.T. to the length of a full-sized video game would have been problematic in my opinion, and that is essentially what Allison Road was trying to do.

Allison Road began life with a failed Kickstarter campaign, and then it faced the monumental task of trying to follow up the legacy of Hideo Kojima. While I think an effective P.T.-inspired horror game could be done, Allison Road was never going to be it, and I’m not exactly surprised that the game has ended up being cancelled. Even so, depending on the progress that Lilith made on the game, perhaps it will be revived again down the line, but in the meantime, horror fans will have to settle for some of the other genre entries on the horizon.

Allison Road was in development for PC before its cancellation.