×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

P.T. is still giving up secrets years later

You could dismiss P.T. — short for "Playable Teaser"— as just the demo for the now cancelled Silent Hills, but there's so much more to it than that. This brainchild of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro remains one of the most memorable experiences of the horror genre. Despite spending its entirety in a hallway you have to go through over and over again, P.T.'s scares, ambiance, and obtuse nature have earned it a massive following. At the height of the Silent Hill fervor, Konami pulled the plug on the project, cut ties with Kojima, and even removed P.T. from the PlayStation store. 

Fans who wanted more and knew they'd get nothing else from Konami hacked P.T. to find all the disturbing elements hidden within its mysterious code. Even after all these years, the demo is still giving up secrets. If you're a fan, or just someone interested in an incredible piece of video game history, you are sure to enjoy this list of some of the best discoveries made after P.T.'s cancellation.

P.T.'s audio files hint at a chilling story

When playing P.T, you hear various incomprehensible audio cues. The sounds are ever-present, but you may have to play the game several times before hearing every single one of them. Most of these sounds are also very creepy, which is a perfect fit for the nature of this game.

Some fans of Silent Hill and P.T. dug into the game's files and found cues you weren't supposed to hear when playing it. Some seem to hint at the game's story and characters. Many of the audio files have shocking references to stories of fathers murdering their families. Fans theorize Silent Hills could have been the story of the sole survivor of a family massacre perpetrated by his father. Fans even found an unused model of a monster that could have been the main character's murderous father and the main villain of the game.

The monster from the trailer is in the game

After the sudden release of P.T. shocked and amazed many in the gaming community, Konami showed a brand new trailer at 2014's Tokyo Game Show. The footage showed a boy holding his head on his hands, hundreds of centipede-like creatures crawling all over the walls, and a shadowy, one-armed monstrosity large enough to fill an entire corridor. The trailer seemed more like a full motion picture than an in-game recording, but hackers found the model for the monster in P.T.'s code. Upon close inspection, it is clear the beast does have two arms and legs, though its left arm and right legs are deformed.

Some fans suspect Japanese horror manga legend Junji Ito designed the monster, but that isn't the case. In an Interview, Ito explained he met Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro to talk about the game, but he ended up never creating any concept art for it.

A camera hack reveals the scariest secret of all

P.T.'s most horrifying secret only came to light in 2019. You can hear strange sounds throughout the demo. While some seem to be random noise, others lead you to believe there's a female ghost whispering in your ear. And it is true. 

Famous video game code scavenger Lance McDonald found out that the model of Lisa, the ghost you spend the entirety of the game trying to avoid, shadows your every step. Lance was trying a few tricks to try to unlock the camera to get a better grasp of how the game works. When he succeeded and thought he had broken free from the game's horror, he looked behind him to behold one of the scariest discoveries of his life. Lisa was not just a random event you could hope to avoid, but an ever-looming curse that had been with you the entire time.

P.T. is a bitter breakup letter to Konami

Hideo Kojima's mastery of engaging with his audience is evidenced by his constant use of brilliant hints when promoting his games. When Kojima announces a new title, his followers know they should analyze every detail in the promotional materials for hidden clues. Some fans even get so paranoid they believe elements unrelated to video games are part of a secret marketing ploy by Kojima.

Since P.T. is a teaser for the canceled Silent Hills, hackers expected it to feature hints about what the game would become. Instead, they found what seem like several complaints by a disgruntled employee. The claims may seem nonsensical at first, but start making a lot of sense when you compare what's in the game to the dates and events surrounding the break with Konami. Fans believe Kojima delivered this information via a video game because non-disclosure agreements would have prevented him from doing so publicly. The discovery of a similar message in Metal Gear Survive, made by Kojima's former team still at Konami, gives this theory even more credence.

You can now see what the streets of Silent Hill looked like

Some of the most memorable aspects of the older Silent Hill games come from the variety of haunting areas in the titular town. P.T. is grand on its own, but upon finding it was a preview for the next addition to the franchise, fans wanted to see what it would look like on the outside. 

The brave souls who reached the end of P.T. unlocked a video where Norman Reedus roams the foggy streets of Silent Hill. The footage looked so good it could have been 100% CGI, but hacker extraordinaire Lance McDonald discovered it was recorded in-game. By hacking into the game's code, Lance found a way to roam the same streets you see in the ending cutscene of P.T. The city is incomplete, but it features more exciting details than what you'd need to record a good teaser for an upcoming game. It's great to have a better grasp of what it could have been.

Death Stranding isn't the first time you play as Norman Reedus in a Kojima game

Throughout the entirety of P.T., the game puts you in the first player perspective and never reveals your identity. Ever faithful to its twisted nature, P.T. even has a mirror you can look at in the bathroom. Most mirrors in games to allow you to look at the beautiful character the devs have created; the mirror in P.T., however, is too damaged to show the reflection of your character's face.

You need to solve the big riddle at the end of P.T. to unlock a video of a CGI Norman Reedus roaming the streets of Silent Hill. The video looks excellent, so fans suspected it might not be in-game footage. Hacker Lance McDonald applied some smart camera modding and found out that yes, you play as Norman Reedus the entire time. So, why didn't the creators allow the mirror to show the character's design? Kojima will never tell.

Lisa's tragic fate

If you've played P.T., you know you should fear Lisa. She haunts the hallway you're stuck in and doesn't want to share it. If you get one inch too close, Lisa will snap your neck like it is nothing. Lisa appeared to be an unstoppable force of evil for a long time, but then a dedicated fan found out she was nothing more than another casualty in the cruel world of Silent Hill.

Lance McDonald found a model whose clothes seem to match those worn by Lisa's ghost. It seems the alleged unseen villain from the teaser has beheaded Lisa and put her body in the bathtub. Lisa's aggressiveness towards you could mean she's just trying to protect the fetus living in the sink. Though you'll never find out why she's so adamant about killing everyone for sure, this finding does an excellent job of giving some depth to what at first looked like just another one-dimensional villain.

The disappointing content of the mysterious bag

At the start of the game, you'find yourself in a dark room with nothing other than a bloody paper bag. Once you get closer, something inside the bag starts to move and speak with a deep voice. It's a very peculiar way to start a game, but also something that could have some payoff later, right? It doesn't. The bag doesn't show up in any other segment of the game, leaving you wondering what could have been inside.

Hackers found the bag's model in the game's code and, with it, the answer to the mystery of its contents. The answer is nothing. Inside the bag, you won't find poor Lisa's head or even a tiny cockroach with a deep voice. So many elements hidden inside the game code turned out to be much more interesting than what at first seemed like one of its most puzzling objects.

The P.T. and Metal Gear Solid 5 mashup

One of Hideo Kojima's most ambitious objectives was the development of an extraordinary game engine Konami could use to make spectacular games and sell to other developers. The Fox Engine didn't become a massive hit like Unreal Engine but did a great job of bringing the worlds of P.T. and Metal Gear Solid 5 to life. An added benefit to titles sharing the same engine is how it facilitates hackers interested in swapping models between games. 

Metal Gear Solid 5 modder Lakitouille creates YouTube video content that swaps the characters in cutscenes for hilarious effect. From the moment fans started digging models up from P.T., it was possible to replace Snake with Norman Reedus, and Quiet with the ghostly Lisa. The result is "Quiet Hills," a video that's as hilarious as any of Lakitouille's other videos but with an added layer of creepiness.