In the hours leading up to several gaming news events — like an indie event or a Nintendo Direct — you can see the rumblings of people online discussing a game called Hollow Knight: Silksong. Some share digital summoning circles constructed with emojis and dedicate them to the game in the hopes it will make an appearance at a showcase; others simply express their excitement by sharing memes prior to the event. During a digital event itself, you’ll see viewers spam the live chat with messages like “SKONG [with four airhorn emojis],” or “WHERE SILKSONG????!!??” Sometimes, the phrase “Silksong” will even trend online before one of these events because so many people are sharing their excitement.

All of this ruckus, just because fans just really want to hear a sliver of news about Hollow Knight: Silksong. The game — which fans shorten to Silksong — is the planned sequel to a game called Hollow Knight. Developer Team Cherry first announced the follow-up to its beloved Metroidvania in 2019; since then, it got a splashy trailer in 2022, but no concrete release date. And by now, its dedicated fan base has turned waiting for the game into one giant viral meme.

What is Hollow Knight: Silksong?

To understand the lasting popularity of Silksong, we need to look back at the game that preceded it: Hollow Knight. Developer Team Cherry first released the popular Metroidvania in 2017. At the time, the game stunned fans with its fantastical insectoid world and precise combat. Those elements, paired with its rich method of environmental storytelling, resulted in a gem of a game. Polygon hailed it as “unquestionably the finest Metroidvania ever made.”

Image: Team Cherry

Hollow Knight has racked up more than its fair share of devoted fans, so when Team Cherry surprised players with the announcement of a full-on sequel called Silksong, it drummed up plenty of buzz. The developers promised an original story, new bugs to meet, and new worlds to explore. What’s more is that fans would get to play as Hornet, a mysterious but beloved side character from the main game.

Fans excitedly awaited more news about the upcoming game, but none came. Years passed, and Team Cherry didn’t release any more trailers or news. With each passing gaming news event, it seemed all the more inevitable that players would get a release date, or a new trailer, or at least another peek at the project.

Finally, in 2022, the developer shared a new look at the game at an Xbox Showcase, but even then, the game had no stated release date. According to Xbox, however, the games in that showcase were going to be released in the next 12 months — meaning Silksong should have come out in 2023. But it didn’t. On May 9, 2023, Matthew Griffin from Team Cherry broke the news on X (formerly Twitter) that the game was not yet ready to be released and that fans should “expect more details from [Team Cherry] once we get closer to release.”

That was the last major update from the team, and since then, fans have been left in limbo — while still repeatedly expressing their hearts’ desires for the game online.

Why do fans shout about Silksong online?

In the years since its initial announcement, expressing a desire to see Silksong has become a viral bit online. At this point, you can’t watch a gaming news stream without people mentioning Silksong. People on social media will share fan art, memes, and reaction posts all in anticipation of the game, or making fun of the fact that there might not be more news about it. The avid fandom can spark the ire of other viewers in chats, and Silksong fans have inadvertently psyched up others excited for the game because they so regularly cause the game’s title to trend on X. All because people just want to express a desire to see this game.

Polygon reached out to Team Cherry to ask about what it’s been like to see fans talk about the game. We will update this article if we hear back.

Hollow Knight did sell in the millions, but that isn’t necessarily what seems to be causing this reaction to Silksong. It’s just that this game — which is genuinely a fantastic game to play — has inspired a super-dedicated cult following. The people who love the game just really adore it, and they want to see the next game released.

In this sense, Silksong does just come across as the next generation’s version of the entire “localize Mother 3” movement. Nintendo has never released an official English localization of Mother 3 in North America, but people have been asking for it for years. To this day, fans still beg Nintendo on social media to release the game, and several fans have regularly pulled IRL stunts to bring attention to the game. Being a Mother 3 fan is almost as much about wanting Mother 3 to come out officially in the U.S. as it is actually playing or enjoying the content of the game.

That all being said, Silksong has a much better chance of being released than the official English version of Mother 3. Team Cherry has assured fans that while the team might not have revealed too much, development is progressing. So I guess fans will have to rely on their summoning circles until then.

Ana Diaz

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