The original Hollow Knight was first released in 2017 and was immediately recognized as one of the most impressive entries in the Metroidvania genre, indie or not. The immaculate hand-drawn art style made even the dank, drab world full of bugs known as Hollownest a truly endearing place to explore. Combined with the tight platforming controls, light soulslike elements, satisfying upgrades, and cryptic story, Hollow Knight soared to the top of many critics’ and players’ favorite games lists.
Team Cherry, the three-person team behind Hollow Knight, didn’t stop there. The team continued working on the game for the following year with four pieces of DLC that expanded the game’s world and added new enemies, bosses, quests, and game modes. Initially planned as yet another piece of DLC, Hollow Knight: Silksong, originally called Hornet, became so large that Team Cherry decided to make it a full sequel. The development of this new entry has been as mysterious as the world it is set in, with many important questions still shrouded in darkness. As we continue to wait for our next dive into the world of bugs, here’s everything we know about Hollow Knight: Silksong.
Release date speculation
Officially, we have no word on when Hollow Knight: Silksong will be released. It was first announced with a trailer in February 2019, but we can assume it began development right after the last DLC wrapped up since it was originally planned to be DLC itself. Despite leaks suggesting it should have come out already, we still have no idea when this game will finally arrive, but hope that 2024 will finally be the year we get our hands on it.
At least for the time being, Hollow Knight: Silksong is only officially announced as coming to the Nintendo Switch and PC, and will be a day one addition on Xbox Game Pass. However, the original Hollow Knight was initially only a PC game, later coming to Switch, and then finally hitting the PS4 and Xbox One consoles, so Silksong may have a staggered release as well. That all depends on what, if any, deal Team Cherry has with Nintendo and Microsoft on it being a console exclusive. Based on how successful the original game was across all platforms, we would think, or maybe just hope, such a deal wouldn’t keep it off of PlayStation consoles permanently, but until we know more, those are the only places you can be sure to get it when it launches.
The reveal trailer for Hollow Knight: Silksong debuted in February 2019, showing off even more of the gorgeous animation and gameplay we saw in the first game. The trailer, naturally, focuses on the new playable character we previously did battle with in Hollow Knight, Hornet. Hornet is more than just a visual change from The Knight, too. She can speak, for one thing, giving her far more personality. William Pellen was quoted in an interview regarding Hornet’s character stating, “She’s able to express her aims and intentions and stuff, which then means that you can’t really hide her intentions or objective from the player. So there’s still heaps of mystery, but the player will quickly — even if you haven’t played Hollow Knight — get a basic idea of who Hornet is, her attitude, and her starting goals.” The trailer also highlights several key details the game will have, including 150 new enemies, new bosses, friendly NPCs and towns with quests to take, and tools to find and use.
While the art style is unmistakably Hollow Knight, all the settings shown are completely new. From the little shown in this trailer, and some more gameplay footage, some story elements have come together. After escaping a cage, Hornet finds herself in a new kingdom called Pharloom, far removed from Hollownest, where a new and unknown curse has infected most of the bug population. Here she will need to platform and fight her way to the citadel at the very top, which is a direct contrast to how progression in Hollow Knight was primarily a descent. The trailer did show a ton of varied environments Hornet will explore on her quest. If there was one thing the first game nailed, it was in its ability to tie together so many believable, detailed, and visually unique locations in a way that felt natural. We expect the team to accomplish nothing less with Silksong in that regard.
Hollow Knight: Silksong showed up in a surprising place with a trailer at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase in 2022. Not only was this the first time we saw the game advertised as coming to another platform besides Switch and PC, but it was also revealed to be coming to Game Pass the day it launches. Unfortunately, this trailer didn’t give any indication of when that day would be. Instead, we were simply treated to more gameplay to look forward to.
Silksong isn’t breaking away from the Metroidvania genre the first game was so beloved for. We will have another new interconnected and sprawling world to explore. Because Hornet is more of a character, and from what we have seen NPCs also seem more important, there looks like there will be more quests to take on as well. Of course, we can also count on a ton of new abilities to find and learn that will open up previously inaccessible areas, and expand on your combat options simultaneously. Just like her ability to speak, it appears that the main difference this game will have from Hollow Knight is in Hornet herself. Another quote from the developer explains that “Hornet being taller changes everything.” We can see that in action in the trailer as well. Not only is Hornet a much larger character than The Knight, but she has a faster base movement speed, higher jump height, and the ability to grab and climb up ledges.
Hornet fights with her signature needle, as opposed to the nail The Knight wielded, and has a wider move set for attacks than simple slashes to learn. Also unique to Hornet is a crafting system. Using materials called shell shards gathered in your adventure, you will be able to craft new weapons and tools to aid in both combat and traversal. A few confirmed craftables are the Pimpillo Bomb, which is a large explosive weapon; the Sting Shards, which shoot out spikes when Hornet is hit; and a throwing weapon called Straight Pins.
We also have confirmation of a Silk Soul mode that unlocks after completing the game for the first time. The original Hollow Knight had a Steel Soul mode that makes death permanent and makes a few NPC changes. Odds are Silk Soul mode will offer a similar level of challenge, but the exact details of what this mode will do, beyond “test your skills in an all-new mode that spins the game into a unique, challenging experience,” are unknown.
Until a final release date is set, there are no preorders available on any system, though if you have Xbox Game Pass, you are guaranteed to get it on that service when it launches. You can add it to your wish list on your platform of choice, but for now, that is all that is available. It is worth noting that Team Cherry is honoring its original Kickstarter promise of making all the DLC free for its backers. So, despite being expanded from a DLC into a full, stand-alone sequel, anyone who was part of that original Kickstarter campaign will still get Silksong completely free. We’ll be sure to update this guide once preorder information is made available, including the price, but if you were lucky enough to back the original project way back in 2014, then you’re already good to go as soon as the game comes out.
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