Ever since the release of the film in 2006, there has been a persistent online rumour that the ghost town of Centralia in Pennsylvania - infamously abandoned due to an underground coal fire - inspired the iconic video game setting of Silent Hill.
The claim seems to be the result of an online game of telephone that starts with the film's screenwriter Roger Avary, who appears to have researched Centralia while working on the movie and mentioned it in various interviews. From there, the connection seems to have gone on to generate a life of its own, however, with several outlets referring to the town as "the real Silent Hill" causing some confusion among fans of the series.
According to Masahiro Ito, the original art director for Silent Hill 1, 2, and 3, it's something that still regularly comes up when talking to people all these years later. So much so, that he's grown tired of having to correct fans on this topic. Taking to Twitter, he recently set out to correct the record once and for all, claiming the white flecks in the air in the original game aren't ash from a coal fire like in the film, but snow, pointing to a piece of dialogue between two characters.
He then went on to explain his reasoning for posting the tweet:
"Many people still claim that the town of the SH1 (not the film but the original game) was inspired by Centralia and they boast the headcanon is the canon. They persistently question me as to the inspiration. This is the reason for this tweet. I just tweeted the truth."
This is not the first time Ito has stepped in to try and correct people about this publicly. In 2019, he stated that "there is no town where inspired the design of SH town" and that "I'm really so sick and tired of many people, who assume that, talking to me."
As far as video game films go, it should be said that the original Silent Hill movie was a pretty decent attempt at translating the games into the format of a 2-hour horror movie, but its changes from the original lore have had unintended consequences. Chief among them is this unfortunate misunderstanding that continues to circulate year after year, to the annoyance of the game's creators.