The game was released on September 30, 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America and on November 6, 2008 for the PC on Steam. All versions were simultaneously released in Europe on February 27, 2009. The Xbox 360 version is also available as a digital download; the PlayStation 3 version is not.
The game was initially banned in Australia, but was later released with the MA15+ rating and censored graphics. The Japanese release of the game was canceled altogether.
The story follows Alex Shepherd, a young man who returns to his hometown of Shepherd's Glen following a supposed military discharge and time spent in a hospital for combat related injuries. Alex returns home only to find that his father and younger brother, Joshua, have vanished without a trace, as have many others throughout the town. He finds his mother in a depressive, near catatonic state. Alex searches through the town for his missing brother while uncovering the causes behind the strange events and the dark secrets of the neighboring town of Silent Hill.
Before playing the game, it is recommended that the player reads three diaries written by Alex, Elle and Wheeler which provide backstory to the narrative.