The original Hollow Knight 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 such an endearing place to explore. Combined with the tight platforming controls, light souls-like 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. Things have gone mostly silent regarding development since the announcement that Silksong would be a stand-alone title, but there have been morsels of info here and there. This is everything we know about Hollow Knight: Silksong.
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. However, a leak may have revealed the release date for Hollow Knight: Silksong, among many other titles, in the September 2021 Nvidia database data breach. According to this leaked info, which you should obviously not take as fact, we will see this game on February 1, 2022. Being the first of the month, that sounds like a placeholder date at best, and official word is that nothing in that leak is an official confirmation, so take that with a major grain of salt.
At least for the time being, Hollow Knight: Silksong is only officially announced as coming to the Nintendo Switch and PC. 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 it is possible Silksong will have a staggered release as well. That all depends on what, if any, deal Team Cherry has with Nintendo on being a console exclusive. Based on how successful the original game was across all platforms, we would think, or maybe just hope, they wouldn’t keep it locked to just PC and Switch 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 really 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.
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.
Hollow Knight: Silksong is not a multiplayer title. Technically, the developers haven’t outright said that there won’t be multiplayer in the game, but there’s almost no chance that any kind of multiplayer, perhaps outside of some kind of leaderboard, will be included. The atmosphere, tone, balance, and sense of exploration of the game don’t meld well with multiple players. The first game was perfect as a single-player experience, and this one is certainly going to follow those footsteps.
This is a tricky one to speculate on considering Silksong was intended to be DLC in the first place. Having been expanded into a full-fledged sequel, it does seem likely that there could be expansions just like Hollow Knight got. Team Cherry has proven that it knows how to masterfully integrate and expand on its worlds post-launch, but at the same time, it may have poured all of its ideas for the Hollow Knight world into this game and have nothing left to add. We knew to expect DLC thanks to the stretch-goal promises that were hit during the first game’s Kickstarter campaign, but without one now, all we can do is speculate on Silksong. Knowing the level of quality Team Cherry is capable of, we’re confident the base game will be more than worth the price, and anything more it wants to add will just be icing on the cake.
Until a final release date is set, there are no pre-orders available on Switch or PC just yet. You can add it to your wishlist 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 promises 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 pre-order 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.