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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Was "A Great Opportunity to Explore New Ideas and Techniques"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The aim was to exploit "different ways of using interactivity"

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories certainly stands out within its franchise, and was a notable Wii release back in late 2009 — early 2010 for Europe. Its attempts at psychological profiling and a focus on avoiding combat were divisive, but for our money it was an unmissable horror title, as we approved of the somewhat bold choices in game design.

It was the work of Climax Studios, and lead designer Sam Barlow has provided some interesting context on the project's development, and the decisions behind its unique style, in an interview with EDGE magazine. Early pitches by the studio were for new games in the franchise that would include varying degrees of combat — though psychological profiling was a common theme — but these struggled to make progress. The arrival of Shattered Memories as a sort-of remake seems to have been as the result of exploiting a loophole, as Konami's HQ had signed off on the idea of a Silent Hill remake; therefore, that's what it became.

The Wii Remote's pointer control for the torch was integral — though Konami's profit concerns resulted in ports on PSP and PS2 — to bringing ambitious ideas into play. The psychological aspect took results from a questionnaire and the player's activities to adjust and tweak the experience, such as enemy designs and even the ending itself.

The driving thing was exploring different ways of using interactivity. There's so much data that games take on board about their player — we know where you are, what you're looking at, how long you spend looking at things, what you're doing — but 99% of games don't use any of that.

Because the pointer interface was so responsive and fast, it meant you could walk into a room and just flick your eyes around and look over things. We had lovely detailed information on how the player was looking at things and how they were moving through the world.

Reaching a wider audience — especially as a result of the series' movies succeeding at the box office — was a priority that certainly was a fit for the Wii.

Combat didn't fit the idea of selling a horror game to a broad demographic. For example, the point where my girlfriend would stop playing games was when she was asked to pick up a weapon and start fighting. It would conform to her idea of what a videogame was and she would become very, very bored.

Shattered Dreams wasn't a commercial smash-hit, perhaps justifying Konami's caution in pushing through ports, though Barlow expresses a belief that a flawed marketing strategy didn't help.

In the end, Konami marketed it as a core gamer title.

...Generally the negativity came from people who were opposed to playing a core game on Wii anyway. [It was] something that could have been negated by selling the game [differently].

Let us know what you think of these comments, and whether you're in the camp that rates Shattered Memories as an under-appreciated gem, below.


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User Comments (63)



DarkCoolEdge said:

I'm glad I bought it, it is a remarkable game. Entertaining, responsive and overall very well done.

If they dare to make something similar for WiiU I'll be happy to support it.



brandonbwii said:

While it wasn't the Silent Hill many expected, it was very special in its own right. It's brief but smart gameplay was met with a mysterious story with a surprising end that made you think about all of the protagonist's encounters and what they meant in the grand scheme of things. It had that brilliant story "feel" that I usually only get from the subtle storylines of the best indie games.



GraveLordXD said:

I'd support another silent memories type silent hill
Call me crazy but I'd like to see another downpour technical issues aside I thought it was great and very underrated its probably my favorite silent hill



Grubdog said:

I love this game. I beat the entire thing in a mammoth 15 hour sitting the first time I played, it was so engaging I didn't even notice. The chase sequences were legitimately terrifying and I haven't got that feeling from any other game, everything you did mattered. All your choices, all your movements. Graphics were outstanding too, still the best snow I've seen in any game on any console. It felt so good to use the pointer as well, most Wii games didn't bother to utilise the console properly.

I would love for the Wii U to get some psychological horror games, the GamePad is screaming for it, Miiverse could work too. Imagine if a game linked you to a fake Miiverse where everybody called you crazy.



Shiryu said:

I quite enjoyed replaying it a few times, a great addition to anyone's Wii collection for sure.



AJWolfTill said:

I still need to pick this and the Last Story up at some point. Did anyone play Project Zero 2 on the Wii?



WaveBoy said:

The pointer flash light controls and pointer based interaction with puzzles and objects ect ect were amazing and practically saved this game from being totally mediocre. This is another fantastic showcase of motion controls and i'm glad i experienced it. There's no way in hell you could get me to play this with analog-based aiming....

Flash light + Pointer controls = an absolute dream. ....Just not in Ju-on: The Grudge.



Grubdog said:

@AJWolfTill YES! Absolutely stunning game, I had never played the original though. The environments are extremely well done with lots of detail and it's one of the best looking (and sounding) Wii games. I found the motion controls a bit weird but I think that was intentional. The pointing is very restricted and the whole game feels like you're handicapped in terms of movement, but not in a bad way. Probably tied with REmake as the scariest game I've played, very similar feeling actually.



the_beaver said:

I agree with you 100% percent.
Another game like this on WiiU would be insanely good. One of the best Wii games IMO. A pity it didn't sell well...



Grubdog said:

@WaveBoy oh god, Ju-On was terrifying for all the WRONG reasons! I appreciate the atmosphere but the controls and movement were a struggle. It was very low budget.



ToniK said:

@AJWolfTill Yes! Project Zero 2 was awesome. Actually both PZ2 and SH: Shattered Memories are some of the best horror games I've ever played. Absolutely loved both experiences.
Edit. And I mean the Wii edition of PZ2.



Ristar42 said:

One of the stand out games I played on the Wii, and far better than Homecoming with its clunky combat in my opinion.

Although quite different to the Team Silent creation of Silent Hill, I still think Shattered Memories is a great game on its own merits. It's more consistenly unnerving than 'jump out' scary, and the other world can get a little frustrating at times, but it's an original, well made and very playable entry in the series that should have done better by the sounds of it.



WaveBoy said:


haha, even though the controls were terrifyingly SLOW & clunky, i'll was the scariest game i've ever played. No joke. Kayoko freaks me the funk me out on so many levels. I played it full blast with a pair of expensive sennhesier headphones and at times i was too scared to The only other time this has happened was when i was playing Shadowgate on the NES at the age of 5.....damn grim reaper.



MAB said:

If you haven't played Shattered Memories and Project Zero 2 on Wii yet then...

You're already dead



Transdude1996 said:

I would love for them to do another Shattered Memories game. If they actually did, it would give a good excuse to bring back James from SH2.



OorWullie said:

A fantastic game that I really should get round to finishing.A combination of Wii Remote and Gamepad (ala Zombie U) and glorious HD could make it even greater



Einherjar said:

I sadly never played it myself but i have watched the recent "Game Grumps" videos and i have to say, even though im not playing myself, the chase scenes are absolutely intense. Its high up on my "Wii games to get" list.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I wanted to get this but can't remember what other games stopped me. Quite a few of the better Wii 3rd party games were released with so little fanfare that I assumed they'd been canned.



NImH said:

I loved Shattered Memories. A couple of the psych-profile tests really would've benefited from the gamepad if it had been released in this gen. One of my favorite things about it was the use of the controller's speaker... so unsettling.



HopeNForever said:

I personally have been keen on getting this game, but I dunno if I would be able to eventually.

Despite being a re-imagining, wasn't this game the only entry in the Silent Hill series (by far) to ever make it on a Nintendo platform?



WaveBoy said:


Yeah, too bad Project Zero is only available in Japan & Europe. Oh well, we get the far superior Excitebots. ...sigh*



TDS_Computer said:

This was easily one of my top 5 games on the Wii - Loved every terrifying minute of it! The end was unexpected, for sure.



ChimeraKnight said:

I'm sorry, but this game was and still is terrible. As a long time Silent Hill fan who's played all the games, this is my least favorite in the series. I actually hesitate to call it a SH game at all, as it tries to be a remake/reimagining of the first game in the series, but in reality is nothing like it at all.

The lack of combat was interesting at first, but then I realized the game was literally; go to this area, look around, run from creatures, go to the next area, look around, run from the same creatures, repeat until the end of the game. It got to be mind-numbly boring, I only finished it because it's SH and I wanted to see what they did with the story.

If this is what people want to see more of from SH I hope Konami kills the series. Atleast we'll always have SH1-4, none of the games since have been nearly as creative, immersive, or interesting. They keep trying to recreate the magic of SH2, as it's seen as the SH holy grail, and keep failing miserably.



LittleIrves said:

@ChimeraKnight Personally, I loved this game, but it was also my first Silent Hill. It seems like fans of the originals disliked Shattered Memories since it didn't conform to expectations, and players new to the series were more apt to enjoy it for what it was? Either way, I'd love a follow-up on Wii U. Pretty doubtful that'll ever happen, though...



gojiguy said:

This is one of my favourite games of all time. Really dense stuff. So good.

Hope we see more from Climax on Wii U.

Hell, an HD SH:SM with a few tweaks would make me so happy!



ChimeraKnight said:

@LittleIrves I'd say that's fair. For existing fans there was a certain expectation with this game as it's story was to be a retelling/reimagining of the first game. However, it ended up being so completely different that I don't think it can be considered either. Newcomers wouldn't have that problem as they wouldn't have the experience of the first game to compare it to. Also, the lack of combat and only one enemy type was an odd choice.



ACK said:

Brilliant game but they needed to do something about the running/chasing scenes. I found it incredibly easy... I've had several runs through the game and I've probably been caught only a handful of times. (Almost all on my first play through.)

However, my wife found it excruciatingly difficult. She would have preferred combat, for sure. Maybe it's because of spatial navigation difficulties, control concerns, or simple anxiety... Don't know, but I question whether the decisions they made really resulted in a game accessible to the more casual gamer. Of the people I've borrowed the game to, almost all have struggled with these chasing scenes. So even though I find them breezy, she seems to be in the majority. (She loves Resident Evil games--many women do--so I don't think removing combat is the key.)

On top of that, I felt there was a litany of little design and concept missteps holding it back from the modern classic it truly deserved to be.



ACK said:

@hosokawasamurai I bought the PS2 port for a friend. It was butt. Total regret. It's hardly comparable to the Wii version. It seriously degrades the experience and left my friend scoffing at my admiration for the game.



WaveBoy said:


If Shattered memories didn't have those amazing flash light pointer controls and motioned based interactivity with objects and environments it wouldn't even be worth playing. I've finished the first Silent Hill back on the PS1 and Shattered memories is a pretty big disgrace in comparison in terms of atmosphere, music, imagination, ect the works. I guess you could say Shattered memories is the disney version of silent hill. The monsters were also extremely generic and forgettable....And there were only 3 bloody types for crying out loud.

Still it's incredibly immersive, i just wish 'team silent' would apply these pointer based controls to a real silent hill game.



blackknight77 said:

My second favorite Silent hill game and a real underrated gem. Great soundtrack ,atmosphere, and gameplay. This needs an HD remake. At first I was not sold on how a game about snow could be scary. But the snow storm that his Silent Hill is the prefect backdrop for a moody, atmospheric adventure.



Kirk said:

It really was a very good game and with a couple of tweaks here and there I think it could have been a true classic.



Shambo said:

I preordered it, it was one of my most anticipated games back then. Played it several times, and still have it and love it! One of those true gems. Much more atmospheric than the HD Silent Hill games. HD collection aside, those don't count.



Morpheel said:

I loved this on the PSP (never found the Wii version at all).

Now I want a sequel or a WiiU port...



Zobocop said:

This game never made sense to me as a "remake". With the way the game ends, you could definitely interpret it as a sequel to SH3.



AceTrainerBean said:

I am a massive silent hill fan and I loved shattered memories. I would love a Silent hill game on the wii u because the controller is perfect for it. You could implement some of the game pad features from zombi U for example checking gear and searching in real time.



ACK said:

@Zobocop Yeah, clearly it was just a goofy marketing ploy by Konami that did the game no justice.

Even worse is it decreases the chance we will actually ever see a true remake of SH1.



mamp said:

This game was fun but I was disappointed only because I figured out how the game works early on. Basically you're safe if there's no ice so that took the fear out of the majority of the game. Basically you walk around in the dark but what's the point if there's no risk of something attacking you or something jumping out of that darkness.



soma said:

I loved this game, one of my favorite Wii games or probably of all time. I really loved the atmosphere. Still need to get the Drunk Dad ending.
It's true that once you figured how the game works it loses the suspense, but still I really enjoyed and replayed it 4 times. Thankfully the game is not too long.
It's also true some people had problems with the controls. I didn't have any, but my brother who is a gamer (but isn't used to Wii controls) had a lot of trouble in the nightmare sections.



ChimeraKnight said:

@LDXD I thought Downpour was a great game begging to be released from the mediocrity holding it back. It was victim of the developer trying desperately to channel SH2 into a new entry. It was another story of redemption, learning from and paying a price for the bad things Murphy had done. It was ok, but not original even within the SH series.

The chase sequences that returned from SM were ok, I felt they were better in this game just for the change in pace from the combat, which wasn't very good. The transition into the Otherworld in the game is well done and I thought the environments within it were the highlight of the game, there's a lot of creativity in some of those areas.

As for the creatures, they have by far the worst designs of any of the SH games, outside of SM. Most of them were laughable like the prisoners and the bat creatures, as well as the ghost cars and screamers. The "Bogeyman" was there just to take the place of Pyramid Head and I see the "Wheelman" as kind of a parallel to Valtiel from SH3 in that they both seem to show up randomly, even though they serve different purposes.

The soundtrack was a departure for the series, but I thought it was well done and fit the game. Daniel Licht did an admirable job considering who he was replacing.

It's one of those games that I really wanted to like more than I actually did. It has some good moments (the Hansel and Gretel puzzle comes to mind), music, and environments. Overall, I think it's the best SH game since SH4, but I haven't liked any of them since 4 so that's not saying much.

@WaveBoy I thought there was only the one enemy type, "Raw Shocks" (what a terrible name), and only during the chase sequences.



aj_fowl said:

@Einherjar If you thought they were intense on Game Grumps then you'd be screwed if you actually played it. Not only are you in control and have to make quick choices, but the Wii remote adds to the terror. As enemies draw near your remote starts going crazy with static. If Harry's health gets low you feel his heartbeat through vibrations.



Makyurax said:

Except for the original one on ps1 that is my favorite silent hill and the first horror game where you had to run away in fear and not make the occasional protagonist a tough hero that have no problem against an ancient being who survived for thousands years until he met the him; plus the psychological implementation was beautiful.
If they make other games like that i'll buy on the first day!!



Einherjar said:

@aj_fowl And to be honest, id like it to do so
Only to games really scarred me so far:
The first Dead Space slolely with its audio design. Hearing screws clank down in the background and in general, all these natural sounds from such a huge worker ship just drive you crazy after some time. As soon as you realize how arcady that game really is, the magics pretty much gone But the first time through was one hell of a run.

The other game was and still is ZombieU. And you might laugh about me, but i still havent finished it because of that Two reasons why i could never get back to it: The perfectionist fears the perma death to no end and is terrified of screwing up. The other reason is plain and simple fear And its such an awesome thrill. You use that gamepad scanner and see several red dots right around the corner. You cant see anything because its pitch black. You sneek around and see NO zombie. After the initial shock comes relief in the thought "well, they are probably all abo MUNCH !?!
Turns out, they WERE right around the corner after all



sugarshack said:

I was about 5 hours in, then I returned it. I felt like I had a rough idea of what was to come. but I know I missed out on something. I enjoyed the experience I had. I will have to admit that the chase scenes got to me, just terrifying. though it was fun to sprint away and dodge.



CaPPa said:

I thought that Shattered Memories was a great game and a good twist on the original. The flashlight pointer controls and use of the remote's speaker made it really creepy too.

It's a shame that the series hasn't been able to improve since then. The Wii U offers the kind of features that could really add to a horror experience, but I doubt that there's any chance of a Wii U Silent Hill.



AJWolfTill said:

My god, agree 100% with Dead Space, I have never been so scared from any game or film before this. Despite its age I found System Shock 2 pretty terrifying as well.
Word of advice for ZombiU! If you turn the console off or home menu> close software when you know you are in the **** you may be able to cheat the system. It didn't help to ease the tension though.



Einherjar said:

@AJWolfTill I would NEVER do that It is a huge part of the game and one of the main reason this game is so terrifying. And it does an excellent job at that, let me tell you.



Einherjar said:

@AJWolfTill I didnt play the game for a looong time. I think im in some sort of lab in the basement of the buckingham palace, i might be wrong though Its really ages ago. And even so, i really dont like to abuse stuff like that. Even if it bites me in the behind afterwards

@Edit: You know whats funny ? ZombieU was considered a "mediocre game", a failure in the sales department and still, i see people all around this site and elsewhere talking fondly of it, treating it almost like an old time classic
Sales figures are worth Rathalos Dung, let me tell you



Kolzig said:

It is a classic game, so happy that Wii got to experience it and Project Zero 2 also.

Shame Fatal Frame 4 was never officially released in Western countries. But some fans are amazing.

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