Content Warning: The following article contains mentions of themes some readers may find distressing, including those of self-harm and suicide.
Konami’s unannounced but all-but-confirmed Silent Hill game, The Short Message, has leaked once again after the Australian ratings board revealed a synopsis.
As reported by Eurogamer, the Australian Classification Board’s annual report reveals some of the central themes and story details of The Short Message despite Konami not having revealed it yet. The game was initially leaked by South Korea’s ratings board in September 2022.
The Short Message is “an exploration-based psychological horror game in which players control characters in an apartment building called The Villa in modern-day Germany,” the report reads. “The player assumes the role of a young woman, Anita, who must explore The Villa through first‑person gameplay in order to collect clues and uncover what has happened to her friend.”
It will include “strong suicide themes” and “horror violence”, and while the ratings board details exactly where and how these materialise, we won’t disclose those scenes here for the sake of sensitivity and spoilers.
Despite these themes, Silent Hill: The Short Message includes several messages encouraging players to seek help or offer support to those struggling with mental health issues, and depictions occur “in the broader context of discourse exploring issues revolving around mental health”. The ratings board therefore granted it an MA 15+ rating. This means it’s legally restricted to people over the age of 15 for having a “strong impact” but doesn’t receive the “high impact” MA 18+ rating.
Konami has brought Silent Hill back with a vengeance after not releasing a single game since 2012. It announced four new games in October 2022 including the highly anticipated Silent Hill 2 Remake, a new spin-off called Townfall, another called Silent Hill f, and the community based choose-your-own adventure game Silent Hill: Ascension.
The Short Message wasn’t announced at this time, but as the two leaks arrived both before and after, it’s perhaps unlikely a name change has occurred. The Short Message’s themes also bring to mind images leaked in May 2022 that were allegedly from a Silent Hill game. Though they were quickly taken down, the images showed a young woman and a single house being viewed from a first-person perspective.
The Silent Hill resurgence isn’t off to a particularly hot start, however, after Ascension was slammed by fans for being laden with microtransactions when it launched on October 31. Silent Hill 2 Remake also had a slight wobble when a Best Buy listing alluded it would include major story changes, though Konami has since claimed this was just a mistake and developer Bloober Team has otherwise maintained it will honour the original’s narrative.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.
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Author: Ryan Dinsdale