During The Game Awards 2021, Silent Hill and Siren creator Keiichi Toyama announced Slitterhead, the first project from his new company, Bokeh Game Studios. The wonderfully gory and unsettling trailer made it clear that Toyama is returning to the horror game genre that he helped to pioneer, but it also left many questions unanswered. While Toyama is reluctant to give away too much at this early stage in development, he did reveal a few new details to IGN Japan in a new interview.
Regarding the type of gameplay we can expect, Toyama said, “I can’t go into a lot of details yet, but I can tell you that this will be an action-oriented adventure game from a third-person perspective. However, the game will include many new mechanics that have not been seen so far in other games, so I think it will result in a unique experience.”
Toyama also shed a little new light on the game’s setting. The trailer shows that the game is set in an unspecified Asian city filled with shabby high-rises and storefronts with signs in Chinese, which Toyama told us is actually a fictional location. “Those who are familiar will probably have guessed from the trailer that the city is inspired by 1980s and ’90s Hong Kong,” said Toyama. “However, it’s not the real Hong Kong. The game will explore an original setting that blends the nostalgic sights of that city with pure fiction.”
In the trailer, ordinary-looking residents of this city suddenly transform into grotesque creatures, lending a level of body horror and gore. “The game will have you battling mysterious creatures that can mimic humans, but how can you smoke them out to make them reveal themselves?” posed Toyama. “This will form a major pillar of the adventure and the story. The creatures are named Yakushi, a kind of monster that have their roots in classical theater.”
Speaking to the kind of horror expression we can expect, Toyama said, “The game will explore life and death and the process of decay throughout everyday life, so inevitably some of the developments and visuals will be quite shocking. That said, we are not only focusing on the gore itself; we intend to portray horror in a way that deepens the sense of immersion for the player. Although it is a horror game, we aim to make a game that is entertaining on a wide range of levels, with a story filled with mystery and new types of action gameplay.”
No release date or platforms have yet been announced for Slitterhead, but Toyama did give us a couple of hints. He said that the platforms are still undecided, but that Bokeh Game Studios hopes to “reach as many players as possible while maintaining the essence of the game”.
It sounds as though the release will be a way off. “We are currently preparing to complete the verification of the prototype’s core concept, and then we will increase the size of the team and start full-scale production. We’ll be committed to production until at least the end of 2022, but we will keep our fans informed with updates as development progresses.”
So, there you have it – mark your calendars for 2023, preferably in blood, as Slitterhead lurches terrifyingly towards completion. For more from Toyama, check out why he believes remaking Silent Hill is a more difficult task than remaking Resident Evil.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan. For full disclosure, he was previously a colleague of Keiichiro Toyama at SIE Japan Studio. Follow him on Twitter here.
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Author: Matt Purslow