Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the seventh installment in the Silent Hill series. Shattered Memories is a re-imagining of the original Silent Hill for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, developed by Climax Studios and published by Konami. According to producer Tomm Hulett, “It’s not a remake or a port. That’s an important distinction. It really feels like a new game.”
The subtitle Shattered Memories refers to shattering and re-imagining the memories of the player’s experience from the original game, and to how the game’s protagonist, Harry Mason, has “shattered memories” of the events leading up to his car crash.

The Wii version was released December 8, 2009 in North America, and the PS2 and PSP versions were released on January 19th, 2010. In PAL countries (excluding Australia; see below), all versions were released on March 4th, 2010. The game was released in Japan on March 25, 2010.

Plot

Note: Shattered Memories takes place in a different universe that is separate from the main canon. This includes the story, characters, relations, locations, etc. From inferencing, Shattered Memories also takes place in about winter 2008.
Psychiatrist Michael Kaufmann is preparing for a new patient. He pours himself a glass of whiskey and his receptionist tells him that his new patient has arrived early; Dr. Kaufmann acknowledges that this is fine, and tells her they can start.

Meanwhile, Harry Mason, the protagonist of the game, has lost control of his car on the icy roads and crashes into a snowy embankment in a junkyard in the town of Silent Hill. Coming to from the crash, Harry realizes that his daughter Cheryl is missing, and he sets out to find her. Searching through Silent Hill’s streets for Cheryl, Harry arrives at Diner 52 or the Good Ol’ Days bar, where he meets Cybil Bennett or the Bar Maid, respectively. During a conversation with either of them, Harry, suffering from amnesia, realizes that he lives in Silent Hill at 1206 Levin Street with Cheryl. Harry then receives a phone call from home, though he cannot hear anything but static, and comes to the conclusion that Cheryl must be at home waiting for him.
On his way home, Harry receives another phone call and can hear Cheryl’s and another person’s voice; to Harry, this indicates that Cheryl is with someone else and may be in danger. Immediately after the call terminates, the streets become consumed by the Ice World. Harry soon comes across creatures known as Raw Shocks, who pursue him. Harry has no choice but to flee and after a nightmarish chase, he successfully reaches his house on Levin Street. Another session with the psychiatrist begins, in which Dr. Kaufmann discusses home and family life and asks the player to color in a picture titled ‘Happy Family’. Meanwhile, Harry encounters a couple (Mike and Lucy Stewart) inside his house whom he does not recognize. When Harry requests for Cheryl, the couple argue that she isn’t there, and when Harry claims that it’s his house, Lucy states that is impossible as they have lived there for 14 years. Mike then shuts the door on Harry and Cybil eventually arrives. Cybil acknowledges that, judging from his license bearing that address, things don’t add up. Cybil then takes Harry along with her in her police car to the police station to clear things up.

However, before they can reach the police station, the snow storm interrupts their drive and Cybil leaves Harry to find their location; Cybil never returns, so Harry leaves the car and wanders into the forest. While exploring the nearby hunting lodge, Cybil phones Harry to ask why he ran off and Harry states that she abandoned him. Harry then decides to head back to Silent Hill and hangs up on her. After another nightmare sequence through the forest, Harry follows a path leading him to Midwich High School’s football field. There, Cybil phones Harry once again and he fibs to her, telling her that his phone’s reception went out. Cybil directs Harry to the high school’s gym so that she can reunite with him, which is also used as a shelter during snow storms. Harry understands that Cheryl may also be there and agrees. In his third session, Dr. Kaufmann discusses the player’s life in high school.

Harry explores more of Silent Hill and Midwich High School, where he meets a woman named Michelle Valdez inside the school’s gym. Michelle reveals to Harry that she once knew a Cheryl Mason who went to Midwich and shows him a school photograph of her. Although the girl resembles Harry’s daughter, this Cheryl is an adult and not a child. Harry and Michelle enter the principal’s office to find Cheryl’s records and in doing so, they discover that they are indeed the same person and that Cheryl moved to Simmons Street. During another nightmare sequence, Harry learns that Cheryl was bullied by her peers at Midwich. After the nightmare, Harry reunites with Michelle outside the school.

Harry follows Michelle to The Balkan, a night club where she works. After leaving Michelle downstairs while he searches her room for her car keys, he finds that a young woman identifying herself as Dahlia is sitting in Michelle’s place upon his return. Dahlia seems surprised at his confusion, though she isn’t interested enough to explain anything to him. She tells him that she came to pick up the SUV parked outside to take Harry to Simmons St. where he would meet up with Cheryl at his current address. Upon reaching the bridge on their way through town, the Ice World takes over, freezing Dahlia and then the bridge itself, which collapses. The SUV plummets into the river below, trapping the two inside. As Harry struggles to escape, Dahlia is motionless, still frozen. Depending on the player’s actions, Harry can either turn on the radio and escape, or drown.

Back at the psychiatrist’s office, Kaufmann speaks to the player about death in his fourth session. Some time later, Harry awakens at Alchemilla Hospital, having been saved by Cybil. She tells Harry the events he described could not have happened, and that he must have swam in the river and could have died. Another nightmare sequence occurs and freezes Cybil during their conversation. Once Harry escapes the nightmare, he runs into Lisa Garland, a nurse who works at Alchemilla who has been involved in a car accident. Harry decides to keep her company as they walk to her apartment. Inside, Lisa asks Harry to get some medicine from the bathroom to help with her headache. Once Lisa falls asleep, Harry leaves. Before Harry is able to enter Toluca Mall, Lisa phones him, pleading for his help.

When Harry arrives back at her apartment, Lisa is now dead. Cybil appears, ordering Harry to freeze. Seconds before the nightmare happens again, Cybil tells Harry that she knows that he isn’t “Harry Mason”. After another nightmare sequence, Harry finds himself inside Toluca Mall. After a search of the mall, Harry arrives at the Simmons Street address where he meets an older version of the Dahlia he met before. Dahlia reveals two things to Harry: they are married and that Cheryl is at the lighthouse. The nightmare reappears, freezing her, and Harry soon finds himself in a “Nowhere”-like area. Afterwards, Harry enters what appears to be Cheryl’s bedroom and falls asleep on her bed.

Meanwhile, in the psychiatrist’s office, Kaufmann talks about marriage in the sixth session. When Harry wakes up in Cheryl’s room, Michelle is beside him and she offers him a car ride to the lighthouse. During the car ride, an argument takes place between Michelle and her boyfriend, John, which results in them both leaving the car. Harry finds himself at the sewers and later, Annie’s Bar. Inside the bar, Michelle tells Harry that she broke up with John and that he can reach the lighthouse by crossing Toluca Lake using a boat which can be found at the moor located behind the amusement park.

In the seventh session, Dr. Kaufmann talks about sexuality. Harry passes through Lakeside Amusement Park and finds a boat at the moor. Inside, Harry finds the young Dahlia again and asks her to take him to the lighthouse, to which she reluctantly agrees. Dahlia seduces Harry and it is implied they have sex. Sometime after, Harry wakes up in the Ice World, which freezes Dahlia again. The lake’s water has been transformed into ice and Harry sets course to the lighthouse by walking on the frozen lake. Raw Shocks begin to pursue Harry, however, they suddenly freeze. The lake’s icy surface transforms back into water and Harry passes out while swimming to the lighthouse.

Cybil is on the lighthouse’s shore and she saves Harry once again, although Harry snatches her gun, saying he will not let her stop him from finding Cheryl. Cybil states that she doesn’t understand what is going on, as she looked up his file, which showed that Harry Mason died 18 years ago in a car crash. Cybil leaves Harry and he enters the lighthouse, which is in fact Dr. Kaufmann’s clinic.
It is revealed that Kaufmann’s patient is actually Cheryl Mason, who is now 25 years old. Dr. Kaufmann explains how Cheryl had been desperately holding on to the memory of her father, and that the Harry that the player has been controlling is a manifestation of Cheryl’s delusion. After Kaufmann’s explanation, 1 of 3 conversations can happen between Harry and Cheryl, followed by 1 of 5 endings:

Endings

Harry enters Dr. K’s office while he’s talking with Cheryl about Harry’s death. Depending on the player’s psych profile, there are 3 possible conversations that Cheryl can have with her father:
The first is of her being able to let go of the painful memory of her father’s death, where she states “You’ve been with me for so long.” to which Harry replies, “I always will be.” He then smiles and freezes completely and shatters into pieces, and Cheryl lowers her head.

The second is of her not forgiving Harry for what he did when she was a child and refusing to let him touch her shoulder. In response, Harry says that she should forget him; he then freezes completely and shatters into pieces, and Cheryl lowers her head and cries. This conversation is obtained when the player obtains the “Drunk Dad” or “Sleaze and Sirens” endings.

The third is of her being delusional, where she tells her father “Dad. You are a hero. The man who died, that wasn’t my father. That isn’t who I remember. Those memories are all I have – you’re all I have.” Harry replies to this “I’m not even a ghost.” Cheryl then hugs Harry and cries. Although Cheryl is happy, she still clings to her fantasy father in her mind and is delusional. This is similar to Silent Hill 2’s “Maria” ending.

After Cheryl’s conversation, there are 4 possible videotape scenes that can play which vary, depending on the player’s psych profile:
Love Lost: Harry is next to his car with Dahlia, and is getting ready to leave. He tells Cheryl that the divorce wasn’t her fault. He says, “You know this has nothing to do with you, right? Even though Mom and Dad don’t love each other anymore, we both love you and we always will.” This is considered the best ending of the game. This ending can be seen if the player doesn’t focus on sexual images or drugs, tells Dr. K that they are friendly (as in saying you make friends easily or that it doesn’t take much time for people to get to know you), and being a good person in general.

Drunk Dad: Harry arrives drunk at his house and begins to yell angrily at Cheryl. This ending indicates that when Harry was still alive, his alcoholism negatively impacted his family. This ending can be seen if the player focuses on alcohol and other recreational drugs (such as cannabis pipes, cigarette dispensers and downers).

Sleaze and Sirens: In the Orpheus boat, Harry is lying on a bed with Michelle and Lisa. They ask him if they can be in his next book and if it can be dedicated to them. Harry claims that he dedicates his books to his wife and daughter because it’s “only fair”, to which all three burst out in roaring laughter. This ending indicates that when Harry was still alive, he cheated on his wife. This ending can be seen if the player focuses on sexual images (such as a poster with a half naked woman) and tells Dr. K that they enjoy role-playing during sex and have cheated on a partner. If the player acts like a pervert in general, then they are most likely to get this ending.

Wicked and Weak: In their family home, Dahlia is seen slapping Harry three times, calling him worthless and pathetic. The ending can be seen if the player tells Dr. K that that they are involved little in friendship, meaning they don’t make friends easily, that it takes a while to get to know them, and related topics. It can also be achieved by acting rude to people, being distracted by trivial things, and being self centered.

Additionally, there is also a 5th ending: the UFO Ending. This ending can only be achieved on a second playthrough, where the player participates in a side quest that requires taking photos of 13 UFOs hidden throughout Silent Hill. In this ending, Cheryl believes that her father was abducted by aliens and that Silent Hill is built on a giant spaceship. There are many other references to the other games too, such as James Sunderland appearing.

Gameplay

Psych Profile

One of the main new gameplay features for Shattered Memories is the way the world reacts to the player’s actions, known as the Psych Profile. Different actions yield different results, in a manner more advanced than the simple “good or bad” responses that have been prevalent in most games that incorporate this mechanic. This will affect certain aspects in the game, such as what buildings will be open or closed, which characters will be met and what clothes they will wear, and variations of phone calls and text messages on the in game phone. Real time decisions made by the player, such as which restroom they enter first, affect the game in many ways.
As well as this, there is a sequence at the beginning of the game where the character is given a psychiatric evaluation by a psychiatrist. The mode here is first person, and the player must answer questions regarding their personality and psyche. They can nod or shake their head in response to questions. There are many psyche analysis sequences through out the game, many of them obscure; in one sequence, the player is asked to color in a picture of a house, among many others. These, and almost all of the player’s decisions made during the exploration sections, will help determine certain elements and encounters within the game.

Exploration

The flashlight is a recurring item present in nearly all the Silent Hill games. It returns in Shattered Memories with improved visual effects, and in the case of the Wii, it is a major form of physical interaction that helps to keep the player immersed in the game. Rather than moving a controller’s analog stick to maneuver the flashlight, the player will physically move the Wii Remote around, using its motion sensor capabilities to interact directly with puzzles and to aim the flashlight.
Changes to the exploration aspect of the previous games include that when Harry examines something, he vocally responds, a first in the series. Although the game is in 3rd person, the camera is fixed behind Harry during exploration, similar to Resident Evil 4. There is also more immersion in the game’s HUD system, as instead of switching to a separate item screen, Harry holds his phone in his hand instead. Loading screens were also completely removed in the game, and loading times when opening doors are almost always instantaneous.

Phone

Harry has a modern style phone which has an important role in the game. The player can use it to dial many phone numbers that can be found on posters, billboards, signs, etc throughout their journey. The player can also receive texts and photos from others, including memories and thoughts from the past. Typically, the recordings Harry listens to reveal that not everything was as pleasant as it seemed. In the Wii version, recordings and phone calls can also come through the Wii Remote speaker, and players can put the speaker beside their ear, as if using a phone.
The phone has a camera that can be used to uncover secrets by taking photos of the player’s surroundings that can be saved in a photo gallery.

Harry’s phone has a map of Silent Hill with GPS (Global Positioning System) software allowing the player to locate Harry’s position. Waypoints can be added, and the player can also draw on the map.

The phone also replaces the radio from other Silent Hill games, emitting static when Raw Shocks are nearby. While using the phone, the player is still susceptible to enemy attacks, as well as being able to move. The phone is the only way to save the game.

Nightmare Sequences

To add depth to the fear and tension aspects of playing the game, combat has been completely removed in favor of evading enemies during nightmare sequences. The goal of these nightmare sequences is to find the exit in a “maze” like environment as soon as possible before the Raw Shocks defeat Harry. In the Wii version, the Wii Remote’s speaker acts like a radio, delivering static to the presence of Raw Shocks.
Certain doors, fences and ledges that Harry can interact with are highlighted by light blue-like frost. They are intended to show the player that they can go there; they should not be mistaken as the path to safety.

The Raw Shocks chase Harry and seek him out at all times; they pursue him through rooms, over fences, under crawlspaces and drag him out of hiding spaces. However, there are a number of actions Harry can do to evade monsters, such as jumping through windows, climbing fences, and barging through doors while on the run.

If a Raw Shock becomes too close to Harry, it will jump on him and “hug” him. When Harry is grabbed by a Raw Shock, the player must move the Wii Remote and Nunchuk both at the time in the direction in which the Raw Shock grabs them (e.g. If a Raw Shock jumps onto Harry from the front, the player must move the Wii Remote and Nunchuk both at the same time forward.)

The player can also knock down certain objects, briefly delaying the Raw Shocks. Certain places such as wardrobes and underneath beds can be used as hiding places to try and avoid detection. If Harry is detected, the Raw Shock that discovered him will let out a scream, alerting nearby Raw Shocks, and proceed to yank Harry out of hiding.

During each nightmare sequence, the player can find one or two flares to defend themselves temporarily; the heat from the flares negatively affect the Raw Shocks, giving Harry invincibility for about 15-20 seconds.

If Harry’s “stamina” is lowered enough (indicated by VHS-tape like effects on the screen and by Harry’s limping), Harry will collapse. There is no penalty if Harry collapses, and Harry will return to the very beginning of the nightmare sequence so that the player can keep retrying.

Development

The game was officially announced in the May 2009 issue of Nintendo Power and was set to be released October 13th, 2009 in North America and October 30th in Europe. In September 2009, Climax revealed that the release date would be pushed back to November 3rd, 2009. Around early October near the game’s original release, it was revealed that Climax Studios pushed back the release date from November 3rd to December 8th, 2009. On October 13th, Konami also announced that Shattered Memories would be released across Europe in early 2010.
Originally intended for March 4th, the Australian PAL Wii version release was delayed until June, due to European supply problems caused by the economic effects of the 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland. Furthermore, major retailers struggled to confirm available copies of the game for several months after the delayed release, potentially damaging initial sales of the game in Australia.

Late in the game’s production, producer Tomm Hulett began a bi-weekly development blog which discussed various facets of information regarding the making of Shattered Memories, as well as other Silent Hill related matters. Each blog featured a picture, usually a glimpse at in-game artwork such as Cheryl’s sketches, or even a part of the script itself. The blogs were initially delayed, but eventually caught up in real-time.

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