On Twitter, Sam Barlow (writer of Her Story and Telling Lies) revealed that he’s trying to pitch a follow-up to his 2009 horror game, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
Barlow expands upon that statement in a separate tweet in which he mentions that a follow-up to Shattered Memories is not the premise of his mysterious “Project A” game. However, he suggests that a Shattered Memories follow-up could be developed soon thereafter and fans could even consider the success of his next game to be a “downpayment on the SHSM successor.”
While Barlow doesn’t specifically use the phrase, it really sounds like he’s pitching a spiritual successor to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories rather than a direct sequel to Konami. It’s not impossible to imagine that Konami could be involved in such discussions, but they’ve sent strong vibes over the years that they’re not necessarily interested in making a major new Silent Hill game much less a follow-up to a previous game.
It’s around this time that you may be wondering “Which Silent Hill game was Shattered Memories?” It’s a fair question. Initially released for the Nintendo Wii in 2009, Shattered Memories drew some quick criticism for its deviations from previous Silent Hill games. Yet, many ultimately praised it for its innovative storytelling techniques which analyzed the actions of the player and shaped the story around their perceived mentality and psychological state. Previous Silent Hill games (most notably Silent Hill 2) pulled similar tricks, but few horror games blend gameplay and story together quite as closely (or as well) as Shattered Memories.
In an interview with Den of Geek, Sam Barlow stated that his intention was to explore the unique capabilities of gaming as a vehicle for such stories.
“If you want to tell a story that’s all about someone’s inner monologue, then go write a book,” Barlow says. “I think psychological horror gets to have its cake and eat it by allowing that character’s state of mind to bleed into visualness.”
Barlow also spoke to us about one of Shattered Memories‘ most controversial (and, ultimately, most notable in terms of the genre’s evolution) features: its lack of combat.
“The action element was running, it was being scared,” Barlow recalls. “Everyone told us ‘We should be swinging rusty pipes using a Wiimote and aiming guns with a Wiimote…We went ‘It’s fine! It’s fine. Why not be ambitious?’”
Creating a spiritual successor to such a game would certainly be ambitious, but Shattered Memories has aged very well over the years and Barlow has only grown his reputation as one of gaming’s most impressive and unique storytellers. I guess I’m saying that I’d love to eventually play even a spiritual successor to Shattered Memories.