Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is almost upon us. On March 4 the re-imagining of the classic original game will be hitting stores in the UK so we caught up the guys at development house Climax to find out how the new game became such a departure from the original and why the Wii was the console of choice. Read on for the thoughts of lead designer and writer Sam Barlow and game director Mark Simmons, as they discuss the challenges in bringing their ideas to life. If you missed part one of our interview, you can find it here.
Q: You mentioned the risk of innovating in the first place, but also with the Wii. You guys have had great reviews in the States so far. Everyone seems to love the game, and rightly so, as it's fantastic, but there have been a lot of very good games coming out for the Wii lately, a lot of mature games, which just haven't sold. I was talking to someone at EA about Dead Space Extraction - a great game, but hardly sold anything. Does that concern you? Not necessarily in terms of this game, but just generally for the Wii? If you make a game, you knock it out the park, it's mature, it's grown up, and then nobody buys it. How does that make you feel?
Mark Simmons: I suppose for us, it's other people's jobs to analyse the market and where to place the games, and what platforms to put games out on. But certainly from our perspective, this game has always been targeted to appeal not just to gamers. I think that right from the start we felt strongly that this could apply to non-gamers, the fans, gamers who maybe have gone off survival horror and are looking for something different and female players that just don't play games at all, maybe at Christmas decided they were interested in this particular game. Certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence from the forums is that families are playing this game together, they're seeing what personality the game is giving each person and how the game's changing differently for each of the family that's played it. It being a very family focused story I think has resonated between them. According to some of the forum comments, we've pulled families back together and made men cry playing the game.
Q: It seems that graphically, atmospherically, everything about this game, from the point of view of a Wii owner, this is exactly the kind of game I'd want on the console. It's just a bit disconcerting that a lot of publishers seem to be turning away from the Wii, despite the fact it's got this massive user-base. I'm just curious as to whether you still feel optimistic about it as a platform?
Sam Barlow: We love the Wii. I wish there were more games like Shattered Memories on the Wii. I personally love the Wii controls. I remember playing through Zelda when the Wii launched, and just the fact that you could sit back on the sofa and hold your hands apart and relax, meant that I could sit and play it for 70 hours and not get a hunchback. It just made the whole thing more relaxing. I think motion controls have a place. More natural interfaces, point and click stuff on the Wii, it's just a much nicer way to control things than having to tap through menus and stuff.
In terms of how well people sell games on Wii, I don't want to speak ill of other people's games, but no matter what the quality of Dead Space, it was a rail shooter. If you put a rail shooter out on 360 or PS3 you'd expect it to do no sales at all. So why should it be different on the Wii? I think there's almost an expectation that Wii owners should be grateful for stuff, and lap it up, but if you look at games where people have ummed and ahhed about why they haven't sold on Wii, there's a big question mark over whether they would have sold on the 360 or PS3.