Australian Classification Board Report Reveals New Details Regarding ‘Silent Hill: The Short Message’

Horror

With all of the talk about Silent Hill 2, it’s easy to forget about the other Silent Hill games that were announced by Konami, and even the ones that weren’t officially announced. That latter point, of course, refers to Silent Hill: The Short Message, which when we last heard about it, had its info leaked by the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee.

Now it’s the Australian Classification Board (ACB) doing the leaking. Per Video Games Chronicle, in the board’s annual report, alongside rating the game as MA15+ for “Strong suicide themes, horror violence, and coarse language”, the ACB has revealed new information regarding The Short Message.

Do note that these next sections includes spoilers, so be warned.

According to the report, Silent Hill: The Short Message is an “exploration‑based psychological horror game” that centres on characters in an apartment building called The Villa in modern‑day Germany. The player takes on the role of a young woman named Anita, who must explore The Villa in order to collect clues and uncover what has happened to her friend named Maya.

These two characters were mentioned in leaks last year from noted leaker AestheticGamer aka Dusk Golem, along with several images that were later hit with a DCMA claim.

The ACB report goes on to give an example of their ratings decision:

Anita is exploring a bathroom environment which features a bathtub filled with bloody water, blood‑splattered tiles and a razor blade on a bloodied sink. Upon examining a razor, Anita experiences a flashback. In a cutscene depicted through a first‑person point of view, a voice yells, “This is all your fault! Bad things happen because of YOU!” and a hand holding the razor enters the frame.

The character’s left arm enters the frame with horizontal scars evident across the character’s wrist. The scene cuts to a black screen before the razor makes contact with the character’s wrist. The following shot features an image of the character’s left arm with old and fresh scars. In a cut scene depicted through a mixture of third‑person and first‑person shots, the player character stands on the edge of the building’s rooftop, looking down. It is implied that Maya committed suicide by jumping off the ledge of the rooftop.

The report continues:

The player character, in a distressed state of mind, speculates that she will never compare to Maya. Echoes of her mother’s abusive tirades are heard in the background as Anita prepares to jump and says, “Maybe I can be like her… Here goes…” In a first‑person shot, her feet are seen near the edge of the ledge before, in a third‑person shot, she steps off and begins to fall. Throughout the game, cutscenes depicting self‑harm and suicide are followed by black screens which feature white text encouraging players to seek treatment and help if they are at risk of self‑harm and suicide and to offer support if they see people around them struggling.

In the Board’s opinion, depictions of suicide and self-harm within the game occur in the broader context of discourse exploring issues revolving around mental health which encourages players to seek help or offer support to those in need. As such, the impact of the depictions does not exceed strong in impact and can be accommodated within the MA15+ classification.

Following the release of the report, AestheticGamer mentioned on ResetEra that “For the record, that bit doesn’t actually spoil all of the Short Message, It spoils maybe like the first third or fourth of it. Without saying too much, the description here entirely describes events from the first section of Short Message of 3 sections in the game.”

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