Silent Hill: Cold Heart
After success of Silent Hill: Origins, Climax Studios had Konami's goodwill and earned another take at the Silent Hill series. The project that eventually turned into Silent Hill: Shattered Memories wasn't at first intended for Wii and even wasn't known as Shattered Memories. It evolved through several pitches transforming into the final game.
After Silent Hill: Origins' release in 2007, Konami wanted to follow it up with another PSP title. However, Silent Hill's US producer William Oertel was pushing his own project which was a Wii-based first-person shooter, and invited Climax to pitch for it. This pitch became Brahms PD, a spinoff from the main franchise that cast players as an amnesiac police detective on the Brahms force looking for their missing partner. It was supposed to be an interactive psychological horror and utilized in-game sessions with a police psychiatrist who analyzed the player. The game's content then, based on the player's responses, would change accordingly and create their personal version of the nightmare. The idea was for the game to respond to players, not just to the choices they made but also to how they played the game.
After Brahms PD failed to get Konami's approval, Climax followed it with another pitch for the Wii and named it Silent Hill: Cold Heart. Cold Heart's story revolved around a psychologically traumatized university student named Jessica as she explored the frozen town of Silent Hill instead of a traditional foggy setting. The game included melee combat and puzzles as well as some survival mechanics requiring the player to scavenge food and clothing to keep their body temperature up. It also inherited a psychological profiling system from Brahms PD.
Although the producers were ready to continue with the project, they understood that such radical overhaul of the key series' elements would meet a lot of corporate backlash. As a result instead of producing a completely original title, the team opted for a loose remake of the first Silent Hill game which was greenlit by Konami at some point before Origins. The project, now called Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, took the core story of the original Silent Hill – Harry Mason searching a supernatural town for his missing daughter – and gave it a postmodern twist while incorporating some key themes from the Cold Heart pitch like psych profiling and snowy surroundings/icy nightmares.
In May 2013 Climax Studios gave away several copies of the original pitch document for Silent Hill: Cold Heart during their Facebook competitions. The contents of the document are transcribed on this page sourcing from the photos of the document.
Silent Hill: Cold Heart Pitch Document
A groundbreaking new entry for the Silent Hill franchise – putting the revolutionary controls of the Wii in the hands of the creative and technical talent behind Silent Hill Origins.
A bold new Silent Hill that will appeal equally to the Wii's broad combination of hardcore and mainstream gamers.
Jessica Chambers is an athletic college student whose emotional vulnerability is spilling to the surface. Her posture is defensive, her full lips are tinged blue from the cold and her sad eyes are glossy and strained – perhaps she has been crying recently? There's a coolness too; an icy resolve beneath the surface.
Rewind to a week ago. Jessica has become dependent on her psychiatrist. She is becoming removed and emotionally distant, plagued by awful nightmares. Every night she wakes terrified, her body weighed down by a great sadness. A sense of unease and despair is slowly eating away at Jessica from somewhere deep inside...
Deciding she needs a break Jessica skips town, planning to drive across state to visit her parents and clear her head. When freak weather whips up from nowhere she finds herself caught in a ferocious snow storm. Seeking shelter she tails a rescue ambulance through the blizzard, following it when it turns off the interstate. She fins herself in a faded resort town–a snow-covered sign announces it as "Silent Hill".
A stranded Jessica explores, hoping to find somewhere to stay the night. It soon dawns on her that something is very wrong here – she sees people and things she thought only existed in her head. The town has become a deadly nightmare fuelled by her darkest secrets – a frozen maze full of characters and monsters whose icy hearts know only cruelty and violence.
Major Gameplay Features
Secondary Gameplay Features
Walkthrough: The Lake
Exploration & Combat
The player has found their way through the back streets of the neighbourhood where they first entered Silent Hill. They are standing on the intersection of Nathan Ave and Bryant St. in front of an abandoned truck whose loading doors are locked and sealed with a tough padlock. Written in the frost on the truck's windows is the message. "Gone to the lake." Pressing the [+ button] the player opens up their map. Holding [Z button] they use the wiimote to scrawl a quick "X", marking the spot on their map so they can return when they have found the key. They zoom out with [dpad] and find Toluca Lake – east of their location. Having spotted a quick route to the lake through a park they close the map with [+ button] again.
The dull light of an overcast, cold evening and the hazy ambience of the light snowfall gives the park a stillness that is unnerving. As the player crosses the park, they see some figures crowded around a merry-go-round. They are motionless, frosted and pale. They are either statues or ice sculptures? The player shines their flashlight over the figures. They twitch, become monsters, their limbs cracking and crunching into unnatural configurations. The player's wiimote begins to whine and squeal, playing Jessica's cell-phone audio through its speaker. The way the creatures move... it makes the player feel sick to their stomach. The monsters give chase and the player runs, heading down the alley – they are weak and tired and lack a strong weapon – they are in no state to fight back. Running, the player turns and shines the flashlight at the creatures to keep them at bay – the light slows them and causes them to duck out of its beam. The player runs on – passing a number of trash cans. They push the [Z button] to grab hold of a can, turn by sweeping the wiimote cursor to the left of the screen, then release [Z button] and hurl the can with a heft of the nunchuck. It blocks the monsters and forces them to climb over and around, slowing their chase. The player emerges from the alley onto the lakefront.
(Note: the number of enemies and their aggression here is driven by the player's profile; the specific texturing of the monsters and whether they carry arms will be driven by the profile. During the chase, the game will alter camera FOV and the weather effects to enhance the experience based on the player's profile. As this sequence unfolds the game is tracking whether the player fights or runs, whether the kill the enemy, what weapons they are using, etc, and will feed this into later encounters.)
Jessica runs onto the jetty, turns and realises she has nowhere to go. More monsters appear. They slow and crowd onto the jetty – they have her trapped. Jessica weighs the options, stepping back slowly, glancing back to see that she is close to the edge. One of the monsters becomes more confident and lunges at her. She dodges back, stumbles and steps off the jetty. She falls into the lake. The shock of the cold water is absolute. Her vision flashes white. Jessica drops below the surface then bobs up seconds later, spluttering. She is a metre or so from the shore and in trouble. She frantically looks around, her flashlight beam bouncing off the flat surface of the lake. Off in the distance are the lights form a snowboat. Beneath her, we see shapes moving in the darkness. Jessica is struggling to keep afloat, the energy leaving her body. Then she hears the cracking, creaking sound. Terror in her eyes as ashe realises the world is changing – the whole lake is freezing, a layer of thin ice spreading across the lake like a swarm of glass eels. The boat in the distance is hoisted up out of the water on a platrform of sharp tendrils; its hull slowly subsumed and coated in glistering ice, the ropes of its mast coated and matted in frozen water. Its metal rusts and decays, growing a carapace of dirty lichen and filth; its guard rails twist and distort into cages. Spikes of ice splinter out of the frozen water's surface, dragging sharp pieces of rusted metal and rotten wood from the lake bottom with them. The lake now looks more like an alien desert or nightmare moonscape. Only the small circle of water around Jessica is unfrozen and that is disappearing fast. Jessica closes her eyes as the ice closes in on her; she drops below the surface; comes back up again, spluttering, fighting for her life. Next thing she knows the water is gone – the ice has frozen around her neck, trapping her like a child buried in sand. Her eyes wheel around, her head unable to move. Panic and claustrophobia fill her with terror. We flashback—
–a therapy session with Dr. Fairchild. He is asking Jessica about her fear of tight spaces, of being unable to move. He asks a series of questions which require YES or NO answers. "Are you scared of tight spaces?" The player nods with the wiimote. Yes. "Have you ever dreamt of being buried alive?" The player nods again. Yes. "Any dreams about drowning?" The player shakes the wiimote – a no. "Would you rather die by drowning or by being buried alive?" He holds up two flash cards with crude drawings, one of the drowning the other of burial – "Point to which one you fear most," he says. The player points the cursor to the 'burial' card and clicks [A button]. "OK, Jessica," the doctor says, "Let's move onto something less morbid, a quick simple test." He shows a series of abstract pictures and the player has to decide what it most remind them of from a list of choices written under the sketch – first one: the player points at the word 'monkey' and clicks [A button]; second: the player points at 'eye' and clicks [A button]; third: the player chooses 'snake'. Without looking up Dr. Fairchild bounces off this last observation: "You scared of snakes?" The player nods with the wiimote. "They're really nothing to be scared of," Fairchild says, "they don't attack unless provoked, you know? Well, most of them at least."—
(The gathered is now fed into the player's profile and will be used to continue to build the player's personality profile and to customize gameplay from this point on).
We leave the flashback and fade back to the present. Jessica is encased in ice, thrapped in the lake. She is starting to lose consciousness due to the temperature. A figure approaches over the ice, his footsteps crunching as he nears. The monsters are behind him, at a distance – as if they fear him, or obey him. Jessica looks up – it's the man she'd seen earlier in a bar. "I know you..." she wispers, breath forming white clouds, her speech broken due to the restriction on her windpipe. "I know you," he smiles. He's handsome, dark haired. Something unnerving about him though. Jessica is really struggling now. "Help," she rasps, confused as to why he's not seeing the urgency in the situation. He looks down, "Better the devil you know..." He lifts his boot, brings it down on the ice—CRACK! We cut to black.
(The behavior of the mystery man in this scene would be driven by gathered data — the way he breaks the ice and his dialogue choices would be driven by the psych profile; his visual appearance (clothes, eye colour, hair colour, etc) has already been calculated previously based on the player's profile).
Exploration & Combat
We come up from black to see Jessica lying on the ice next to a ragged hole in the surface. She slowly comes to and gets to her feet. She's cold—the player sees her temperature in the HUD and knows that they need to get inside soon – or die. They run as best they can—Jessica's animation is laboured, tired–making their way over to the boat and hit [A button] to climb up the frozen rope ladder and get on deck. Flicking left and right on the [dpad] the player chooses a chocolate bar, which Jessica takes from her backpack and eats. This restores some of her lost energy.
Inside the boat, the exposure isn't so bad and the player's temperature stabilises. They're out of the immediate danger. Approaching a loose pipe on the wall, they hold [C button] to grab it and wrench the nunchuck backwards to rip it off the wall. Now they can defend themselves if needs be. They head down into the boat, looking for a way to get it moving.
Exploring the boat, the player is searching for a route down to the engine room. As they go they sweep the wiimote around to shine their flashlight into corners and use it to investigate interesting features and visual details. All around the grand showboat is cracked and covered in ice: the dancehall a morgue, the restaurant a dank cathedral of ice and rust. The player is impressed by the interplay of light and ice, the way the ice refracts the world behind it and bounces back the flashlight beam. The boat's emptiness and the cool mist thath hangs in the air are unnerving, the place's pitch blackness seemingly hiding all manner of horrors.
In the corridor leading to the engine room the player is jumped by two monsters. They dispatch the first with some crude but effective swipes to the head, holding [B button] and swiping the wiimote. The sickening hit audio is played through the wiimote – a fleshy crunch and the metal clang of the pipe. The second monster the player blinds with the flashlight, sweeping the wiimote to aim it in their eyes, then runs in close and jabs the pipe in its face – [B button] held with a jab of the wiimote – it falls to the floor where they finish it with a sickening crunch – [A button] initiates the finish then they raise the wiimote and smash it downwards.
The player catches their breath, mirroring Jessica's exhaustion. Her cell phone starts ringing – the wiimote plays the high-pitched, atonal ring tone through its speaker. The player lifts the wiimote and pushes [A button] to answer. The voice on the other end (played through the wiimote) is that of the man on the lake, distorted by the poor signal. "If you ever get off the lake, come see me at the boathouse. I'll be there. I'm meeting my mother." Silence for a moment, then the sound of a baby crying. "Not NOW! Quiet!" barks the man angrily then cuts off the call.
(Again, this dialogue is entirely driven by the player's profile – a player who might have a mothering, emphatic personality is subjected to the suggestion of a child being mistreated; causing them discomfort and making them distrust the man).
Exploration & Puzzle
The player reaches the entrance to the engine room and spins the hatch wheel—pushing [C button] to grab, then making a winding motion with the nunchuck. Inside, the lower parts of the room are partly blocked by a huge amount of ice – it's as if the room was flooded, but this water has since frozen over and is rock hard. When the player looks aorund with their flashlight they see something – at the bottom of the ice, on what was the floor, there is a metal key with a tag. At the end of the room is the boat's boiler engine – it stands apart from the surreal surroundings, almost untouched by the world change. It is turned off. A nearby note—picked up with a tap of [A button]—contains instructions on how to start the boiler and the player sets about following them – this involves gathering pieces of dry, splintered wood from the boat (ripping them off with [C button] and nunchuck motions) and placing them in the boiler. The player then lights the wood by banging together some flints – [A button] to initiate, then move the nunchuck and wiimote together quickly – they do this enough times for a spark to take. Once the fire is started the player operates the hand pump to flood the engine (pumping the nunchuck up and down) to supply the boiler pressure. When the boiler fires up it warms the room and melts the ice. The hull of the ship creaks in protest, sharp metal bangs and groans sounding like an ominous cry. The players grabs the key with the [A button]. When the item is picked up it appears close up on screen in 3D and can be rotated and tilted by manipulating the wiimote as if it were the item in question. The tag reads "Captain's Quarters".
On the way to the Captain's Quarters, the player ahs to fend off more monsters – evading and countering some of them to get past (moving nunchuck and wiimote in unison left, then right, when prompted during the enemy grapple sequence), cleaving in the head of another with a furiously swung oar grabbed from the deck.
In the captain's quarters, Jessica finds a young girl sobbing. She tries to ask what is wrong, but the girl ignores her. Then, without warning, the girl jumps up and pulls out an icy knife she had concealed in her dress. She stabs Jessica in the chest then runs out the room. Jessica staggers, falls onto the floor. What is happening? She loses consciousness.
When she wakes, much of the ice has gone. Jessica feels her stomach – no sign of a wound. Did she imagine what happened? Was it a hallucination due to exposure? Looking out of the window she see that the lake is no longer completely frozen and the boat is now moving – it is approaching the shore. On the bank of the lake is a large structure – the boathouse. A sign on the side of the building reads: "Blue Marlin Boathouse." There's a cartoon of a Marlin on the sign. Jessica remembers—
–Dr. Fairchild is showing Jessica an abstract picture. "A fish", she says, "It looks like a fish." "Yes, it does, doesn't it?" he agrees. Pauses. "Now, last time you were here we were talking about your father... we should talk about him further. Would you say you were closer to your father than your mother?" The player nods with the wiimote. Yes. "Were you an only child?" The player shakes with the wiimote. No. "But you feel you were your parent's favourite child?" The player thinks then shakes the wiimote. "Ah, OK. Now then, please take a look at these four drawings. Pick the one that most looks like the sort of thing you used to draw as a child." Of the four, the player points to the bottom left one – a crude sketch of some clouds and a girl with a dog. "Nice choice," he chuckles. "Now let's get creative. Here's some pencils and an eraser. Jessica, can you draw me your idea of the perfect home... take as long as you want." The player can now sketch on screen with the wiimote cursor by holding [A button] and is able to swap the current pencil for other colours or for an eraser by clicking the cursor when it is over the pencil/eraser graphics in the corner of the screen. The player draws a simple square house with triangular roof and does a rough sketch of a sports car in front. They do the whole sketch in black, changing to red at the end to colour in the car. They don't bother to erase any of their mistakes; the sketch is clear enough as it is without getting finicky. "Fantastic," says Dr. Fairchild, "Is there no end to your talents?"
(Again, we are tracking all these answers and info. With the latter example we are not interested in the sketch itself – we can't read that – but we get lots of useful info about the player's personality based on: Did they erase? How often? Did they start from scratch at any point? Did they spend time on details, or just sketch roughly? How much time did they spend on the drawing? Did they use colour? Which colours? Etc. We can also stick this sketch on the wall somewhere, perhaps, later in the game).
Back to the present: the boat shudders as it docks at the shore. Jessica makes her way outside...