Slitterhead was unveiled at the 2021 Game Awards with what can only be described as one hell of a teaser. It’s being headed up by Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama, but as we noted following its reveal, it looks to be a different sort of experience—bright, loud, and really gory—although the grotesquely terrifying horrors with too many too-sharp limbs are obviously still plentiful.
In a new Q&A video, the founders of developer Bokeh Game Studio—Toyama, Slitterhead creator and Bokeh CEO, along with CTO and game director Junya Okura and COO and producer Kazunobu Sato—revealed more about the game. The session doesn’t get into a deep examination of the game, but it does reveal some interesting details, including that Slitterhead isn’t actually a straight-up horror game at all.
(The responses are in Japanese but the subtitles support multiple languages including Japanese, English, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian.)
“The game doesn’t fully enter the horror genre,” Toyama explained. “It spans over multiple genres where horror is expressed. From there, I wanted to widen the player base who could access the game, including players who don’t usually play horror games. I wanted a game that could be enjoyed for its action, yet whose concept doesn’t solely revolve around killing enemies. It conflicts the mind, making the players reluctant to enter certain fights. I want to achieve both action and drama with this game.”
Slitterhead will be third-person, and while it’s tricky to parse the response, it sounds like it will be played from multiple perspectives. It hasn’t yet been decided whether there will be any DLC or expansions—”We first need to achieve a strong main game,” Toyama said—but the studio founders seem to enjoy the fact that the choice is now theirs to make.
“Back in the day these decisions needed approval from Sony,” Sato said. “In our current state, if it’s fun we can just go ahead and make it, so if the demand is big enough, it’s easier for us to answer.”
Okura said the developers “want to focus on entertainment rather than plain horror,” so there shouldn’t be any parts where players decide to give up because they’re effectively frozen with fear. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some tough slogging, though. “There is a terror aspect that I want to include even if the game lays more towards action,” Okura said. “There are some slow and fast moments as well. I’d like to include some horror elements in the slower parts, balancing with the frenzy action moments.”
In that sense, Slitterhead sounds a bit like Ghostwire: Tokyo, the new game from Tango Gameworks, which we recently described as “more Watch Dogs 2 than Evil Within.” But Toyama said he’d like to get back to his Silent Hill roots someday—but only under the right conditions.
“I want someday to do something with some classic psychological horror themes like I did with Silent Hill,” he said. “However, I’d rather do that when working with really limited resources, such as budget or having to focus on one individual. Right now, we have staff with the ability to work on action. I want to leverage their skills to go in another direction. Still, I also want to make something more personal someday.”
This Q&A video is the first of two parts—the second is set to be posted on March 4.