|This article or section contains information about a video game or product unreleased outside Japan.|
If you are fluent in Japanese or are otherwise knowledgeable about this subject, please help expand this article.
|Designer(s)||Goichi Suda, Takashi Miyamoto|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation, PlayStation Network|
|Release date|| PlayStation|
JP October 8, 1999
JP December 10, 2008
|System requirements|| PlayStation|
30 KB of Memory Blocks on PlayStation Memory Card
|Input methods||PlayStation control pad, DualShock|
The Silver (シルバー事件, Shirubaa Jiken; "Silver Incident") is an action-adventure video game for the PlayStation console. It was directed by Goichi Suda, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by ASCII Entertainment exclusively in Japan on October 8, 1999. The game was reissued through the Japanese PlayStation Network on December 10, 2008 for the price of 400 PlayStation Network Card points (¥473, or 5 American dollars), and earlier in 2000 as part of the ASCII Casual Collection of bestsellers.
The plot of The Silver Case is driven mainly by a collage of art panels. These panels are used to illustrate elements such as which characters are present and how the story develops. Dialogue is told through traditional text boxes, and as there is often more than one character's image displayed onscreen, a luminous grid traces the speaker's portrait in particular. While most of the game's cinematics rely primarily on this digital novel style of presentation, there are some exceptions where elements are fully rendered in 3D. For example, some of the game's cinematics feature three-dimensional graphics, and whenever the player is given control of the playable character, they are able to move freely, albeit on something of a grid, across three-dimensional venues.
As The Silver is primarily text-based, players spend a great deal of time reading and observing art panels to learn how the story develops, although three-dimension cinematics and live-action video clips are occasionally used to add depth to the plot. Each stage in the "Transmitter" chapter of The Silver is called a "case," and when the player is given control in each of these scenarios, they rely on a menu to toggle movement, review their items, interact with "Contact Points" or save their progress. Most Contact Points are presented as some form of numeric puzzle the player must solve to advance the plot of the game, however some can be examined to find additional items, which the game refers to as "Implements." Each stage in the "Placebo" chapter of The Silver Case is called a "report," and is played the same way as the former chapter, incorporating the menu and Contact Points, although here there is much less focus on playability, as this chapter concentrates primarily on monologues.
When controlling the playable character, the player is limited to moving on rails. The exact paths the player is able to travel on are usually identified by a trail of floating wireframe shapes, triangular and star-shaped. When the player is facing one of these markers, its color will turn red, signifying that this is the position the character will move to, should the player usher him forward. Otherwise, surrounding triangular markers the player is not directly facing will be green and surrounding star markers the player is not directly facing will be yellow. Furthermore, yellow star markers are commonly associated with an event of some sort, such as a cinematic, or a cue to speak with a character in order to advance the plot.
Detective Tetsuguro Kusabi is driving home on the night of a full moon, when he notices the car's headlights shining on a figure in the road ahead. When Kusabi slows to a halt, he realizes the figure, a young man, is armed with a revolver, which he proceeds to fire at the car's windshield. Kusabi narrowly escapes the path of the bullet, and immediately contacts his fellow officers at 24 Precinct, just as the shooter slips out of sight.
24 Precinct dispatches three members of the Republic task force to investigate the abandoned Cauliflower facility, where the shooter is suspected to be hiding. Two soldiers, Akira and Kenji Sakamoto, perform a full sweep of the building, while the third member, Inomata, stays behind. During the search, Akira and Sakamoto discover a series of homicides, and all but one survivor are procured. Sakamoto attends to the victim, while Akira pursues the criminal. On the roof of the building, the killer, named Ryo Kazan, is shot by another frantic woman, Rumi Tohba, before both Kazan and Tohba are shot to death by Kusabi.
During the development of The Silver, the newly established Grasshopper Manufacture was severely restrained with finances, and commanded only three employees (presumably writer Goichi Suda, art director Takashi Miyamoto and sound engineer Masafumi Takada). "We didn't have enough manpower to make a lot of materials, so we were stuck for a period of time," Suda explained during a speech at the GO3 Electronic Entertainment Expo 2007. The company's obvious limitations led Grasshopper to develop the Film Window engine, in which a series of illustrations confined to windows onscreen told the game's story. Suda iterated, "By adopting this new method, we could keep going."
The Silver is divided into two chapters, "Transmitter" and "Placebo." The former was written by Goichi Suda, and involves the affairs of 24 Precinct police detectives in apprehending serial killer Uehara Kamui, who escaped his 20-year detention and has resumed his killing spree. The latter chapter was written by Ouka Masahi and Kato Sako, and revolves around a freelance writer investigating the case.
Despite its shortcomings, which director Goichi Suda has admittedly attributed to poor funding, The Silver has enjoyed some lasting appeal on Grasshopper Manufacture's approach to video games. The look of the Film Window engine Grasshopper developed specifically for The Silver to combat their lack of resources at the time was simulated somewhat in the game’s pseudo-sequel, Flower, Sun, and Rain two years later, and again in 2005 with killer7. The developer's 2006 PlayStation 2 adaptation Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked also boasted Film Window designs. While the next project Grasshopper would design, Flower, Sun, and Rain, gave the player complete freedom of movement, killer7 marked a return to the rail paths the player was confined to following, as seen in The Silver.
A number of imagery from The Silver has also made its way into Grasshopper's later titles. Batting cages were revisited in the form of Bad Girl's haven in No More Heroes, a satellite in orbit was recycled as the weapon of Captain Vladimir in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, and scan lines obstructing character portraits makes a reprisal in Flower, Sun, and Rain. This game also began a trend of including shopping centers in Grasshopper's work, particularly Flower, Sun, and Rain and Desperate Struggle. Backdrops of the Moon have since appeared in Flower, Sun, and Rain, killer7 and Desperate Struggle, although the first Suda-related project to significantly sport the Moon was actually Human Entertainment's Twilight Syndrome: Investigation three years prior. Flower, Sun, and Rain, killer7 and Desperate Struggle also include cinematics featuring cups of coffee, as does The Silver. Additionally, the game includes the first Grasshopper reference to Camellia, in the form of Camellia Street. This name was later given to a Heaven Smile species in killer7 and a brand of beam katana in the No More Heroes series (although in the first installment, the name used is "Tsubaki," the Japanese word for "Camellia").
The No More Heroes series in particular shares many traditions that began in The Silver. The synthesized voice used to announce Ranking Battles in No More Heroes originally appeared in The Silver. The Cyber Cell outfit in Desperate Struggle shares a strong resemblance with Film Window's KamuiDrome appearance, and the Desperate Struggle character Ryuji is shot to death in a manner similar to that of another character in The Silver. Also during the KamuiDrome case, the montage of magazine illustrations shows a girl standing above a tiger. Tigers went on to become an icon in both No More Heroes titles.
Increasing interest in Grasshopper's later releases, particularly killer7 and No More Heroes, has given Suda ambition to release his earlier works internationally, starting with Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise (in US with subtitle: Unending Paradise) in 2008. Despite demonstrating a Nintendo DS port of The Silver which was reportedly completed as late as July 2009, Suda has expressed that the port will no longer be released as it "originally came out ten years ago, so to make a proper port I would need to remake a lot of parts of it, and it would take a lot of time." By January 2011, plans to update The Silver for a modern release were still being considered, albeit put on hold indefinitely. The Silver has since been speculated to resurface in the form of a Nintendo 3DS port.
- ↑ Suda51 Talks Emotion In Games, 'Breaking Stuff'. Gamasutra. David Low. April 18, 2007.
- ↑ The Silver Case's Nintendo DS port, demonstrated.... Tiny Cartridge. Eric Caoili. May 31, 2010.
- ↑ Suda51: More Sumio Mondo, Silver Case 'Up in the Air'. C3 News. Adam Riley. July 15, 2009.
- ↑ Suda 51 Interview.... The Official Nintendo Magazine. May 27, 2010.
- ↑ Suda pulled the.... Facebook. Grasshopper Manufacture Inc.. January 23, 2011.
- ↑ 3DS Yoshi & Demos Rumored For TGS Showcase. Game Informer. Dan Ryckert. September 7, 2011.