The Silver Case is an adventure video game for the Sony PlayStation. It was directed by Goichi Suda, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by ASCII Entertainment exclusively in Japan on October 7, 1999. The game was reissued through PlayStation Network on December 10, 2008 for the price of ¥473, and earlier in 2000 as part of the ASCII Casual Collection of bestsellers.
On May 6, 2016 Grasshopper Manufacture officially revealed that a remastered HD edition of The Silver Case was in development. The remaster, which was released on October 7, 2016, is available not only in Japanese but in English as well - the first time that The Silver Case has ever been localized overseas.
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 story is conveyed through this visual novel style of presentation, there are also instances where the player is given control of the playable character and are able to move freely, albeit on something of a grid, across three-dimensional venues.
As The Silver Case is primarily text-based, players spend a great deal of time reading and observing art panels to learn how the story develops, although three-dimensional cinematics, live-action video clips and two-dimensional anime clips are occasionally used to add depth to the plot. The game is divided into two parallel storylines: "Transmitter", where the chapters are called "cases", and "Placebo", where the chapters are called "reports". When the player is given control, they rely on a menu to toggle movement, review their items (known as "implements"), interact with "Contact Points" or save their progress. Contact Points represent any interactive element in the game field, such as characters to talk to, implements to pick up, or numeric puzzles to solve. Placebo confines all interactive segments to within its protagonist's room or car, but has the addition of an interactive e-mail reading interface on said protagonist's computer.
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 sun-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 triangle marks the player is not directly facing will be green and surrounding sun marks the player is not directly facing will be yellow. Sun marks represent either Contact Points or the triggering of an event of some sort, while triangle marks are merely places to move to.
Cases and ReportsEdit
The Silver Case follows the events surrounding the apparent resurrection of serial killer Kamui Uehara in a special Kanto ward known as Ward 24. Ward 24 is a densely populated municipality patrolled by the law enforcement agency, the Administrative Inspection Office. Kamui Uehara was an infamous killer from its past who was arrested in an incident known as the Silver Case, which has since become shrouded in myth. At the beginning of The Silver Case, various signs appear that Kamui will soon return, and the events of the game show how this affects the culture of the people living within the Ward.
The A-side of the story, the Transmitter cases, revolve around the Heinous Crimes Unit, a division of the AI Office. The HC Unit specializes in taking down dangerous and sadistic criminals, and operates under unorthodox methods. The protagonist of Transmitter, Akira, is a member of fellow AI Office division Republic, which is decimated in an operation to capture the newly awakened Kamui. Akira finds himself picked up and hired by the HC Unit, assisting them in various investigations, some of which have to do with Kamui, some that are mostly unrelated. Over the course of the story, the cases bring to light secrets about the members of the Unit, Kamui, and Ward 24 itself.
The B-side of the story, the Placebo reports, follows the daily life of freelance journalist Tokio Morishima. Tokio lives in the Typhoon apartment complex with his turtle, Red. He receives an assignment from his old boss, S. Inohana, to report on Kamui, and begins tracking the HC Unit's investigations. In the course of doing so, he has a traumatic experience, and begins to look into his own life and past as well. He also contends with a mysterious online stalker known as "The Bat", and as the story goes on, his personal problems become more and more prominent.
During the development of The Silver Case, the newly established Grasshopper Manufacture was severely restrained with finances, and commanded only four employees (presumably writer Goichi Suda, art director Takashi Miyamoto, sound engineer Masafumi Takada and a programmer whose identity is unclear). "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 Case 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 Kamui Uehara, who escaped his 20-year detention and has resumed his killing spree. The latter chapter was written by Masahi Ooka 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 Case 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 Case 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; many subsequent Grasshopper games from this era included creative UI similar to Film Window. 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 Case.
A lot of imagery from The Silver Case 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, Desperate Struggle, and Killer Is Dead, 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 Case. 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").
killer7 in particular parallels The Silver Case heavily in story and structure; both share a backstory centering around a teenage serial killer, a late-game expedition into a conspiratorial education center where said killer was raised, and many other elements besides, both overt and subtle.
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 2008. Despite demonstrating a Nintendo DS port of The Silver Case 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 Case for a modern release were still being considered, albeit put on hold indefinitely. The Silver Case has since been speculated to resurface in the form of a Nintendo 3DS port.. During an interview released in July 2015, he stated that Grasshopper is now definitively considering to release the game and he hopes it could happen very soon.
In April 2016, tentative announcement of a project was given in the form of the website Believe in the internet, which featured glass shards in the same style as The Silver Case's logo. Suda also posted a visual on Instagram containing the title of the game in code overlaid on top of pictures of characters from the game.
On May 6, 2016 believeintheinternet.com changed to an official site, confirming that a "remastered" HD edition of The Silver Case would be released for the PC in Fall 2016. The remaster is a collaboration between Grasshopper Manufacture and Japanese developer Active Gaming Media, and is available on Steam, Playism and other digital gaming platforms. The remaster is the first time ever that The Silver Case is available in English.
The remaster retains the "Film Window" system used in the original, but features enhanced graphics and other assets. Active Gaming Media are responsible for the game's localization and other enhancements, and developed it using Unity 5. Certain puzzles and quiz sections in The Silver Case are rewritten in order to be more understandable to players outside Japan.
The remaster's release date was eventually revealed as October 7, 2016. A deluxe edition package, which is available both digitally and in a limited physical run, includes the soundtrack, an art book, and a short manga as extras.
Suda stated that if the remastered edition of The Silver Case sells well, The 25th Ward may receive a similar localized remaster, which eventually came to fruition. When asked about the possibility of further Silver Case games if the remaster performs well, Suda stated that nothing was currently being planned, but that he was considering the idea. "Another sequel - whether a direct story sequel or more of a thematic sequel - to games like The Silver Case may be possible, but it would be a very different type of experience. Perhaps even VR."
After the release of The Silver Case's remaster, it was announced that it would receive a release on the PlayStation 4 on April 18, 2017. Later on, Suda and Ooka announced that this version would include two new epilogue chapters, which would also be released on the PC version as an update of some sort. These new chapters are #25 whiteout prologue, a short preview to The 25th Ward, and *6 YAMI, a new story about Tokio Morishima.
Upon the PS4 version's release, the new chapters were accidentally not included; an update fixed the error on April 21. They were added into the PC version on May 29.
Other changes in the 2017 update on both systems included previously-advertised Akira Yamaoka remix tracks, as well as additional remix tracks by Erika Ito redone art and video for the Sayaka Baian segment of the game. Both of these changes can be reverted in the options menu.
- Japan disc – October 7, 1999 (ASCII Entertainment, SLPS-02320)
- Japan ASCII Casual Collection disc – October 5, 2000 (ASCII Entertainment, SLPS-02969)
- Japan PlayStation Network – December 10, 2008 (Grasshopper Manufacture)
- Deluxe disc bundle – October 7, 2016 (Limited Run, LR-PC01)
- Steam di/web/20080102064324/http://www.grasshopper.co.jp/silver/index.html Official website]
- Official website (HD remastered edition)
- ↑ The Silver Case. May 6, 2016
- ↑ Grasshopper Manufacture plans to localize The Silver Case for PC later this year. Destructoid. Ben Davis. May 6, 2016.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Suda 51's first game, The Silver Case, is getting a western remake. Eurogamer. Jeffrey Matulef. May 6, 2016.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 
- ↑ The Silver Case remaster announced for PC. Gematsu. Sal Romano. May 6, 2016.
- ↑