Despite the game still not being officially announced, a third ratings board has now outed the existence of Silent Hill: The Short Message, and this time it’s our very own Australian board with a very in-depth description of the game’s setting and themes.
The game appeared not on the Aussie ratings website but as part of a large annual report where the Classification Board shares some of its more noteworthy ratings decisions as insight into how it comes to its conclusions and its approach to certain subject matter. The Short Message appears on this report due to its apparent, detailed depictions of self-harm the board deemed no more than “Strong” in impact due to the overall context in which they’re presented.
You can see the full excerpt from the report describing the “exploration?based psychological horror” game and its MA15+ rating decision below:
[Note that the below contains text that some might find alarming]
Silent Hill: The Short Message
Strong suicide themes, horror violence and coarse language: an exploration-based psychological horror game in which players control characters in an apartment building called The Villa in modern-day Germany. The player assumes the role of a young woman, Anita, who must explore The Villa through first person gameplay in order to collect clues and uncover what has happened to her friend.
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 cut scene 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 cutscene 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 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 MA 15+ classification.
Frequent leaker, Dusk Golem, responded to this outing of the game on a Resetera thread, saying “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.”