The Silver Case

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The Silver Case
TSC box.jpg
Developer Grasshopper Manufacture
Active Gaming Media (HD)
Publisher ASCII Corporation
Nippon Ichi Software (PS4)
Director Goichi Suda
Writer Goichi Suda (Transmitter)
Masahi Ooka (Placebo)
Sako Kato (Placebo)
Producer Hiroyuki Tamura
Artist Takashi Miyamoto (Transmitter)
Masateru Ikeda (Placebo)
Composer Masafumi Takada
Engine Film Window
Platform PlayStation
PC
PlayStation 4
Release date PlayStation
JP October 7, 1999
PlayStation Network
JP December 10, 2008
PC
WW October 7, 2016
PS4
US April 18, 2017
EU April 21, 2017
JP March 15, 2018 (The Silver 2425)
Genre Adventure
Rating CERO: D
ESRB: M
PEGI: 16


The Silver Case (シルバー事件) is an adventure game for the Sony PlayStation. It was directed by Goichi Suda and was the first game developed by his studio Grasshopper Manufacture. It originally released exclusively in Japan in 1999, published by the ASCII Corporation. In 2016, a remastered edition was released worldwide on the PC with an English translation; this edition was ported to the PlayStation 4 the following year.

Gameplay[edit]

The Silver Case is a text-heavy adventure game light on interaction, often described as a visual novel. Most of the game consists of the story being relayed to the player through a variety of different kinds of art and text, portrayed through the game's unique engine known as Film Window. In this engine, various "windows" containing media - such as illustrations, character portraits, dialogue or 3D environments - appear and move around over a simplistic animated background. Cutscenes also appear in these windows, as well as in full-screen sequences, using various styles, such as 3D CGI, 2D animation or live-action film.

When the player is given control of their player character, they rely on a wheel-like menu to toggle movement, review their items (known as "implements"), interact with characters or "Contact Points", and save their progress. Contact Points represent any interactive element in the game field, such as characters to talk to, implements to pick up, or puzzles to solve. While the first of the game's storylines, Transmitter, features several unique interactive environments per chapter, the other storyline, 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 their player 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 ("triangle marks") and sun-shaped ("sun marks"). 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.

Plot[edit]

Cases and Reports[edit]

Summary[edit]

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 its 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 criminals who spread "transmittable crime", 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, others 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, follow 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.

Development[edit]

During the development of The Silver Case, the newly established Grasshopper Manufacture was severely restrained with finances, and commanded only four employees. "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 the world could be represented through individual elements rather than as a whole. Suda iterated, "By adopting this new method, we could keep going".

The Silver Case's focus on crime was inspired by an incident called the Kobe child murders that had occurred during the development of Suda's previous game, Moonlight Syndrome. The Kobe child murders shocked the nation of Japan due to the young age of the teenage perpetrator. This event caused Suda to begin thinking about the nature of crime, and how the handling of it should be regulated, especially due to government regulations of media following the child murders affected what Suda was and wasn't able to portray in Moonlight Syndrome.

On November 4, almost a month after the game's release, the novel Case #4.5: Face, taking place between two of the game's chapters and starring Sakura Natsume, was released.

Legacy[edit]

The Silver Case became the foundational element for the majority of Grasshopper's games going forward, although it was itself built on the foundation of Moonlight Syndrome. Many themes featured in the two games, such as crime, terrorism, assassins, and the episodic dual-story structure became hallmarks of Suda's and Grasshopper's works. In particular, it solidified the world and series known as "Kill the Past", leading to direct sequels Flower, Sun, and Rain and The 25th Ward: The Silver Case. Although their timelines are incompatible, killer7 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.

Remaster[edit]

Following Grasshopper's breakthrough in the west with titles such as killer7 and No More Heroes, Suda became interested in re-releasing his older games with translations. Plans were put into place to release The Silver Case, Flower, Sun, and Rain and The 25th Ward on the Nintendo DS. While Flower, Sun, and Rain was successfully ported and translated in 2008, the other two games (planned to be released together on a single cartridge) were not. Although the porting work was complete in-studio, Suda was dissatisfied with the results, and wanted to remaster the game rather than just port it.

Suda held on to these plans for several years, but was unable to find a studio and publisher for the project. This changed in 2016, when Active Gaming Media took the job. Their remastered HD version was announced for PC through a site called believeintheinternet.com in April, which is now defunct; this site consisted of triangular shards spelling out the name of the game in English, in the same style as the original Japanese logo. On May 6, the official site, thesilvercase.com launched. In September, another teaser website, kamuinet.com was launched, a recreation of the KamuiNet website seen in the game.

The remastered version was designed to be very faithful to the original, conscious of the fact that English-speaking audiences would be experiencing the game for the first time. The 3D environments were redone in HD, under guidance from Suda. For 2D artwork and cutscenes, the original assets were used, with the exception of the art cuts from the chapter "parade", which had been redrawn by Takashi Miyamoto in his art style years earlier for the DS version. The remaster released on October 7, seventeen years to the day after the original game. A deluxe edition package, which is available both digitally and in a Limited Run physical release, includes the soundtrack, an artbook and a short manga as extras.

2017 update[edit]

Boxart for the PS4 version.

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. These new chapters are *6 YAMI, a story taking place prior to Flower, Sun, and Rain, and #25 whiteout prologue, a short preview of The 25th Ward. These chapters, among most other PS4 version changes, were added into the PC version on May 29.

Other changes in this version included previously-advertised Akira Yamaoka remix tracks, as well as additional remix tracks by Erika Ito, and new art and video for the Sayaka Baian segment of the game. Both of these changes can be reverted in the options menu. The credits were also slightly changed on the PS4 version to account for porting and other additions, but this change did not appear in the PC update.