The 25th Ward: The Silver Case
Active Gaming Media (HD co-developer)
Nippon Ichi Software (HD)
Goichi Suda (Correctness)|
Masahiro Yuki (Matchmaker)
Masahi Ooka (Placebo)
Takashi Miyamoto (Correctness)|
Kazuyuki Yokoshima (Matchmaker)
Masateru Ikeda (Placebo)
Akira Yamaoka (Correctness HD)
Baiyon (Matchmaker HD)
Erika Ito (Placebo HD)
JP October 3, 2005
JP January 18, 2006
WW March 13, 2018
JP March 15, 2018 (The Silver 2425)
US March 13, 2018
EU March 16, 2018
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case (シルバー事件25区), usually referred to as just The 25th Ward, is an adventure game directed by Goichi Suda and developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. It was initially released exclusively in Japan, episodically over flip-phone download services. As these services shut down in 2011, the game was unable to be played for several years until Grasshopper and Active Gaming Media released a full remake in 2018, which also featured new content. The 25th Ward is a direct sequel to Grasshopper's first game, The Silver Case, and also takes place after other sequel Flower, Sun, and Rain.
The 25th Ward plays fundamentally similarly to The Silver Case; it uses the Film Window engine to display images, text and other information, and it mostly consists of reading, along with occasional interactive 3D environments in which the player can move on rails in four directions. However, it features many differences that subtly affect the gameplay experience.
Instead of the MISC wheel, the menu is now a die which must be rotated in three-dimensional space, with each face containing an action. Although it is usually four-sided, the die increases its number of sides in situations in which more than four choices are available. Rather than a consistent set of functions like the MISC wheel, the die's main abilities change depending on the situation. Its usual four functions are "Look", "Talk", "Move", and "Item", but other functions are available in particular scenarios, such as "PC" or "Red" when playing as Tokio Morishima in the Placebo storypoint.
Movement is simplified compared to the first game, as there are no marks to move to, nor can the player rotate themselves or look up or down. Instead, movement is made up entirely of selecting options corresponding to cardinal directions, which will cause the player to take that path until they reach the next choice or point of interest.
There are also several points in the game in which puzzles must be solved through entering letter or number passwords, similar to those found in Flower, Sun, and Rain. This is also accomplished by rotating a die; either one with the numbers 0-9 on it, or one which has the entire alphabet and a few miscellaneous characters. There are also occasionally other puzzles and forms of gameplay scattered throughout the game, such as role-playing game combat or multiple-choice chat conversations.
The 25th Ward takes place five years after the events of The Silver Case. It focuses on the successor to Ward 24, the supposedly utopian metropolis of Ward 25. This new ward was constructed with the purpose of providing a perfect orderly lifestyle, but its ideal of order is threatened to be shattered by the chaos represented by the coming of Kamui Uehara. The story is divided into three different "story points", which take place in parallel with eachother.
The A-side of the story, Correctness, centers around Mokutaro Shiroyabu of the 25th Ward Heinous Crimes Unit, the 25th Ward's counterpart to the original. It begins with an investigation into the mysterious deaths occurring at the Bayside TowerLand high-rise apartment complex, and follows into more cases from there. During these cases, Shiroyabu and his partner Shinko Kuroyanagi find themselves working with a mysterious new recruit, the perspective character Uehara.
The B-side of the story, Matchmaker, follows the Regional Adjustment Bureau, the shadow government agency who dedicate themselves to preserving the 25th Ward's lifestyle through carrying out deadly "adjustments" on its citizens. It follows two members, Shinkai Tsuki and Yotaro Osato, who attempt to complete their assignments while trying to hide their existence from the HC Unit. At the same time, they find themselves menaced by people from Tsuki's past.
The C-side of the story, Placebo, is a continuation of the Placebo story from the first game. Following the events of Flower, Sun, and Rain, Tokio Morishima wakes up on a boat stationed in the 25th Ward's harbor. Finding that he has lost most of his memories of the previous games, he attempts to regain them while periodically being roped into investigations on the internet by his old friend Slash.
The 25th Ward began development after the completion of killer7, and the development of further episodes continued through into the development of No More Heroes. Due to this, a large amount of inspiration came from the desire to make something that was exactly the opposite of No More Heroes. Most of the original development staff for The Silver Case returned, along with the addition of a writer and artist for the new "Matchmaker" storyline, expanding the game's structure to three stories rather than two. Due to its episodic structure, early chapters of The 25th Ward could not be edited based on the events of later chapters, so the game was necessarily less planned in advance.
Between the release of the fourth and fifth chapters, a significant time period passed in which the service distributing chapters changed, delaying the release of the fifth chapters. Originally, each story was supposed to go up to chapter six, but the writers finished the story in chapter five. Further chapters would later be written for Correctness and Placebo in the remake.
Initially, Suda wanted to rerelease The 25th Ward on the Nintendo DS as part of a compilation package with The Silver Case. Although this port was completed in-house, Suda was dissatisfied with the result and the project was shelved. Later, when The Silver Case was remastered in HD, Suda took a heavy interest in The 25th Ward, saying that he would attempt to remake it if The Silver Case HD's sales were satisfactory. He described The 25th Ward as a "phantom game" due to the fact that almost nobody had the ability to play it anymore, including Suda himself, who wished to play it as well. In July 2017, the remake of The 25th Ward was formally announced, being co-developed by Grasshopper and Active Gaming Media for release on PC and PS4, using a modified version of the engine of the previous game.
The remake was directed by Nobutaka Ichiki, a Grasshopper staff member whose very first project was working on the original version of The 25th Ward. When designing the new UI and chapter select menu, he was inspired by sculptor Antony Gormley. Lots of new content was created for the remake; this, combined with the fact that very few people had played the game in the past, led to Suda likening the remake to a "brand-new Grasshopper title". Four entirely new chapters with corresponding art were added to the game, as well as brand-new 3D environments for every chapter (as the original game lacked 3D). Due to the original hardware's low audio bitrate, the original soundtrack was unable to be used, so an almost entirely new soundtrack was created for the remake, with three different artists working on one storypoint each. Original composer Masafumi Takada, in his first work for Grasshopper in almost ten years, contributed two new tracks for use in the new chapters.