Slitterhead is one of those upcoming horror games that piqued our interest immediately. Led by Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama and announced back in 2021, the grisly scare 'em up marks the first game from Bokeh Game Studio. What's more, it already looks as terrifying as you might expect.
The Slitterhead reveal trailer showed a city being overwhelmed by hideously grotesque parasites, taking control of their hosts in a manner that belongs in a Japanese horror movie. A more recent glimpse gave us a look at how combat will function in this terrifying adventure, seemingly balancing action elements with magical properties to create something truly unique.
While still officially boasting a tentative "2023" release date, it seems like Slitterhead could slip into next year. That's just a guess, since we've had little in the way of a Slitterhead release date since its announcement. For now, here's a breakdown of Slitterhead's storyline and gameplay mechanics, as well as some insight into how legendary Team Silent composer Akira Yamaoka (who's scored some of the best horror games of all time) came to sign up for Slitterhead.
This Slitterhead hub was updated on September 15. We've no new information to add, but below you'll find the most up-to-date Slitterhead news out there.
There's no firm Slitterhead release date
While there’s nothing concrete regarding a Slitterhead release date for now, Bokeh Game Studio head Keiichiro Toyama said the developer’s first project would release in 2023 for PC in an interview held prior to Slitterhead's reveal. Within that interview, Bokeh says it’s keen to bring Slitterhead to "as many console platforms as possible”, so Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of the game at the very least seem likely. Given how early in development the latest slice of gameplay footage looks, however, whether or not Slitterhead makes it this year remains to be seen.
The Slitterhead trailer that aired at the Game Awards teases a little of what we can expect from Bokeh Game Studio’s first project, and leads with Keiichiro Toyama’s horror credentials. A caption reads: “In 1999, Keiichiro Toyama chose horror as the genre for his first directorial work. Silent Hill was released to the world. In 2020, he went independent and founded Bokeh Game Studio. And he came back to face a new challenge in horror.”
With that, this new challenge in horror depicts grotesque, shapeshifting monsters, the dismemberment of bewildered civilians and police officers alike, and a ninja-aping, motorcycle helmet-wearing, sword-wielding chap who goes to town on the ethereal beings, who may or may not be the game’s protagonist.
Slitterhead combat footage dev diary
Published on July 6, 2023, this dev diary explores the QA process behind the scenes at Bokeh Studio, before teasing a small section of early in-development combat. Unfolding in un-rendered testing rooms, the playable character can be seen battling shambling humanoids whose heads have been overtaken by parasites. The player uses a mix of red magic, Vega-like claws, swords, and what looks like a sawn-off shotgun at one point to take down their aggressors - one of which takes the form of a giant, multi-tendrilled monster. Toward's the gameplay footage's end, there's a playable dog. Which is cool.
Slitterhead story and gameplay
Again, with such a short burst of cinematic footage, it’s hard to say exactly what shape Slitterhead will take in gameplay terms come final release. The Silent Hill and Siren series have both historically adopted third-person perspectives, however, horror heavyweight Resident Evil has recently pivoted to first-person fare in Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village. Ghostwire: Tokyo, the upcoming action-horror game from The Evil Within creators Tango Gameworks, has likewise moved from third to first-person view, therefore it’ll be interesting to see which path Slitterhead goes down.
In the Slitterhead trailer itself, we see a man seemingly caught off guard by a woman overcome by parasites, and are later shown police scrambling around the streets reacting to a pretty gruesome active crime scene. All of which suggests things turn to shit pretty quickly in-game. The Slitterhead trailer ends with an older woman standing on a veranda who’s clearly been infected by the parasites we’ve seen earlier. In a flash, her creature-like head – scales, tentacle tongue and all – retracts, folding neatly back into place, to reform her otherwise normal human face. Which may mean shapeshifters play a part in Slitterhead too.
#野狗子 #Yakushi #Slitterhead pic.twitter.com/jVsHV4r0f0December 10, 2021
Keiichiro Toyama is the head of Bokeh Game Studio and the creative director of Slitterhead. Besides creating Silent Hill in the late 1990s, he is also responsible for the Forbidden Siren series of horror games – the last of which, Siren: Blood Curse, landed in 2008 – having spent the last several years working on the Sony-exclusive action-adventure series Gravity Rush. In 2020, the veteran developer established Bokeh Game Studio, with Slitterhead marking its first project. Team Silent composer Akira Yamaoka is also scoring the project and thinks that you’ll like the finished product.
Want to see what else is on the horizon for 2022 and beyond? Check out our list of new games for 2022 and beyond.