March 17: "Joke Ending conceptualized far before it should ever have been a concern"
For most of these timeline entries, we haven't used Konami's exact wording. But the above is exactly as it was told to us by the publisher, and good news for Silent Hill ufologists and/or dog enthusiasts.
It's worth noting that Konami producer Tomm Hulett, who spoke to us for this feature and helped put this timeline together, has a very personal history with Silent Hill joke endings, having voiced James Sunderland in the UFO ending
of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
(which he also produced).March 18: Story system conceptualized
"The complex story structure is one of the most fascinating things about the game, and
I think something that will surprise a lot of people because it's hard to convey in previews (so has gone largely unnoticed so far)," Tierney said. "As in previous games like SH2
and Shattered Memories
, your actions in game change the story - not just the endings, but all story elements as they happen.
"However in this game, you have much more of a constant, direct way to influence and control
these outcomes. And since the game never truly ends, you're free to experiment and produce
different story outcomes without having to start your game over. It's very organic."March 22: WayForward starts auditioning motion capture actorsMarch 25: Final story concept proposedApril: Final story concept approved by Konami
"I wanted to make sure to retain the one quality Silent Hill has above many other games: its mature story," Hulett said. "The plot in any given SH is very personal to the main character, and delves into the shadows of the human psyche. By contrast, it's hard for me to get into the stories of many multi-player dungeon crawlers because it feels like I'm one faceless hero in a sea of heroes going through the same motions for the same reasons."
With multiplayer, Book of Memories
has to tweak the story conventions to be about a group experience. "We knew that BoM had to stay on the 'Silent Hill side' of things and deliver a personal story. The twist is, this time it's the player in Silent Hill, undergoing its trademark brand of anguished personal introspection. As an added bonus, the story itself is like one gigantic puzzle, so interested players can log extra hours cracking that wide open."April 4: WayForward begins shooting motion captureMay 5: "Boss Creature" concepts are finalizedMay 11: Cinematics planning beginsJune 13: Konami and WayForward evaluate the game design, "unifying central systems, etc."
Lighting and effects concept renderJuly: Scripts for the cinematics are completedAugust 4: Dialogue is recorded for Howard Blackwood, the character who presents you the Book of MemoriesAugust 8: "Design Audit," during which any unfinished gameplay systems were finalized.August 9: Script for the all-important "joke ending" is completeAugust 21: All voice scripts finishedAugust/September: Voice recording begins at PCB Productions
"Not only did each possible main character record the game dialogue several times," Hulett said, "and the text was altered for every possible scene variation, but this happened in 8 different languages." September: Localization beginsSeptember: Daniel Licht gives Konami an early version of the title theme, called "Now We're Free"September 15: Licht submits his first attempt at a stage theme, for "Water World"
"It's amazing," Hulett said.September 29: Story text is completedOctober 8: The "Joke Ending" artwork is completedOctober 24: Silent Hill: Book of Memories goes into "alpha" statusOctober 21: "Love Psalm," a new song based on the song of the same name from Silent Hill 2, is completed
The song features Akira Yamaoka and Silent Hill singer Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and was composed by Rob King and Troy Baker – a voice actor who played James Sunderland in the recent HD version of Silent Hill 2
.November: QA testing begins – it continues through spring 2012December: Localization completedDecember: Licht completes his final track for the soundtrack, "Rust-World"January 15, 2012: Book of Memories hits betaFebruary 27: "Complex story system" finalizedSpring: North American version completed
April 17: The soundtrack is released, well ahead of the gameOctober 2012: Planned worldwide release
Originally set for release in February
alongside the Vita hardware, Book of Memories
is now due in October. We just have to wait until then to see the results of all this work.