The long-rumoured but unannounced Silent Hill: The Short Message has had its plot details leaked by the Australian government’s rating body.
The Short Message first popped up in September 2022, when it was rated in South Korea by The Game Rating and Administration Committee of Korea.
Content warning – the rest of this article contains mentions of self-harm and suicide which some may find distressing. The following also contains spoilers for Silent Hill: The Short Message.
As spotted on reddit by user silent-mario, The Short Message is included in the annual report from the Australian Classification Board, which it has published on its website. The game is detailed under the section which lists “significant computer games classified MA 15+” from 2022 to 2023, which means The Short Message is “legally restricted to people over the age of 15”.
In the annual report, the ACB said the game contains “strong suicide themes, horror violence and coarse language”. The game takes place in modern-day Germany, where protagonist Anita explores an apartment building to discover what happened to her friend.
Cutscenes described in the report include depictions of acts of self-harm from a first-person perspective, and a character taking her own life by jumping off a rooftop – seen in both first-person and third-person.
“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 is they are at risk of self-harm and suicide and to offer support if they see people around them struggling,” the ACB noted in its report. The depictions of these issues “occur in the broader context of discourse” around mental health, it said, which justified its decision to rate The Short Message as MA 15+ and not any higher.
The Short Message does not seem to appear when searching all ratings on the ACB’s website (at time of writing). Konami is yet to officially announce The Short Message, though leaks dating from 2020 have kept speculation on its details going.
In the UK and Ireland, the Samaritans number is 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at Befrienders Worldwide. For Europe, more information on various helplines can be found via Mental Health Europe.