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Silent Hill: Downpour developers discuss going back to the series' psychological-horror roots

Silent Hill: Downpour producer Devin Shatsky has said when designing the game, Vatra decided to add more realistic weapons and combat to the game, making it stand out from the last entry in the series, Homecoming.

Speaking with the US PS blog, Shatsky said Downpour differs from Homecoming as the later was "a fairly combat-heavy game" with a complete badass doling out the punishment, whereas the latest entry focuses on an everyday man whose weapons will deteriorate in real-world manner - sometimes making it safer to run from enemies instead of going head-to-head with them. Granted, there is still combat in Downpour, but it focuses more on slower, exploration-based psychological horror.

"We’ve gone with a more realistic weapon and inventory system," he said. "In past Silent Hills, you had this magic pocket where you could carry a full arsenal of weaponry — Uzis, swords, hammers and more. That took away from the player’s suspension of disbelief, but it also empowered the player a bit too much and it impacts the scare factor.

"In Downpour, you’re limited to carrying what’s in your hands, plus a holstered firearm. You’ll want to use your weapons carefully. Each weapon is breakable, so wooden weapons will break after a couple of hits while metal weapons will last longer. Most weapons are everyday items: rakes, bottles, kitchen knives. There are no katanas or the like in this game."

The HUD-less health system in the game has also been revamped to mirror Murphy's physical state: he’ll limp, bleed, and his clothing will even show wear to the point it becomes full of holes.

As far as enemies are concerned, don't expect classic series staples such as the creepy, puppet-nurses to return with this outing, as Shatsky said monsters in the game will be "directly tied to the protagonist’s background" with a meaningful appearance to Murphy.

"We won’t be shoehorning in Pyramid Head or the nurses just to do it. It wouldn’t make sense," he said, which is a sentiment series producer Tomm Hulett agrees with.

"Pyramid Head is really cool, and he’s become sort of the iconic creature, but in Silent Hill 2, if you follow the story – he doesn’t really belong outside of Silent Hill 2," Hulett told GameFront. "He’s really personal for James. You can take that so far. You can say 'Oh, he’s cool, so use him anyway', or 'Stick to the canon and don’t use him'.

"We really wanted to establish our own game. Homecoming used Pyramid Head, not very effectively, I don’t think. We’re not making you nostalgic for Pyramid Head."

Hulett also said that along with the various antagonists in the game, the atmosphere itself reflects the various phobias the main character harbors. In Murphy's case, water plays an important part in his psychological makeup, and the game's randomized weather system will affect the gameplay.

"I wouldn’t say [Murphy] is afraid of water – he would go swimming – but somewhere in his past there’s something that has to do with water, and that’s manifested in the game," Hulett explained. "For example, when it rains in the game, the harder it rains, the more creatures there will be. He’ll need to seek shelter."

You can read more from both interviews through the respective links, and check out a couple previews for the game via G4 and GameFront.

Silent Hill: Downpour is slated for a March release on PS3 and Xbox 360, and will have multiple endings depending on how it is played.

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