A New Dawn in Horror Gaming: BOKEH GAME STUDIO Unveils Slitterhead

The birth of a new game development studio is always a source of joy and excitement, not only for gamers but also for game industry observers and aficionados. December 2020 saw the launch of one such studio, BOKEH GAME STUDIO, founded by Keiichiro Toyama, best known as the creator of the original Silent Hill series and Gravity Rush. Some of his fellow veterans from the now-defunct Sony’s Japan Studio also came onboard to help launch the new studio. And it seemed only natural that, with Toyama’s return to the horror genre, the studio’s first title is also a horror experience called Slitterhead.


Horror Reimagined with Action

There’s very little existing on the market that you can call a horror game with melee, so that’s what we thought we could do to set it apart.” Keiichiro Toyama, the founder of BOKEH GAME STUDIO, was speaking about Slitterhead, his brand-new survival horror video game. “We hope that players who like modern action games will feel compelled to try Slitterhead since you’ll get a new kind of gameplay.” That willingness to bring in new kinds of people is built into the combat itself, but it’s even more striking in the unusual ‘possession’ mechanic, a key part of the game’s depth and playfulness. You can switch control between a variety of characters.

A Nostalgic Yet Fresh Setting

While Siren allowed Toyama to draw on his homeland – recreating a Japanese village of his youth, transplanted from prewar to the present day, and layering on supernatural elements – with Slitterhead, the genius of Toyama’s creativity truly emerges, for this time he places his players in a fictional city in Asia during the early 1990s. While it’s not hard to see where the team got its inspiration from – cities such as Hong Kong, with their palettes of green, red, and neon. But that’s where the question of Asia’s effect on Toyama’s work ends, for he and his team undertook the painstaking recreation of the world as it was at the time – the world we once knew and loved, because almost all that shimmering neon has been replaced by stark glass towers and LEDs.

Delving Deep into Slitterhead’s Gameplay

Creativity in Combat and Character Possession:

And at the heart of Slitterhead is a more refined exploration of the empowering mechanic from Siren, in which the player can take control of various characters and see the story from different points of view, as well as finding new ways to explore. Toyama, by virtue of his background, wanted to build on this idea and take it to another level entirely. To be able to go through the eyes of the people that live in the city and follow their paths can help the player think more deeply about what his or her identity means in the context of what’s happening in the world.

Exploring A Rich, Detailed City:

Beautifully crafted details of this intricate city, as shown above, express the attention to detail that BOKEH GAME STUDIO invested in Slitterhead’s world – with exploration as one of the game’s main pillars. By scavenging a dog’s smelly trail, unlocking lost memories of spirits, escaping hunters, or following other unique paths, the game also promises exciting action-based exploration.

A New Take on Horror

It’s a delightfully innovative way for Toyama to tell horror stories in Slitterhead, and one informed by a Japanese ethos. His creatures were lifted from a standalone manga comic series, itself inspired by the proto-folklore of Japan. The mythical creatures of Slitterhead are called Yegouzi, and their job is to eat your brain. Adding this Yegouzi menagerie to Resident Evil gives players a more variable suite of enemy types to kill, while also enriching the game’s setting. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), PlayStation 4. Photo courtesy of Sony

The Role of Music and Sound

Visual atmosphere is accompanied by aural atmosphere. Much of this is created in collaboration with Akira Yamaoka, who is known for his work on Silent Hill’s soundtrack. The idea, according to Toyama, was to reconnect with Yamaoka to give the game both a more horror-oriented and action-oriented sound. The opening sequence of the game, which contains a Cantonese pop song by Yamaoka, demonstrates Toyama’s attention to detail.

Accessibility and Development

For a game made during an era where even major releases drag on development cycles for years, releasing a title on time feels like a minor miracle. Toyama credits the studio’s pragmatic approach to development for the timeliness of the game – the developers opted for a cross-generational compatibility that would allow the game to be played on PS4 as well as current-generation consoles. Not only did this decision improve sales prospects by not locking the game into being available on only current-gen consoles, it would also be available to a much larger audience when it launched on 8 November 2024.


BOKEH GAME STUDIO is leading-edge experience, ingenious innovation, and sultry desire. Founded by three gaming industry veterans, Keiichiro Toyama, Kazunobu Sato, and Junya Okura, the studio is set to produce a game that can launch a genre. With Slitterhead, BOKEH GAME STUDIO is releasing a game, yet it’s also ushering in an era where horror rejoins action, nostalgia meets novelty, and story plays as much as gameplay. As the studio grows, it promises additional new game guides that deliver human-level creations and takeaway lessons to gamers around the world.

Jun 08, 2024
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