Secret Nintendo horror game Emio features ‘domestic abuse’ and suicide

Secret Nintendo horror game Emio features ‘domestic abuse’ and suicide

What is Emio? (Nintendo)

The mystery over Nintendo’s surprise horror game has deepened, with the revelation that it’s considerably darker than previously thought.

Nintendo acting strangely is the most normal thing possible for the company but, even by their standards, Wednesday’s reveal of what appears to be a brand new horror game was odd.

Apart from the name Emio – or The Smiling Man, as it translates to in Japan – nothing is known about what the game is, who is making it or where it’s suddenly come from.

The only image so far is of a creepy looking man with a paper bag on his head but the age rating information from the Australian version of the trailer reveals that the game features, ‘Strong themes, violence, and suicide references’, as well as ‘violence, cruelty, domestic abuse, and suicide themes.’

There’s no further information – the details are just in the age rating displays at the start of the trailer – but they are very specific and suggest a considerably more serious horror game than you’d expect from Nintendo.

Although it’s still not confirmed if Nintendo themselves are publishing the game, that is certainly the impression they’re giving, since it got a simultaneous reveal across all their websites and social media, in both Japan and the West.

Nintendo has dabbled with horror games before, with the likes of Eternal Darkness and Project Zero, but while the latter does touch on some serious issues the games have generally been on the schlockier, more fantastical end of the horror spectrum.

That doesn’t seem to be what’s happening here, although the one caveat is that Australia, surprisingly, has the strictest content standards in the West and it is possible they’re overstating how big a part of the game’s story these elements are.

The only other thing to go on at the moment is the suggestion that the developer may be Bloober Team, the developer behind the disappointing The Medium and the controversial remake of Silent Hill 2.

Although they specialise in horror games many have questioned how good they really are at them, but as soon as Emio was announced fans brough up recent comments about how they were working on a Nintendo exclusive called Project M (possibly short for ‘mature’).

They never explicitly state that Nintendo is publishing the game, but they do talk about the project being low budget and opening up their ‘second party portfolio’.

‘We are working on it in cooperation with the world’s best game creators for Nintendo platforms, so we cannot afford to create just a decent game,’ they said according to Polish site Strefa Inwestorów.

If you take that at face value, then it does seem to suggest that Bloober Team is involved. However, talking about things openly like this is not going to endear them to Nintendo. Nor is the fact that they refer to Nintendo ‘platforms’ in the plural, implying the game may be a cross-gen Switch 2 game.

There’s no clue as to when the game may be released but it’s relatively unusual for Nintendo to announce a new title, particularly a lower profile one, too far in advance of its release, so a Halloween launch seems a good guess.

This says The Sleeping Man (Nintendo)

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