|Silent Hill character|
Heather in Silent Hill 3
|Designed by||Shingo Yuri|
|Motion capture||Heather Morris (Silent Hill 3)|
Heather Mason (ヘザー・メイソン Hezā Meison) is a fictional character first introduced as the reincarnation of Alessa Gillespie (アリッサ・ガレスピー Arissa Garesupī) and Cheryl Mason (シェリル・メイソン Sheriru Meison) in Silent Hill, and as the protagonist and player character in Silent Hill 3, both survival horror video games by Konami's Team Silent. As the reincarnation of Alessa and Cheryl, Heather is instrumental in the game's antagonist Claudia Wolf's efforts to bring about the rebirth of "God". She is also the main character in the film adaptation, Silent Hill: Revelation, where her name is Sharon Da Silva. Her alternative self, Cheryl Heather Mason, is also the true protagonist of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
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Heather is the protagonist of the video game Silent Hill 3 and of the film Silent Hill: Revelation. In the video game Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, "Heather" is a middle name of the main character Cheryl, who was also born in 1983.
Heather is also a downloadable content character in the video game Silent Hill: Book of Memories. In addition, she makes cameo appearances in some of the endings in Book of Memories and in the video game Silent Hill: Downpour, as well as in an unrelated Konami game Dance Dance Revolution Extreme.
Design and portrayal
Heather was initially modeled after French actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Vanessa Paradis in several rough sketches. The sketches portrayed her as an "innocent" type of character. The development team realized that she seemed too "nice" and the next version of Heather was inspired by Sophie Marceau and Gainsbourg to give her an attitude. At this point, Heather was a clash of masculinity and femininity. The character designer Shingo Yuri imagined Heather as wearing jeans, but the female team members of Team Silent thought that Heather should show her legs to look more feminine and convinced Yuri. Heather's hair was initially more natural and less elaborate, but the female team members thought that curly hair would be more suitable for a young girl. Heather was given shorter hair for the convenience of video games: it would have taken more processing power of the PlayStation 2 to animate longer realistic hair and the game designers used the processing power towards increasing monster numbers instead. Heather's original design was later used with Elle Holloway, a character in Silent Hill: Homecoming.
The character's name and model were inspired by her original voice actress, Heather Morris, who was also motion capture actress, including for combat scenes during which she used her childhood taekwondo training. The creators originally named Heather "Helen", but after talking with Morris they realized that name was old-fashioned and changed it (in early promotional materials and the back of the game's original cover, the character still has the name Heather Morris, same as the actress). Morris said: "I liked the character Heather. She is sort of a bad-ass and a bit of a tomboy. Although she was very young, she was quite fearless and strong. I did respond well to the script. Heather was really interesting and a great character to play. ... Much like the character, Heather, I was learning about all the horrendous things in this video game world as I moved through it. So I was genuinely surprised and disturbed. Very often I would ask to stop the motion capture so we could look on the computer at the images that represented the monsters and people with whom I was supposed to be interacting. And they were creepy and quite scary. Since we were working on a blank stage, we really need to use our imagination."
In contrast to Morris, Adelaide Clemens, who played Heather in Revelation, had to work with physically existing monsters on the film's set. She said "I really took on the role of Heather Mason herself—the psychological journey that she’s going on. ... [W]ith the mythology of the game, the gravity of what the monsters are—what they mean; their symbolism, and all of those things—I did research the game, and look into the ‘history’ of Silent Hill, and what has been created there in the franchise. And, physically! I had to get incredibly strong, and incredibly fit—just really immerse myself in Heather Mason."
In Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, Bernard Perron wrote that Heather's "temper" and "sharp tongue" served to distinguish her from the female protagonists of the survival-horror games Rule of Rose (2006), Clock Tower 3 (2002), and Fatal Frame (2001), whom he described as being characterized as "more frail or innocent". Game Revolution's Chris Hudak preferred Heather over the prior protagonists of the series, Silent Hill's Harry Mason and Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland, whom he felt were "bland"; he praised her "attitude, some vulnerability and even some snarky teenaged wit". Joystick Division's James Hawkins praised Heather for how she "show[ed] the world that whiny teenage girls can become incredible badasses", putting her on the tenth place of his 2010 list of the top ten "badass ladies" in video game history. That same year, Mania Entertainment's "Briana Lawrence" ranked her fifth on her list of "13 Video Game Women That Kick Ass", calling Heather a "really cool lead character". Schuyler J. Dievendorf of The Escapist included her on his 2014 list of eight "most badass videogame ladies" as she "has gone through hell and become numbed to the nightmare. After seeing the things that she's seen most people would have cracked, but she keeps going."
GameDaily listed Heather in their "Babe of the Week: Chicks with Baggage", and GamesRadar cited her as one of the best game "babes" in the decade of 2000, highlighting the fact that she is "just a normal girl". CNET shared the sentiments, adding she "may not have the toughness of some of the other protagonists here, but Heather Mason is absolutely human and eminently relatable". UGO Networks writers placed the character second on its 2011 list of the best kids in video games, also featuring her on their list of the "most stylin'" alternate costumes for her "Sailor Moon-esque character" Princess Heather costume. In 2013, Complex ranked Heather as the 36th greatest heroine in video game history, stating that they still "love" her "despite the massive pile of fail known as Silent Hill Revelation 3D."
According to Leigh Alexander of GamePro, "for years, video games have struggled to define what constitutes a positive portrayal of women. We've learned what isn't, over our checkered history of anime panty shots, gratuitous cleavage and breast physics. And thanks to the likes of Half-Life 2's Alyx Vance, Beyond Good & Evil's Jade, Silent Hill 3's Heather Morris [sic], and Portal's Chell, we've got some idea of what is." However, one essay in Unraveling Resident Evil criticized Heather as following a "traditional trope" of a "sexless child" similar to the role of "a virgin or tomboy, Rebecca and Claire" in the Resident Evil series of horror games by Capcom, contrasting them with Resident Evil's Ada.
- Book of Lost Memories. Konami, 2003. Pg 66-67, "Silent Hill 3 Character Commentary".
- "Book of Lost Memories - Silent Hill 3 Character Commentary". Silenthillmemories.net. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "SILENT HILL 3". Konami.jp. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Retrogamer, Heather Mason Speaks! An Interview with Heather Morris, The Gaming Liberty, January 1, 2012.
- ""Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" Star Adelaide Clemens on Working With "The Scariest Games" Ever". Complex. 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "Adelaide Clemens on Her Role in Silent Hill: Revelation". Inside Gaming Daily. 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Perron, Bernard (2012). Silent Hill: The Terror Engine. Landmark Video Games. Anne Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-472071623. OCLC 843011643.
- Hudak, Chris (August 1, 2003). "Silent Hill 3 Review". Game Revolution. CraveOnline Media, LLC. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Hawkins, James (May 20, 2010). "The Top Ten Badass Ladies in Video Game History". Joystick Division. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Lawrence, Briana (January 4, 2010). "13 Video Game Women That Kick Ass". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- Schuyler J. Dievendorf. "8 Most Badass Videogame Ladies | Gallery of the Day | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "Babe of the Week: Chicks with Baggage". GameDaily. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
- Elston, Brett (June 23, 2012). "Game babes: A history". GamesRadar. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- Starr, Michelle (August 1, 2012). "Videogame ladies who rock". CNET. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- Meli, Marissa (April 29, 2011). "Heather Manson - E For Everyone: The Best Kids in Video Games". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "Heather Manson - E For Everyone: The Best Kids in Video Games". UGO Networks. February 27, 2011. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Rougeau, Michael (March 4, 2013). "Heather Mason — The 50 Greatest Heroines In Video Game History". Complex. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- Alexander, Leigh (2010-01-09). "Bayonetta: empowering or exploitative?, Feature Story from GamePro". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Nadine Farghaly (edited), Unraveling Resident Evil: Essays on the Complex Universe of the Games and Films. McFarland & Company, page 128.