MĐ°king of SILENT HILL 3
(summary)

Profiles of those present

Producer & Sound Director   Art Director & Creature Designer   Character Model Chief Designer

 
 
Akira Yamaoka   Masahiro Ito   Shingo Yuri
Born in 1968. Responsible for sound in the first game as well as in the subsequent games of the series. Also the producer in Silent Hill 3. In addition to this series, he has worked on games such as Contra and Beatmania.   Born in 1972. Responsible for background and creature design in the first game. Held the position of creature designer and art director in Silent Hill 2 and 3.   Born in 1970. In charge of character motion in Silent Hill 2. Acted as chief of character team in Silent Hill 3. Besides this series, he has worked on games such as Hyper Olympics.
         
Graphics Engine Programmer   Character Programmer   Planner & Scenario Writer

 
 
Norihito Hatakeda   Yuki Mizuochi   Hiroyuki Owaku
Born in 1972. Has had a hand in the Silent Hill series since the second game. In charge of programming related to effects throughout. In addition to the Silent Hill series, he has worked on games such as NHL Blades of Steel 2000.   Born in 1972. Responsible for character programming since the first game. Puts together everything related to fighting and action. Works he has been responsible for besides this series include Fairway of Glory (Virtual Golf Simulation).   Born in 1975. Responsible for all event programming in and after the first game. Also worked on the scenario in Silent Hill 2 and 3.

Q: First of all, please tell us about how you got started on the development of the game.

Hiroyuki Owaku: We finished working on our previous project on the ps2 in August of 2001, and then in October we were hard at work on Restless Dreams. We began working on Silent Hill 3 immediately after that.

Q: It looks like you rarely saw any vacation time. Was this painful for you?

(everyone laughs)

Masahiro Ito: I felt that it was dispiriting at times, but then if you take a vacation whenever you feel like it, you'll lose your job, so...

073

Owaku mentions that one reason for starting the game someplace other than Silent Hill is so they could include locations that wouldn't be found in a small countryside town, such as an urban shopping center and subway.

074

Ito says that the use of visual noise in the game isn't constant-- it's very slight at the beginning and increases as Heather gets closer to Silent Hill.

footnote #3: In Silent Hill 2, noise was used to express James' delusions. In Silent Hill 3, one reason there's very little noise in the early stages of the game is that Heather hasn't yet recovered her memories.

Owaku says that he wrote the scenario in Japanese and then Jeremy Blaustein, the English supervisor, translated it into English. In order to breathe life into the English version of the script, many small revisions were made during the translation process.

He also mentions that one of the reasons for choosing a main character that was a girl is that he was getting bored with male protagonists. Making the protagonist female gives players something new, and depicting the storyline as well as fear and other emotions can take on new aspects. And of course, a male protagonist can't be the mother of God.

The reason for having only four central characters (five if you count Leonard) is that the team had planned to keep the story relatively simply from the beginning.

075

Shingo Yuri says that the overall quality of the character designs benefited from the fact that there were so few characters.

footnote #8: The development team made a point of including characteristics like freckles, spots and moles for the character models.

footnote #9: Certain characteristics that members of the development team possess were also included to make the characters more realistic, such as an asymmetry between the left and right side of the face, Vincent's tendency to squint, and Douglas' hair thinning at the back of his head.

Owaku mentions that he feels that the insertion of prerendered movies disrupt the flow of a game. Part of the reason for animating facial motion so meticulously was so that prerendered scenes would not be necessary.

Yuri says that since certain things such as the movement of fingers and eyes can't be motion captured, video recordings of the voice actors were referenced while programming the facial animations for the characters they voiced.

076

Owaku says that the nature of the horror in Silent Hill 3 is a bit different from 2. In Silent Hill 2, this aspect of the game sinks in quietly bit by bit, while in 3 it's more vivid and intense. For example, the gap between the "right side" world and the "reverse side" world is more distinct.

He also mentions that when he first saw the scene in which the office building undergoes the shift to the otherworld, this was a point at which he felt this game would be able to surpass Silent Hill 2 in some respects.

Norihito Hatakeda feels that it's ideal for events to take place in real time. The shift to the otherworld that takes place in the office building as well as the shift during the transition from the subway to the sewers are both examples of this.

Akira Yamaoka mentions that he'd had an interest in including songs with vocal tracks for a while, but there was a question of finding a vocalist with a quality in his or her voice that would be suited to the atmosphere of Silent Hill. Most game music makes use of sounds that are synthesized instead of using real instruments, and Yamaoka feels that it's desirable to utilize the expressive power of the human voice.

According to Owaku, the combat in Silent Hill 2 had not been particularly well-received. The team was careful to include more enemies in the third game so that players could enjoy devising strategies to fight them.

Yuki Mizuochi says that he had decided from the start to include more enemies and weapons. He was also able to program more specialized vibrations for the dual shock to correspond to each weapon.

077

Asked whether he feels that he has a complete grasp of what happens in the Silent Hill games, Yamaoka says he wonders if anyone besides Owaku understands it all completely, and also expresses his shock at having recently heard that some of it is based in Freud's psychoanalytic theories.

Hatakeda thinks that understanding it all might be impossible.

Owaku says that there are things about Ito's designs that he doesn't understand himself, and that he actually didn't understand Valtiel's significance completely until data was being gathered for this book. Ito says jokingly that he'll be sure to explain it to other people from now on.

Shingo Yuri jokes that when the book is released, he and other members of the team will be reading it and saying "Ah, I see..."

Hatakeda mentions that he created a certain effect with the images of Alessa's burns, fire, and blood in mind, and asks the other members of the development team what sort of understanding they have of it. Owaku says that he has the same understanding of it as Hatakeda.

footnote #19: Hatakeda did all the effects that have to do with the real-time shifts to the otherworld and the moving walls. This effect represents the intense suffering that Alessa endured as a result of her burns.

078

Yamaoka is asked whether or not there will be subsequent games in the series, to which he replies that he simply doesn't know at this point.

To the question, "What would you like to do next?" Shingo Yuri replies that he would like to work on something that isn't a horror game. Hatakeda says that he would like to do something along the lines of Half Life 2, and suggests that it might be possible to do a game of this type in the world of Silent Hill in which a different otherworld appears before each player. Mizuochi says that he would like to do something more colorful along the lines of a game about an American comic book hero, since he feels that the fact that the protagonists in the Silent Hill series are merely ordinary people is a bit restricting. Ito says that he'd like to do a game with a science fiction theme. Owaku says that he's always wanted to work on the kind of game that could affect or change someone's life. He feels that there are novels and movies that have had an impact on his own life, but hasn't yet had that sort of experience with a game.

079

The interviewer suggests that there are probably people for whom Silent Hill has had an impact comparable to the impact that books and movies can have. He then asks each member of the development team to say something to players in closing.

Owaku says he worked on Silent Hill 3 with the intention of giving players something that would be fun and interesting as well as frightening, so he'll be happy if he was able to achieve this.

Ito says that he'd like aspiring game designers and art directors to someday name Silent Hill 3 as having had an influence on them.

Mizuochi suggests going for 100 stars and getting a perfect score.

Instead of simply playing straight through the game, Hatakeda recommends slowing down once in a while to look around, as there are discoveries to be made.

Yuri says not to be distracted by the cutscenes or subtitles and to look closely at the characters. (Owaku says, "Huh? The scenario...?)

To anyone who is introduced to Silent Hill by the third game, Yamaoka recommends playing the first two games in the series after finishing Silent Hill 3.

<<< 080 >>>