Interview with Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill 4: The Room Official Site)

Date published: 2004
Source: Silent Hill 4: The Room Official Site

1. What was your intention in creating Silent Hill 4 - The Room, and what were the biggest challenges in producing SH4?

Yamaoka: The primary intentions were that we were aiming to seek a different theme for Silent Hill series and to start the new step for its series as a second season. An idea came up at the time, which we expressed in this title, was to deal "the room" as a theme of it - what happens if that room, where supposedly the safest place, gets seized with fear.

2. What is your favourite scene in Silent Hill 4 - The Room?

Yamaoka: The scene of Cynthia covered with blood. It matches quite well with the music.

3. Was it originally planned to be a series of games?

Yamaoka: No, it wasn't planned at all. We understand this became fortunately a series title, because of the enthusiastic wish and call of fans out there throughout the world, which we appreciated the most. However, at the same time, the peculiar worldview of Silent Hill and its theme(s) couldn't be fully expressed in just one title. Therefore we inevitably had a high motivation in expressing more of them in sequels, which fortunately could happen at the later occasion.

4. When did the production of Silent Hill 4 start?

Yamaoka: About 2 years ago, right after Silent Hill 2 was completed.

5. What music style do you like the most? Does your personal taste differ from the music that you created for the Silent Hill games?

Yamaoka: My personal taste is a bit different from what I have done for the Silent Hill titles. I like the European style of music, particularly the 80's "New Wave" music. Perhaps, that dark and sorrowful sound is somehow expressed between the lines in the music of Silent Hill.

6. Which person in Silent Hill 4 do you like the most?

Yamaoka: A kid :-)

7. Are there personal fears and/or interests that have been worked up in Silent Hill 4 - The Room?

Yamaoka: Unfortunately, it is not included this time. We may do that in the following sequels.

8. How do you/your team get inspiration for the creature design?

Yamaoka: We got inspiration from the artistic works. In another word, we don't get any influence from the monster-monster type of picture or something, but by the artistic work which has a mysterious image and atmosphere.

9. What are your hobbies when you are outside of Konami?

Yamaoka: Shopping at the... supermarket - I like myself saying "Gee... this milk is quite cheap!" with my hands on a shopping cart.

10. What books and movies do you like the most?

Yamaoka: I like fairy tales. The fairy tales actually deal with the realistic and cruel side of human beings. Movies... hmm... I see a lot. I prefer to see the popular ones done by ****, though you may assume I'm watching some niche ones... Recent ones may be Dogville, The Others, etc.

11. What do you expect from the next console generation? Do you think that more hardware power means more gameplay fun?

Yamaoka: I'm really expecting on the next generation consoles; however, I'm not certain whether I can get the fun gameplay out of it, at least for the developer side.
Realistically speaking, everything is going to be huge in terms of development cost and human resources. All know-how is required in order to revolve the whole things efficiently and with the balance. We would need to have totally new imagination power that doesn't exist in the current game development. So... more hardware does not connect straight to more gameplay fun, for at least our side. But, when it is revolved well, it is going to be fun for the players.

12. What can we expect in the future from you?

Yamaoka: You may be seeing myself working on a game which has a totally new theme, which lots of players enjoy, and which is treated as "One Shot" game which we can only depict.

13. Last Question: How would a Silent Hill game look and feel like in 10 years?

Yamaoka: I would like to tell you now... but I'll keep it for the next time :-)

14. Mr. Yamaoka, thank you very much for this interview.