Interview with Akihiro Imamura and Akira Yamaoka (Game World)

Date published: 2005.04.23
Source: Game World

GW: So the series is getting larger, gaining more momentum, and was coming out on a yearly basis, right?

Imamura: Well, keep in mind SH4 was not originally suppose to be a Silent Hill.

Yamaoka: We did see a significant increase in popularity after the first game and even more so after the second. Originally the intention was not to make SH3 a direct sequel to the first game. In fact, the scenario was completely different, but fans seemed to want to tie up some loose ends, so we tried that, even though some on the staff did not agree with the decission.

GW: Do you enjoy satisfying your fans or would you rather satisfy your own artistic needs?

Imamura: Naturally when a series gets popular the fans get very vocal. We want to please the fans by just continuing to keep the series new and interesting. Every now and then we decide to listen to certain complaints and desires and try to execute them into the next game.

Yamaoka: It's important to try to satisfy both at once- satisfying the fans and our own needs. I feel our needs as creators have taken a back seat since the third game, to be honest. We plan to change that with the next game, but also not isolate our fans.

Imamura: After the underwhelming response SH4 got, we've been gathering opinions from everywhere to make sure we come back strong with the next installment. Sometimes the most vocal opinions, for example the desire for more battles, are not always the best ones, especially for a series like this. We wanted more melee combat in SH4, but realized from fan reaction that there was just too much action, regardless of it being melee or not. That kind of action doesn't make the atmosphere creepy anymore, but kind of obnoxious.

GW: What was the original scenario for SH3? Are you allowed to divulge that?

Yamaoka: Unfortunately no, since we plan on using it for a future game. (laughing) It was much more along the lines of the second, where the main character was a damaged human being, summoned to the town for a very specific reason. It was, or should say is, the darkest story we have come up with.

Imamura: I'm sure a lot would have to be cut. Just the preliminary scenario had elements that would most likely not be approved by the ratings boards. Another thing is we really didn't want to use a similar template as SH2 for the game that followed it. That was another deciding factor in changing SH3.

GW: Anything you can tell us about SH5?

Yamaoka: Who says it'll be called SH5? (laughing)

GW: Ok, anything you can tell us about SH-Next?

Yamaoka: Unfortunately not at this time, but very soon. We also can't tell you the system or systems it will be on, but we can say it will be on the next generation platforms.

Imamura: Maybe I'll get in trouble for this, so Konami Japan don't fire me, but we are interested in playing with the idea of 'light'... as in 'daylight' and shadows. Ever since the pre-production of SH2, we wanted to start a SH in a normal environment- daylight, people going about their business, just normality. What happens when you make that normality rot all around you? It is possible to make a normal sunny day really creepy. Just look at films like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even one of our favorites, Jacobs Ladder.

GW: A significant hint to SH5? No more 'otherworld'?

Imamura: I'm not saying that. In fact, the lack of a more dramatic 'otherworld' in SH4 bothered a lot of fans, so we intend to have a very impressive 'otherworld' with the next generation power. I'm just saying a possibility in how a game could start. That's all I can say.

GW: Any closing words to your fans?

Yamaoka: Keep your eyes opened for more very soon.