[Warning text]

WARNING: A piece of advice from a game player... Try to finish playing Silent Hill 2 before watching this program. That way, you will not spoil any of the surprise effects. Not only that, it will be easier to understand what the creators are saying about their work...
[An envelope with Mary name appears. A voice sounding like Mary's reads the appearing text of the letter]

In my restless dreams, I see that game... Silent Hill 2.
You promised me to tell me everything about this game
some day. But you never did.
Well... you have the making of now, in your special DVD...
Just waiting for you...
[The envelope with the text fade out. Intro credits]


A Production
[Various sketches are shown with quotes and images of the game's creators shaking like lying figure monsters]

"The most important thing is how to depict a body".
Takayoshi Sato
CG & Character Director

"I want to express what's deep within the mind".
Akihiro Imamura

"Silence is also a sound".
Yamaoka Akira
Sound Director
[Documentary title appears]

Silent Hill 2
Making of Alchemists of Emotion
[Konami office building is shown from outside and then from inside]

Narrator: This is where Silent Hill 2 was created, here in Tokyo, somewhere on the 42nd floor of these buildings. Counting the graphics designers, programmers, and musicians, over 50 people worked for nearly two years on this project.
[Konami office is entered by SH2 developers: Akihiro Imamura, Takayoshi Sato ir Akira Yamaoka]

Narrator: Silent Hill 2 would not have come to life if it was not for these three: Imamura, producer. Sato, in charge of designing the characters and cinematic visuals, and Yamaoka, who created the sound and music. All three are very ingenious, but they say it's like being married as they all worked together on the first Silent Hill. But for Silent Hill 2 they've all gone much further because Silent Hill 2 is a lot more than just a horror game, more a terrible love story.
[Game scenes are shown]

Narrator: Every detail of the game is constructed to shake you up mentally and emotionally. This is the artistry of these "Alchemists of Emotions"

[First part's intro]

Repulsion and attraction
[Various game interiors sketches shown]

Narrator: Backgrounds in Silent Hill 2 are based on a concept of simultaneous repulsion and attraction as one way to define their impact. Strangely enough they look nasty and disgust us, but also they have their own kind of charm, which was just the effect the art director was trying to achieve of course.
[Art Director Masashi Tsuboyama comments]

Tsuboyama: I wanted to create something that would really disturb the game players whilst attracting them. Something with an aura of mystery.
[Photos of real locations used for inspiration shown. After photos of a real public toilet a 3D model of the ingame toilet is shown. Game scene in the toilet from the game's start follows. Then again photos of streets are shown compared to the ingame locations]

Narrator: Before creating the images for these grim visual backgrounds, Tsuboyama went to shoot a few stills. It may sound odd, but these stills maybe the most important images of all.

The bathroom was the very first room modeled by the art director. This was the first image created for the visual background. In a way, it served as the graphics bible for creating the other visual backgrounds. It's no accident that the players start the game indoors.

A different rationale applied to the exterior visual backgrounds, the idea was to give the impression that the city was a lot larger than you'd imagined. Certain sequences that might seem overlong were inserted deliberately, to convey a feeling of isolation.
[Game footage: James in the forest]

Tsuboyama: At the beginning of the game we deliberately made the descent through the forest towards the cemetery longer. It's so long you don't feel like turning back. At the same time, it make you realize just how totally isolated the city is... and you also! We knew it was a bit risky in terms of gameplay, but we really wanted to take our chances and do it.
[Same scene]

Narrator: In addition they used a grainy filter do dirty the images while giving them character. Here's what Silent Hill 2 would have looked like if it's creators hadn't used this ingenious process.
[The scene is shown without grainy filter (noiz). Game footage follows: James finds a dead man in front of the TV in the apartments]

Narrator: Always trying to take us by surprise, the graphics designers had fun planting a few disturbing elements throughout the game, that go unnoticed at first. For instance there is that body in front of the television. You don't realize it but you know that face.
[Masashi Tsuboyama explains]

Tsuboyama: This corpse is James himself! Same face, same polygonal model structure. In fact, this is an image straight out of James' imagination.
[Game footage: James in the room with a mannequin with Mary's outfit in the apartments. Image of Mary wearing this dress is shown afterwards. Then various arts of backgrounds are shown]

Narrator: Another image from James' brain... That dress on the tailors dummy, holding the flashlight. You've seen that dress before. It's Mary's.

All of these mysterious details come together to form a visual background ideal for conveying impressions of solitude. Suggesting a parallel dimension. The perfect substrate for showcasing such elaborate and ambiguous characters.

[Second part's intro]

Creation of the characters
Emotion and ambiguity
[Game footage: James in the toilet in the beginning of the game]

Narrator: Of course it's James, the hero of Silent Hill 2, who just like in the first Silent Hill, the main character does not have the key role.
[Game footage: James meets Maria at the park's observation deck]

Narrator: Maria is a fascinating woman who epitomizes the ambiguity of Silent Hill 2.
[CG and character artist Takayoshi Sato explains]

Sato: Disturbing and sometimes looks cute. And there is no specific model of her.
[Various images of Maria shown]

Narrator: With her disturbing ambivalence, the Maria character has much more appeal than other heroines.
[Game footage: James finds Maria in the hospital]

Narrator: For example the one of Final Fantasy the movie. Sato explains why.
[Sato comments]

Sato: The main girl character doesn't have a wrinkle. And doesn't have a kind of a bad point. She is kinda perfect. For example if you are attracted by some woman, she not perfect. If you take her pictures, sometimes her face is like that. It's not perfect. If always she's perfect, I guess you won't love her. You're in love with her because she's human. She has character. That character has bad points, of course bad points, and good points. We didn't make that, but it's more real in the Silent Hill 2. From visual or technique point of view. But I think I made it more realistic work.
[Game footage: James and Mary at the park's observation deck. The scene is followed by images of Maria's 3D model]

Narrator: So Maria is woman who has her weak points but takes full responsibility for them. She flaunts her tummy with a little roll of flab, doesn't try to conceal the brown-spots on her skin, cheek with respect to some parts of the body.
[Sato comments]

Sato: I think she is a brunette. She's not blond, she dyed red, but then she dyed... she bleached.
[Various sketches of Maria shown]

Narrator: These details make her seem very real. A woman with appeal. Sato explains that 'actually Maria was sexier when we started out. But her plunging neck line gave us too many technical problems and we weren't happy with the way the graphics looked.
[Scene of Sato drawing Maria]

Narrator: A body like that isn't much without a lively expressive face, so Sato threw himself into his work on this part of the animation.
[Sato comments]

Sato: I tried to act sexy in front of mirror. And just... open top of eyes. And move the lips sexier... like that. In the office. I was a pervert!
[Maria's still images are shown]

Narrator: As a matter of fact, to obtain better results in face animation, Sato did not resort to motion capture.
[Sato comments]

Sato: I couldn't trust face motion capture. That motion capture system, it just took the position of the skin. If you opened the mouth, the muscles around here [points to side of his face] tighten. Where as motion capture cannot capture it. But if I make that in front of mirror, I can notice it. I can capture it. That's most of the biggest reason.
[3D model of Maria's face with different face expressions is shown]

Narrator: By doing the animation by hand, you can combine dozens of expressions and and come up with just the right one. Even the most absurd.
[Maria's 3d model is shown running. It's followed by the footage from the motion capture session in which actors play the scene in front of "Heaven's Night" bar's backdoor]

Narrator: On the other hand motion capture was used for the body sequences. In other words, these motions were carefully thought out or rather heavily observed. The actress playing Maria struck poses that would turn the head of any red-blooded male player. The animators just had to transpose these sexy poses.
[The same scene as it looks in the game. Then miscellaneous images of Maria are shown]

Narrator: For the finishing touch all they needed was a voice to bring the face to life. Between 50 to 60 people from Japan and the United States were auditioned. And only five of them were hired.
[Actors' photos are shown with their characters: Mary - Monica Horgan, Angela - Donna Burke, Eddie - David Schaufele]

Narrator: By the way, the same persons who made the motion capture.
[Footage of motion capture sessions]

Narrator: You must be thinking five? Hmm... That's funny there are six characters. That's easy to explain. The same person played Maria and Mary.
[Photo of the actress playing Maria and Mary]

Narrator: Once again it's no accident.
[Sato comments]

Sato: Same polygon structure of a face. Exactly the same. A little bit the skull shape is different, but Maria can make Mary's face and Mary can make Maria's face.
[Maria's and Mary's faces are imposed one on top of the other to show they are almost identical]

Sato: But the gimmick of a face, like the skeleton and muscle structure is a little bit different.
[Game footage: Angela at the cemetery]

Narrator: Now unlike James, Angela is really bizarre. In the game she's supposed to be 16 or 17, but she doesn't really look like a teenager.
[Sato comments]

Sato: It's not a usual teenager. She has something I think and I tried to to make her face special. There's something inside, and that's why I made these lines, these shadows, she has a kinda of Schwarzenegger mouth. And tried to make her facial emotion, face animation, a little bit uncomfortable. That makes her looks more older.
[Motion capture session: Angela and James at the hotel's staircase]

Narrator: The design team aimed to make Angela look older and opted for an older voice. The actress playing Angela is about 40.
[Game footage: Eddie vomits in the toilet in the apartments]

Narrator: Last but not least there's Eddie. Excuse me. His creation was kind of funny.
[Akihiro Imamura comments]

Imamura: A friend of mine is Eddies' physical model!
[Game footage: James and Eddie in the prison]

Narrator: Who for your information doesn't know about it. Fortunately he only borrowed his friends physical characteristics because Eddie is maybe the most deranged of all. He appears heavy and clumsy due to a number of subtle details.
[Sato comments]

Sato: His pupils are a little bit wider. Open a little bit wider than the rest of the characters. His eye direction is in the other direction. And his eyes move a little fast compared to the other characters. And I did that on purpose.
[Prison scene's continuation]

Narrator: An in-depth study of human emotions, passionate attention to detail, and the perfect casting. There lies the secret to the characters in Silent Hill 2. But the monsters are every bit as ambiguous.

[Third part's intro]

Creation of the monsters
Something human
[Concept arts of monsters are shown]

Narrator: The creatures of Silent Hill 2 are not your run of the mill horror game monsters. They have no horns, no tentacles, no supernatural powers, their monstrous because their shape suggests deformed human features.
[Monsters designer Masahiro Ito explains his part. While he comments a game footage with a monster and then animated computer models of the lying figure and the nurse are shown]

Ito: My basic idea in creating the monsters of Silent Hill 2 was to give them a human aspect. In the beginning, they game player would believe they were human. Then I proceeded to undermine this human aspect, by giving weird movements to these creatures and by using improbable angles for their bodies based on the mannerisms and movements of drunk people or the tentative walk of very young children.
[Game footage: James attacking monster in the street]

Narrator: But sometimes inspiration strikes when least expected.
[Ito comments]

Ito: The idea for the monster in a straight-jacket hit me as I watched a programmer friend who works here. One day he came to see me. I saw him coming from a long way off. His hands were in his pockets close to his body, and he was wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. He was also listening to his walkman and walking in a cool way. That's how I got the idea for the monster.
[Game footage: James attacking first monster under the bridge. Then Ito shows various pictures from the book of Francis Bacon's works]

Narrator: Of course Ito's references were not mealy anecdotal, he also drew inspiration from his favorite artist, the Irish painter Francis Bacon, who's tormented features influenced the world of Silent Hill.
[Sketches of Pyramid Head and Ito drawing him are shown]

Narrator: But the most striking and original creation is indisputably the triangle headed monster. Ito draws with such ease you might think that he got the result he wanted straight away, but what he was looking for was a monster with a hidden face. Like that it was less human and therefore more disturbing. His first idea was this monster.
[Concept sketch of a monster is shown]

Narrator: Then he realized it was nothing but a human in a mask. So then he took the concept further giving him a head in the shape of a triangle. He explains it this way.
[Ito comments]

Ito: The triangle has right angles and acute edges, their sharpness suggests the possibility of pain, and the triangle shape also helps explain the monster's role in the game.
[Game footage: James fighting Pyramid Head in the apartments]

Narrator: Once the monsters have been created all they needed were a few bizarre monster noises and some choice musical sequences. This was a job for the sound designer Yamaoka.

[Fourth part's intro]

Musics and sounds
Under the skin
[Sound director and composer Akira Yamaoka plays Theme of Laura on the guitar]

Yamaoka: Movies didn't inspire my work for creation of Silent Hill 2's music, that's just my style. For the main theme, I sat down at my place and took 3 days to compose it.
[Footage of Yamaoka at his workplace]

Narrator: It's a theme which conveys the melancholy of Silent Hill 2, which like the game itself, plays with unlikely combinations.
[Yamaoka comments]

Yamaoka: I don't think that melody is the most important thing in a piece of music. However for this theme, I based my music on a sad melody with a strong beat. Above all, I wanted to make sure that people feel something listening to my music.
[Yamaoka at his workplace showing sound effects of various footsteps produced for the game]

Narrator: Yamaoka also produced all the sound effects. A total of 50 sounds not counting the nuances. To prevent repetition he created hundreds of footstep sounds for the characters. They too break with the sound rules applicable to the horror-survival game.
[Yamaoka comments]

Yamaoka: I think that the sounds in Resident Evil are pretty formal. I would say we are used to hearing them. Whereas for Silent Hill 2, I really tried to create something that would surprise you, something that would challenge your imagination as if the sounds were going under your skin. What I mean by that is to create a physical reaction for the gameplayer such as a feeling of apprehension and unease.
[Game footage: James enters the apartments]

Narrator: This being said however Yamaoka is too good a musician to know that silence is sometimes the best sound of all.
[Yamaoka comments]

Yamaoka: The job of a sound designer is not just to create sounds, so to speak. We also have to know how to use silence. I think that selecting moments of silence, is another way of producing sound.
[Game footage: James follows the street leading to the apartments. Game footage: James hiding in the closet from Pyramid Head]

Narrator: The audio track of Silent Hill 2, like the graphics and animation, succeeds in creating an oppressive world. Mysterious and completely original. But all of these technical exploits should not obscure what makes Silent Hill 2 a work of genius. The fear.

[Fifth part's intro]

Psychological horror
Eros and Thanatos
[Game footage: James runs into the nurse monster]

Narrator: Silent Hill had another major strength in that it invented a new type of fear.
[Producer Akihiro Imamura comments]

Imamura: In Silent Hill 2, fear could be defined in terms of what you don't see makes you feel afraid. If you know that there is something around that you can't see you'll be scared, deep down.
[Game footage: James in the prison. Game footage: James meeting first monster under the bridge]

Narrator: But the creative people pushed their analysis much further. This feeling of psychological terror specific to Silent Hill 2 was the product of serious brainstorming about the human mind and heart.
[Sato comments]

Sato: Psychological horror has to shake humans heart deeply. Shaking peoples heart deeply means uncover peoples core emotion and core motivation for life. Everybody is thinking and concerning about sex and death. Everything. And if we want to scare or shake or touch the users or spectators, then we have
to think about sex and death deeply.
[Game footage: James runs into Pyramid Head before the fight with him in the apartments]

Sato: To make like a death scene. Like somebody died, or monsters died, or if you make that kind of scene... we tried to mix erotic essence. This is kind of a visual and a core concept.
[Various monster images are shown]

Narrator: You can see it in these images of dead nurses. With their short skirts and low necklines. You can see it in the images of disembodied legs, or in this suggestive scene.
[Game footage: James and Angela in the labyrinth. Game footage: James meets Maria in the prison cell]

Narrator: Angela's tragedy, and of course Maria's ambiguity. Icy cold like death and suddenly sensual. To conclude let's look at one of the most important scenes in Silent Hill 2, and that's the prison scene.

[Sixth part's intro]

Scene decoding
Mary or Maria?
[Game footage: James meets Maria sitting in the prison cell in the labyrinth. Drama director Suguru Murakoshi comments]

Murakoshi: When we wrote the story of Silent Hill 2, we immediately imagined this scene. In this scene, Maria is talking to James, but this Maria looks like Mary. The point was to confuse the game players, to get them thinking that maybe after all, she was Mary.
[Continuation of the scene]

Murakoshi: Usually, in all the other scenes, Maria is sexy. But for this scene I tried to make her less sexy.
[Scene's continuation up to the moment when James asks: "Aren't you Maria?" The movie is stopped for the moment]

Narrator: Then we get to the big scene. The one where in the same shot, Maria who was playing at being Mary, becomes Maria again.
[The scene is continued]

Narrator: Notice how her voice becomes more carnal, and how her posture has become sensuous again.

Never has horror been so poetic. Never has how emotional ambiguity been so skillfully exploited. The creators of Silent Hill are artists and their game is a work of art. It's as real as this hand touching your face.
[The end of the scene: Maria touches Jame's cheek]

Narrator: So why not take another look at Silent Hill 2.
[A quote by Francis Bacon]

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some
strangeness in the proportion".

Francis Bacon
(The philosopher)




Isabelle BRUDEY

Sebastian PLAGNOL






For being so cool, for their time and for being such creators

For his precise translations, his professionalism and his welcome

For giving us fast answers to our questions

For having been so patient and interesting

All KCET Members
Who helped us in the making of this program


For having given his supreme approval

For his help


To give birth to the idea
For her energy
For her "eye drops" for the plane

For his determination in realising this program
For his german lessons

For his cheats
To have let me finish SH 2 first

For having made a good job on SH 2 Event
For being able to laugh at Hans's jokes


For her perfect introduction voice

For his help in getting images of the game

To have utterly failed finding a concluding sentence

For having helped me to plug the PS 2

Because the belong to the Fun Player Team

For having called all the french editors

For having supported the idea of the program
For his phone calls from Greece


For the nice clothes

For the great fantasies

For making me cry

For scaring me

For showing me the right path

For his advice on digestive medicines

For the sleepless nights

© Fun TV - 2001