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An Industry In Flux: Akira Yamaoka Speaks
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An Industry In Flux: Akira Yamaoka Speaks

October 8, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

It can be said that this game's still is very Mikami-like, or Suda-like, or even Yamaoka-like.

AY: I agree. It's a very interesting project. Having all these sorts of powers mix together like this is resulting in a really fun kind of energy throughout.

You're handling just the sound?

AY: Right. For this title, I'm just handling the music and atmospheric sounds. I would like to handle production or direction duties for the next project, though.

How does the process work?

AY: Well, I start by having discussions with Mikami and Suda. We go through lots of meetings, so many of them. At the end of it, though, we come to a decision on what to make, what sort of things to have people play, what design to go with.

Along the way, I begin work on the music and sound design, and that also becomes part of the ongoing discussions and meetings -- people talk about what works and what should be changed. That's how the process goes.

This game seems more over-the-top than Silent Hill. Was it hard for you to make that change?

AY: It wasn't that hard for me, and that's because even as I was working on Silent Hill, I still wanted to try working on something with a different atmosphere, a different style. I was waiting for a project like this to come up, in other words.

You wanted something different from Silent Hill.

AY: Yes, yes.

For a while?

AY: Oh, yes, for a long time. There was always a different style that I wanted to tackle.

Well, Silent Hill 4 was pretty different from previous titles, and I had the impression that you did want to do something different with the series even back then.

AY: Certainly. Well, as a creator, you never want to do the same thing for too long -- you want to try different things and go in different directions. I'm no exception to that.

But it's hard when you're working with a series property.

AY: Yeah. It's very hard. I know that.

Grasshopper gives you that opportunity, meanwhile?

AY: Definitely.

Suda was joking a bit earlier that he wanted you to take on new challenges in your musical style as well.

AY: Well, my musical tastes are very similar to Suda's.

The sort of music you like?

AY: Yes. It's very easy working with him.

Suda understands your way of thinking very quickly?

AY: Yes. Not in terms of speech, but in terms of music.

Suda's punk style, for example.

AY: Right; that or jungle or electric. Suda goes on about The Smiths and Joy Division and so on; so we share a lot of the same styles.

This game wouldn't have The Smiths... (laughs)

AY: Oh, that's not related. (laughs)

I think the game looks interesting, but you just have the teaser trailer for now.

AY: For now, yes. I think it oughta be a few more months before we have a playable version.

Suda and Mikami both have very big, larger-than-life personalities. Is there any difficulty working with them?

AY: Not at all. Mikami has been in the game business for 20 years; he's been doing this for so long now, from Resident Evil to Vanquish. Again, though, he and Suda -- and me, too -- we're very similar both in personal tastes and in the approach they take to making games. It's very much like a hobby for the both of them. So it's not been difficult at all.

No arguments or anything?

AY: No, not at all. Well... no. (laughs)

Well, Resident Evil and Silent Hill are rival properties, no?

AY: Mmmmmmmm... We still have a very close friendship, though, going out and drinking and so on. So, it's okay.

A friendly rivalry.

AY: Right! Not a problem.

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