In a recent interview Takayoshi Sato, the lead artist at Konami for the Silent Hill series, has spoken about the new game, where it comes from and why it seems so evil.
“We looked at movies like Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, and movies from David Lynch,” said Sato, on the subject of inspiration of the series. “Of course, Hitchcock, David Fincher, and David Cronenberg too. Painters like Francis Bacon, Andrew Wyeth, and Rembrandt were very influential, too. At the beginning of the project we looked at Tomb Raider, to study how to make 3D worlds.”
When talking about the differences between the two games, Sato said, “Making Silent Hill, we just thought about making something horrific first, and then worked on the plot. Generally, we’d make the scary environments first, and then make a story to fit into those environments. So, when making Silent Hill 2, we already knew roughly what the environment was going to look like, so we could build the entire story before designing the game. We think that this makes the town of Silent Hill a more realistic place overall.” We like that. If you make sure the horror is up to scratch, everything else just falls into place!
Sato then moves on the discuss the character development in the new Silent Hill title, and how the art team’s collective warped minds come up with the horrible sights in the game. “First we drew plenty of sketches. For the characters, we drew profiles from all angles to familiarise ourselves with the shapes of their skulls. Then we made wire frame models – each one is about 6,000 polygons – and added textures. We used motion capture to get the character’s movements, then imported the data into SoftImage, which is a 3D rendering package. We then used this data to animate our own models. After we’ve mapped out the movements, we fix any animation problems, and create the lighting and place the cameras. After all of that, we render the scene.”
Sato then moves on to reveal something we found very interesting. Konami, a well-known mainstay of the Japanese game industry did not employ game experts to create Silent Hill. “Most people working for game companies are game freaks, but the Silent Hill team are artists and programmers first -- mainly artists. Silent Hill 2 is not a typical game because most of our staff didn’t grow up playing games. Because of this, we hope to provide the gamer with a different sort of game.”
Silent Hill 2 creeps onto UK store shelves on November 18th this year.