There are many reasons why the beloved series isn’t making a comeback just yet, no less because Konami has reduced its involvement in game development. But that is also difficult to imagine silent Hill Franchise without composer Akira Yamaoka. While the original in-house team Silent had switched members behind the first four games, Yamaoka was a constant figure, so synonymous with the series that he even produced the third and fourth entries.
The atmospheric fear evoked by Yamaoka’s score was crucial in channeling the games’ unique kind of psychological horror while introducing industrial rock and haunting melodies previously unknown in video games.
“Great artists know how to balance their influences and originality,” says Yamaoka NME. “I’ve always tried to find out what makes my influences unique. Then I figured that the best way to ignore the status quo was to create your own sound. Even in video game music, I’ve always found it strange that when giant monsters appear, the orchestral sound can be heard and subtle music can be heard in hotels or rooms. I was able to diversify my influences to create my own sound silent Hill. ”
But as much as he is celebrated for his work on silent Hill – with many fans, including the composer himself, regarding Silent Hill 2 As his masterpiece, Yamaoka also has a diverse career in game music. He first entered the industry in the early 1990s, composing audio with chiptune for Konami.
“Deep down, video games and music have always been my passion,” says Yamaoka. “I wanted this to be my career, so I decided to send my demo tapes to video game companies. I was very lucky when Konami offered me a job. ”
When creating music for silent HillThe composer also contributed to Konami’s popular rhythm games such as Beatmania and Dance dance revolution, Projects that are often overlooked in Yamaoka’s colorful career. With fast-paced and upbeat tracks of all genres and styles – including gabba! – That music was a world away from the scary soundtrack that we’re more familiar with.
“I used to hesitate about having a particular genre, but now I’m more open to any opportunity,” he says. Rock music continues to have a huge impact on his work. Artists like Hollie Kenniff, Riverside, Conception and Rosalie Cunningham are just a few of the music he’s listening to right now, but Yamaoka reveals that he also has a thing for JOANovARC’s Say Sayonara Rock band.
Yamaoka spent the following decade as the sound director of Grasshopper Manufacture, the developer of the action-adventure hack and slash game. No more heroes. But perhaps his most surprising collaboration was in 2017 when he contributed an epic title called Battle In Japan to the free online multiplayer game. World of tanksand even went to the Wargaming headquarters in Minsk to work closely with the audio team.
It is this partnership that made Yamaoka reunite silent HillMasahiro Ito, the original art director that both contributed to World of tanks‘Creepy Halloween PvE event that’s running right now. Inspired by Chernobyl as well as the works of HR Giger and of course by silent HillIn this limited-time mission, players battle AI-controlled tanks in Mirny, an eerie abandoned city also covered in fog, while visibility deteriorates during the game and you are even followed by a pyramid-head type enemy, the it can’t be killed.
Yamaoka agrees with a dark ambient track for the hangar of the mode. It has all the creepy vibe we got to know, despite actually being asked to curb the mix a bit as the Wargaming team thought the track was just a little to creepy.
Sure, it’s not quite that silent Hill Reunion fans might have thought of that, but the collaboration isn’t as bizarre as you might think. In addition to being a WWII German tank enthusiast, Ito, who designed some of the creepy enemy tanks for the event, has also stated that the edges of the Pyramid Head helmet were directly inspired by the lower hull of the German Tiger Tiger tank. Although better known for his work in console and arcade titles, Yamaoka has proven himself to be an avid PC gamer for more than 30 years, including World of tanksbefore the series became cross-platform.
Talking about future projects, Yamaoka says he’s interested in the idea of making music for an interactive environment. But what does he think of the next generation, especially when PS5 is making noise in terms of 3D audio? “Personally, I’m not really into 3D audio,” he says. “There is a game middleware that includes functions such as the automatic generation of sound variations, graphics and visual effects. If we can improve the engine and features, we can definitely create tons of sound effects that are better suited to gameplay music. ”
However, if you look at his current project list – the World of tanks Cooperation, commitment in Death by daylightDLC and upcoming psychological horror The medium – it seems that Yamaoka cannot quite escape being horrified again. Not that we’re complaining.
The Halloween event ‘Mirny-13’ is now running on PC until November 9th.
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