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Silent Hill Q&A
The creators of Konami's new PSX game talk about their work on the record.

GamePro: Speaking of camera angles, where did you get the idea to make them that dynamic? Did you see a certain movie director, anything like that that influenced you?

Konami: It's a little difficult to explain, Mr. Toyama didn't have any specific sources. It's very original, Toyama-styled. When it started out, they worked with the concept of the modern horror, in novels and so on. But to give it good gameplay, they used influences such as David Lynch, Cronenburg and their cinematic styles.

GamePro: Maybe it's premature, but are you planning to do a sequel to Silent Hill? Maybe a Dreamcast version?

Konami: Now, don't start rumors like that!

GamePro: So, it's confirmed, Silent Hill 2 for the Dreamcast?

Konami: Getting back to reality, it really depends on how the public receives this game. Granted, that sounds rather corporate, but it's real world.

GamePro: So, a ski-resort next time?

Konami: No, no. Jamaica. Beach-boy themed background music. We need a vacation.

GamePro: The flashlight system is interesting. Are you planning to have areas (where it doesn't work)--can the batteries go out, do you have to conserve it, or will it always be on?

Konami: We did think about the flashlight, that it could be taken away, or that you drop it. But we found that without it, you're virtually blind. So the flashlight cannot be taken away. The flashlight is an integral part of the dynamics of the game. Some parts of this town (Silent Hill) are extremely dark. But that doesn't mean you should necessarily be using your flashlight there. To put it simply, yes you can turn it off and on.

GamePro: Could some reasons to turn it off be to avoid enemies that may follow you by the light?

Konami: Yes, that's the natural thought behind it. Actually, the enemies themselves have eyes and ears. So naturally, if you've got a light and walking around, they are going to move towards you. If you run around making a lot of noise, they are going to go look for that source of noise. So turning off the flashlight, going into a corner and hiding, chances are you will avoid detection. They might still stumble into you, but you have a better chance of avoiding them. The AI on the enemies is that they will look for you, the warm body to feed on.

GamePro: This version (at the Tokyo Game Show) of Silent Hill is different than the one shown at E3. Mainly, the creatures have been changed. Was that only for the American market, or was that for the Japanese market as well?

Konami: The creatures in the game, are a difficult issue. We want to provide the consumers with a sense of horror, but not revulsion. There are images associated with horror that Konami doesn't want to associate itself with.

GamePro: So would the Japanese version be more revolting than the American version?

Konami: That's not necessarily what I'm saying. It's more a case of certain of the enemies originally looking too much like, well, babies, basically. Obviously, that's a sensitive issue at any time, but more so recently.

GamePro: So that's an issue for Konami of Japan also, not just Konami of America.

Konami: I think that's an issue for any company. This is not just a game issue, but an issue that is present in the real world. So this is something we are going to have to really look at, be very careful with. It's essentially walking a tightrope, between horror and bad taste.

GamePro: In the game, the fog is very thick and the rooms are very dark. Is this likely to change when they balance the game for the American market?

Konami: Actually, the darkness and fog issues is actually more of a hardware limitation, so that aspect itself can't actually be changed altogether that much. If they did that, they would be changing the speed of some of the movements, to balance it.

GamePro: How many different weapons and items are in the game right now?

Konami: When it comes down to it, there are very few weapons and items, and that's because we want to keep the real world feeling. So you might find a shotgun or other "normal" weapons.

GamePro: So you won't find an Uzi's lying on the street.

Konami: No--and no flame throwers, either.

GamePro: No ammo behind odd corners waiting to be picked up?

Konami: It's still a game, so items will be placed to keep the gameplay enjoyable.

GamePro: The E3 demo had a very nice guitar riff, that was changed for the Japanese version. Is that still going to be in the game, or is that soundtrack gone? Is it all from synthesizer, or is it real instruments?

Konami: Well, the guitar riff's in there, Akira Yamaoka played himself, on the guitar. Piano and other stuff is done off of the synthesizer.

GamePro: Are there any random aspects in the game, will monster locations and items locations change?

Konami: As a general rule, monsters will stay in the same place, to maintain game balance. Some monsters and items will change, for replay value.

GamePro: Will the AI level vary in relation to the players skill?

Konami: Not for the enemies, but item availability may change in relation to how well you are doing.

GamePro: Will Silent Hill be compatible with the new PlayStation Pocketstation PDA?

Konami: No.

GamePro: Was there any limitations due to using the PlayStation as the platform? Things that you wanted to do, but couldn't?

Konami: Well, all of the puzzles/traps had to remain in the same level, due to space limitations. Larger space capability, and the ability to have puzzles and traps on multiple levels is something that we would have liked to have done.

GamePro: How many motion designers did Mr. Sato work with on Silent Hill?

Konami: About three motion designers/animators.

GamePro: Will there be a larger range of movement, like swimming, climbing walls, etc?

Konami: No, pretty much what you see in the demo is what Harry can do. He may do more in cut-scenes, but as far as when he's controlled by the player, no. It wasn't necessary within the framework of this story.


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