Interviews & Articles

Q&A: Konami's Akihiro Imamura

April 3, 2001 by GameSpot - Archived from

GameSpot recently interviewed Akihiro Imamura, producer of Silent Hill 2. Before the interview, we had the opportunity to play the demo of the PS2 version and watch the promo clip for the Xbox version at the Konami booth during the Tokyo Game Show.

GameSpot What percentage of the game is complete at this point?
Imamura We are about 50 percent complete in development.
GameSpot The CG movie portion of the game was shown at shows previously like ECTS and Tokyo Game Show, we were pretty amazed that the level of graphics in game and CG movies were close. Any difficulties your team encountered during the process?
Imamura With a more powerful hardware spec [more polygon and graphical enhancements] our team has worked hard from the beginning of the development and managed to reach the level we have attained.
GameSpot The previous Silent Hill had effects like thick fog and darkness. We've previously read in a publication that the fog effects will be improved. Would you like to elaborate on that?
Imamura We weren't able to show you in the playable demo, but if you've seen parts of the promotion clips, we've made the fog effects more lifelike.
GameSpot For example, when the character is walking through the thick fog, would we see effects like the fog dispersing around him?
Imamura We are still making adjustments on that in our programming at this point, so we probably can't show it [at] a visual level yet, but yes.
GameSpot Are you adding other effects such as rain?
Imamura There were no situations in the game where rain was involved, but we've added other effects to enhance the experience of being in the game.
GameSpot In the first Silent Hill, the game seemed to take place predominantly indoors. Will it be the same for Silent Hill 2?
Imamura I think we will have an equal amount of both indoors and outdoors. Graphically though, you might notice a slight difference between the two, because the outdoors involve more objects per area.
GameSpot Will the cutscenes during the game be real time or CG?
Imamura For expressions on characters, we are using both CG and real time accordingly.
GameSpot Silent Hill 2 uses "S-Force 3D Sound Library," the new 3D audio library developed by Sony. How much of it is being used?
Imamura You will feel sound from different directions - from the left, right, above, or even below you.
GameSpot How would it work on, say, a home-theater system?
Imamura Though the game is not 5.1-channel compatible, it will have a pretty good effect.
GameSpot The story involved a great sense of fear and claustrophobia. Will you be adding any new themes such as love or trust?
Imamura Our presentation is a horror genre, but yes, we'd also like to present themes such as love in the game.
GameSpot There were multiple endings in SH1, and for some users, it was difficult to understand. Will the sequel be easier to understand?
Imamura Yes, we have made certain parts like that on purpose. In the second one, we do have several endings prepared, and it will probably be easier for the users to understand.
GameSpot Is there anything in particular in the sequel you'd like to bring to our attention that is different from the first game?
Imamura That would be [the] graphics. We had hardware limitations with the PlayStation. I think we can express some of the things we missed out - such as shadows of monsters appearing on the wall or, as we've just discussed, effects such as fog.
GameSpot How much bigger is the world in SH2?
Imamura The contents are about the same as SH1.
GameSpot Regarding the Xbox version, we just saw the movie clip at the booth. What are the particular differences? Can we expect graphical and audio enhancements?
Imamura We have just begun developing and grasping the basics, so we're particularly not sure yet at this point.
GameSpot Any additional features?
Imamura Yes, there will be original additions exclusively for the Xbox.
GameSpot The development kits for the Xbox are not yet finalized. Would there be any problems or issues in terms of game development?
Imamura We are a software maker, so it is our job to do our best with what we are provided. We'll have to continually adjust ourselves with the changes [of the development kit] accordingly.
GameSpot What are your aspirations for the Xbox? It seems Konami has a strong support for the Xbox.
Imamura For a software maker, hardware makers are our partners, so we'd like to develop games for their hardware.
GameSpot The general consensus is more sensitive about issues of violence than ever before. With the more realistic-looking sequel, are you worried about it?
Imamura The game's main theme is fear, but we'd like to keep it to a certain extent. It is difficult to balance between our artistic expressions [and], at the same time, being careful about the general consensus.
GameSpot Were you involved in the GBA version of Silent Hill?
Imamura Just a little bit, like checking the script of the game and playing hands-on of the final version, but everything else is done by a different team.
GameSpot The development team for Shadow of Memories is under the same division. Looking at their game, did you have any inspiration from it?
Imamura Well, the direction on both games is very different, so there weren't any particular feelings such as inspiration or feel for competition when developing our game.
GameSpot I've read in interviews from other publications that you seem to like David Lynch films.
Imamura With Silent Hill, I usually mention his name since he is a popular director and is easy to relate to for the non-Japanese audience. But I am not particularly limiting myself to just his films.
GameSpot Any movies you watched recently that you might want to transpire into your next work?
Imamura I don't have a particular title, but I'd like to watch different movies and absorb as much visuals as possible.
GameSpot Have you played online games?
Imamura Yes, though I have been busy with work, I have played a little bit of Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast.
GameSpot Any ideas for an online game?
Imamura Personally, Silent Hill and network games don't meld, but if I will be involved in a network title, I'd like to work on a title once the infrastructure for it is well and ready in the Japanese market.
GameSpot Lastly, any messages for the American gamers?
Imamura Please have a look at the graphics, it is quality you have not seen before. It will be a scary game, at the same time you will enjoy playing the game - like instances when attacking monsters. To both old and new users alike, I hope you will buy the game and have fun.
GameSpot Thank you very much for your time.
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