Silent Hill 4: The Room "Creator Voices" Website Translation
[Translator's note: What follows are translations of the "Creator Voices" section of the defunct SH2004.com website, published to promote the release of the game. The archive.org capture of each page will be linked through the titles.]
Page 1: Greetings
Upon the Grand Opening of SH2004.com
Even now, I remember the gasps around me when video of Silent Hill was first unveiled at E3 - the looks on the faces of the audience around me, staring transfixed.
Silent Hill was created to be the ultimate in horror adventure games - and now, a little over six years after it was created, the series is facing its fourth installment.
Silent Hill has grown much as a series - and as a result, this game will raise the curtain on the second era of Silent Hill: a brand-new direction, with brand-new systems and a new style.
Here at SH2004.com, we'll introduce you to the world of our latest work, Silent Hill 4: The Room; provide content and information related to the game; and create a site that can be enjoyed in conjunction with Silent Hill 4.
I hope you experience all this site has to offer - and that your explorations enhance your enjoyment of Silent Hill 4: The Room.
Page 2: The Terror of the Room
When I was a child, I was a big scaredy cat. Those nights when I had watched Anata no Shiranai Sekai* before on TV or something, I was so afraid of the dark in my own home, I couldn't even visit the bathroom on my own. Also, in those days, rumors would spread among the kids like "if there's a ghost behind you and you look back over your left shoulder, you'll be killed" - so, at the time, I'd never look back at anything, no matter what, except over my right. Given my fear, it was no wonder that I believed in ghosts. Thinking back, I remember that what I feared, more than going someplace unfamiliar, were the deathly-still nights in darkness in my own home. On the contrary: I remember I often enjoyed the experience of going someplace strange.
This project launched with the concept of creating a "new Silent Hill." First, we considered what sort of fear to use as the theme for the game...and I thought of that pure fear I felt in my childhood days - not the fear of an unfamiliar place, but the fear of the room to which you go back every day. We made that our main concept, to which we added the ideas of "the ghosts of the dead" and "deep-seated grudges."
We rebuilt our "new Silent Hill" completely from the ground up. We didn't let ourselves be influenced by the previous games in the series - in a good sense; we took the approach that we were creating a completely new work of horror. The project started right when the development of Silent Hill 2 ended. We set forth on production with the conviction that the genre of horror and the medium of video games share a frightful affinity for each other. For a director, your new work is like your own child - and as the result of the aforementioned development process, I feel like we've given birth to a fearsome child indeed.
We're putting the finishing touches on Silent Hill 4: The Room, a work that fans, newcomers, and anyone in between can enjoy (and fear). I hope you dive into the world of our game without trepidation - well, with some trepidation.
Finally, I dearly hope that the room where you are browsing this site - and the room where you will play Silent Hill 4 once it is released - remain free of grudges and curses. But just in case - don't look over your left shoulder.
- Suguru Murakoshi, Director/Scenario Writer, Silent Hill 4: The Room
[*The World Unknown to You; a Japanese TV segment that seems to be similar to Unsolved Mysteries with an apparent exclusive focus on urban legends and alleged real-life accounts of the paranormal, reenacted for the show. The segment has gone through several incarnations; some selections from revivals from the '90s onward are available on YouTube - none of them subtitled, unfortunately. The most-viewed vignette is this Twilight Syndrome-flavored bit (noise warning). Perhaps more on point for this document might be this Famitsu-sponsored segment, where a mistaken report of paranormal activity in Mortal Kombat 3 devolves into two dudes watching a bunch of fatalities.]
Page 3: E3 Report
The E3 Awards:
SH4 Wins Best Adventure Game!!
Silent Hill 4: The Room was named Best Adventure Game for both PS2 and Xbox by American gaming site ign.com at the E3 Awards.
Silent Hill 4: The Room E3 Report:
A few days ago, the world's largest game show, E3 2004, was held in Los Angeles.
Silent Hill 4: The Room was also on display, where it drew a great deal of attention from media outlets and con-goers from around the world.
Almost 300 members of the press were invited to the press conference.
Hopes were high for Silent Hill 4: The Room, the start of the "second act" of the Silent Hill series.
With Silent Hill a globally-recognized brand, media outlets from around the world came to cover the game.
TV, newspapers, gaming magazines, and more: about 36 outlets in total. The degree of worldwide attention on Silent Hill 4 was evident.
The E3 Venue:
The titular room where the game is set. The kitchen, door, and more from Henry's room in the game were faithfully recreated at the venue, surprising many visitors.
Attendees watch the Silent Hill 4: The Room E3 trailer.
The E3 trailer featured a palette and atmosphere unlike anything else in the series; it depicted a terror and ambience that only Silent Hill 4: The Room could provide.
Page 4: The Curtain Rises
June 17 marks the long-awaited debut in Japan of Silent Hill 4: The Room.
With this, the curtain rises on the latest game in the Silent Hill series - and the "second act" of the horror adventure game genre championed by Silent Hill.
The idea to set the game in the room was readily proposed from the very start of development - and so began the production that would give us the next title in the Silent Hill series.
I hope that a great many players have a thoroughly enjoyable experience with Silent Hill 4 - in the worlds depicted in The Room.
- Akira Yamaoka, Producer
Page 5: On the Release of SH4
Release day has arrived.
Silent Hill 4: The Room has been hailed as the "fourth installment" in the Silent Hill series, but in fact, it is a new form of Silent Hill that follows in the tradition of the series.
In other words, with this game, the curtain rises on the second act of Silent Hill.
As a video game, Silent Hill 4: The Room features a variety of aesthetics that have never before appeared in the Silent Hill series.
Silent Hill 4: The Room cannot be lumped into the "horror game" genre.
I hope that with Silent Hill 4: The Room, we deliver to an even greater number of players a sense of fun and excitement that can't be experienced anywhere else.
- Akira Yamaoka, Producer
Page 6: An Emphasis on Story
This is Suguru Murakoshi, director and head scenario writer for Silent Hill 4.
Previously, for Silent Hill 2, I was involved in scenario planning from the perspective of drama direction.
A game scenario is different from a novel or movie script in that the player plays an active role in the story. For this game's scenario, I was struck by how it supported a great variety of play styles. The elements that develop the story, such as the movies and cutscenes, are parsed out at the right places and times. Furthermore, we have introduced elements such as the brand-new playable cutscenes*, the ability to peep next door and through your room's front door, texts such as the mysterious writing in the forest and the Red Diary - without making these important events required. If players are not proactive, then they will not see much of the story hidden in the shadows.
The horror genre is littered with stories where a simple plot suffices: "something strange befalls the protagonist (or someone), inspiring fear." It's not always necessary to explain the cause of the strange phenomenon. In Silent Hill 4, it would be fair to say that players who just blow by the important events in the plot on their way through the game get a taste of the aforementioned style of story development, experiencing the tale in their own way. In fact, it would be fair to call that a realistic reaction from the hero Henry's perspective. You're focused on running away from the strange phenomenon - the reason for it doesn't matter. However, if players are proactive and search every nook and cranny, they can catch a glimpse of the story behind the strange phenomenon and the reasons for it.
In that sense, the scenario supports a variety of play styles. Whether you ignore the story events or try to experience every single one, you can still get a proper taste of the plot.
The plot was created with this in mind, and I hope it provides enjoyment not only for those who have yet to play the game, but also for those who already have - that it allows them to enjoy the title again through the lens of a different play style.
- Suguru Murakoshi, Director/Scenario Director
*Playable cutscenes: Events where the player can move and act freely, as normal, while other characters talk (one-sided) and move as they please.
Page 7: The Struggle of Creating the Videos
I helped create the cutscene movies for Silent Hill 4 - the first time I've filled that role in the Silent Hill series.
Previously, I was mainly involved with creating opening movies etc. at the company.
I believe others have already spoken about the game itself, but I'd like to use this space to tell you about my personal on-the-job workplace woes.
The issue that gave me the most trouble in this game's production - though almost all of it was one struggle after another - was, naturally, video work involving real-time rendering.
If asked how this process differs from standard CG video, I'd say, simply, that "the art can't lie." With pre-rendering (standard video CG, in other words), almost everything can be controlled at the editing stage: gradation correction, background matching, controlling the presence or absence of shadows, processing & focusing highlights, etc.
In my work, I usually make adjustments using 3D graphics tools, with the creation of the final art performed on editing tools.
However, with the data used in real-time rendering, such as the data used in this game, almost none of the tricks you can pull after the data is created will work. (There are hardware limitations, too.) I've done pre-rendering for many years, so for me, this was a larger hurdle than I could have ever imagined. Getting things right only part of the way doesn't cut it; you have to deliver data that produces the desired visuals flawlessly, so every day was a process of endless trial and error.
Day after day...I missed rendering. I'd never felt that way before. Absence made the heart grow fonder. Now that it's all over, I have a certain attachment to the parts that gave me so much trouble. Particularly stuff like the cutscenes with Cynthia...
The opening trailer, on the other hand, was created using the methods to which I was accustomed. I think it gives the opening a different look & finish from the in-game cutscenes.
I hope you all compare and enjoy spotting these differences.
The other big part that gave me trouble was the direction.
As I believe those who have played the game will know, the hero, Henry, doesn't talk much. The concept behind this was that the protagonist was effectively the player, so displays of emotion etc. were to be avoided as much as possible - so we were told.
Directionwise, this was a considerable headache - but it contributed to a certain sense of being left to one's own devices, I suppose(?).
Another point that gave me trouble was the revision work.
This is where all the day-to-day design data revisions pile up, so I take this sort of work as a given. To the very, very last minute, I had my hands full with making replacements and substitutions in the data.
When the recording of the motion capture data ended and the cutscene data was generally complete, I thought, well, now, I can start in on the real work - but, just as I was about to dig in, the design of the main character was substantially changed. [Note from translator: Tsujimoto refers to the "mein kyarakutaa"; as this noun can be singular or plural, I don't know whether he is referring to Henry only or to the entire main cast, though I am proceeding as if it were the former.] The work entailed revisions not only to the character's external appearance but also to the framework that was the very basis for the character animation.
At the time, of course, I honestly felt like I was going to cry. After all the data had been finally put together, the motion data for almost the entire game had to be revised.
Looking back now, the moment when I broke the news to the two people who helped in making the cutscenes was the hardest moment I had on the job. I had to tell them before anything could get done, so I steeled myself and told them. Even now, removed from the project, I can still see the dumbstruck looks on their faces.
After that, when they told me: "...if it'll make things better..." "...I guess we'll do it?..." That moment just made my heart melt.
If I didn't have their help, I probably would have never been able to get those revisions done. There was over two hours of motion data...
Now, those two people are working elsewhere. The game also got to market safely.
For that, I'm truly grateful.
In the end, I think it was a good experience for me, in several senses.
I hope to see you all again, in another game.
- Atsushi Tsujimoto, Cutscene Director
Page 8: Design Concepts
In order to envision our design concepts, there were two things we needed to understand. The first was "the world the killer is trying to create." The second was "the real world (the everyday world in which we live)." The creation of those two worlds was what brought the design concepts behind The Room into focus.
The World the Killer Is Trying to Create
If you were to see things through the killer's eyes, his world would probably seem more real than the one in which we live. The Wish House orphanage by the lake in which he grew up. The apartment building he roamed in search of his mother; the buildings and subway nearby. To the killer, his consciousness and memory are not connected in a linear fashion; in our vision, they have taken the form of various, vague shards of consciousness and fragments of memory given physical form, then assembled at random. We posited that this world is still incomplete and unstable - created from fragmented flashbacks devoid of context from our everyday lives.
The deepest depths are covered by unshakable fragments and cannot be easily approached; the exterior layers are vague and not fully formed. And so we decided that the latent something capable of awakening those fragments of memory would be sleeping in those depths. Finally, we made it so that the killer is attempting to create this egg-shaped mass - from which it appears that, through his efforts, something is attempting to hatch.
The Real World (The Everyday World in Which We Live)
I think that an extremely important factor in creating horror is the creation of a sense of reality. The Room goes a step further and comes to grips with the theme of the everyday. It would perhaps not be an exaggeration to say that we chose the setting of the room in order to bring out the sense of the everyday - the scenery visible from the window, the cars and people going back and forth, the streetlamps that begin to glow as evening falls, the conversations you can catch between the residents of the apartment building from your own room. These factors come together in real time to create that sense of the everyday. I feel a real thrill, or rather, potential in designing a game through this sort of environmental creation. It's like a sense of the everyday that can't be conveyed through art that is merely beautiful. The everyday scenes outside the window and abnormalness of the room enable the ordinary and the extraordinary to exist in the same space. In this aspect of the game, I felt an extreme amount of potential.
Gameplaywise, the creatures are enemies, but in my mind, they're the garbage (like pieces of meat) created when vague bits of consciousness and memories try to take shape, which then evolved in the existing environment. Castles are formed from lumps of clay; here, the creatures are the lumps left over. The creatures are ecotypes suited to the environments the killer has created and bear no ill will toward the protagonist. The creatures have gender, intelligence, and reproductive capability. They were directed to impart a sense of reality more through their presence than their visual appearances.
The victims that roam the Otherworld have had death stolen from them and are condemned to eternal agony. In ancient Japanese depictions of hell, the intense visuals are what tend to grab one's attention, but the true terror comes from the idea of enduring so much suffering and yet being unable to die. To the ghosts, I imagine the Otherworld is true hell - true terror. The desire for escape from the Otherworld is perhaps directed into attacking the still-living protagonist. The sight of a human body powerlessly writhing as it is impaled by a Sword of Obedience* is one that could be realized only by the concept of undying ghosts.
Horror lies in the balance and relationship between the ordinary and the uncanny; it is these elements that create the story. So what sort of story was created in The Room?
Normally, we lead our lives without even touching the inner parts of our consciousness. Here with The Room, however, we catch a glimpse of another soul's depths - those of the killer. The faces of his father and others, shrouded in black; the voice of a child crying for his parents; the walls of the apartment building, suffused in red; the creatures that are the embodiments of his emotions (and feelings of guilt); and Room 302. Eventually, the hero must face them - plunge into those depths, to the conclusion of the tale. And so, when this journey comes to an end, he perhaps comes to realize the part of himself that is reflected in the story.
I also this time worked on the materials for the promotional video and on the creation of the E3 video. There, I made a point of taking as my themes terror and a sense of reality that couldn't be depicted in the game. I tried incorporating shakycam to lend a sense of realism and camera angles that reflected a first-person perspective, and I focused on cuts and the color palette. I thoroughly enjoyed my studies, and they really brought home how the media of video recordings and video games differ. I hope you remember the images from the videos as you play the game. Also, I hope you enjoy the total Silent Hill package: the movie, the comics, the collaboration with Teisui Ichiryuusai for the Kyoudan audio drama, the Robbie costumes - the full scope of the Silent Hill brand.
- Masashi Tsuboyama, Chief Designer
*Sword of Obedience: Sword with a mysteriously-shaped handle. There are only five known in existence. Pierce a ghost that has been knocked completely down with this sword to seal it and pin it in place. Remove the sword, and the ghost will once again be able to move.
Page 9: Let Me Tell You How the Ending Changes
Pleased to meet you! You can call me Kousuke Iwakura; I worked on the programming.
Thank you to all of you who've played Silent Hill 4: The Room.
I believe that many of you have already seen an ending, so even though it gets a bit into spoilers, I'd like to talk about what causes the ending to change. I hope this will be a helping hand to those who would like to see multiple endings.
Scroll down or click here.
The ending changes according to a combination of the following two factors:
- The percentage of hauntings that have been exorcised from the room.
- Whether the boss was defeated in the final battle before Eileen was completely submerged.
If you exorcise at least a certain percentage of hauntings from your room and you defeat the boss before Eileen is submerged, then you will receive the "Escape" ending. If you haven't seen it, give it a try, if you're so inclined.
Let me tell you the trick to getting the "Escape" ending.
The trigger that makes the hauntings appear is returning to the room. Therefore, if you go back to the room too many times, you might run out of candles. Also, if you trigger an extremely small number of hauntings, take care to exorcise diligently, since success is determined by the percentage of hauntings exorcised.
(Actually, you can use the radio in the room to determine whether a haunting has occurred.)
How fast Eileen moves during the final battle changes according to how cursed she has become. You can tell how cursed Eileen is by how marked her skin has become.
The severity of Eileen's curse varies based on many factors, but basically, the curse will worsen if you leave her all alone. On the other hand, if she goes out exploring with Henry, it is possible for the curse to lift somewhat. The extent of her curse can also change through Eileen taking damage from creatures, but as long as she isn't knocked down, it changes only very slightly, and you don't really need to worry about it, so please - feel free to have Henry & Eileen go ahead and wail on enemies together. If Eileen starts to limp, there's a chance she might get knocked down, so it's a good idea in that case to confiscate her weapon and let her rest a bit.
Any temporary changes in the extent of the curse that will revert with time (from when Eileen is using a certain weapon, for example) will reset when the final battle begins, so plunge into that final battle without hesitation.
Incidentally, the best play time for reaching the Escape ending among the staff is 1:28:22, with a optimal result - naturally - of 100 pts., or 10 big stars. (We always play the game on Hard and use Eileen's fifth weapon.)
- Kousuke Iwakura, Chief Programmer
Page 10: Robbie's Travel Diary
Robbie's Travel Diary
This summer, Robbie took his first ever trip abroad.
He passed the security check (somehow),
boarded an airplane for the very first time, took to the skies,
and took his first steps into the wider world.
For this trip, he visited three countries: England, Germany, and France.
First up is his report on England...
My first stop on my overseas trip was London, England!
It's so unlike the sparkling sunlight and beautiful white sands of Santa Monica! But maybe the gray clouds, classic European Middle Ages architecture, and modern townscapes suit me better.
I really wanted to take a photo with some punk kids, but, naturally, I wasn't very likely to happen upon them, and I didn't meet any this trip. I wandered all around the famous sights: Buckingham Palace, the Royal Parks...and I fully enjoyed my first taste of a foreign country here in the nation of London.
[caption] At a city fountain in a London park; staring at the fish in the pond
[caption] In the plaza in front of Buckingham.
After London, the next country I visited was Leipzig, in Germany!
It took about 1 hour to go from London to Frankfurt, and getting to here took another hour by plane.
This "Germany" place, though, doesn't really seem much like a foreign country.
It kinda feels like Japan!
The streets aren't packed & jumbled like in Japan, but it still feels like Japan. I don't know whether it's the ambience or the feeling I get from the people.
This time, I went to see Europe's Games Convention (GC).
I was surprised by how many people from across Europe crowded into the show! It's held just once a year, and the game show is for the entire continent of Europe, so it's about the same scale as the Tokyo Game Show - but way flashier! (Not as much as E3, though...)
[caption] At the venue, amidst the glare and glitz of the festivities - though it's tough to see from the photo.
[caption] A sink from a corner of the Silent Hill 4: The Room corner. The atmosphere really comes through.
The final country I visited on my overseas journey was France - Paris! The weather was mild, and everyone in the city was fashionable.
The atmosphere, the sights of the city - just everywhere, there's a sense of romance~ that you won't find in Japan.
I climbed the Arc de Triomphe, I climbed the Eiffel Tower, I walked the Champs-Élysées...and I fully enjoyed this picture-perfect city.
[caption] The Arc de Triomphe, as seen from the Champs-Élysées
[caption] Paris at night on the Seine
Translated by R. Capowski, RACapowski@sceneryrecalled.com, 4/4/2019. Silent Hill 4 is property of Konami, which has not sanctioned this document.