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Silent Hill Developers - Team Silent 1999
Silent Hill will celebrate its 25th anniversary soon.
Let's find out how it all started.
Who were the creators of Silent Hill?
What role did each of them play?
And what are they doing now?
Creators of Silent Hill
This is one of the few remaining photographs from the times when Silent Hill 1 was being developed. Many of the original Team Silent members can be seen here (but not all).
Keiichiro Toyama was the director and the scenario writer.
He created the main concept of Silent Hill, worked on the story and characters, came up with an idea about a "foggy world” and an "alternate world”, worked on the maps for the locations, came up with a name for the game, and also coordinated the work of other developers.
In addition, Toyama did a lot of level design and 3D modeling for the game by himself. He designed two locations: an alternative hospital and an underground sewers. And he even made textures for them. He also created designs and 3D models for some monsters (dogs, air screamers, and probably also child monsters).
However, shortly after the release of SH1, Keiichiro Toyama left Konami for an unknown reason (along with several other key members of Team Silent). A few years later, they began working on a new horror game - "Forbidden Siren", which became the spiritual successor to Silent Hill.
Then Toyama also created the unusual action-platformer "Gravity Rush", inspired by the comics of the famous French artist Jean Giraud.
Now, Keiichiro Toyama has founded his own company (Bokeh Game Studio) and is working on a new horror game called "SlitterHead".
Akira Yamaoka played an important role in creating the nightmarish atmosphere of Silent Hill.
Before SH1, he worked mainly on platformers and sports games - but then his talent as a horror noise composer suddenly awakened. And he managed to create one of the most creepy and frightening soundtracks in the history of video games.
Then Yamaoka worked on the Silent Hill sequels for several years, but in 2009 he also left Konami.
After that, he worked at the company "Grasshopper Manufacture", creating soundtracks for Goichi Suda's games (Shadows of the Damned, Lolipop Chainsaw, Let It Die).
Now Akira Yamaoka is working on "SlitterHead" with Keiichiro Toyama. And he is also writing music for the Silent Hill 2 Remake and for "Silent Hill: The Short Message".
Isao Takahashi worked on the locations and was the main architect of the town in SH1. It was he who created the appearance of the small foggy town - and thanks to his work, Silent Hill turned out so alive and realistic.
He also designed the famous "dead-end alley”, where the monsters kill us at the beginning of the game. This alley has become one of the creepiest and most memorable places in the game.
After finishing work on SH1, Isao Takahashi left Konami. Then he participated in the development of "Forbidden Siren" and "Gravity Rush" together with Keiichiro Toyama.
And in 2020, he became the director of the Demon's Souls Remake.
Naoko Sato was the monster designer for Silent Hill.
She worked on the design and motion animation for many creatures. She created the giant moth "FloatStinger", the caterpillar boss "TwinFeeler", "Puppet Doctor" enemy, and the "Puppet Nurse". Sato was very fond of Japanese horror, so she based the movement animation of the nurse on Sadako from the movie "The Ring”.
In addition to creating the monsters, Naoko Sato most likely also helped Keiichiro Toyama with the work on the game's story. Then she also left Konami and worked with Toyama on the scenarios for "Forbidden Siren" and "Gravity Rush".
And now Naoko Sato is writing scenarios for anime. She recently worked on the anime "The Missing 8" and "Bubble".
The main character designer was Takayoshi Sato.
He made the designs and created 3D models for all the characters in Silent Hill. He also created all the CG videos for the game by himself. Sato paid special attention to the facial expressions of the characters in the videos - so they look very realistic for 1999.
Then, he worked on characters and CG videos for Silent Hill 2. But after the release of SH2, he also left Konami.
Takayoshi Sato currently works for Nintendo. Recently, he participated in the development of "Paper Mario: Origami King", "Luigi's Mansion 3", and "Metroid Prime: Remastered".
Masahiro Ito worked on monsters and level design in SH1.
He created the "alternate version" of the Midwich school - perhaps the most bloodthirsty and necrophiliac place in the game. And he stuffed the entire location with rotting corpses in BDSM bondage (Ito is a big fan of BDSM).
He also created the boss monster "Split Head", which we encounter in the school basement. But it’s still not known exactly what other monsters he made for SH1 (most likely he was also responsible for the design of the final boss, "Incubus”).
After finishing work on the first game, Masahiro Ito worked on SH2 and SH3. And he created the famous monster Pyramid Head.
He also designed the main villain for the horror game "NightCry".
Ito is currently working on the Silent Hill 2 Remake. He also recently designed a strange sakura-headed monster for "Silent Hill: The Short Message".
Few fans know this name, but Naoto Oshima actually played a very important role in the development of Silent Hill.
He was a programmer and worked on the visual effects for the game. It was Oshima who created the lighting system, which became one of the key features of Silent Hill. He also worked on the visual effects of snow, rain, and fog.
And thanks to him, the game became completely three-dimensional (although SH was originally conceived as a game with a 2D backgrounds like Resident Evil).
If it weren't for Oshima, Silent Hill might have looked completely different.
Then Naoto Oshima also worked on the visual effects for Silent Hill 3, and on the camera for SH4. But after that, he disappeared. And now it's even impossible to find a good photo of the developer.
Hiroyuki Owaku worked on puzzles for Silent Hill 1. He created the piano scene and other puzzles. He also worked on the programming for the AI of the monsters.
As far as I know, Owaku was not involved in the writing of SH1's story (at least Masahiro Ito denied his involvement).
But after Toyama left, Hiroyuki Owaku became the main scenario writer for Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3. He managed to write very interesting stories for the sequels - and largely thanks to his efforts, the SH series continued to prosper for several more years (until Konami's management ruined everything completely).
After Team Silent was finally disbanded, Hiroyuki Owaku mysteriously disappeared. Since then, he hasn't participated in the development of video games, has not given any interviews, and does not even have any accounts on social networks.
Akihiro Imamura was one of the very first members of Team Silent - he has been working on the project since the times when the whole team consisted of only 3 developers (along with Keiichiro Toyama and Naoto Oshima).
He participated in the development as the main programmer. And worked on the game's engine, and the gameplay mechanics.
After the departure of Keiichiro Toyama, Konami's management appointed Akihiro Imamura to the position of director for Silent Hill 2. However, he was a director only in the early stages of development, and then he became a producer.
In 2004, Imamura also served as a sub-producer for Silent Hill 4. But after that, he also disappeared - and no one knows what he is doing now.
Masashi Tsuboyama was a location designer for Silent Hill 1. However, it is still not known for certain which locations he worked on (most likely a foggy school or some area of the city).
Then he became a director of Silent Hill 2 in the late stages of development (replacing Akihiro Imamura). And he also worked on creating a town's design for SH2.
Later, Tsuboyama worked as the art director for "Silent Hill 4: The Room". And there he created the designs for most of the ghosts - the victims of Walter Sullivan.
Around 2007 or 2008, he left Konami and then worked on casual games and wrestling simulators for several years. Recently, he participated in the creation of the cute platformer "Yoshi's Crafted World" for the Nintendo Switch.
Even among the most hardcore Silent Hill fans, very few have heard of this name.
However, Silent Hill was largely created thanks to a man named Haruki Yutaka.
He was the first producer and project manager. Most likely, it was he who originally came up with the idea of making a horror game similar to Resident Evil.
Yutaka assembled the initial team. He appointed Keiichiro Toyama to the role of director of SH1. And he gave Toyama a lot of freedom, since they were on good terms (together with Toyama, they had previously worked on the Sega CD port of "Snatcher", and on "Hyper Olympics in Atlanta").
In his reminiscences, Keiichiro Toyama speaks very warmly of Yutaka and says that he owes him a lot.
However, in the middle of development, Haruki Yutaka was suddenly transferred to another division of Konami. And another person was appointed as the new producer of SH1 - Gozo Kitao.
Therefore, in the end, Haruki Yutaka was only included in the "Special Thanks" section of Silent Hill's credits. He is mentioned there under his nickname, HALKY.
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Author of the article: SilentPyramid
Date of Publication: 31.01.2024
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