Resident Evil director opens up about horror and his roles as a creator and producer.
Yesterday, on March 30th, Bokeh Game Studio uploaded a YouTube interview between Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami and Silent Hill director Keiichiro Toyama. The interview covers their paths through the games industry and how they made the genre-defining horror games.
The video is part of a new series of videos by the studio called “Golden Hour”, as the description says the studio will “invite known creators from the game industry and beyond”.
Building Horror in Resident Evil and Silent Hill
The interview features a few key interesting points about both games. The second section of the video, titled “Building Horror”, details some points of why they made certain decisions.
For example, Toyama states that enemies grabbing the player in Silent Hill was inspired by Resident Evil as a way to stop players dodging. Mikami replies that the grab exists in Resident Evil to build tension during dodging, and catch players off guard with the quick movement.
Creator vs. Producer and Resident Evil 4
In the third section of the video, Mikami discusses his two mindsets of a creator and a producer. He then goes on to talk about Resident Evil 4, one of the most popular games in the series.
Mikami states that Resi 4 has “the least amount of myself in it”. He then cites the conflict between the creator and producer in him, where the producer stops his creative ideas. Afterwards, he goes on to say that the game was a result of his producer and creator mindsets being equally in check.
Mikami then brings up 2006’s God Hand, where he says that “Mikami the creator really played his part”. This brings up a disparity between the two games, as Resident Evil 4 has sold over 10 million copies in its lifetime where God Hand only sold around 60,000.
This ties in with an earlier part of the interview. In it, Mikami uses a beer metaphor to explain what he wanted for Resident Evil. He says “if you want to be liked by many customers, you can sell tea, juice, or other soft beverages.”
“In my case, I wanted to make something more like Kirin Lager,” he continues. “It’s an acquired taste that yet remains mainstream.”
Toyama provides a similar metaphor for Silent Hill and horror, and compares it to very spicy food. “People who like it get hooked, and follow you no matter what when you release something new.”
The interview ends with the two directors discussing their future in game development. Toyama says he wants to “help new people in their creation” and “keep making games that wouldn’t be easy to make normally.”
Mikami echoes this statement, saying “I want to hand on the torch to new generations before I turn senile.”
Clearly, both directors still have games in them, as Mikami’s company Tango Gameworks recently released the well recieved Ghostwire: Tokyo. Toyama’s Bokeh Game Studio, on the other hand, is currently working on Slitterhead, an action-adventure/horror game revealed at The Game Awards last year.
The full interview is a deeply interesting look into the minds of both Shinji Mikami and Keiichiro Toyama, and if you’re a fan of either Resident Evil or Silent Hill, or if you’re just interested in game development, I’d thoroughly recommend you check it out.
What other guests would you like to see on Bokeh Game Studio’s “Golden Hour”? Let us know in the comments below or, if it’s more Resident Evil goodness you want, why not check out our Resident Evil 8 episode of 2 Guys 1 Pad? You can also hop over to our Discord and chat with us about all things gaming!