The upcoming release of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories will be the last in the horror series to feature the signature stylings of musician Akira Yamaoka.
While there has been no formal statement from publisher Konami, word on the street suggests that Yamaoka has left the company entirely, rather than merely shifting to another department or country under the Konami banner. After 16 years with the company, it is not yet known what Yamaoka will do next, but many gamers are hoping he doesn’t leave the industry forever.
A bit of background for you: Yamaoka was working freelance until 1993, when he fell in with Konami Japan. When Silent Hill was created, he stepped into the role of music and sound effects composer, creating a unique musical style that form the backbone to the series. By Silent Hill 3, he was also made producer of the series, and started working closely with vocal artists who added more depth to his compositions, which often reflected Yomaoka’s trip-hop, dark ambient and even gritty industrial influences.
From the buzz that’s surrounded this rumour, it’s become obvious that to many people, Yamaoka is Silent Hill, and the game simply won’t be the same without the composer. Imagine the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series without Frank Klepacki’s contributions (he’s the guy that wrote Hell March, by the way).
Fans look like they might be faced with two options here – no more Silent Hill, or more games without the trademark sound. Due for release in the coming months, Shattered Memories – a re-imagining of the first game – would actually be an eloquent ending point, but it still looks like a no-win situation for fans of Pyramid Head.