1UP.com are finally in a position to reveal what we’ve all been speculating: now that he’s left Konami, where would Akira Yamaoka go next?
Akira Yamaoka, veteran game musician and producer of Konami’s Silent Hill series since the third installment, made waves early in December when he suddenly left the company he had worked for since 1993. What’s he up to now? This week’s issue of Famitsu magazine has revealed all — Yamaoka, alongside freelance Japanese game designer Kazutoshi Iida, has joined Grasshopper Manufacture, creator of offbeat titles like No More Heroes and Killer 7.
“I really love Yamaoka,” Grasshopper head Goichi Suda said in an interview. “Ever since I saw a video of Silent Hill 2 at the Tokyo Game Show nine years ago, I’ve always dreamed of working alongside him. That’s why I thought I’d invite him over when I started hearing rumors that he left [Konami].”
For Yamaoka itself, the jump to Grasshopper was an easy decision. “It was a case of really good timing,” he told Famitsu. “I knew about Suda long before I met him; I saw Grasshopper as one of those few Japanese outfits whose games can appeal to an overseas audience. I had a chance to meet him in Los Angeles and we talked about this and that, and once we started discussing how we wanted to do something creative for a world audience, I was hooked on the company.”
Yamaoka will concentrate on composing music for Grasshopper’s games to start with, although he stated that he’d like to use his “total sum of experience” to create games in the future. His first project: the game that Suda and former Capcom designer Shinji Mikami are working on for Electronic Arts, the details of which still remain to be announced.
Meanwhile, Iida — whose past work include titles like Aquanaut’s Holiday and Doshin the Giant — has already begin production work on a brand-new title, which Suda said should be ready for an Electronic Entertainment Expo unveiling later this year.