February 3, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili
After announcing his departure from long-time employer Konami last month, Akira Yamaoka, best known for his role as sound director and producer for the Silent Hill series, has joined No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacture.
"I really love Yamaoka," says Grasshopper CEO Goichi Suda said in an interview with Famitsu translated by 1UP. "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]."
Yamaoka worked at Konami since 1993, where he composed the music for every entry in the Silent Hill franchise, including those developed by external studios. When discussing the series in 2008, he commented, "I don’t think the music could ever be passed on to another composer." It's possible Grasshopper will loan Yamaoka out to Konami for future Silent Hill soundtracks, though he may be too busy working on titles at his new company.
He's already working on composing the music for a Grasshopper project: Suda's multiplatform collaboration with Capcom veteran and Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami for the EA Partners program. Yamaoka also contributed several themes for Grasshopper's recently released No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
"It was a case of really good timing," says Yamaoka. "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."
Famitsu also reports that Artdink alum Kazutoshi Iida -- who worked on quirky titles Aquanaut's Holiday, Doshin the Giant, and most recently Japan-only WiiWare game Discipline -- is now at Grasshopper and has begun production on a new title that should be ready to show off at this year's E3.