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Feature: 'Producing Silent Hill'

For today's main feature, Gamasutra talks to Konami's William Oertel, the producer for PSP title Silent Hill Origins and the PSP Silent Hill digital novel, ...
For today's main feature, Gamasutra talks to Konami's William Oertel, the producer for PSP title Silent Hill Origins and the PSP Silent Hill digital novel, on the state of the seminal horror game franchise, and the hardships of making portable games scary. When asked by Gamasutra: 'With the inability of the UMD movie format to really penetrate any kind of market, are non-game products like Silent Hill Experience risky?', Oertel replies: "There's been a lot of news on the UMD movie format's weakness. [Sony is] a media company, I'm sure they've got plans and solutions in place to try and take care of that. The device is still very capable, you can do a lot of stuff with it. Of course there's a concern, we're going to have to wait and see a) how well my product does, and b) how do users end up using the PSP? Are they treating it as a game machine and that's it, or are they going to be using it for other things?" Talking about the issues of making a dark-hued game on PSP, Oertel explains: "We're looking at different lighting schemes, and it's hard, because we take into account flashlight. If you want to keep scenes dark, the flashlight serves as a nice contrast if you have to use your flashlight to see. But that makes everything else dark. And during sunlight, even the flashlight could be very dark. So the solution would be to light up everything, kind of like in the movie. Make everything look like it's nighttime but still visible. But then you see everything around you. You go into a dark room, and then what's the point of having a flashlight? So it's going to be a hard balance, and personally my thought right now would be to err on the side of keeping it dark." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject for much more on Oertel's attitude to producing the recent U.S. iterations of the Silent Hill franchise (no registration required).

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