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I've seen it from the other side, too, where I was working on a multiplayer game for a Japanese company and then it got canceled. And you know, that was their one multiplayer game that they were working on at the time.
CB: I'm afraid people will see my big advice as "just tack on multiplayer." No, don't ever just tack on multiplayer; it's a huge mistake. Make the multiplayer soar and make it relevant to the game, and make it key to the DNA of what the experience is.
Reading a lot of postmortems, there are times where people say, "Okay, we've got the single player experience mostly nailed down; now let's think about what kind of multiplayer we want," instead of thinking of it as, "Here's our game experience that we want to have, and how does multiplayer and the campaign fit into that world?"
CB: Why don't I have a multiplayer Fatal Frame yet? What if I had a Fatal Frame where anonymous people could join my game and be ghosts and try to scare the crap out of me, and then I rate how well they scared me? Basically a fancy hide and go seek.
Why don't I have an augmented reality version of Fatal Frame for the Vita, in which ghosts hang around the world? I think Nintendo had something similar to that, right? Why don't they have ARGs where they then actually hide real ghosts in the real world, maybe where even real people died?
That's maybe a little too crazy, but this is the kind of thinking that I think needs to kind of push everything. Because I will never forget playing Fatal Frame II, where I had to pull my feet up from underneath the sofa, because I was afraid a ghost would grab me. And I was like 30 at the time, and I had to actually stop playing the game, and I have watched every horror movie imaginable. Everything from the scariest -- the J-horror to the K-horror to everything -- and to then play that game in the power of the interactive medium of fear is amazing. And that's a whole genre that just seems dead in the water right now.
And Silent Hill 2's one of my favorite games of all time; I miss that experience. But mark my words, if we get to just fully-connected consoles that have e-shops and everything like that, you might see the rise or re-emergence of the scary horror genres as $20 or $30 games. Maybe it's only six hours and scares the crap out of you, and you're good and that's it, or they'll be delivered in episodes.
Silent Hill 2
Yeah, Silent Hill is a really squandered opportunity now.
CB: If I were to rate the Silent Hills in the order of the best ones... The Silent Hill series for me was like Highlander, which for me stopped after the first one. So in regards to Silent Hill, after Silent Hill 3 for me there are no Silent Hills. And that sounds really mean; I apologize to anybody who works on the Silent Hills.
Horror is like comedy -- it's really hard. A nudge in one direction it's scary, and a nudge here it's not. Making that yourself is really hard, because it's kind of like trying to tickle or scare yourself; having that sensibility is really rare.
I would say, in order [from favorite to least favorite], Silent Hill 2. and then actually I would go for Silent Hill 3 and then 1, because 1 for me was a great game but the graphics on the PS1 just do not hold up. It's that just getting into 3D, the textures are not perspective-correct, things are swimming everywhere, and I'm just like, "Ahh... I can't deal with this."
Silent Hill 2 for me was one of my favorite games of all time because, as I've said before in interviews, it touched on some next-level stuff that games very rarely touch on, the themes that were like Solaris and all of that, which was just amazing.
I feel like the low-res graphics in 1 were really excellent actually, because at least for me, the less I understand exactly what I'm seeing, the scarier that can be.
CB: Excellent point. Eventually I'd love to do a horror game someday, and I have all these mechanics I'd love to implement. One of the ones I've fantasized about is to have a game that's first person, and the monsters essentially are the most clear when they're in your periphery, and then when you actually look at them, that's when they become more and more vague. It's all about what's unseen, right?
The other mechanic I want to do -- that somebody can feel free to steal, because I'm never going to get around to doing it -- is make a game in which it's first-person and you're being stalked by giant scary creatures, and you can turn invisible, but the only way to turn invisible is to close your eyes. And then you're trying to play this Metal Gear-ish stealth game around these creatures, and you hear the alert state, at which point you close your eyes and you just have to then listen.
There's this sound technology, I can't remember the name of it, where it really feels like the things are around you, and then you can only stay invisible for so long and find the right time to open your eyes. And you're either going to be in the clear, or there's going to be this thing just breathing down on you or whatnot. I thought that could be a fun mechanic to do. But who knows, right?