From Silent Hill to Let it Die: An Interview with Composer Akira Yamaoka

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

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Let it Die | Akira Yamaoka

Akira Yamaoka is a video game composer who has created pieces for many beloved series. These works include, Silent Hill, Gradius III, Lollipop Chainsaw, and Killer is Dead. Additionally, Yamaoka has been working closely with video game director and Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Suda51 on many titles. Recently, it was revealed that Yamaoka will be continuing that partnership by working on the upcoming free-to-play hack-and-slash game Let it Die. Operation Rainfall had the honor of meeting up with Yamaoka at E3 2016 to not only discuss his time with Let it Die, but also his past works.

When composing for Let it Die, what was your vision for the type of sound to be in the game?

I was there in the very beginning of the project. In the initial planning stages, there were talks about how to do the sound and music. We chose a more industry-metal to go with the action and survival elements of the game.

How much creative liberty are you given when working on title?

I pretty much have free reigns on what to do with the music.

You’ve worked on other Suda51 projects in the past, do you enjoy working with the same directors? And would you like to work on new IPs?

Right now I am with Suda51, but in the future I would be interested in working with new IPs.

Let it Die | Akira Yamaoka

What was it about Let it Die that made you want to work on the project?

Being there from the beginning, I saw the early development stages and just knew that this was a project that I wanted to be apart of.

How did you and Suda51 meet?

We were drinking buddies about 10 years age when Suda first started Grasshopper Manufacture. We’ve been friends ever since then.

Has your opinion changed any parts of Let it Die during early development?

I do have an opinion during development. Mostly, I just helped with fine tuning the survival elements of the game. And making sure it all fits in a hack-n-slash dystopian world.

What is your favorite gameplay element from Let it Die?

I like the tactical elements. I also enjoy customizing the characters to fit my needs.

Going from a more musically soothing sound of Silent Hill to the more metal sound of Let it Die. What kind of music do you prefer?

I don’t go into a project thinking about the genre of music. I pay close attention to the game and pick out what type of music will be right for that game’s world. I really strive to achieve getting the player involved in the world through the music. Whether is calm and eerie like Silent Hill or fast like Let it Die. I chose the sound that fits.

shadows of the damned | Akira Yamaoka

Do you have a favorite Suda51 game that you’ve composed the music for?

I really enjoyed Shadows of the Damned.

What was it about that game did you enjoy?

It was the first time I worked with Suda51, but I also hold a lot of good memories working with Shinji Mikami who was the producer on the project. There were just so many fond memories attached to working on that game.


Do you think you will be composing music for the rest of your career?

I’m not as attached to it as some people think. I don’t think I will be doing it till the day I die.

What could you see your self doing other than composing music?

Farming. [laughs]

What kind of music do you as a composer listen to on your free time?

I listen to anything really. From mainstream music to indie rock bands.

What do you think about Akira Yamaoka past works and also his composition for Let it Die? Let us know in the comments below.

Let is Die is coming to the PlayStation 4 in 2016.