CRIMSON HEAD ELDER

Survival Horror Community & Podcast

Interview by Colvin. Translated by Colvin & George Trevor.

Ippo Yamada (山田 一法) was Capcom's lead sound designer for the original Resident Evil. During his time working on the development team Yamada-san oversaw the sound direction, design, and effects, that have since become marquee audio for survival horror soundtrack!

In 2001, Yamada-san became sound department head of Inti Creates, a second party developer for Capcom, founded by former staff. Credits include sound director and main composer for the Mega Man Zero and ZX series, and sound director for Mega Man 9 & Mega Man 10.
CHE: What is your current position?

IY: Director of Inti Create Co. Ltd. Sound producer / sound designer / composer

CHE: Please explain the circumstances thay saw you join the development team for Resident Evil?

IY: There was no particular reason. As Mikami-san was putting together his new IP, he had a sound production studio, requiring staff, so I applied.

CHE: What was your position on the Resident Evil team?

IY: I was main sound designer

CHE: Which enemies did you design the sound effects for?

IY: I was lead, responsible for making everything with Utsumi-kun and two others.
Zombie Eating Kenneth
0:00/0:21
CHE: At which stage in its development did you join the Resident Evil team? Were you involved with the original first-person shooter version, or did you join at the later 3rd-person perspective?

IY: After it became pseudo 3D with a fixed camera.

CHE: Rumour has it the sound team used audio from real gunshots for the in game weapons effects. Can you elaborate on this?

IY: In Resident Evil, no real guns are recorded. However, I designed a basic sound compared to the conventional gun sound effect. As a result, I thought that it would produce a sense of realism, and the non-flashy sound would also produce a sense of anxiety, fear that the player could not rely on the gun alone, and that the gun may also be unreliable. The sound of a single gunshot echoing in the quiet, and the sound of the shell casing bouncing on the floor creates a sense of dread.

CHE: Based on our research, there are around 550 sound effects in 'Biohazard'. What was the most challenge aspect of composing these sounds?

IY: The contrast between the silences and sounds. The Biohazard game contains a range of gunfire and explosions, footsteps and enviromental sounds.
Spencer Mansion Audio
0:00/1:01
CHE: What were your instructions from director Shinji Mikami?

IY: To watch many zombie movies. There were more than ten films piled up in the sound room!

CHE: Do you remember which zombie movies you watched?

IY: Versus, Night of the Zombies (Battalion of the Living Dead), Dead & Buried ... and many other zombie movies that were around at that time.

CHE: Do you remember which staff members you used for the zombie voices? And did you use your own voice?

IY: The zombie noises were the voices of our development team, in the sound room. Mr Mikami is actually Mr. Parook on the first floor. I decided which voices would go with which rooms, but do not remember details and did not use my own voice.

CHE: Mr Parook?

IY: I'm sorry, it was a nickname. It is the one that appears in the cut-scene looking back on the first floor. 'Parook' is a brand name for fluorescent tubes manufactured by Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Industrial). The zombie that appears on the first floor and turns around is like a light bulb, that is where the nickname originates.
CHE: Did you meet Mr. Mikami for the first time when you joined the Resident Evil team? Did you work with any of the other members of the development team, prior to Resident Evil?

IY: No, Biohazard was an IP with many rookie designers, and the first time that I worked with Mr. Mikami. was on Aladdin (Super Famicom).

CHE: Can you remember a specific situations where members of the sound team would argue over creative differences?

IY: I do not remember any specific arguments. It's unfortunate, but it was common for all of us at one point to have our own opinions and to argue.

CHE: Did you create the sound effects for the outsourced GC movies?

IY: The opening movie cut-scene was outsourced, I did not work on that. My work was from the opening title screen onward.

CHE: What are some of your major contributions to Resident Evil?

IY: Tomozawa-san and I talked about making the game feel like a (horror) movie. We modified the background music to have BGM data sound effects mixed in, and we talked about avoiding Japanese voice actors and getting English-speaking ones instead.
Jill & Chris
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Jill & Barry
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CHE: You conducted a lot of software research for the Sega Saturn. Did you work on  the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil?

IY: No. I was doing this before I was involved with Biohazard. I was doing research un-related to that.

CHE: Did you consequently work on the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil in any capacity?

IY: No I had already left Capcom when the project started. It is a pity because I was studying the Saturn comprehensively, whilst I was at Capcom.

CHE: Did you leave Capcom before Resident Evil was released?

IY:  Let's see. So Biohazard was released on March 22, 1996, and I left the company around that same time.

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