Shadows of the Damned Sound Director Akira Yamaoka Talks Audio Influences

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Shadows of the Damned Sound Director Akira Yamaoka Talks Audio Influences

Shadows of the Damned for PS3

Greetings fellow demon hunters! I’m the Sound Director and Chief Creative Officer at Grasshopper Manufacture. Some people may know me from my work on the Silent Hill series, but today I’m here to talk about our latest game — Shadows of the Damned, out now on the PS3.

Music plays an incredibly important role in setting the atmosphere for games, and it’s especially vital in an action-horror game like Shadows of the Damned. When scoring Damned, I tried to imagine tracks that would bring Hell to life for the player and the lead character Garcia. Designing music isn’t always the most transparent task, so in this blog post I want to explain my thoughts behind the creation of a few tracks included in the pre-order bonus soundtrack.

Shadows of the Damned: Garcia entersShadows of the Damned: Eerie streets

Broken Dreams


You could say I created this track to be the title song for Shadows of the Damned. Originally, I had planned to make it a duet, as sort of a theme for the two lovers: Garcia and Paula. I wanted to match the heavy, aggressive sound to the game world with Paula and Garcia at the center. I never thought that the game´s genre had anything to do with it, never made it sound the way it is just because it´s an action game. It´s a long song – over seven minutes – but you can think of it as a compressed version of the experience you´ll have playing the game and venturing into its hellish world.

I used a special seven-string guitar to get the sinking sound. I think you´ll get a heavier impression from this than you are used to hearing from a guitar.



This song was made for the scene at the beginning of the game when Garcia is riding the bike. It´s not an interactive section, but I wanted the song to give the impression of rushing along at high speed. I suppose it´s an easy musical style to understand. By putting this music in the game, I wanted to create the player to feel like a motorcycle section could start at any second.

Flash 01


When I first saw the artwork being used for the game, Jan Švankmajer immediately came to mind. Then I began to think of the streets of the Czech Republic. It differs from the world you experience in the game, but I imagined Czech animation I used to watch a lot when creating this song. No matter the musical style, if I work on music for a game, I want to surprise the players with a new experience beyond any they´ve played before, even those works I´ve been associated with. I think that thought process is apparent in this music.

Thanks for reading! I want to thank everyone for the feedback we’ve been getting on Twitter, Facebook, and forums all over the Internet. We’re both proud and humbled by the fan comments. We’re currently working on a limited edition Shadows of the Damned Official soundtrack. Please look for it this Summer!

Also, Play For Japan: The Album, an industry wide charity album featuring composers like Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, and Sean Murray, will be available for digital download through Amazon and iTunes next week! All proceeds go to help earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan.

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  • I have the say the music is well done no surprise there. Though while iv been playing hearing some of the music makes me have the urg to play a silent hill game since the music in some parts of the game is similer to it.

  • The music sounds fantastic. Between this, Catherine, and No More Heroes Paradise this is an awesome summer to be a PS3 gamer. Also I’m glad to see the Play For Japan album will be on iTunes as that is my preferred music store, will be buying it ASAP.

  • The soundtrack is pitch perfect, no less than anyone should expect from Akira Yamaoka. Everyone: buy this totally rad game, or I’ll send you to hell!

  • Akira Yamaoka is a genius. Loved his masterpieces in Silent Hill.

    And knowing he is composing for Shadows of the Damned, I’m definitely getting it!

  • The music, as well as the game are phenomenal. I urge anyone who has even an interest to check it out, read reviews, look at videos, just check it out. Definitely not for everyone, but really fantastic.

  • Flash 01 is the beez knees.

  • I really like your style, and I hope the music on the game comes in High Resolution (BD disc has all the space needed. hehe) , I think more developers need to put attention on this important aspect of the games.

    Thank you for your music, I’m your fan since the first Silent Hill.. :)

  • I NEED this game! payday can’t come soon enough.

  • I have a boner for this game. Oh and the music is awesome.

  • I picked this up yesterday, this game is nuts.

  • Yamaoko-san, you really are one of the most talented music directors in the Video Game industry. You’re work on Silent Hill gave me chills, and created an outstandingly atmosphere. It really immersed me in the Silent Hill world, and I hope to have the same feeling with Shadows of the Damned. Great Work!

  • Never posted a comment before but I love your work, simple as that. I listen to it as much as I listen to typical Top 100 music.
    Always turns the game into an experience.
    I’m sure Shadows of the Damned will be awesome, I’m definitely getting it.

  • Yamaoka-san: some of us have iPads so no flash. Can’t enjoy your audio. But thanks for posting. I love hearing from game designers.

  • the soundtrack is almost awesome,i cant spect less from akira yamaoka

  • I Know this has nothing to do with the topic but if u can read this that woulld be great. Pardon my language but sony is treating there customers like crap! sense when the ps3 came out in 2009 people asked cross game chat like the 360 provides and its almost july 2011 and nothing! I mean then they get hacked by a 19 year old no life? You guys have to admitt the welcome bacj package sucked. dead nation wipe out ? they all suck. LBP is good and sure infamous is good but everybody has part 1 and 2 -_-. Sony needs to listen to there customers, 2 years of begging and nothing is to much time if u ask me we also deserve to get netflix and watch it with friends! . Plus in my opionion the XMB sucks i find xboxs XMB better plus wen u press the menu button ( ps button ) the xbox menu is better but i find ps3 better then xbox. If u guys think about it if we had all of that stuff for ps3 then xbox players will switch to psn ! We also need xbox games like halo and left 4 dead

  • Thanks, I have just started in the audio/music field and this give me inspiration!


  • I love all of Yamaoka’s work :) Hearing that he was on this project is really what made me gravitate towards it. If this really is Yamaoka posting this blog, thank you for being such wonderful and memorable pieces – I hope to play Shadows of the Damned soon.

  • I am new to your work, but thank you very much for everything. I look forward to the Official Soundtrack and Play For Japan: The Album. I am truly impressed by your coordination efforts and appreciative of your spirit.

  • I recognized the 7 string guitar sound from Broken Dreams, the beginning of the track sounds very much like Korn, in a good way. (I’ve fallen off a bit as of late as a fan of the band)

    Also, I cannot wait for Play for Japan.

  • PlayStation Plus without Cross Game Chat = Joke !

    PlayStation Plus with Cross Game Chat = Real Service !

  • Mr. Yamaoka, in the booklet for the soundtrack CD coming out, can we see these kinds of comments for each song, or at least the ones you find noteworthy? In English? I love it when composers talk about their songs; unfortunately, I have so many Japanese video game soundtrack liner notes that I’m unable to read.

    I’m told you did over 200 songs for “Shadows of the Damned”. I’d love to have, at the very least, a three- or four-disc soundtrack. Your music always captivates me, in and outside of the games. I’d like to see a followup to “iFUTURELIST”.

    Thanks for providing wonderful, unique experiences with the “Silent Hill” games and “Shadows of the Damned”. And your “Contra: Shattered Soldier” (“Shin Contra” for PS2) music is sufficiently rockin’. ;)

    Take care.

  • Damn. I didn’t buy the game, but reading the article and listening to each piece makes me want to buy the limited edition OST that’s gonna release later.

  • Yamaoka’s sound design was always half the experience in the Silent Hill series. I got a nostalgic rush hearing that he used the same menu item sounds in this game as he used in Silent Hill.

    Given that unlike Silent Hill Shadows of the Damned features heavy use of music I got a sampler of Yamaokas musical talent and wow!

    Too bad those amateurs at GameStop didn’t have any OST code for pre-orders despite my reminding them before putting down my money over a week before. Par for the course, they rarely actually have the promised pre-order items for the more obscure titles on launch day.

  • The music fits perfect for a crazy game

  • sounds good. hopefully buying today.

  • Just like what everyone else commented, it sounds like Akira really knows what he’s doing!

  • Hey this is to sony, I was woundering if you could put HitMan BloodMoney on playstation network. We all love the hitman serise please make this dream come true.

    Thanx From ur number ! fan



  • PistolPhantom, ever since the original Japanese team Silent was disbanded and the series was overseas outsourced as part of Konami’s westernization strategy it has become an empty shell. It would be a waste of Yamaoka’s talent to stay with that series or Konami in general.

  • I agree with Kamiboy. If Konami themselves were actually developing the games, Yamaoka’s absence would be something to lament. As it is, he’s much better off with a creative force like grasshopper manufacture. I still like the western “Silent Hill” games, and I love Yamaoka’s scores for them, but I’m more than happy that he’s left to join Suda and the gang.

  • I really need to pick up this game. The soundtrack is more than enough reason to buy it and the creator of RE4 is just another.

  • Only reason I got this game was because of Yamaoka-san involvement in it, and I got to say the soundtrack is WICKED nice. The soundtrack really has that Silent Hill vibe, creepyness and creates a great atmosphere.

  • @15 deathkiller
    I dont believe we will ever get cross game chat. from what I hear microsoft owns the pantent to that. @32 I knew this game looked res evil4 ish

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