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Developer Q&A: SIREN Blood Curse

Tsubasa Inaba's Avatar + Posted by Tsubasa Inaba on Jun 13, 2008 // Senior Producer, International Software Development

By now you might’ve read here or here about Siren: Blood Curse, an episodic survival horror game coming this summer on PlayStation Network. W also posted the first trailer right here on the PlayStation.Blog. To give the Blog readers more insight into this game, we held a Q&A session with Siren: Blood Curse’s creator, Keiichiro Toyama. We have translated this Q&A for your reading pleasure. We hope you enjoy the creepy insight into the storyline and strategy behind Siren: Blood Curse.

Siren: Blood Curse

How has Siren: Blood Curse evolved from the PlayStation 2 title? (Is it scarier? More involving storyline?)

    With Siren Blood Curse, the leap in visual presentation has helped to convey a tangible sense of fear and makes the player feel as if they’ve truly been pulled into a nightmarish world. The new split-screen Sight Jacking system also helps give the game a more active pace than the previous titles. When it comes to story, Siren Blood Curse manages to preserve the level of depth and mystery from the previous SIREN games while presenting it in a manner that makes it easier to follow.

How has the story of Hanuda developed? Does Siren: Blood Curse bring a conclusion to the storyline?

    Siren Blood Curse is not a sequel or a standard remake of the other games. Suppose the events of the original SIREN were real, in that case Siren Blood Curse would be like a “movie based on a true story”, adapting and dramatizing the original. While some of the key events bear resemblance to those in the first SIREN, the characters and the background are completely different.

How has the introduction of western characters changed the SIREN storyline?

    The addition of Western characters who have stumbled into horrific events taking place in a world that is foreign to them helps enhance the feelings of isolation and terror. I think they will also present Western players with characters that are easier to relate to.
    This mix of Western and Japanese characters with the inevitable communication troubles that ensue adds to the frustration the various characters feel toward their situation.

What opportunities became available to you through releasing the game in episodic content on the PSN?

    We were able to present the game more like a dramatic TV show in a way that hasn’t been done before.
    I also hope the episodic structure will give players the sense that they are participating in an event.

Siren: Blood Curse

How does your approach to storytelling change when working with a game released in a series of episodes?

    The approach we took in the previous games was to present events much like a documentary presenting a piece of a bigger truth. The new episodic nature required more structure, and also helped to step up the overall quality of the final product.

Why do you approach the narrative of SIREN titles with such an unorthodox and fractured approach to timeline and storytelling?

    The unorthodox approach to storytelling was motivated by trying to present a story in a way that only games could do. Replaying the same event while seeing it unfold in different ways is something I feel is an inherent characteristic of video games, so I wanted to take that unique element and weave it directly into the story itself.

How has the ‘sight-jack’ feature evolved and how does this aspect contribute to the Siren: Blood Curse experience?

    In Siren Blood Curse, Sight Jacking has been redesigned to be split-screen, allowing the player to see through multiple points of view at the same time. Now, players are free to move while Sight Jacking, giving the game a much more active tempo than it had before.

Siren: Blood Curse

What does Siren: Blood Curse bring to the survival horror genre?

    A lot of survival horror titles in recent years have been focusing mostly on just the action element, while Siren Blood Curse puts a lot of its effort into scaring the player and presenting a rich story. I think Siren Blood Curse can serve as an example of the diverse range that games are capable of expressing.

What are the key ingredients to a good horror title and how does Siren: Blood Curse deliver these?

    A good horror title has to make the player feel like they are directly involved in the terrifying events taking place, and that requires realism. I think you’ll understand just how much realism can enhance horror when you see Siren Blood Curse.

Did you consult fans on what they wanted to see in the next installment of the SIREN series?

    One opinion we noticed from a lot of the fans was that the original game was way too difficult. A lot of them never completed the game because of that, and we listened. If you want to see just how we’ve taken those opinions into account, first play Siren Blood Curse and then go back and try the original.

What about Siren: Blood Curse are you most proud of?

    I’m most proud of the way Siren Blood Curse embodies a unique, Japanese sense of horror.

What advantage does Siren: Blood Curse have in being the first survival horror title on PS3? Or is it a curse being first next-gen survival horror title?

    It’s only recently that I’ve realized that Siren Blood Curse would end up being the first, so I haven’t really had a chance to worry about any disadvantages. Of course, when it comes to advantages, I think being the first will only help the game to have that much greater of an impact when people experience its next-gen visuals.

Siren: Blood Curse

What does Siren Blood Curse offer that titles such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill do not?

    Two things Siren Blood Curse offers that those titles don’t is a sense of horror made possible in a Japanese setting, and the human drama created from the interactions of the different characters.

With the increased power of the next-gen devices, how has survival horror grown to embrace this? Are horror games now the ultimate in immersive horror experiences?

    The potential with lighting and textures are areas that have greatly improved with the next-gen. These are two critically important factors for horror games, so I think next-gen will have a major, positive impact on the genre. I don’t think realism always has to be about making things more elaborate, but can also be about making even simple things have a greater impact.

Has the interest in J-Horror in the western world opened a new market for horror games based on this world?

    Yes, definitely. The interest in J-Horror spurred on by the success of Hollywood remakes like “The Ring” and “The Grudge” has helped lower the barrier in reaching the West with horror games like SIREN that are based on a Japanese setting.

Siren: Blood Curse

What are your favorite moments in the history of survival horror gaming?

    It’s not a survival horror moment, but the beginning of the game “Another World” made me feel like I had really been swallowed and dropped alone on a vast, new world. That scene had a deep impact on me, and it was at that moment that I first began to consider the potential games had for stirring an emotion like fear in the player.

What are you favorite moments in horror movie history and did you use these as inspiration?

    There are a lot of horror movie moments that have influenced me, but two scenes that come to mind are when the main character’s world comes apart in the original “The Wicker Man”, and when the killers come together as a “normal family” in the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

And finally… What scares you?

    I’m actually afraid of a lot of things, but if I had to pick one of them, it would be the fear that there is always a chance that at any moment everything that I’ve come to accept as my normal, everyday life could suddenly disappear.

Do you have any questions for Keiichiro Toyama? Ask them in the comments and we’ll tried to get them answered in a future post!

//Add Your Own

58 Comments

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51

+ Meghterb on June 16th, 2008 at 11:21 am said:

Oooooh I finally get my cance to ask Toyam-san about alot of things that I was thinking about. I have ALOT of suggestions and questions to Keiichiro Toyama I really hope that he reads this since I`m the biggest fan of him.

I`ll write only the important questions since they`re really many. Anyway the questions are :

1- Why don`t you put alonger stages? both Siren and Siren 2 got short stages, I know they`re good and well designed but why not to make them longer ? Some missions I finished them within 2 minutes !

2- Why don`t you put longer cutscenes ? All cutsecenes in Siren games were too short for such a great game, I know that you made them short in order to make the story more complicated but this is can be considered as a bad point “which is one of the main reason behind alot of people hating Siren”.

3- I really wish that there`s a chance that players can play Siren Blood Curse online, I mean like Residen evil Outbreak. You can take their ideas and develope them. Like for example if you put several characters i one stages and the mission is to beat them all ” exactly like Koyoa Suda in Siren 2″ so when you do this you`ll make a survival horror and in the same time it can be considered as an action game. You know alot of people like action ” Im not of of them”.

4- Most of the stages in both Siren and Siren 2 were only to escape from a place to another, why don`t you try somethng else? like for example like saving a specific character from someone or from a shibito, also like protecting specific character and such, there`re many ideas that I have but I can`t write them all.

5- I noticed that all characters in Siren games are kind of unkown characters, I mean w don`t have much information about them which i a sad point. I hope you can show us for example the past of the characters or at least the main characters just like Silent Hill ” the very same game that you have created and directed”.

6- This`s the most important point, the sounds in Siren are not as great as other survival horrr games. The sounds that are in game play are sooo great but the sounds in cutscenes? they really needs to be re-worked over and over.

7- We wana see more and more situations between the characters, all we saw in Siren that they met somewhere and then they travel around the village and finally they get seperated ! we wana see more situations between them like emotional situations or past situations ” just like Sam Monroe and his divrced wife but we wana see their sory”.

I have so many more questions and suggestions that I want you to read them. But I`ll carryon writing them when I receive your reply to me. I hope you like my sugggestions as I relly hope to see that Siren is the best survival horror game ever made not the scariest game of all time that`s not enough for Siren.

Thank you and sorry the message went so long.


52

+ hobo-1 on June 16th, 2008 at 3:54 pm said:

I’m also curious about the pricing plan, length of each episode, and whether or not there will be a full bluray release after all the episodes are out like Japan will be getting. Also on the topic of episodic games what ever happened to Rat Race it sounded like an interesting concept but hasn’t been heard or seen since a couple of trailers were shown?


53

+ Krispow on June 16th, 2008 at 5:36 pm said:

*SIGH*

I must kindly ask that everyone please ignore my comment #49 and forgive me for its posting.

Normally, our comments on this blog have appeared nearly immediately after posting. However, when my repost of comment #48 did not appear following several attempts over June 14th-15th, I became rather perturbed.

Some friends suggested that I was being blocked from posting on this topic, possibly due to the contents of my original comment.

I couldn’t understand how this could occur — whiIe I may not have agreed with the method of distribution, the Sony folk here on the blog have ALWAYS welcomed valid questions and suggestions, and I certainly posted no content of a rude or offensive nature.

But as more hours passed — and comments from other folks continued to appear — I soon began to believe my friends’ “blocking” conclusion as well.

I eventually wrote comment #49 hoping that a shorter message might pass through unscathed, and that somehow my original comment/questions might receive a response. It was also my hope to get the attention of a moderator, so that I could discover why I was being “blocked” and resolve the issue.

As of this afternoon, the issue has resolved itself.

There was nothing nefarious going on… no blocking or editing of my comments had occurred. Instead, it appears that some sort of technical issue prevented my posting(s) from appearing until over 24 hours later. I was VERY much mistaken in my beliefs, and my imagination (and friends) unfortunately got the best of me.

In that regard, I would like to again ask everyone to please disregard comment #49.

In addition, I especially wish to offer a very public apology to the folks at Sony for any grief my misunderstanding may have caused you. Again, my deepest apologies!

Thank you all for your understanding…


54

+ crazypenguin on June 17th, 2008 at 11:24 pm said:

i’ll wait for revieews, to see how scary it REALLY is


55

+ reson8er on June 18th, 2008 at 9:03 am said:

Very much looking forward to this game. Its looks very creepy. The demo had great atmosphere and and ominous darkness that reminded me of the old Silent Hill games.


56

+ earlybird2 on June 18th, 2008 at 2:22 pm said:

sorry to bother you guys but does anybody know were i can get a controller for playstation 2 i need a fishing controller cant find one anywere please help!!!!!!!!! earlcrumpe@comcast.net


57

+ Meghterb on June 27th, 2008 at 1:42 pm said:

When will we see the answers for our questions? I hope we get it SOON. I just can`t wait!


58

+ Kratos_Thy_God on July 2nd, 2008 at 12:14 pm said:

Ok i really love these types of games i played the demo and was blown away,the game is awesome to say the least but i have 2 Very important questions. 1: will this game support 1080p output plz say yes! and 2:is there any way i can get this game on BD Idk by ordering it on a site,it doesnt have to be in stores because i really dont want to fill my ps3 space.
Thanks.


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