Keiichiro Toyama, creator of Siren Blood Curse, talks about how the series has evolved and its new episodic format on PlayStation 3.
How has Siren Blood Curse evolved from the PlayStation 2 titles?
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 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 dramatising 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 PlayStation Network?
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.
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 videogames, 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.
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.
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.