YK: I've heard that you also wrote the "Hookman" version of BIO4. Can you elaborate on the outline of the scenario and how complete it was before the game was canceled?
Hookman was merely an experiment and there was no true back-story.
I wanted to make biohazard 4 scarier and suggested using a particular scene from the film "The Lost Souls", where the main character (played by Winona Ryder), while washing her hands in a bathroom, suddenly finds herself in a derelict building with a killer on the loose. An arranged version of this idea eventually turned into Hookman.
The idea went through several iterations as Mr. Sugimura and I carefully refined this world (which, I have to say, was very romantic).
Leon infiltrates the castle of Oswell E. Spencer seeking the truth, while inside a laboratory located deep within, a young girl wakes up. Accompanied by a B.O.W. dog, the two start to make their way up the castle... Unfortunately, there were many obstacles that needed to be overcome and the cost of development was deemed too expensive.
In the end, what ended up becoming biohazard 4 was the best idea out of all of them.
PU: How did you feel when BIO4 was scrapped in favor of the version written by Mr. Mikami?
YK: I felt very sorry. You can even say that I was ashamed.
While I felt that I put in much effort, refining the idea to the best of my abilities, my mentor Mr. Mikami had to intervene in the end. Mr. Shibata, who was the director at the time, was very talented, but I felt that he was unable to exercise his full potential because my lack of skill was holding him back.
I left the team right before Mr. Mikami intervened, and ended up enjoying the finished biohazard 4 game as just a fan. When I saw the quality of the finished product, I realized what an amazingly skilled person Shinji Mikami is. The experience I gained from this helps keep me going even to this day. It was an invaluable experience as a game designer.