kosmos within wrote:Looks like he could be in the producer or even executive producer role more than anything (just speculating).
Autoignition wrote:lmao Mikami. I'm sure the story will change again in a few months. "I'm retiring!" "No, I'm not retiring, I love my job too much." "Well, maybe I'll just stop directing." How long have we been hearing this out of him?
Four years ago, game director Shinji Mikami noticed a problem with Japan's game industry. He felt the wrong people were getting the right opportunities.
Looking around, he saw game publishers reserving director positions for veteran staff members — people over 40 who were often set in their ways.
"If you're over 40, you're somewhat out of touch with the people buying your games," says Mikami, "and when you're young you don't know enough about the industry. When you're in your 30s you have the right balance — you're energetic and have your ego and can focus without distractions, but you have enough experience to manage people and know the business."
Then at 44, he founded independent team Tango Gameworks in an attempt to help others do the same. The studio's "top priority," he says, is to train and give chances to young creators. Shortly after founding the company, Mikami even spoke publicly about directing one final game and then stepping back and handing over the reins to younger directors.
But sometimes plans change.
Publicly, when Mikami started Tango he didn't announce a specific project. In an interview with Japan's Famitsu magazine at the time, he spoke about his desire to cultivate a new group of game directors who could focus on their creativity.
. Mikami envisioned the studio as a place that could sustain more than one project at a time, in order to create a culture not tied to any one genre and offer more opportunities for young directors. It would develop some small projects, some large.
Following Bethesda's acquisition, Mikami says he still wants Tango to become a studio that produces multiple games at a time, but it's not his decision alone.
"The overall company goals remain unchanged, but since Bethesda's first goal was to make a big triple-A title, that's what we're doing first," says Mikami.
As he's gotten older, Mikami says he's become more reasonable, more willing to compromise. He doesn't try to overreach as much. He's had two children. He admits to seeing changes in himself, saying he doesn't have the same energy level he used to and he's not as hard on his team as he used to be.
Tango Producer Masato Kimura points to an example from approximately 12 years ago. Kimura worked as a VFX artist under Mikami on the GameCube Resident Evil 1 remake, and he remembers Mikami had a specific vision in mind for how the last scene in the game should look. To explain himself, Mikami sat next to Kimura for two full days going over every detail in the scene. "He wouldn't do that now, but when he was in his 30s he would," says Kimura.
t was this line of thinking that made news in 2010. In an interview with Famitsu shortly after joining Bethesda, Mikami said that his first game for Tango would be the last he would direct himself, in part to create opportunities for others.
Those comments led to reports online of Mikami planning to retire as a director, which he says didn't go over well with higher-ups at Bethesda and may not end up being true.
"I probably shouldn't have said that," says Mikami. "My bosses were pretty upset. That was something I decided before I started Tango, that the next project would be my last. ... I was thinking back then that I would have to spend more time managing the studio and training people rather than directing. But now because Tango is part of Bethesda, I have less management overhead. So I have more time to get involved with a game than I originally thought I would."
At this point, Mikami says he doesn't know who will direct Tango's next game. It might be him. It might be someone else at Tango. In his interview answers, he bounces back and forth between his desires to lead projects and to give team members chances to lead their own.
Just prior to the Tokyo Game Show in September 2013, Mikami began telling the team at Tango that he had identified three team members who he thinks are capable of directing games at the company in the future.
They are Evil Within lead game designer Shigenori Nishikawa, art director Naoki Katakai and lead concept artist Ikumi Nakamura. "Each of them has different things that stand out," Mikami says. "Nishikawa is good at managing people and taking care of team members. Katakai is great at visualizing the world he imagines. And Nakamura, I can't ever predict what she'll think of. It's so unique."
He seems to feel conflicted about the best way to handle work. He wants to give team members freedom to grow, but worries about giving them too much freedom. He has "many" games he wants to make before he retires, but he also wants to train a new generation to make its own.
Mikami says he has no idea what Tango will look like in 10 years. "I hope it's a fun place to work," he says. "The top priority when I started Tango was to train young people, so 10 years from now I'm going to be interested to see how well I did. Whether or not we have successful IP will depend on that."
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