Shinji Mikami says he wants to ‘make his own game’ and change the culture of development

Tango Gameworks founder Shinji Mikami has revealed that he plans to make another game, and also wants to change the culture of game development.

Mikami – who is best known for directing Resident Evil, producing Resident Evil 2 and 3, and writing and directing Resident Evil 4 – founded Tango Gameworks in 2010, where he directed The Evil Within.

Since then, however, Mikami has taken on more of a supervisory role, as executive producer of The Evil Within 2 and Ghostwire Tokyo.

In a new chat with Jun Takeuchi on the official Biohazard YouTube channel, Mikami said he has two aspirations – to make “sustainably developed games” that change the culture of game development, and to make another game of his own.

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“That’s something I haven’t been able to do yet,” Mikami said. “I wanted to make a new kind of game for the new generation of developers with sustainable development practices. What is it called… a game of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 global goals created by the United Nations in 2015 as a “common project for peace and prosperity for people and the planet”. Goal 8, which Mikami is likely referring to, aims to “promote sustainable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.

“So I want to make sustainably developed games,” Mikami explained. “The most important thing is probably the acceptance of the game development culture. You change your processes based on the results. You get good results, you adopt the system, but changing the culture is more difficult.

“I want to create that kind of culture, that’s one of the things I want to do. Even if I retire, I will have achieved a goal with Tango Gameworks.

“Something else I want to do is play my game. To make another game. Right now we’re slowly getting ready for it, and to make it work, I have to give all the grunt work to someone else to handle.”

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Clarifying Mikami’s statement, Takeuchi asked, “So one of the steps you want to take in making your game is to create a game with the Sustainable Development Goals?”

“Well,” Mikami replied, “first of all it’s about doing what I want—not ‘whatever’ I want, but doing something I want properly and working in the field with young people. give opportunities to the new generation.

“Even if it’s a small game, if they have time on their hands, they can test different things. At least that’s my take.

“We haven’t made the game I want right yet, and once we’ve done that… well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. If I can make it happen, I want to make it happen. I want to do something.”

“So,” Takeuchi asked, “do you want to at least once make a game that’s personal to you?”

“I guess,” Mikami replied.

In 2020, Mikami stated that he wants to direct another video game project before retiring, adding that he has no shortage of ideas and they are not limited to the horror genre.

Tango Gameworks’ development culture – and Japanese development culture in general – came under scrutiny last year when former Ghostwire Tokyo creative director Ikumi Nakamura, who left the studio in 2019, claimed she left because of pressure from her work life was being negatively affected. her health.

Nakamura recalled how, when she worked at Capcom, her seniors would sleep under their desks to make games, “they were passionate to that point,” and while that wasn’t the case at Tango, the pressure of her work life there it affected negatively. her health.

“You can’t play games if you’re not healthy,” she says. “I started to wonder if there wasn’t a way for me to play games feeling better. I made the decision to leave before it was too late.”

While it was “really hard” to leave Ghostwire Tokyo behind — “I still remember it like my baby” — Nakamura said the project “didn’t make sense” if she wasn’t healthy.