1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.
I have been a game developer for 30 years. I have been a game designer, game director and game producer on a variety of game platforms including arcade, console, and mobile games. Now I am a director and producer of VR games.
2What led you to become a Game Developer / Marketer?
Video games came on the scene when I was a kid. I think I was the first generation of video game players. When I was in college, I made independent films. When I graduated from college and started working, I joined a video game company because I was attracted to the visual development and future possibilities of video games. That is how I became a game developer.
3What is your role in the company, and what traits should a game developer / marketing professional possess to be successful in their role?
As president of a game development company, I am responsible for everything in the company. As a game developer, I am also the director and producer of a VR game. I think the traits needed to be a successful game director and producer are to do everything that can be done and get it done in order to create a great experience for game players.
4Tell us more about your studio / company.
AMATA K.K. is a Japanese game development studio. AMATA K.K. is a Japanese game development studio with a large number of veteran game developers and usually develops games on consignment for major game companies. AMATA K.K. is also an indie game studio that develops VR games as its own original games.
I did not want to create an ambitious game that I was never likely to finish so I wanted to start small, that is why I started working on a simple game that still took me months to create, but it was fun and I enjoyed doing it! At that time I was working a full-time job in an unrelated industry so I was very exhausted and had lots of sleepless nights coming after work and trying to finish the game.
5What is your own definition of a great game?
We believe that a great game is one in which the player experiences a slight change in the way he or she sees the real world after finishing playing the game.
6Describe the genres of the game(s) your studio / company specializes in, as well as its main characteristics.
AMATA K.K. is a game development studio with strengths in VR game development. The VR games we create feature a game system in which players work together to solve puzzles and perform other collaborative tasks while communicating with partner characters in a VR space.
7Tell us more about your ideation process.
I always feel that creating our games is like solving a puzzle. At the beginning, we think of many fragments of ideas such as game mechanics, character setting, and story but they remain disjointed at the beginning of development. After painstakingly creating the game, there comes a moment when all these pieces of ideas come together neatly and the problem is solved.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Game Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
We are very honored to receive the NYX Game Awards. I believe that winning this award has given us the opportunity to make our studio and The Tale of Onogoro known to a large number of people.
9How has winning an international award help promote your company and game?
We are a Japanese game studio and not very good at getting the word out internationally so winning such an international award was a great opportunity to promote the game and make The Tale of Onogoro known to a wider audience.
10What are the challenges of developing / marketing your winning entry(ies)?
We struggled to achieve a sense of reality for ‘Haru’ the virtual character who becomes the player's partner.
11How has the country, you are based in, helped during your ideation process?
We have created a VR game set in a Japanese steampunk parallel universe about 100 years ago (1920s). Of course, we chose this world setting because we were a Japan-based game studio.
12What are the current trends in the game industry that you are most excited about?
13What are the top THREE (3) favorite things about the gaming industry?
New game platforms. New game design. New experiences. These are the things that are updated every day in the gaming industry and I get excited about them every day.
14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their game designs and development ideas / skills?
It is a good idea to develop the skills to be able to prototype with a small group of people using a game engine. Books and video tutorials can be useful resources.
15Where do you see the evolution of the gaming industry in the next 5-10 years?
I believe the gaming industry will evolve greatly with XR, 5G/6G, and the spread of AI.
16Who inspired you in your life, and why?
I was inspired by the anime film director Mamoru Oshii. Urusei Yatsura Beautiful Dreamer, Ghost in the Shell and Tenshi no Tamago (Angel's Egg) have always given me new inspiration no matter how many times I watch them.
17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Continued action is the key to success.
My favorite word of wisdom is, "Ask, and it shall be given to you."
18Do you have anything else, which we haven’t covered, that you would like to include in this interview?
The Tale of Onogoro is an action adventure game that offers a unique VR experience. Please try to play it!