Interview With Toru Kawakatsu From Japan

Interview With Riane Ayoung From Canada
Interview With Riane Ayoung From Canada
November 16, 2021
Interview With Raluca Grigorovici From Gameloft, Romania
Interview With Raluca Grigorovici From Gameloft, Romania
November 23, 2021

Toru Kawakatsu

Toru Kawakatsu is a producer and director at Petit Depotto. After 10 years of working at a game development company, he is now a creator of indie games.

Interview with the 2021 NYX Game Awards Winner - Toru Kawakatsu

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.

My name is Toru Kawakatsu, I am a producer and director at Petit Depotto.

After working at a game development company for ten years, I became an indie creator.

2What led you to become a Game Developer / Marketer?

There are so many amazing games out there, and while we were enjoying them as players, we gradually began to see fewer and fewer of the kinds of games that we personally wanted to play, and as much as we would wait, they weren’t really getting released. So we decided to make our own.

3What is your role in the company, and what traits should a game developer / marketing professional possess to be successful in their role?

I’m basically a general overseer, and I’m in charge of everything from the start of the game all the way up to distribution. Since there are only four members including myself, we have to take the initiative and make sure everything gets done.

Since indie games are often left incomplete, it’s really important to be prepared to push on through and to play the role of a sort of mentor who unites the team members. I think it is best to have people who can create an environment in which people can feel absolutely secure and comfortable while developing games.

4Tell us more about your studio / company.

We live and work in Japan, and we’ve released two games: Unholy Heights and Gnosia. The four of us handle development for all aspects of the games, including programming, design, and sound. Our motto is to create the games that we want to play – not the games that we want to make.

5What is your own definition of a great game?

That would be a game with systems that can only be achieved through video games. Regardless of the size of the game, I’m attracted to those for which the scenario, system, visuals, and sound are all tightly interconnected.

6 Describe the genres of the game(s) your studio / company specializes in, as well as its main characteristics.

They’re characterized by systems that sort of let you create your own narrative, where each player can have his or her own personal game experience.

7Tell us more about your ideation process.

I think about whether I can take what I’ve learned from various novels, games, and everyday experiences, and turn them into game mechanics. I try to imagine games that I don't yet know how to make, but that I think would be fun to make, and I try to think beyond the framework of games.

If we can come up with a game that no one else could make, that’s really exciting, you know? We are constantly thinking. From the outside, we probably look like we’re just sitting there spacing out.

8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Game Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

We’re really happy to have won in two categories, for Narrative and Characters! Although we hadn’t originally planned for this game to go out into the rest of world, we’re really happy that “our own world” accepted it, and we hope that people all over the world can play it.

9How has winning an international award help promote your company and game?

We’ve been really showing off the fact that our game has been lauded not only in Japan, but overseas as well. It’ll really help with promotions when we expand to other platforms.

10 What are the challenges of developing / marketing your winning entry(ies)?

Gnosia was a real challenge as a whole – from the design of a game to be played alone on a PC, to the integration of scenarios with the Werewolf game aspects, which is usually a game that is played against other people.

11How has the country, you are based in, helped during your ideation process?

I’ve lived in the same place my whole life, so I don’t really have much stress concerning daily life, which is a huge positive. I find reading foreign science fiction novels, mysteries, and books by the great writers of the world to be my best inspiration.

12What are the current trends in the game industry that you are most excited about?

There aren’t any in particular. We’ve been playing nothing but Splatoon 2.

We also sometimes play weird little games, and super minor titles and stuff just out of personal interest.

13What are the top THREE (3) favorite things about the gaming industry?

Thinking seriously about why people enjoy things.

The fact that video games are a form of integrated entertainment.

The fact that, regardless of the size and scope of your game, it’s always possible for it to become a hit.

14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their game designs and development ideas / skills?

It's all about examining and thinking about the causes and effects of things.

Everything has a reason. It’s important to have your own answers, even if they are hypothetical.

Thinking about games alone will not broaden your thinking, so I think that making everyday life experiences more enjoyable on a daily basis will help train you to improve your own game design.

15Where do you see the evolution of the gaming industry in the next 5-10 years?

With the way technology has been evolving, I feel that game development will reach a point at which it can be done intuitively, transcending the barriers of language and programming.

16Who inspired you in your life, and why?

There are so many people, I can’t choose just one.

We receive inspiration from everyone with whom we come into contact in our lives.

17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I believe that there are hints and clues in the frustrations and experiences one has when playing games, like, “why isn't this system available?”, or “why are these characters even here?”, etc. If you can manage to bridge that gap between the creator and the player, therein lies the key to success.

Gnosia is a social deduction game that allows you to play alone using AI. This was done because I don't really like playing against other people that much. We also went for systems and scenarios that could only be achieved via video games. I think this is really a one-of-a-kind game that you will not find anywhere else, so I really hope you'll play it.

18Which THREE (3) Game Developers / Marketing Professionals would you nominate to participate in the NYX Game Awards?

I’m sorry, I have no idea.

19Do you have anything else, which we haven’t covered, that you would like to include in this interview?

In order to help you understand the rules, mechanics, and other aspects of Gnosia, we made it so that it unlocks a little bit of information at a time for the first 20 rounds or so. Because of this, it may seem monotonous at first, but the game becomes more and more complex and deep, and I really hope you’ll play it all the way through to the end.

Winning Entries

Gnosia | 2021

Interview With Toru Kawakatsu From Japan

The Gnosia lie. Pretending to be human, they’ll get in close, trick and deceive, and then eliminate one victim at a time...
(read more at NYX Game Awards)

Toru Kawakatsu

Toru Kawakatsu is a producer and director at Petit Depotto. After 10 years of working at a game development company, he is now a creator of indie games.