Ikumi Nakamura, the former GhostWire: Tokyo creative director who made one big splash with her brief appearance at E3 2019, is finally ready to talk about opening her own game development studio after leaving Tango Gameworks in 2019. Appropriately, she did so while exploring some scary, abandoned buildings.
During her interview with Screenshots, a new YouTube channel created by independent documentary The archipelago and Japanese gaming site GameSpark, Nakamura explains that the decision to resign from her position in Tango Gameworks came out of concern for her health. While it was difficult to walk away from the end GhostWire: Tokyo, a game she considers her child in a way, Nakamura felt she had to get out of the situation before it was too late.
“You can not make games if you are not healthy,” says Nakamura. “I started to wonder if there was no way for me to make games while I felt better. I ran away in a way. However, I think that running away can be very positive. Instead of just stacking things up on their own, I think running away for something better is the healthier choice. ”
Nakamura mentions that, after leaving Tango Gameworks, she was inundated with messages, from notes of encouragement to job offers. She eventually accepted several invitations from studios around the world to simply visit their office and see how they were organized. Nakamura says that this helped her form an idea of how she might one day run her own studio, knowledge that she plans to transfer to this new venture.
“It was my chance to travel and learn what made a good work environment,” explains Nakamura. “I decided to use that experience to open my own little studio and build my IP. I want to try my hand at an IP again in that studio; this is what i’m working on right now. It is stimulating to learn about new cultures. Of course there is a language barrier, but even for someone like me who cannot speak English, I want to talk to people who are curious to learn and understand each other. If I can form this type of team to work on a new game, I feel we will be able to bring something new to the players. ”
While she could not share much about the kind of games her studio makes, Nakamura was open about her experiences as a woman in the gaming industry. Having seen how badly women are often treated in the male – dominated world of game development, she intends to achieve “full equality” in her new company and hopes to see more Japanese studios follow suit.
“In my personal opinion, I feel that stories written by women are more considerate and easier to get into,” Nakamura adds. “I feel there is more diversity in their characters. For men, they are simpler and easier to understand in that way. I tend to feel that stories written by women are more in sync with their time. In the end, no one can do everything. It’s about finding each person’s talents and then using them to make a great game. ”
With a CV that includes contributions to Okami, Bayonetta, and The inner evil, Nakamura is one of the game industry’s unsung creators, and it’s fantastic to hear that she intends her new studio to be organized with the health of employees in mind. Be sure to check out the full interview above for more discussion about her story under development and the events surrounding her outburst at E3 2019, as well as some great location photography.