Shinji Mikami has been There and Back Again on the Japanese development circuit: he started at Capcom's Studio 4 where he created and directed a slew of Resident Evil games; joined Clover just in time to produce God Hand; and migrated over to Platinum Games, where he's currently directing Vanquish.
But you may not know that, on the sly in 2006, he created his own private development company called Straight Story that works under Platinum's label. And, according to a recent interview in Weekly Famitsu, Mikami will go rogue again after Vanquish is finished: Straight Story will fold, and he plans to create a totally separate company with industry veterans Masafumi Takada (sound director at Grasshopper Manufacture), Ryosuke Alba, and Naoki Katakai (art directors for Final Fantasy XI and Okami, respectively).
"Game development is often overseen from a pure business perspective here, which is unique to Japan, and I have the impression that environment tends to prune away young talent." Mikami explains to Famitsu. "I really want to make Tango a company run from a creator's perspective, one that expands upon new talent."
The new, yet-unnamed company Tango currently employs 13 people, but Mikami says he wants that number to grow to 100 within the next seven years. If he wants that type of growth, Mikami's going to need a few solid games under his company's belt. This seems unlikely given his desire to "make a true 3D horror game, something where you'd use glasses like the Avatar film. It's been my goal since the original Resident Evil to be the first in the industry to make a 3D game."
I'm a little skeptical of the whole 3D trend, but at least Mikami is being realistic: "There needs to be a large 3D television-owning userbase before that can happen, but I always like trying out new things first." As his team grows, their input will help shape the new company's projects, he continues.
I gotta say, given that Shinji Mikami made God Hand and has hired people from Grasshopper and Okami, I'm expecting something a little off-kilter for his company's debut -- I just hope the market treats him better than it did Clover Studios. And I also hope that Mikami won't skimp on Vanquish just because he's ready to do his own thang.
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