Though its name is not on the tip of most people's tongues, Koei is an important force in game development. Its Dynasty Warriors series -- which has split off in a multitude of different directions across a nearly uncountable number of SKUs -- is one of the most popular in Japan, and a massive sleeper success in the rest of the world.
The company has also opened up a new studio in Canada, with its first Unreal Engine 3 title, Fatal Inertia, recently released on the Xbox 360. The company also has its first Wii title, Samurai Warriors Katana, coming in December. We talked to three senior staff at the publisher to learn more about its fortunes in the next-gen wars, how multi-title, multiplatform Japanese studios function, and about opening a new studio in Canada with an international team.
Gamasutra first presents a conversation with Takazumi Tomoike, managing executive officer and deputy general manager of Koei's software division, about the development of Koei's first internationally-focused title, Fatal Inertia, at its new Canadian studio.
You've probably been asked this many times but is Fatal Inertia -- which was originally planned for the PS3 but moved to the 360 -- still coming to the PS3?
Takazumi Tomoike: Yes.
Will you use the SIXAXIS controller at all?
TT: I do want to promote the 360 for this event, but yes, we are going to use the SIXAXIS, and I think the controller is well-suited for the game.
How is the Koei Canada studio going so far?
TT: They are still a young company, but now that we have arrived at the point of creating a [gold] master, it seems like going through this process has given them strength and they have grown quite a bit.
Have you been basically teaching the young team by making this game?
TT: Yes, that was my intention, to show them how games are built, but that has to do mostly with the methodology or the way to create games. In terms of content and a sensibility and concept behind the games, these were really left up to them. But what I showed mainly was common methods for building a game. But as it turns out, even though my intention was to show them how to build a game, they actually learned a lot of things on their own by trying things out. They are still very young, but they played a major role in putting this thing together.
Were you leading the project mostly or was it someone that you picked from the studio itself?
TT: In terms of the content of the game, I completely trusted the lead designer, called Michael Bond. He was in charge of the design aspect of the game.
Are most people in the studio Canadian, and do they have to speak Japanese as well?
TT: Most people actually don't speak any Japanese at all. We do have however six or seven Japanese people in Canada, helping out with the development. But the Fatal team had only one Japanese person. In that sense, it was pretty much a Canadian effort.