Though not as well-known in the U.S. as his compatriots, Shigenori Nishikawa is, like them, a veteran of Capcom who worked on its successful action game franchises - Resident Evil 4 and Dino Crisis 3 are among his credits.
His game may have made the biggest splash at the time of the PlatinumGames/Sega announcement: the black-and-white, hyper-violent and darkly comedic Mad World, for the Nintendo Wii.
I know this game is pretty much created with the Western market is mind, as far as I understand. Do you feel as though Japanese audiences are not as receptive to violent games, or in fact "video game-like" games these days? Like very game-like games?
Shigenori Nishikawa: Japan has lots of markets. When you view Japan as the target market, that sets limitations for you.
But of course, lots of people do choose that as their main market. For example, GTA: San Andreas sold 500,000 copies in Japan. So lots of Japanese people are also looking forward to the next GTA, just as gamers are abroad.
But that's the kind of limit. There are no other games other than GTA that have done that, in that style. Well, maybe not. Maybe you disagree.
SN: I disagree. I think there's lots of people who are importing games -- foreign games -- coming out on the 360 and PS3.
Interesting. A lot of people have told me the opposite case. With this game, what is the emotion that you want people to really feel when they play it?
SN: I want to make a really memorable game. Lots of times, people are playing many different games and forgetting a lot of them. I want to make a game that's going to be remembered five and ten years down the road as something people will go back and say, "Wow, remember Mad World? That was a really great game."
What kind of techniques can you use to make that happen?
SN: In a black and white world, the lighting is incredibly important. We're working really hard on the 3D expression of lighting in the black and white world. For example, if a light is shining here, this side can be white, and this side can be black.
If the light was moving, we'd have to make the light move dynamically between the black and white areas and make it seem like a 3D object in the black and white 2D space - like written on a page.
Have you drawn any inspiration from film noir or anything like that when making a black and white type of scenario?
SN: Not as much as film noir, no. Definitely our inspiration is American comic books.
Like Frank Miller and stuff?
SN: Frank Miller, yeah. That's one person.
Are you doing anything with black and white representing two different things, like good and evil, or opposite sides of character, or perhaps different emotion?
SN: No, there's no philosophical meaning, or anything else that we're adding to the black and white. It's just a black and white world.
In terms of the blood, what kind of effect do you want it to have? It seems halfway between shocking and comical. Where is the line for you?
SN: We want to go for the more comical effect, but to go for the laugh, you've got to have a shock to the system, so that shock to your system can make you surprised or angry or laugh. So we want to have something that really triggers some kind of emotional response.