And so we come full circle, all the way back around to the starting point: there was a classmate of mine that used to be part of my manga club back in university, and he had managed to get hired by a video game company in Tokyo, named Taito. And Taito was notorious for being very rigid, top-down; that it was a company that didn't let people creatively pursue the projects that they wanted to pursue.
There was a movement within that company, within one of the creative departments, to branch out independently, and form their own branch of their own company -- and the central person involved in that movement was my friend. And so, one day, I got a call to Osaka, saying, "Let's do this!" -- from my friend who was working for Taito in Tokyo.
At that time I hadn't decided that I wanted to settle working for the video game industry while I was still working for this concrete company, and I was at that time mulling over the possibilities of working for a video game company, working for an anime company, working for a manga company, working for a movie company... I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. But this invitation came from this friend of mine, and so I didn't want to let that go to waste.
At this point, Matsuyama used his free time to understand the video game medium -- doing research in libraries to learn about its history, and realizing that his perspective as a gamer growing up in small-town Japan hadn't prepared him for the role he was about to take on.
It is at that time that I realized, you know what, I could battle my way through life with this type of medium; that I could create things in this medium and succeed. It was at this time that I decided, "Alright! I'm going to get into this video game industry."
So I moved from Osaka back to Fukuoka, along with my friend who was working for Taito, and nine other people. So I moved from Osaka, and then nine from Tokyo, and we all gathered in Fukuoka, and we started a company called CyberConnect.
And so, I was an illustrator -- because I used to be part of this manga club -- and within the video game industry there are four things that are necessary: there is planning, there is graphics, there's sound, and then programming. These four things become the cornerstones of a video game.
And I figured that with my background, the fastest way forward would be to study graphics, as well as things unique to the video game industry -- the industry as a whole. So I focused on those two elements of the industry, and began to learn about the video game industry, and started the company with that in mind.
At that time, the nine people who had come from Taito had worked previously on Psychic Force and another title called RayStorm -- action type games. And so from those people, I learned what it is to make a console video game -- what is involved with the creation of a video game -- as well as how to operate a computer.
Up until that point I had never laid hands, really, on a personal computer, because I had worked for a concrete company, so there was no need for that. So I had no experience on working with personal computers, and it was at that time that I learned how to do that, along with what I had been learning from the video game industry.
Atlus/CyberConnect2's Tail Concerto
I feel like I understand something now, just because Psychic Force and RayStorm were two of the best Taito games for the PlayStation, and I can see the roots going toward Silent Bomber, almost.
HM: Yes, yes, yes, yes!
And so, while learning a lot of things from these nine people together, the ten of us worked on the Tail Concerto title and Silent Bomber. You could say that I had learned while I was working in this environment -- learning as I went, with these nine other people from Taito.
But these nine other people from Taito had made, you know, RayStorm, and Psychic Force, and so they were already at a professional level, whereas I started as a complete amateur, having absolutely no idea of what is all involved.
And so, I had to work three times harder than the rest of the other guys, because no matter how much I worked, there was just no way that my work could achieve the same level of the work that was being done by these pros who had been in the industry for a while. So I was at work basically 24/7. All the time, I was at work.