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Shinji Mikami Forms New Studio

Resident Evil creator relocates to Tokyo for new development outfit.


Shinji Mikami burst back into the headlines recently with the announcement of Vanquish, a game he's directing for Platinum Games and Sega. But the legendary designer has more in the works than just this single title.

In an interview featured in this week's Famitsu, Mikami discussed the formation of a new Tokyo-based studio, Tango. The studio opened up on March 1. Although he currently spends much of his time in Osaka now as development on Vanquish heats up, Mikami has fully relocated to Tokyo for the new studio.

Mikami revealed to the magazine that he chose the Tango name because it's easy to remember, and he likes to tango. There's no deeper meaning, though.

The studio is small scale -- just 13 people including Mikami himself. Mikami is, at present, CEO, producer and director. Currently, the staff of 13 includes some heavy hitters, including people who worked on Final Fantasy XI, Okami, and with Grasshopper Manufacturer.

Tango will, for the most part, do all its work internally, so Mikami believes it will be capable of just one production line for now. Despite the small size, he believes it has all the functionality needed for a development studio.

He does seem to have plans for expansion, though. Within five to seven years, he said that he hopes to grow to around 100 people. The studio will be seeking talent (including a "cute secretary," in Mikami's words) at mikami-project.com. At the time of this writing, the site is inaccessible.

So what is this new studio working on? Asked if the studio has decided upon its first project, Mikami responded that he'd like to consult with his staff in order to make this decision. He's also currently in talks with a number of publishers, but has yet to sign a contract.

Mikami provided a few hints as to what kind of titles we can expect. He said that, as a company, he'd like to have a brand like Resident Evil or Metal Gear Solid, where the game's name itself becomes a genre. At the other end, he also said that he'd like to make low budget games where the focus is on the ideas. In fact, he currently has his staff working on some of these.

Speaking just about his personal desire, he said that he wants to make a "3D horror game." Not 3D as in polygons, but 3D as in Avatar. Since the time of the original Resident Evil, he's had the goal of making the first true 3D game.

Also in the interview, Mikami revealed that his current studio, Straight Story, will close down once work on Vanquish has completed.

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