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Resident Evil Creator Shinji Mikami Discusses New Project, Skyrim and Game Development

Shinji Mikami

Resident Evil creator (and savior) Shinji Mikami formed Tango Gameworks and became a part of the Zenimax family back in 2010, but we've heard little since. We're probably going to have to wait a bit more for solid details on what the studio is working on, but Mikami did provide a bit of commentary about his new project in an interview at 4Gamer today.

The site interviewed Mikami and ZeniMax Asia general manager Toru Takahashi. According to Takahashi, Tango's first game will not be released in 2012. We can expect it in 2013 or beyond.

The current Tango staff consists of 65 people. But the studio is not done hiring yet. They'll be continuing to increase the staff, says Mikami, and he expects in the end to reach the highest scale of any of his past titles in terms of staff count.

Tango currently has just one development line. 4Gamer asked Mikami if he plans on increasing this. Mikami responded that personally he feels multiple lines are ideal. He'd like to have two, one line for training staff and messing around, with the other used for producing a title with sure fire broad appeal.

Regardless of the number of development lines, Mikmai doesn't want Tango to end up with too much staff. He wants the studio to stay within 100 staff members. He actually feels that for game development, the fewer the people the better, as it's clear where the responsibility lies, and communication is easier. At the extreme, making a game on your own is the most enjoyable, he said.

Mikami would not get into specifics about the nature of Tango's debut title. However, he did say that it uses an external engine. The engine has been heavily customized, though, to the point that it's close to being an internal engine.

The interview also discussed general ZeniMax Asia matters. ZeniMax Asia handles localization work for ZeniMax group titles in the Japanese market. Takahashi provided a recap of 2011, when Zenimax released Brink, Hunted: The Demon's Forge, Rage and Skyrim to Japan. For 2012, Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition is due out this month. April will see the release of a number of budget rereleases. As for new titles, Dishonored has been confirmed for release in 2012, but that's it at present.

Western hits tend to sell only a fraction of their international totals in Japan. This is true even of multi million sellers like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, which will cap out at under 300,000 in the Japanese market.

Takahashi hopes that Tango's new title will be the first blockbuster release for ZeniMax Asia in the Japanese market. Skyrim was at the level of 200,000 to 300,000 units. He expects Tango's game to be one or two steps above that, selling 500,000 or even a million in the Japanese market alone.

Mikami, incidentally, had praise for Skyrim, saying that it stimulated him as a creator. It was the first time he'd found a game interesting in some time.

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