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Developers Look Back at 2010 and Forward to 2011

Find out what games the top producers and directors played most this year.

Heavy Rain was a popular choice for top game.

Closing off 2010, 4gamer has posted a huge nine page feature in which some of the top developers in the Japanese games industry look back at the year and provide hints at what's to come.

The site asked developers the following three questions:

  • Question 1: What game released in 2010 moved you or shocked you the most
  • Question 2: What piece of entertainment (game or non-game) most impressed you in 2010
  • Question 3: Give a message to fans

Here's a sampling of the responses:


From Pokemon Black & White.

Takumi Iguchiya

Director and Programmer at Arc System Works. Worked on Arcana Heart 3 and BlazBlue.

  • Question 1: Pokemon Black & White
  • Question 2: K-On
  • Question 3: Said that he loves fighting games that are full of girls, so he was honored when he was asked to port Arcana Heart 3 to consoles.

Daisuke Ishiwatari

General manager at Arc System Works. Worked on Guilty Gear and BlazBlue.

  • Question 1: For overseas games, RPGs in general. Domestically, Ghost Trick.
  • Question 2: He mentioned lots of foreign movies including District 9, Paranormal Activity and Inception. He said he was "knocked out" by the quality of Gundam UC.

Toshimichi Mori

Producer at Arc System Works. Worked on BlazBlue and Guilty Gear

  • Question 1: Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. His staff also suggested Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption, and he found these to be very interesting.
  • Question 2: District 9, My Sister Can't Possibly Be This Cute (anime), Fullmetal Alchemist


Shigenori Soejima

Character designer and art director at Atlus. Worked on Persona and Catherine.

  • Question 1: He mentioned Hatsune Miku Project Diva 2nd as an example of a game being successfully made from a property that was not originally a game, and Inazuma Eleven 3 The Ogre as an example of media mix developments.
  • Question 2: Alice in Wonderland (movie). He also mentioned that he's interested in seeing what types games are made for 3DS next year (even though this wasn't what the question asked.

Shoji Meguro

Director and sound composer at Atlus. Worked on Shin Megamitensei, Persona and Catherine

  • Question 1: Nikudan for PlayStation Move. Some of his interest originates from his being a big boxing fan. He used to watch late night boxing while he was in high school.
  • Question 2: Hurt Locker
  • Question 3: Described Catherine as a "love horror action adventure" and said the game will be taking some new challenges in the sound department.
The 'love horror action adventure' from Team Persona hits in February.


Motohide Eshiro

Producer at Capcom. Worked on Ace Attorney and Okamiden.

  • Question 1: Kinect
  • Question 2: District 9
  • Question 3: He promised new information and promotional plans related to Ace Attorney Investigations 2 in the new year.
Limbo, another popular answer.

Hironobu Matsushita

Producer at Capcom. Worked on Ghost Trick and Mega Man 10.

  • Question 1: Ni no Kuni
  • Question 2: Space Battleship Yamato

Shu Takumi

Director at Capcom. Worked on Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick.

  • Question 1: The title that left the biggest impression for him this year was Limbo for Xbox Live Arcade. Because of Limbo, he ended up trying games like Braid and Flowery which delivered stimulating experiences that shook the idea of a game that had formed in his head.
  • Question 2: Inception

Masahiro Kawada

Producer at Capcom. Working on Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D and Resident Evil Revelations for 3DS.

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain
  • Question 2: Kawada saw more movies than usual this year. He was particularly impressed with the quality of Japanese movies for the year. Movies mentioned in his statement include Kokuhaku (告白), Akunin (悪人) and Up in the Air.
  • Question 3: He anticipated that the games he's working on, both those that have been announced and those that haven't been announced, would be difficult productions. He has a feeling that the difficult time is now approaching.


Codename D, one of Microsoft's big Japan-developed Kinect titles.

Kazutoshi Iida

Game designer at Grasshopper Manufacture. Worked on Discipline for WiiWare.

  • Question 1: Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
  • Question 2: SR Saitama no Rapper and Kagerou

Akira Yamaoka

Sound creator at Grasshopper Manufacture. Worked on No More Heroes 2, Bemani, and Silent Hill

  • Question 1: Limbo
  • Question 3: He said that he's working away at Shadow of the Damned, which Electronic Arts announced in September.

Yasuhiro Wada

COO at Grasshopper Manufacture. Worked on Harvest Moon.

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain
  • Question 2: For games, the Facebook appli Castle Age. For movies, Redline.
  • Question 3: Said Wada, Grasshopper is working on a number of games besides just Shadow of the Damned (X360 & PS3) and CodenameD (Kinect). The staff is working hard so that they'll be able to announce Wada's own project in the near future.


Red Dead Redemption.

Akari Uchida

Producer at Konami/Love Plus Productions. Worked on Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial

  • Question 1: Red Dead Redemption. While he's not big on violence, he is a big fan of westerns.
  • Question 2: The movie adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood

Yoshikazu Matsuhana

Producer at Konami/Kojima Productions. Worked on Metal Gear Solid 4, Metal Gear Online and Peace Walker

  • Question 1: Monster Hunter Portable 3rd
  • Question 2: District 9
  • Question 3: He said that in 2011, he'll be putting his efforts into 3DS's Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater. The 3DS is hardware with a variety of interesting gimmicks outside of the 3D output, making it a system that developers want to try out.

Shigenobu Matsuyama

Creative Producer at Konami/Kojima Productions. Worked on Silent Scope, The Keisatsukan and Thrill Drive (all arcade titles)

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain
  • Question 2: Kokuhaku (Japanese movie)
  • Question 3: Matsuyama said that 2010 was a year where they released little bits and details on Metal Gear Rising. Unfortunately, he did not provide any hints about a possible release time frame, just saying that the game is currently in development and we'll have to wait a bit more. However, he promised that Rising will meet expectations.


Taichi Inuzuka

Producer at Square Enix. Worked on Dragon Quest Monsters Joker.

  • Question 1: Pokemon Black & White
  • Question 2: NHK drama Ryomaden

Akitoshi Kawazu

Executive Producer at Square Enix. Worked on SaGa and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

For what Kawazu had to say to 4gamer, see this story.

Yosuke Saito

Executive Producer at Square Enix. Worked on NieR Gestalt/Replicant and Cross Treasure (DS)

  • Question 1: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  • Question 2: Angry Birds
  • Question 3: Said that a number of things related to NieR are in progress. Also (and it's not clear if this has anything to do with NieR) Saito said there could be a big announcement next year. Regarding this, there are many things that he'd like to say but can't.
It looks like we can expect some NieR announcements in 2011.

Yoshinori Yamagishi

Producer at Square Enix. Worked on Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile

  • Question 1: Metroid Other M
  • Question 2: Akuno Kyouten by Yusuke Kishi
  • Question 3: Said that even though he's worked on RPGs like Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile, he's now working on Mindjack, a third person shooter. While Japanese gamers don't usually care for this particular genre, Mindjack has experience points like one would find in an RPG and a world view that looks like Japanese anime.


Will Phantasy Star Online 2 also have KFC tie-ups?

Masayoshi Kikuchi

Producer at Sega. Worked on the Yakuza series and the Jet Set Radio series.

  • Question 1: Limbo
  • Question 2: While he was thinking about responding with Inception, he instead said Zombie Land.
  • Question 3: Kikuchi is currently working away at Yakuza of the End and Yakuza Mobile for GREE. He hopes to make new challenges in 2011 starting with these two.

Satoshi Sakai

Producer at Sega. Worked on the Phantasy Star series.

  • Question 1: God of War III
  • Question 2: Avatar and Space Battleship Yamato
  • Question 3: 2011 will be the year that Sega begins its real push for Phantasy Star Online 2


Atsushi Inaba

CEO and Producer at Platinum Games. Worked on Vanquish.

  • Question 1: Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Question 2: iPhone

Hideki Kamiya

Game Designer at Platinum Games. Worked on Bayonetta.

  • Question 3: Said that he's already working on his next title and he'd like to announce it as soon as possible.


We should get another look at Time Travelers in 2011.

Jiro Ishii

Game Director at Level-5. Worked on 428 (PS3, Wii, PSP).

  • Question 1: Red Dead Redemption. This made him want to make an open world game with a Japanese setting.
  • Question 3: Ishii is currently working on Time Travelers for 3DS and said that he believes they will be able to share a bit more information on the game in 2011.

Akihiro Hino

CEO Level-5

  • Question 1: Final Fantasy XIV. Although he acknowledges that there was criticism in a variety of areas, FFXIV gave him a feeling of the future of games in all areas like graphic sense, technology and the excellence of the world view. He plays every day.
  • Question 3: 2011 will see not just Layton, but games like Danbol Senki and Fantasy Life. He wants to produce each game with care and make them into game brands.


Yoshikazu Hiraki

Director and planner at Alvion. Worked on Malicious for PS3.

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain. He doesn't usually play this type of game, but he was truly surprised with the overall quality for the play feel, story, beauty of the visuals and smooth acting.
  • Question 3: Hiraki was worried about the type of reception Malicious would get, but ended up being happy with the responses. Because new hardware is being released in 2011, he's interested in seeing what kinds of games get released.
Malicious, an original downloadable PS3 game.

Tomonobu Itagaki

Chief Technology Officer at Valhalla Game Studio. Working on Devil's Third. Previously worked on Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive.

  • Question 1: Assassin's Creed II. He played this not as a developer, but as a gamer, and racked up 970 achievements. He also mentioned Pokemon Black & White, although he has yet to open it. His family bought it for him, making him think that it was a message from his daughter to not work so much and instead play the game with her. He'll probably play it during New Years.
  • Question 2: He got the chance to meet Leiji Matsumoto, so he watched all of Matsumoto's works.
  • Question 3: He said that Devil's Third is slowly cooking and asked that we wait for a followup report.
Devil's Third won't be released in 2011, but maybe we'll get a closer look.

Yoichi Egawa

CEO at Tecmo Koei Games. Worked on Nobunaga's Ambition, Sangokushi and Kessen.

  • Question 1: Gundam Musou 3. Yes, he mentioned his company's game.
  • Question 2: Social games. Tecmo Koei will have over 10 social games in 2011.
  • Question 3: Said Team Ninja is working away at Ni-oh with the hopes of detailing the game content as soon as possible.

Hiroshi Matsuyama

CEO at CyberConnect2. Worked on .hack, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm, and Solatorobo.

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain
  • Question 2: The manga Shingeki no Kyojin
  • Question 3: .hack//Link for PSP started off the third and final season in the .hack franchise. 2011 will see a number of announcements leading to the finale some time in the year.

Kazuya Niinou

Head of Digital Contents 1st Development Studio at Image Epoch. Worked on Last Ranker, Fate/Extra and Criminal Girls.

  • Question 1: Vanquish. Even though he's not really good with third person shooters, Vanquish was a game that drew him in. It was a game that he enjoyed as a user and that served as a learning tool for him as a developer.
  • Question 2: iPad
  • Question 3: 2010 was busy for Niinou in that he went gold with three games, Last Ranker, Fate/Extra and Criminal Girls, and also started work on two other projects. For 2011, he hopes to place all his efforts on making one game, making use of the lessons learned from all the challenges he took in 2010. He believes this new game won't be announced until 2012, though.

Toshihiro Kondo

CEO at Nihon Falcom. Worked on Legend of Heroes.

  • Question 1: Social gaming in general
  • Question 2: NHK drama Ryomaden
  • Question 3: This year, Konda was particularly pleased that Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki got a users choice award at Sony's PlayStation Awards. Ys vs Sora no Kiseki was also well received, and he hopes to have more games like vs. in the future.

Yu Suzuki

Ys Net CEO, working on Shenmue World for Mobagetown.

  • Question 1: Yu Suzuki wouldn't limit himself to just 2010, mentioning Mafia Wars and Nintendo's Friend Collection. He described Friend Collection as an ideal game which makes him think as a game creator that it would be nice if he could have made such a game.
  • Question 3: For the answer to this question, Suzuki pimped Shenmue World.

Shigeru Nakagawa

Producer at Alchemist. Worked on Umineko no Naku Koro Ni for PS3.

  • Question 1: Heavy Rain
  • Question 2: The game he most played this year was Xenoblade.
  • Question 3: Nakagawa said that Alchemist is aiming for one million units worldwide for Gal Gun. Yes, he said "worldwide," so that presumably means someone is actually thinking about giving Gal Gun an international release. Nakagawa also hinted at an industry-first promotion of some form for the game.
Xenoblade gets a bit of recognition.

Keiji Inafune

Left Capcom recently. Previously worked on Dead Rising, Mega Man, and Onimusha.

  • Question 1: Red Dead Redemption
  • Question 2: Inception
  • Question 3: Inafune said that hey's currently thinking of game concepts.

Taro Yoko

Will leave AQ Interactive soon. Previously worked on NieR Gestalt/Replicant.

  • Question 1: Espgaluda II for iPhone
  • Question 2: Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance
  • Question 3: Yoko previously announced that he would be leaving AQ Interactive. Here, he gave a precise time frame for his departure: January 2011.

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