Interview of Shinji Mikami

-I hope more people start to understand
what we do, that is create "Fun to Play"
After the press conference for Capcom's 5 new games,
Fami-tsu interviewed the executive producer Shinji Mikami

M: Shinji Mikami
--: Interviewer (Koichi Hamamura)

--: My reaction to the press conference was "It made me want to buy Gamecube".
M: I really appreciate your word. Yeah! why don't you buy Gamecube, two or three of them!! *laugh*
--: Well..... I already have one *laugh* but it made me feel like I want to buy Gamecube for somebody who doesn't have one.
Use to be, Gamecube had some kind of reputation of "Only Mario's console" or "Console for little kiddoes" but when I saw Capcom's new games, I truly realized those stereotypes are totally wrong.

I think, in the game industry, good software should build the market up, not the game console construct it. To go back to the principal, we developing those 5 games, even it is a hell of job for us. Then, if we can release Devil May Cry, Dino Crisis, Tekki and Gyakuten-Saiban on Gamecube.......
--: OMG *laugh*

--: When I saw those games at the press conference, I felt the strong mind of Capcom, because all brand new games. I recognized Capcom's thought to create good games to make game industry live.

If we don't have strong thought, we can't make good game. If we only calculate money, we can't put 5 new games on Gamecube. We always guess how much the game will sale, but actually, you never know until the release date.
--: In the market, people still think big name series sales good and stable.

Yes, but in those stereotyped market, some rebel thing inside of our mind started to want new movement. It was like "Hey, why don't we quit making the series of those old games?"
--: In this days, not many creators are challenging to create brand new things. Of course this is because game company don't want to take risks, but....

Yes, But if you pick any game creator and tell the person "Make any kind of game you want.", the creator is not going to make a sequel to another game.
--: It is true.

Suppose to be game creators started to do the job because they want to create something that they really want. After that, simply how much of the users like what they have done. Then, it is the producers job to put a little bit of a popular taste in to the game. It is like change their direction a little to comeback to popular side........ it is not a good job to be a producer....
--: I understand.

Sometimes, I feel like it is a big mistake to think about sales from the very beginning of development. In this days, one software development costs at least 1 million dollars, if it is a big titled game, about 10 million dollars.....
--: I know.

Then, we have to think about getting development cost back. So, we are creating the game in small development team, "Viewtiful Joe" or "Gyakuten-saiban". It is easier to keep good communication with small number of people and good efficiency too. Small development teams have good blood circulation.
--: I understand, directors thought and concept for the game directory goes to the creators.

Yes, in big titles games, sometimes the development team has 50 staff members and that kind of big team, creates interruption in the circulation. Therefore, I think a small development team creates a more high quality game with more of the directors color.
--: In the press conference, you said "I let directors make whatever they want to make." several times. I saw your word in "Viewtiful Joe" I've never seen that kind of game before, and from "Killer 7" I felt the direction of challenging the new thing.

For the creators, just make game whatever they want but for the company, it is a challenge. So, management level of the company takes responsibility of the sales. It is a hard job to keep a good balance of both sides, but that kind of game will be the main game in next generation of Capcom games.
Every big titled game started like that after all.
--: Yes, I think so. Entertain people means always fight with bored. If you are scared to make new excitement, you never find "Next".

Yes, that is right.
--: Including those situation, I thought new 5 games are different from any other games.

I don't want to create a game just chasing popularity. I want to have game with strong view for the future. I think, if we keep creation games with a view for the future, maybe after 20 or 30 years we will give birth to a culture or tradition.
--: Yes, all 5 games have a new view, idea of play and entertainment, all game essentials are there but still different from others.

I think it is OK to create peculiar game or different game. I want to say "Hey you are not kid anymore, why don't you eat vegetable even if you don't like it?" Currently, the game industry is only supplying easy sweet stuff and it makes people go to liquid food kind of easy game more and more.
--: I think the game industry tends to go towards that way too, besides, game creators think the user want it.

Yes, creators or game companies should take a charge of the market in the first place, but now, they are too much worry about what users want. We want to create a game with originality, we want to grow the game industry too. Especially, we want to create the game that is simply fun to play. not just give us immediate money.
--: I think all 5 games that Capcom announced today are like that.
I especially want to use "Mikami Atelier" for your development team, I want the games that come from "Mikami Atelier" to make a big new movement in the game industry. I personally hope those games will make something happen as a one game fan.

Yes so, we strongly believe we are the people who are taking charge of the new generation. Our way of thinking of the game is always like that. The game media is depending on users taste, it is like what kind of beverage you like. If somebody ask you "Do you like beer?" and you said "I don't, because bitter taste." BUT I think that bitter taste is the good part of beer. If I had a hard time at work and go to the bar and drink beer!! I'll feel like I live for this moment. Can you feel like that by drinking soda pop!!??
--: HAHAHA *laugh*

NO!! You can't. Our game means like that.
--: I know, nobody else has this feeling, only this game has.

Exactly. I want to create something no other game has.

--: I'd like to ask you about Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil series is already old man. So, I put new DNA to make Resident Evil back to young age, we are creating new resident Evil in Resident Evil 4.
--: Oh, really?

I want the users to have excitement for game release, not buying latest series because they already have other series. In old Nintendo days, people so excited about "Dragon Quest" release. I want Resident Evil id going to be like that. So, we added new DNA and put really peculiar director to change the whole idea of Resident Evil. We are in the process of "Full Model Change" But we are not changing Resident Evil game style, we are back to the starting point to make game back to good scary and surprising game in Resident Evil 4.
This time, I'm not telling what to do to development team so much. I'm just giving a little "hold back" when game starts turning to really it will abusing the users. *laugh*
--: Oh, no *laugh*

Sometime, I have to tell the development team "You don't have to give users that much of a hard time" "It's like beating a dead horse." This time, I'm just a person giving the development team slow down sign. Now, they are running at a good speed.
--: Oh, I can't wait!!

I was wondered, all 5 new games are really releasing in those schedule?
M: Of course!!
--: In spring, summer and winter 2003?

About every 3 months, then I wondered when Resident Evil 4 will be on sale...??
--: *laugh*
--: Usually, people have to think about buying game console if only one good game the console has, but if you see a lot of new good game coming, it is easy to decide to by it.

Yes *laugh*

--: Mr. Miyamoto from Nintendo said "Now, video games are coming back to Toy" Now in the game industry have to sale the game using character's name value or popular movie title, this situation is exact same as beginning of Nintendo era. I feel like game can't sale itself by just being a good game. In those days, a lot of games opened up new possibilities, of course some didn't make it but still those new games build up new ideas. First was race game and adventure game to simulations, I think game industry needs to go back and do re-born step again like old game days.

Yes, So big game company needs to set a system like Hollywood. 1 out of 10 games make enough money for the rest of them to live.
--: I see

If we don't change the system, game industry's life is not last very long, if we keep doing current "have to make money on every game" system.
--: I know, everybody try to win every game.

In this situation, even there is a extremely good creator, but nothing is going to happen. I think if we can't change anything, game industry should die once.
--: You said same thing as Mr. Yamauch from Nintendo said.

For example, watch industry died once because of quarts. I think watch industry changed because they died once. But after a while, it will get spoiled again. Always time is comeback. So, management of the company shouldn't forget about fresh spirit of beginning. If you still remember the days of only making $2,000 a month, you will see what we should do as a leader in the game industry.
--: I think we should support people who are really concerns about the game industry and try to create new possibilities, because if we don't, it going to be a dead end.

Exactly, we have to work together.
--: yes!! I think we have to create the market that needs more "Gyakuten-saiban" or "Tekki" kind of games. Gamecube is not only for kids, Gamecube is for people who really want to play the game. I already feel satisfaction by Gamecube from this press conference.

I hope Gamecube will have more market share by those games. It will be wonderful it more people focus on games and more people play games, simply a lot more people start to understand what we do, that is creates "Fun to Play".

Interview from: Weekly Fami-tsu 729
Published date: Nov 22 2002
Published by: Enter Brain
Special Thanks goes to
Wesker from Survivhor. com for got me very good scaned images of this interview from Fami-tsu and
UCA from Biohazard France for always good to me :)

All text translated by doughboy.
Original Japanese text all rights reserved by Capcom and related publishers.
English version of text rights reserved by doughboy and written permission required to re-use text.
All art rights belong to doughboy, must have written permission to use.