DeNA Recruits Legendary Japanese Game Designers Into “Super Creators” Initiative

In a press conference yesterday, DeNA announced [J] the formation of the “Super Creators” initiative, an all-star team of five veteran game designers from the traditional Japanese games industry who will create social smartphone games for Mobage. All games will be published by AQ Interactive. The veteran game designers include:

  • Keiji Inafune: Legendary game designer formerly employed at Capcom now working at his new games company Comcept will be creating an action game called J.J. Rockets. While listed as part of the Super Creators his first title out of Comcept will be The Island of Dr. Momo as announced in a joint press conference [J] with mobile gaming giant Gree. After Capcom cancelled Megaman Legends 3, fans are hoping Inafune will be allowed by Capcom to bring the franchise to mobile. Inafune is best known for Megaman, Dead Rising, Lost Planet, and Onimusha. He is an outspoken critic of the traditional Japanese games industry.
  • Suda51: An “auteur” video game designer Goichi Suda is known for his left-field concepts and direction, he will be making a social game based off of his well known series No More Heroes. Suda51’s surreal style has garnered a cultish fan base amongst hardcore gamers. His latest game Shadows of the Damned was met with mild reviews and sales.
  • Yuji Naka: Cited as one of the creators of the Sonic the Hedgehog series is working on an undisclosed game which will use positional data. After programming at Sega for 22 years he left the company in 2006 and founded an independent games studio named Prope.
  • Yoshifumi Hashimoto: Marvelous Entertainment game designer behind the franchises like Rune Factory, Hashimoto will be developing a game based off of his Harvest Moon franchise. Earlier this year AQ Interactive was merged into Marvelous Entertainment’s business operations.
  • Noritaka Funamizu: Game designer and producer from Crafts & Meister, Funamizu will be working on a new smartphone game called Nama-ge. He was formerly a designer and producer at Capcom, leading many of Capcom’s biggest titles including the Street Fighter series. He left Capcom in 2004 to found his new studio Crafts & Meister.
This “Super Creators” league adds some heavy hitting talent to the game development roster who’s lengthy experience in the industry can help bring high-quality titles to Mobage’s smartphone platform. There is no word on whether these titles will be used outside of Japan as DeNA shifts their aspirations globally – the games will no doubt cater to the tastes of many Japanese gamers who are probably already using the Mobage platform. While past games by Inafune, Naka, and Funamizu may be well-known, their latest games especially published through their newly founded studios have been embraced only by a small niche segment of the overseas gaming market. Still, there is a lot of potential in this line-up, and the games will most certainly be worth keeping an eye on.

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Dominic K. Gallello

Dominic Gallello is a Digital Strategist at Naked Communications Tokyo and Naked Play. You can follow him on twitter, or check out the Naked Play Blog