The former Resident Evil series director said in the latest issue of Japanese magazine Famitsu – transcribed by VGC – that he wants people to stop associating the studio with a single genre, and that there are plans to make non-horror games in the future.
“I hope to eventually change the image that Tango Gameworks currently has,” Mikami explained in the interview. “At the moment, we are still seen as a studio that specialises only in survival horror.
“Of course, it’s nice to have fans think of us as a studio with a reputation for developing survival horror games. But we also want to be viewed as a studio that can create a wider variety of games. We will be releasing more and more new games in the future, starting with Ghostwire: Tokyo, so please give us your support.”
Mikami drove this point home later in the interview by discussing an upcoming game being led by John Johanas, the director of The Evil Within 2, revealing that it isn’t a horror title. Mikami had previously confirmed that Johanas was working on a new game, but hadn’t given further information on it until now.
“John Johanas, who directed the DLC for The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2, is working on a completely new title that is the complete opposite of horror,” he told Famitsu. “It’s a really good game, so keep your eyes peeled.”
Mikami also stressed that he doesn’t consider Ghostwire: Tokyo – the studio’s third game after The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2 – to be a horror game either.
“Some people may feel that Ghostwire: Tokyo has a bit of a horror feel to it,” he said. “But make no mistake, Ghostwire: Tokyo is not a horror game. It is an arcade-style action-adventure game.
“Even if I explained it like that, you might still be thinking, ‘No, after The Evil Within series?’ But it’s pure action, as you freely explore a deserted Tokyo while defeating enemies.”
Following Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda parent ZeniMax last year, Tango is now officially an Xbox first-party developer.
And in the Famitsu interview, Mikami said he doesn’t want Tango to be focused only on big-budget, AAA titles going forwards. He wants to see the studio making smaller games too, partly because he feels it’s easier to train newcomers in smaller teams.
When asked about his goals for Tango, Mikami answered: “First of all, we should produce a masterpiece every ten years. Secondly, we want young people to create new games on their own. We also want to nurture good game creators.
“Although we are a studio that makes games, we also want it to have the aspect of a game school where staff can learn how to make games. We want to make it a place where you can grow as a creator and develop your skills and core while working from the bottom up.”
He added: “To be honest, it is quite difficult to train newcomers in a large team. I think the most effective way is to run several game development teams of several dozen people.
“In recent years, commercial considerations have meant that we have had to develop in large teams. However, thanks to the emergence of game subscription services over the past few years, we feel that it is now possible to make games on a smaller scale.
“It is possible to gain experience in a small team and then get involved in a big project. This way, we can make even better games and projects can proceed more smoothly.”
Ghostwire: Tokyo will be released on Friday for PS5 and PC. VGC’s Ghostwire: Tokyo review called it a “memorable but flawed horror-action game”, saying its unique setting was let down by repetitive gameplay.
“At times it feels like the game’s incredible art direction, music and visual style deserve a game that’s better mechanically, but when it all comes together, Ghostwire Tokyo is one of the more memorable recent games in the triple-A space, if you can ignore its gameplay stumbles,” we wrote.