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Keiichiro Toyama, director of Silent Hill and the Gravity Rush series, has announced his departure from Sony’s Japan Studio to form new company Bokeh.
Toyama has formed the new company along with Junya Okura, lead designer on the Gravity Rush series, and Kazunobu Sato, lead designer of 2013’s Puppeteer, who have left Sony following nearly two decades of service.
The director has claimed that “many people we’ve worked with in the past” are also planning to join the startup.
Bokeh’s first title will be an action-adventure game of similar scale to his past work, it said. A new video published on Thursday offers glimpses at concept art, suggesting that the new game will include horror elements.
“I want to enjoy creating from now on,” Toyama said. “Many people we’ve worked with in the past are joining us too. I’m convinced that we’ll be able to deliver something everyone will enjoy.
“First I want to fulfil our fans’ expectations, but at the same time, I want to go back and enjoy how fun it is to make games. I want to share that feeling to the players. This is what I’ll aim for from now on.”
Asked by Famitsu about his previous franchises Siren and Gravity Rush, the director said he intended to build a good relationship with Sony and could work on them again in the future, should the two companies’ interests align.
The veteran creators’ departures from Sony follow a November Bloomberg report which claimed that its home territory of Japan had been increasingly “sidelined”, as the corporation placed more importance on the US market.
PlayStation’s Japan Studio, which co-developed games such as Bloodborne, Astro’s Playroom and The Last Guardian, has seen the rolling contracts of many of its creators not renewed, former employees reportedly told Bloomberg, and developer support teams have also allegedly been reduced by as much as a third from their peak.
Responding to the Bloomberg report, Sony spokeswoman Natsumi Atarashi said “our home market remains of utmost importance” and claimed that any suggestion Sony was shifting its focus away from Japan was incorrect and “doesn’t reflect the company’s strategy”.