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Takahashi's Departure From Namco Bandai Confirmed
Takahashi's Departure From Namco Bandai Confirmed
September 8, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

September 8, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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Cult-favorite designer Keita Takahashi has left publisher Namco Bandai. The Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy creator's exit from the publisher has been long-rumored, and his candid disappointment with the game industry fairly widely-publicized, but the company has now confirmed Takahashi's departure officially.

A Namco Bandai spokesperson gave official comment to consumer site Play.tm, not long after an interview with Takahashi emerged in which he referred to the publisher as a "so-so company". However, he wasn't any more laudatory of his own work: "I am so inefficient I only made four games in 11 years," he said.

Takahashi is known to be working on a children's playground design project located in Nottingham, UK.

Beyond that, it's unknown if he'll take on further work in the game industry; in fact, last month he told Official PlayStation Magazine that he is "actually not thinking about a future in games... I want to try lots of different things."

"At E3 I saw people putting on speeches, but I thought the future seemed a bit dark," he informed OPM, as reprinted in its sister website C&VG. "The 3D games didn't spark my interest... I think motion control's a bit old now, I don't think those games are the future. It all seemed a bit dull."

Takahashi's Katamari Damacy became an unexpected hit when it arrived on PlayStation 2 in 2004. The odd game, in which players use the PS2's twin analog sticks to roll an assortment of objects great and small into a brightly-colored, sticky ball, gained widespread acclaim.

It was praised as much for its gleeful silliness -- poppy Japanese soundtrack, rainbows galore and an off-kilter and effete 'King Of All Cosmos' character to instruct the player -- as it was for its gameplay, engaging yet deceptively simple.

Multiplatform sequels to Katamari Damacy, such as We Love Katamari, were never as widely well-received as the game's initial installment. Takahashi followed up Katamari in 2009 with Noby Noby Boy, a PlayStation Network title intended to focus the player on unstructured play.

The game, which was released on iOS platforms less than a year later, stars Boy, a four-legged, striped creature whose front and back ends can be moved independently, so players can stretch him out. The title's only goal is for players to collectively contribute length to Girl, Boy's counterpart in space. Many mainstream critics and gamers were unsure what to make of it, but it gained darling status among Takahashi fans and those with an affinity for offbeat games.


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