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Did you see the trailer for the new Devil May Cry?
TS: Yes, I saw it.
What do you think? [laughs]
TS: [laughs] I am very looking forward to it.
Did you know it's being developed in England?
TS: Yeah. I know.
I'm sure you know [Capcom's Hideaki] Itsuno-san. He's working on it too.
TS: I used to work for him.
Right. [laughs] I figured. [Conversational pause] Don't want to comment, I'm guessing? [laughs]
TS: [laughs] We're not a strong company compared to Capcom and other companies, so we can't just really say anything.
TS: Well, one thing I will say is, if I were satisfied with other action games, I would have stopped making action games. When I played God of War, I was kind of surprised because that was very high quality.
I also think BioShock was a very good one. I think BioShock has a lot of romanticism. I think that game was very dramatic, and very interactive.
It also had really good art direction.
TS: Yes. It's very nice.
Have you played Bayonetta?
TS: I beat the game.
Are you friends with the guys at Platinum Games as well? Obviously, you worked with some of them, too.
TS: The director, [Hideki] Kamiya-san, he just came here yesterday, and he played El Shaddai. I used to work with him.
What did Kamiya have to say about El Shaddai?
TS: Kamiya loved it. He actually visited Twitter, and he wrote a lot of comments about El Shaddai. Kamiya also gave the dev team comments. He says "El Shaddai was very enjoyable, so please doing the good work and finish the game."
[Sawaki shows Gamasutra an iPhone video of Kamiya speaking to the El Shaddai team.]
That's awesome. You're going to play that for the team when you get back to the office?
That's great. I know you guys used to work together, but there is a reputation in Japan that different companies or even different teams in the same company don't communicate. There's not as much of a culture of going back and forth, working together, collaborating or even just being friendly between teams.
TS: I think those big creators, if they succeed in making very good games -- high quality games -- then maybe they could become friendlier.
I don't know if you've been to or heard of GDC. It's like CEDEC. You know, Game Developers Conference. You have CEDEC here. Those kinds of things are much more common, and people in America share information very freely. I think that would probably help a lot in Japan, but I get the impression it's not so common.
TS: I think Japanese people are kind of shy, so we don't really tend to share all the information, compared to American people.
I was surprised when I realized that, because this company has given me a lot of experience working with people from other countries, I'm more able to communicate with people at other companies.
And I think, for example, Americans, or English people, are very straightforward, and they insist their opinions as much as they can. I think that's very different from the Japanese.
Do you think it's helping you make a better game? Or was it hard to get used to?
TS: I honestly am right in between those situations. I just don't know if it works for me or if it doesn't work for me. Because I have my own idea, and now... I have to accept a lot of other ideas coming from other companies or the UK office. So, I'm just struggling with what's good for me.
The amount of budget that it requires to make a game these days seems to make it really difficult. That's why you have to listen to other people because you have to sell as many copies as possible, right? And that makes it hard to pursue one vision.
TS: I have been putting a lot of effort to convince people for us to make what we want to make, but as you said, you know, the budget maybe is coming from... Half of the "direction" I have been doing is convincing other people.
Well, the upside of it, is if you didn't have that much money, you couldn't make a game that looks that good, right?
TS: Yeah, otherwise I can't really make this kind of big title game.