DUBAI: Japanese video game creator Kazutaka Kodaka is the creator and scenario writer of the Danganronpa series. He is a former employee of Spike Chunsoft and the co-founder of Too Kyo Games game developer studio.
Exclusively to Arab News Japan, Kodaka shared his inspiration for video games: “Originally, I was studying films at university. Around that time, the expression of games, like Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid improved dramatically, and as being a gamer, I began to be aware of the genre of games.”
“After graduating from university, I participated in the production of the movie part of Clock Tower 3 directed by Kinji Fukasaku, movie director, and it became even more interested in the genre of games. Furthermore, I was surprised that game expression could be done so far with Killer 7 and ICO,” he added.
“There is no critical factor for this, but I’m influenced by all the game works I’ve played with, and I would like to create works that go beyond that,” he told Arab News Japan.
About the establishment of his career in video game industry, Kodaka said: “I seriously started working on games when I was 25, so it was about 18 years ago. The thing I decided when I go to the game industry is to make my own original work.”
“In Japan, I thought there is a higher chance to be able to do that I would go to the game industry than to be in the movie industry. This was the deciding factor.”
“My first project as I mentioned earlier was Clock Tower 3. It was a game that Kinji Fukasaku, who had also an influence on Quentin Tarantino worked on a movie director. I was participating as his assistant director,” he added.
Kodaka is known for creating Danganronpa video game series, he shared with Arab News Japan the story of creating the video game series: “Danganronpa wasn’t originally the expected title. The budget was about 100 to 200 million yen, and the number of staff was small. Moreover, only troublemakers who wanted to quit the company gathered. At first, I didn’t expect it to sell, and I didn’t expect it to be sold all over the world, but anyway, I decided to make it a work that incorporates what I like, and I have our own way.”
“The number of units sold wasn’t that good at first, but it grew due to user reviews, and as a result, people all over the world were able to play with it, so I thought it was unbelievable. In that sense, the first work of the Danganronpa series is very memorable. It’s a game work that changed my life.”
“In the first Danganronpa, the theme was hope and despair, but the story progressed only within the school and did not thoroughly depict the outside world. This is because of my feeling that despair and hope depend on your heart,” he added.
Kodaka is known for being one of the founders for Too Kyo Games that established in 2017, he said about the company: “The company established mainly by me, Rui Komatsuzaki, who was the character designer of Danganronpa, Masafumi Takada, who made music for Danganronpa, No More Heroes, Killer 7, and Kotaro Uchikoshi, the director of the ZERO Escape series. We are working on original IP works such as TV games and animations.”
“Akudama Drive” was an anime series collaboration between Too Kyo Games & Pierrot Studio that was released in Japan in 2020, Kazutaka Kodaka shared with Arab News Japan the story of creating the anime series: “Yoshihiko Tominaga, the producer of Studio Piero, and I were same grade at the university, and the event that led to us starting the project, we talked about making the original work together”.
“I have been planning the project since 2014. Both I and Tominaga love the 90’s crime movies from Quentin Tarantino, so it became an animation that added a cyberpunk taste to it,” he added.
“Tribe Nine” is one of Too Kyo Games latest multimedia franchise projects for this year, Kazutaka Kodaka shared with Arab News Japan the story of creating the project:” The story is set in the land of Neo-Tokyo, fictional depiction of Tokyo’s central 23 cities, where outlaw groups called ‘Tribes’ have formed, one in each city using a dueling method called ‘extreme baseball’ based on baseball, battling each other staking their pride on the line.”
“Extreme baseball is a flashy action filled with battles using weapons and tools called gear that takes place in an entire city. Each tribe also has its own exaggerated characteristics, like the ultimate in Danganronpa”.
“Tribe Nine is the project being developed as an anime and a game for smartphones, and the anime has been recently broadcasting in Japan. The game is still under development,” he added.
“Enigma Archives: RAIN CODE” is the upcoming video game that was announced in November 2021 and it’s being developed by Too Kyo Games and Spike Chunsoft, Kodaka said about the new video game project: “As for the detailed story, I can’t tell you yet since it hasn’t revealed yet; however, it is a mystery game that you have to solve the mystery of a murder case. I’m working on this game with the development team of Danganronpa of Spike Chunsoft again where I used to work for.”
“It’s a blockbuster mystery game that has already taken five years to develop. We’ll be announcing a lot more about it sometime this year, so please look forward to it!” he added.
Regarding his upcoming projects in the near future, Kodaka said: “For now, the two games above will be the main focus of my future work. However, I’ve started to work on another game already, so I’d like to announce it at some point as well.”