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1up interview with Hideki Kamiya (Capcom's greatest unique game designer)

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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The video is great, although a lot more information in the text with their interiew with Hideki Kamiya, creator of Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, and Okami.

Hideki Kamiya has created and only created 4 games:

He's batting a thousand (four for four)

RE2 91.7%
DMC 92.5%
VJ 91.4%
Okami 90%

*gamerankings*



http://1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=0&cId=3152880


(just an extremely small snippet of the interview)

HK = Hideki Kamiya

1UP: Since all of your games have been action games, for your third most influential game, tell us what action game -- besides your own -- that you rate the highest.

HK: Hmm, an amazing action game. Ah! The old Famicom Disc version of Dracula, which was the NES Castlevania in the U.S. Back then when I played it, the amount of detail that went into it, I feel the creator must have had a clear vision of what he wanted to do. Even when I saw the weapon, it wasn't a gun or anything that you'd normally see in a game, it was a whip. Even the stages themselves were becoming a story, you can see the clock tower where Dracula is supposed to be off in the distance. As you progress through, you're actually going into the castle, through the catacombs and waterways, going up and going down. It feels like it's telling a story, there aren't any extraneous elements that are just sitting there. Everything is in its place, and the level of vision the designer had was impressive.

1up: All of the games you've worked on, whether it was Resident Evil 2, or Devil May Cry, or Viewtiful Joe, or Okami, they're all, at their core, action games. Looking back, what would you say is the unifying "Kamiya factor" that defines each one. Meaning, what makes these games Hideki Kamiya games? Define the Kamiya Touch?

HK: I've heard this question before in some ways, where it's suggested that each game has a Kamiya "feel" to it, but I don't think it's anything special that makes it "mine." I'm not doing anything intentional to make it feel like a Kamiya game. However, I do go into the details of the games. I never leave the music up to the music team, for example. I don't say, "Oh, just make some music for this stage." I'll bring in CDs and say that this is the kind of music I want for this kind of scene. So because I don't leave any details out of my sight, I'm able to influence everything.

Since I'm just one guy, that personal touch probably filters into the game from different angles. That Dracula game I mentioned as my favorite action game. You can jump, but you can't change your jump in midair. While I really like that kind of game, that's not the kind of game I want to make. The kind of games I like to make are very responsive, the controller lets you do what you want to do. If you're in [midswing with a sword], but you want to be able to turn around and hit someone else, I want you to be able to do it with the controller, rather than having to endure it while you wait for the animation to finish. So maybe that's part of the Kamiya Touch as well. [...] One thing I do is make the character and what they can do first. For example, rather than making a game and putting a character like Dante in it, I'll make Dante and the fact that he can swing a sword -- jump around and do things like that -- and then build the game and enemies and traps around that, so that it fits the character. You make the character and what he can do first, that way you don't limit him.

1UP: Now I've got this mental image of you in a Japanese movie theater, with a bag of popcorn watching a sad movie, having your moment. I think if there's one thing that definitely defines your games, it's that they're all cool. Not like some Western-designed games that feel forced, that want to be extreme or cool. Like "let's put tattoos or ammo belts on the main character," or "Let's put an EA Trax Limp Bizkit-style rap-rock soundtrack on it." Your games are effortlessly cool. They're... Elvis cool. Even with Capcom's own games. Devil May Cry. Cool. Devil May Cry 2 [which Kamiya didn't work on] felt like they were trying too hard. Even with Okami, she's a wolf, but she's the coolest wolf you've ever played in a game. It feels genuinely cool. What's your idea of cool, since it finds its way into your games?

HK
: I feel the same way, with Western games where they feel like the designers were trying too hard. I get that feeling from them, and it goes back to that whole "logical versus feeling" way of making games. If you set out trying to make a character cool, it's not going to be cool because it's not natural, because you have to put stuff like a tattoo on to make it cool. If you look at Viewtiful Joe, he's this dude in red tights and a helmet. If you look at him naturally, he's not cool. But I wasn't trying to make him cool. I was trying to make him a fun character to play with, and that's probably why he's cool.

1up: [Focus Groups?]

HK: I think the whole focus-group thing is not the way to make a game, because you start to bring in other people's opinions and lose some of the originality. For Viewtiful Joe, we brought in some kids to a focus test and asked them, "What do you think of the characters?" And all the kids said, "Oh, his head's too big," or "Silvia's annoying, I just want to kill her." They were just trashing the game, so I just got pissed off and said I'm not changing anything.

1UP: So you don't have kids, I take it?

HK: No kids yet, but I'm going to have one soon at the end of the year. A little girl.

1UP: Okami was developed as a stand-alone game, but hopefully, if both Europe and North America buy the game in droves, would you give Amaterasu another shot and do a sequel?

HK: I feel like these games that I've made, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, these are all my babies. If there was a sequel, I'd definitely like to be the one doing it, it's like my child, so I'd like to see it grow. If there is a chance to make another Okami, I'd love the chance.

1UP: So you say that you've never had a chance to work on one of your own sequels. Was this a result of you wanting new challenges and deciding not to work on your own sequels, or was it an order issued from managerial types at Capcom for you to work on something else while someone else worked on a sequel?

HK: It's never been my decision where I said, "I don't want to make a sequel," and move on to something new. In my heart, I wish that either I could make the sequel, or that no sequel would be made at all. I don't want anybody else to touch it, it's like my baby. Devil May Cry 2 as an example, it didn't do so well. It's not that people can't live up to my expectations or anything like that.

1UP: I hated it. [Laughs]

HK: It's just that I'm the one that created it, so I want to be able to follow-up with it. It's like if you have a girlfriend, you either want to be dating her, or you don't want to see her with another guy. Whether she's happier or sadder like that, you just don't want to see her with another guy. You have this game, you created it, and of course you want to nurture it yourself.

1UP: If you could turn the clock back, knowing what you know now, what game -- if you could -- with the technology that you have now, the know-how you have now, which game would you do a sequel to now?

HK: Difficult question. Even if I'd turned back the clock, I know that these sequels have already existed at some point, so it kind of made me lose my interest in it, so it's kind of hard to decide. But personally, the shock of Devil May Cry 2 not being made by me was the biggest surprise. By the time Viewtiful Joe 2 was being made, I was already used to the shock of having a sequel done by someone else, but with DMC2 it was a big deal.

1UP:
Were you hurt by that, or were you working on another project when Capcom came to you and said, "Hey, we're doing a sequel to DMC?"

HK: It was a pretty big shock, so what was happening at the time was we were finishing up the localization on Devil May Cry for other territories, like North America and other last minute details, when a planner from another group came down to talk to me and said, "Can you show me the scenario and design doc for the first game?" And I asked why, and he said, "Because I'm making the second one." I was thinking, "I can't make the second game? What's going on here?" I was almost afraid of getting fired.

Devil May Cry originally started out as Resident Evil 3, but it turned into DMC because it was so different, and we lost a year of development time. So I thought maybe I was screwing things up and that Capcom wanted to fire me, which would explain why I couldn't do DMC2, because the news came as such a surprise to me.

1UP:
I'm amazed that Capcom wouldn't know to keep you on the series. I remember getting my hands on the first Devil May Cry at Capcom's Sunnyvale offices in California, and I was just blown away by it. It's still one of the best games on the PlayStation 2. It's surprising that they would fail to recognize where the talent was when green-lighting the sequel.

HK: From a company perspective, I can imagine how they would think about it. From their perspective, they don't just want to have an intellectual property that relies on one person forever, they want to be able to balance it out and probably have multiple people who can make the game. They probably envision that when they're selling the product, and it doesn't matter who makes it. They might have had that in mind. They didn't realize though that DMC1 was DMC1 because of the people who worked on it. Rather, it's just a product to whomever can make the second one. It was probably a bit of a mistake there.

If you think about movies and things, and you have a movie with a famous director, and the second one changes to a different director, people start wondering, "Uh oh, what's happening here? Will the second one be as good?" But with videogames, when the director doesn't return for the follow-up, those same switches turn off. As long as people see a "2" on the game, they think it'll be the same as "1." I'd love for gamers to look at the games more carefully and realize who's making them. That would help a lot.

(anyway there's a lot more at the link to 1up -- it was a 3 hour interview indeed)
 
Sep 27, 2005
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I like Hideki, from what he says he seems like a pretty smart guy. Didn't know him before though. What else did he work in?
 

Zenith

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Feb 17, 2006
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Devil May Cry originally started out as Resident Evil 3, but it turned into DMC because it was so different, and we lost a year of development time.

Resident Evil 4. Might want to catch that typo before you spark off a bunch of rumours.
 

ZeoVGM

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Feb 2, 2006
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Capcom is the best 3rd party developer of last gen.

oh yeah and the best 3rd party developer of all time
 

Elios83

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Jun 30, 2004
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Ummmm weird.......I remember he left the Devil May Cry series because he decided to follow Mikami and his 'only on Gamecube' crusade with the original Production Studio 4 team.
Learning that Capcom didn't want him to make the sequel after the critical and commercial success to put it in Tanaka's hands seems unbelievable.
 

jarrod

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Jun 6, 2004
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Zenith said:
Resident Evil 4. Might want to catch that typo before you spark off a bunch of rumours.
It could've "started" as RE3 given the RE3 we got was started as a side game.
 

Elios83

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jarrod said:
It could've "started" as RE3 given the RE3 we got was started as a side game.

DMC was supposed to be the first RE for PS2 so I don't think so.It's a typo.
It's just that GAF and hardcore gamers have much better memory and interest in small details than developers :D :D
 

Zenith

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Feb 17, 2006
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jarrod said:
It could've "started" as RE3 given the RE3 we got was started as a side game.

That was Mikami's game though. It was him that wanted to make re3 a small side-story then the team got cold feet about it not having any previous game characters. It's been stated by multiple capcom execs that the re4 build that started on PS2 turned into DMC because it was so different.
 

black_13

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I also semi remember him saying that he never would do sequals because they were not as important to him or something like that.

Regardless he's one of the most under appreciated developers these days. Solid hit after another.
 

jarrod

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Jun 6, 2004
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Zenith said:
That was Mikami's game though. It was him that wanted to make re3 a small side-story then the team got cold feet about it not having any previous game characters. It's been stated by multiple capcom execs that the re4 build that started on PS2 turned into DMC because it was so different.
Actually, I thought Mikami wanted Code Veronica to be the "real" RE3, and Nemesis got the title rather late in it's production cycle?
 

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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Elios83 said:
Ummmm weird.......I remember he left the Devil May Cry series because he decided to follow Mikami and his 'only on Gamecube' crusade with the original Production Studio 4 team.
Learning that Capcom didn't want him to make the sequel after the critical and commercial success to put it in Tanaka's hands seems unbelievable.

You can't argue with words coming out of Kamiya's own mouth -- I used to think that way as well.

He basically said Capcom management say DMC's sales figures before it was released (hype train) they had another studio start DMC2 before Kamiya and Mikami were even done with part 1. That's why Kamiya thought he might have been fired or some shit since he figured he was the shoe-in director for part 2.

And who don't know if it's a type-o (milky clear this up)
 

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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ichigo kurosaki said:
What else did he work in?


That's it -- thats what makes him so awesome, he's four for four.

RE2 91.7%
DMC 92.5%
VJ 91.4%
Okami 90%

*gamerankings*


The man has no failure. He probably has one of the highest scoring games ratio -- up there with Kojima.
 

Elios83

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C- Warrior said:
You can't argue with words coming out of Kamiya's own mouth -- I used to think that way as well.

He basically said Capcom management say DMC's sales figures before it was released (hype train) they had another studio start DMC2 before Kamiya and Mikami were even done with part 1. That's why Kamiya thought he might have been fired or some shit since he figured he was the shoe-in director for part 2.

And who don't know if it's a type-o (milky clear this up)

I don't know,Tanaka wasn't even a game designer at that time,I think he was in the gaming press :lol :lol It seems definetly weird but at the same time I don't think he would lie about his own decisions.
 

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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Surreal said:
Did he do DMC3?

No, but head of translation (Ben Judd) over at Capcom JPN made a post and near exact quote "No, Kamiya is not the director of DMC3 but this time around he's helping the director out and checking it."
 

Cheerilee

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Apr 14, 2005
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Hideki Kamiya said:
Hmm, an amazing action game. Ah! The old Famicom Disc version of Dracula, which was the NES Castlevania in the U.S. Back then when I played it, the amount of detail that went into it, I feel the creator must have had a clear vision of what he wanted to do. Even when I saw the weapon, it wasn't a gun or anything that you'd normally see in a game, it was a whip. Even the stages themselves were becoming a story, you can see the clock tower where Dracula is supposed to be off in the distance. As you progress through, you're actually going into the castle, through the catacombs and waterways, going up and going down. It feels like it's telling a story, there aren't any extraneous elements that are just sitting there. Everything is in its place, and the level of vision the designer had was impressive.
So even Capcom employees can't remember who was responsible for what in their old classics.

If you think about movies and things, and you have a movie with a famous director, and the second one changes to a different director, people start wondering, "Uh oh, what's happening here? Will the second one be as good?" But with videogames, when the director doesn't return for the follow-up, those same switches turn off. As long as people see a "2" on the game, they think it'll be the same as "1." I'd love for gamers to look at the games more carefully and realize who's making them. That would help a lot.
Look who's talking! Go back and find out who designed the levels in Castlevania for us. Then send him over to Iga's division.
 

Bebpo

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Jun 7, 2004
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Doom_Bringer said:
but he is doing DMC4 right?

No?

ruby_onix said:
So even Capcom employees can't remember who was responsible for what in their old classics.


Look who's talking! Go back and find out who designed the levels in Castlevania for us. Then send him over to Iga's division.

Capcom made Castlevania?
 

[Nintex]

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ruby_onix said:
So even Capcom employees can't remember who was responsible for what in their old classics.


Look who's talking! Go back and find out who designed the levels in Castlevania for us. Then send him over to Iga's division.
Capcom has nothing to do with castlevania:lol
 

kenta

Has no PEINS
Jan 27, 2005
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I got Viewtiful Joe in anticipation of Okami but it got so freaking old, the combat was horribly shallow. I loved the art and the humor but it felt like it was missing something, I just don't know. I still have a hard time understanding why people praise the game so much.
 

Zenith

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Feb 17, 2006
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Elios83 said:
No he's working on a new Clover project (supposedely on Ps3) now, DMC4 is being made by Inaba.

No, Inaba is working on God Hand with Mikami. DMC4 is being made by Itsuno again. I guess they thought DMC3 cancelled out DMC2. They've got Kobayashi riding shotgun though so it should be fine.
 

Elios83

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Doom_Bringer said:
Clover is making a PS3 game? :lol One would imagine them making Wii games

Yup,Clover is on board as a PS3 developer (not that this prevents them from making games on other platforms of course).
 

cvxfreak

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[Nintex] said:
3 of the Capcom 5 were ported to PS2 and 1 got cancelled, im sure Capcom wont jump on the Wii train anytime soon.

They announced Resident Evil on the Wii, and Minoru Nakai (from the Oni 3 team) is working on a Wii game that isn't RE.
 

cvxfreak

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[Nintex] said:
I knew about the Re game, any more info on the other project?

Well, not really. It's supposed to make use of the Wii's unique capabilities as a testing ground for future Capcom games. In fact the same interview stated that trying his new game made more sense than bringing RE to the console, but E3 changed things.
 

Mama Smurf

My penis is still intact.
Jun 9, 2004
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Jesus Christ, DMC wank-a-thon. "Oh, you made RE2, Okami and Viewtiful Joe too, did you? That's...great. Ok, back to DMC..."
 

Brobzoid

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May 8, 2006
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DMC is great though. can't deny it. my fav ps2 game. But I have a feeling God Hand is gonna pass it.... hopefully ;)
 

Kittonwy

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Zenith said:
That was Mikami's game though. It was him that wanted to make re3 a small side-story then the team got cold feet about it not having any previous game characters. It's been stated by multiple capcom execs that the re4 build that started on PS2 turned into DMC because it was so different.

Kamiya directed RE2 which was the best-selling RE of all time, so it's natural that Kamiya gets the chance to develop RE4, fortunately something happens and it evolved into DMC which action gamers love.
 

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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Elios83 said:
Uh? DMC2 and DMC3 were directed by Tanaka afaik.

Tsuyoshi Tanaka did not direct DMC3, he's a producer for Capcom Production Studio 1.

It usually runs down as follows -- but these are the main producers from the various Capcom games (that get published in EU and NA that is)

Tsuyoshi Tanaka / Tetsuya Minami (studio 1)
Keiji Inafune (studio 2) -- although he's general head of all R&D
Hiroyuki Kobayashi (studio 4)
Astushi Inaba (clover)
 

Kittonwy

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Zenith said:
No, Inaba is working on God Hand with Mikami. DMC4 is being made by Itsuno again. I guess they thought DMC3 cancelled out DMC2. They've got Kobayashi riding shotgun though so it should be fine.

I think Itsuno pretty much figured it out after the disaster that was DMC2, DMC3 really was an example where Itsuno applied what he knew best, all his SFA3/Power Stone vibe went into DMC3.

That said, Kamiya is really better off doing new IPs, that's what he's great at, he's a pioneer.
 

C- Warrior

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Feb 27, 2005
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Mama Smurf said:
"Oh, you made RE2, Okami and Viewtiful Joe too, did you? That's...great. Ok, back to DMC..."

The video interview talks more Okami. Majority of the text though is actually about DMC. But really -- what is Kamiya known for. RE2 is probably the greatest RE for the longest time -- sure, but he didn't create the series. Kamiya created DMC, redefined action games to such a degree most agree God of War, Ninja Gaiden, or any other post DMC released action game wouldn't be the same. David Jaffe came out and flat out admitted that, but I doubt Itagaki would.

Kittonwy said:
I think Itsuno pretty much figured it out after the disaster that was DMC2, DMC3 really was an example where Itsuno applied what he knew best, all his SFA3/Power Stone vibe went into DMC3.

That said, Kamiya is really better off doing new IPs, that's what he's great at, he's a pioneer.

Itsuno didn't helm DMC2 for it's entire project though., nor did Tanaka. The director and producer switched out mid-way through development. Itsuno and Tanaka came onboard during the last 'publicity' year (the year where you the one E3 and TGS showing before it released Jan 2003). And I think it's common sense, Itsuno was involved with nearly all the SF3's, the "vs" titles, and the Powerstones. He's a good director -- but more slanted towards hardcore gamers.
 

Mama Smurf

My penis is still intact.
Jun 9, 2004
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Well I always think of VJ when his name is mentioned, but then I love that game so that's no surprise. And RE2 is an old-style RE, therefore poo.

kidding

though I do hate old-style REs
 

ghostlyjoe

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kenta said:
I got Viewtiful Joe in anticipation of Okami but it got so freaking old, the combat was horribly shallow. I loved the art and the humor but it felt like it was missing something, I just don't know. I still have a hard time understanding why people praise the game so much.

Take that back!!

Red Hot One Hundred ... over and over ... without end. I love the game, though.