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Katsuhiro Harada/Bandai Namco Is Making Its Most Expensive Game To Date

kingpotato

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Katsuhiro Harada, most well known for his work on the Tekken fighting series, is heading up development for a new project at Bandai Namco that just might have the highest development budget in the company's history.

Harata, who currently serves as general manager, director, and producer, for Bandai Namco, recently hinted at the new project during the "Piro Live! New Year’s Eve Special 2021" livestream event (translation via Gematsu). While he didn't reveal any specifics about what the game is, aside from saying it's not a fighting game, Harata did express surprise that company higher-ups approved a project of this scale.

"Well, honestly I think this might be the most costly development project in Bandai Namco history,” Harada said during the event. "I think its incredible that the higher-ups approved of this. Well, the approval has passed, its just that due to the coronavirus, we haven’t really been able to properly start the project."

When we'll learn more about this new project is currently unknown. As is just how expensive this new game is. It's worth pointing out, according to the market research company Newzoo, Bandai Namco is the third largest video game maker in Japan, behind only Sony and Nintendo. It currently develops and/or publishes series such as Dark Souls, Smash Bros., Tekken, and Soul Calibur. It's also publisher of Elden Ring, FromSoftware's next game, and the winner of "Most Anticipated" game at the 2020 Game Awards.

Additionally, Harata revealed that aside from this new project, he is working on new games that aren't fighting games. He also added that he doesn't think he'll work on a fighting game series that isn't Tekken in the future. In the past, Harata served as producer on the Pokemon fighting games Pokkén Tournament and Pokkén Tournament DX, released in 2015 and 2017, respectively. He also directed Tekken 7, released in arcades in 2015 and on consoles in 2017.

For more on Harata and his work, check out our review of Tekken 7. We also have two different interviews with Harada from 2017 you can read, such as how he tries to keep Tekken relevant and his role in Dragon Ball FighterZ.
 

Kacho

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Nice. Hopefully we can get back to some semblance of normal next year. If they haven’t started it yet we probably won’t see it until 2024 at the earliest. Please be excited.
 

killatopak

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Only they're not, as Harada-san says clearly that they haven't properly started the project. It has only been greenlit.

Leave it to Game Informer not to be able to read simple English since someone else did the translation for them. Also lol at calling him "Harata." 🤦‍♂️
Project hasn’t started but they probably already have an allocated budget for production and advertisement.
 
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Abriael_GN

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Doesn’t matter. The project is greenlit and it’s the most expensive one to date. Only reason it actually hasn’t really started is covid but for all intents and purposes this project is already a done deal.

Nothing is a "done deal" in game development. That's ridiculous that you're even saying that lol. The number of greenlit projects that don't even go past the planning phase is above that of games that get released.

The correct wording would have been "Bandai Namco is planning to make its most expensive game to date" but that would require the writer to have actual expertise even beyond the apparently herculean task of being able to spell a famous developer's name. 😂
 
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killatopak

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Nothing is a "done deal" in game development. That's ridiculous that you're even saying that lol. The number of greenlit projects that don't even go past the planning phase is above that of games that get released.

The correct wording would have been "Bandai Namco is planning to make its most expensive game to date" but that would require the writer to have actual expertise even beyond the apparently herculean task of being able to spell a famous developer's name. 😂
Done deal in my case is the game will be made.

I don’t care if it never gets released or axed half way as that is something that I’ll never be able to predict.

Planning to make as a headline doesn’t really cut it as all the planning has been made. I don’t know what in the english language is the phase between planning and making cause I sure as hell don’t know. Besides all these are petty nitpicks. The bigger deal is being ignored with it being the biggest budget game Bandai Namco has ever allocated to.
 

Abriael_GN

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Done deal in my case is the game will be made.

I don’t care if it never gets released or axed half way as that is something that I’ll never be able to predict.

Planning to make as a headline doesn’t really cut it as all the planning has been made. I don’t know what in the english language is the phase between planning and making cause I sure as hell don’t know. Besides all these are petty nitpicks. The bigger deal is being ignored with it being the biggest budget game Bandai Namco has ever allocated to.

You're making a lot of assumptions.

There's nothing in what Harada-san says (and I listened to the whole thing in Japanese which I understand, not just the partial quote) that suggests that the game is already past the planning phase. The planning phase is separate from greenlighting and comes after that, and before active production. The planning phase of a video game's development isn't just "hey, let's make this game and let's budget X dollars for it." It includes prototyping, concepting, laying down the game's basic mechanics, and much more.

A game that has just been greenlit hasn't even entered the first stage of development, and assuming that it will be made at all is simply incorrect. The "bigger deal" you assume ain't that big of a deal until we see something, considering that Bandai Namco isn't exactly known for big-budget games for its internal development. Bigger than small ain't necessarily that big.
 
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killatopak

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There's nothing in what Harada-san says (and I listened to the whole thing in Japanese which I understand, not just the partial quote) that suggests that the game is already past the planning phase. The planning phase is separate from greenlighting and comes after that, and before active production. The planning phase of a video game's development isn't just "hey, let's make this game and let's budget X dollars for it."

A game that has just been greenlit hasn't even entered the first stage of development, and assuming that it will be made at all is simply incorrect. The "bigger deal" you assume ain't that big of a deal until we see something, considering that Bandai Namco isn't exactly known for big-budget games for its internal development. Bigger than small ain't necessarily that big.
I think it depends whether or not they consider third party contractual games such as Smash to be included in the list of games they compare the budget to. Also if the budget is bigger than Dark Souls and more importantly Elden Ring who has George Martin with it, it’s definitely worth looking forward to.
 

Abriael_GN

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I think it depends whether or not they consider third party contractual games such as Smash to be included in the list of games they compare the budget to. Also if the budget is bigger than Dark Souls and more importantly Elden Ring who has George Martin with it, it’s definitely worth looking forward to.
Games created for other publishers aren't relevant because it's the other publisher that foots the bill. Fromsoftware's games are also irrelevant because Bandai Namco is publisher only for the west. FromSoftware self-publishes most of its own games and Bandai Namco distributes them overseas with the exclusion of Selkiro. It's no different than Bandai Namco publishing Cyberpunk 2077 in Europe. CD projekt is still paying for development.

I'm thinking one of the examples of "big-ish budget" for Bandai Namco may be Ace Combat 7 due to its lengthy development, but even then, Team Aces is a small team, so the budget is still smaller than a lot of games that have been in dev for similar periods.
 
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ArtemisClydeFrog

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Only they're not, as Harada-san says clearly that they haven't properly started the project. It has only been greenlit.

Leave it to Game Informer not to be able to read simple English since someone else did the translation for them. Also lol at calling him "Harata." 🤦‍♂️

I know most game "journalists" are trash and not worth being taken seriously but this is a weird hill to die on. He said they haven't properly started the project, but it's been approved and it will be their most expensive game to date. Obviously some work has been done on the project, because it exists.
 

Abriael_GN

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I know most game "journalists" are trash and not worth being taken seriously but this is a weird hill to die on. He said they haven't properly started the project, but it's been approved and it will be their most expensive game to date. Obviously some work has been done on the project, because it exists.

A project that has been greenlit does not imply that any work has actually been done on it. There's nothing in what Harada-san says that indicates that, not even in the part that has not been quoted.

No one's dying on any hill. It's just annoying that people can't properly frame a story based on what a developer actually said.
 
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ArtemisClydeFrog

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A project that has been greenlit does not imply that any work has actually been done on it. There's nothing in what Harada-san says that indicates that, not even in the part that has not been quoted.

No one's dying on any hill. It's just annoying that people can't properly frame a story based on what a developer actually said.

So nobody's worked on ANYTHING related to the project? No story draft, pictures, whatever? The project wasn't greenlit out of thin air, and Bandai isn't going to fund their most expensive project ever if there's been absolutely nothing to show their ideas for the game.
 

Abriael_GN

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So nobody's worked on ANYTHING related to the project? No story draft, pictures, whatever? The project wasn't greenlit out of thin air, and Bandai isn't going to fund their most expensive project ever if there's been absolutely nothing to show their ideas for the game.

Especially in Japan projects are usually greenlit based on presentations. The work done on them is minimal, which is obvious considering that a game that has not been greenlit doesn't have a budget, so you can't pay developers to do any actual development. That phase can't really be defined as development or "making" the game in any form. That comes after the planning phase, which comes after it has been greenlit.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much the standard for large sites like Game Informer that cover the Japanese industry without any competence only when it's a really slow news day (it actually wasn't, but I don't expect them to even notice the many other news that came out today from Japan about games that are actually being made and aren't just projects with a budget) and simply pick what's essentially the partial translation of a partial summary from other sites without doing any due diligence verification or even bothering to give credit to the site that was translated (Gamestalk in this case). Lots of red flags here. Sorry not sorry, but it annoys me. The lack of proper crediting for Gamestalk is especially egregious, and it isn't the first time I see them do this. They sure did not refrain from spamming six links to their own website, but couldn't spare one for the website that actually broke the story. That's fucked up.
 
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Impotaku

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This is why flops happen, people need to stop fucking hyping things before it's even started. By the time something releases it stands no chance of satisfying gamers over the top expectation. Hype turns toxic pretty easy lol look at cyberjunk.
 

Abriael_GN

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This is why flops happen, people need to stop fucking hyping things before it's even started. By the time something releases it stands no chance of satisfying gamers over the top expectation. Hype turns toxic pretty easy lol look at cyberjunk.

He was just sitting around in a new year party livestream having drinks and chatting with other developers. A lot of smack talk gets thrown around at these things, especially when Hiroshi Matsuyama is hosting. I would classify this as idle chat more than intentional hyping. I'm not even sure he was sober lol.
 
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Komatsu

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I'm thinking one of the examples of "big-ish budget" for Bandai Namco may be Ace Combat 7 due to its lengthy development, but even then, Team Aces is a small team, so the budget is still smaller than a lot of games that have been in dev for similar periods.

It'd be nice to get some news about the next AC game but Kono has been very tight-lipped... I assume that since Harada is the one involved that this has nothing to do with Project Aces.
 

Elios83

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Summer Lessons for PSVR 2 :messenger_tears_of_joy:
With the power of PS5 and the next gen headset these lessons will be unforgettable.
 
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