MAking Games is a long way off – five years or more, mostly, from conception to actual release – and Kenji Kimura wanders the streets of Tokyo for inspiration on the game he runs, Ghostwire: Tokyo. As he walks through the back alleys of Shibuya, he imagines the city’s modern architecture rubbing against old temples and traditional houses, leaving people in Tokyo empty by a mysterious event; How it will be, how it will be. Then, a few years into the Ghostwire: Tokyo production, something similar happened. Like many cities around the world, Tokyo was suddenly devastated as people were confined to their homes in the early stages of the epidemic.
“Suddenly it felt so scary to walk in the city because we had to be afraid of something we couldn’t see,” Kimura says. “If we have to go somewhere, we will not deviate from the narrow path.” His team at Tango Gameworks moved from their Shipora office to home-working, finishing their game about a ghost town.
“In the worst moments of the epidemic, when we locked up the city, it was very strange,” says Masado Kimura, the game’s maker. “No one was walking in the streets. It felt unreal. When you go on the Yamanot train track, it should be packed, especially during rush hour, but there is no one on that train, even during travel times. Tokyo is a very populous city, but once you get everyone out of it you will start to get this feeling of loneliness and depression.
In the game, the creeping fog destroys the crowd in Shibuya, sweeping across the city and leaving piles of clothes in its wake. It is an action movie and a ghost story that makes you play a young man named Akito who escapes from the occult phenomenon with a vengeful attitude. Sharing his body with this spirit, Akito finds that headless schoolgirls, creepy faceless wage earners and the human population can now fight big demons instead.
As warriors, we spend time exploring the city in its creepy, restless emptiness, defeating demons by magic, trying to find Akito’s sister, and exploring the stories of the people who lived there. Unlike many big-budget modern games, it is an inclusive experience, takes 12 or more hours to complete, and the limited size, every aspect of the game’s compact Tokyo is amazing to look at from the posters on the windows of convenience stores. Occupying tall buildings up to neon-light streets Yogai – Unnatural creatures.
Both unrelated Kenji Kimura and Masado Kimura presented Ghostwire’s wonderful environment to environmental designer Junya Fuji, who classified the special occult effects he created as the game’s “secret sauce”. The project began as a sequel to Tango Gameworks’s successful horror game, The Evil, from 2014, but it soon became clear that it had become its own thing. The city itself was the main inspiration; Before any story, any characters, any idea of how the game would play out, the team spent many years in its bizarre version of Tokyo. This is very unusual in game development; The idea of the game usually comes first, and everything from art to music and story should fit around it. But this alternative approach gave developers the freedom to first get their glimpse of Tokyo and see where it took them.
Fuji says he has a key phrase constantly on his mind at the moment: “This is not a horror game”. “How to create something scary, uncomfortable, scary, but not terrifying?” He says. “It rejected some things – no injury, no blood stains, they’re horror toys. How to create this new feeling of being uncomfortable, but still familiar, without the use of regular things?
“About a year after the project was launched, we had another year to think about the theme: What will people in the city be like, what are their feelings and emotions, how will we capture those feelings and use them in the city, if there are no people? We also tried to put emotions at the center of the project.
“The Dark City movie was an inspiration: the lights and the feeling that something threatening was going on in that city, overcame it,” Kenji adds. “When people think of Japan, we choose a place that is well known to the people, one of the first places people can imagine – from there we made this big event, people will disappear. From there, we were able to create the concept for this game.
Coastwire Tokyo is definitely there Strange, not just by all demons. This is a place most people are familiar with, and even if you’ve only seen it in movies or games or TV shows, enjoying its version is realistic, but very misleading, which makes me happy. “The city is our main inspiration,” says Masado. “If you’ve been here, you’ve lived here, you know there’s a lot of very modern buildings with very old, traditional temples and houses in Tokyo, and you can feel like you by walking a few steps’ I set foot in another world.
“In this city, these different things might be next to each other. We wanted to put that mix together in a weird way like in Tokyo, and put it into a game that emphasizes and adds. We thought it would turn out to be a very interesting one.