Here’s a part of his interview on how Takaki left Marvelous, the troubles of recent restriction policies, why he joined Cygames, and more:
Famitsu: First, please tell us the whole story about why you decided to leave Marvelous.
Kenichiro Takaki: “The biggest reason was the change in restrictions for depicting sexuality in video games, which has been a topic since sometime last year. Up until now there’s been parts that changed here and there, but as of late it’s been ‘Can’t do that, or that, and probably not that either,’ and basically everything is no good. I never imagined leaving Marvelous, or even changing the style of my work, but due to a certain timing last year, I felt as though some kind of string inside me just snapped.”
So being able to express sexuality had become a big influence on the work you put into making games.
Kenichiro Takaki: “It really has. There’s always been various limitations, be it development time, money, people, and I always did the best with what I had, but I felt that on top of all that, putting such restrictions on the creative side was more painful than anything. Sexual stuff will always get criticized one way or another, but there are just so many people that enjoy and support it. It might’ve looked like I was always doing whatever absurd thing I wanted for Senran Kagura, but I cared about it in my own way, and regularly consulted with the parties concerned up until now. It’s like being told you’re barely out when everything is basically safe. It’s a title I started with the thought of ‘It’s okay to have a game like this’ even if it meant not getting the general support. I used to think that having such a variation was part of what made the whole game industry attractive, but to think how easily it could be destroyed… it got me thinking about all kinds of stuff.”
Not being able to continue making what you’ve been making up until now is certainly a big problem.
Kenichiro Takaki: “I fully support restrictions that are made to protect certain genres or surroundings. However, the way it is trending now just feels like it is happening with the purpose of shutting things down. Coming up with ideas that make the best out of what we’re given is something I’m good at and enjoy doing, but currently we have big problems, especially for the numbered titles, like can we really call this Senran Kagura under these conditions, or will the fans even want this, and so on.”
Of Course Senran Kagura has its share of sexual presentation, but I’ve always had the impression that it was just part of an element that made the title. So you’re saying that even that got more difficult to do.
Kenichiro Takaki: “When looking at the whole thing, in reality it’s only about 10% or 20% of the elements that are actually different, and there are parts that stand out, but in spite of that when looking at it in terms of worldwide standards it gets judged as ‘everything is sexual’ and that’s what really hurts.
I am now 42-years-old, so when I think ‘What will I do for the next 10 years?’ I’ve been thinking about being 50-years-old. Who knows how much longer I’ll be able to keep crushing the work hours I do now, there’s also been some changes after getting married and with the birth of my daughter, so I’ve been reflecting on ‘what is it that I personally wanted to do.’ Of course I did always really want to make ‘something with beautiful girls,’ but I also want to make a so-called orthodox fantasy, the kind we used to be passionate about when we were kids. However, I haven’t had many opportunities to do that up until now.”
So you want to make a title for a broader audience.
Kenichiro Takaki: “That’s right. When I thought about making a major title that will take three to five years, I couldn’t help but think ‘it’s now or never,’ so I decided to leave Marvelous for the time being to see if I can work in a different way. My relationship with Marvelous is excellent, and they have nothing but good people working there, the position and salary was also truly great, but in the end I couldn’t hold back the desire to once again take on the challenge of pursuing my childhood dream. However, having to distance myself from all the work I’ve done up until now is painful and difficult to put into words…”
Stepping into new surroundings in order to take on a new challenge.
Kenichiro Takaki: “I’m sure it’ll trouble the many fans of my work until now as well as my seniors and subordinates at the company. Regardless, the biggest part of me still wants to further invigorate the console games industry that I’ve always admired.”
And where will you be joining after resigning from Marvelous?
Kenichiro Takaki: “Cygames. I’ll be working on the development on a console title. It was practically an opportunity I wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world, so I gave it some thought and made my decision.”
Check our previous report for a sneak peek look at Kenichiro Takaki’s new project for Marvelous.