Keiichiro Toyama has left Sony Interactive Entertainment to be the head of Bokeh Game Studio.
Toyama, who previously was the creator of Siren (Forbidden Siren) and Gravity Rush, has departed from Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio on August 13 to create the independent Boken Game Studio. Kazunobu Sato and Junya Okura – who both worked with Toyama at SIE Japan Studio – have also joined as founding members. Toyama is the CEO, Sato is the chief operating officer, and Okura is the chief technology officer. Bokeh is an English term, originated from the Japanese word bo-ke, referring to the camera blur technique. They will develop for console and PC, as well as to „take on many challenges in the future, regardless of platform.” Their first game is already in development.
Keiichiro Toyama’s name might not say a lot, but if we told you which game was directed by him, you might recognize his work: Silent Hill (1999, PlayStation), Siren (2003, PlayStation 2), Siren 2 (2006, PlayStation 2), Siren: New Translation (2008, PlayStation 3), Gravity Rush (2012, PS Vita), Gravity Rush Remastered (2015, PlayStation 4), and Gravity Rush 2 (2017, PlayStation 4). Sato was the lead character designer for the first two Siren games, followed by a game system director role in the third one. Then, he was the lead game designer for Puppeteer (2013, PlayStation 3), and the producer of The Last Guardian (2016, PlayStation 4). Okura was the lead game designer of the Siren and the Gravity Rush series.
„Having parted with Sony Interactive Entertainment which I have been with for a very long time, we have independently established a new development studio. Looking back at my inner self, nothing has changed at all since day one when I set foot into this industry. Firstly I want players to enjoy games built from ideas with originality, and secondly, I want to enjoy making those games—this is all there was to it. Thankfully myself and team could develop and release many games. However, the gaming industry has rapidly grown globally and is still drastically changing all the time. Day by day, living in these times, I have felt the need for a substantial change to pursue my ambitions. This is why I have decided to become independent.
Thankfully I am blessed with a team of colleagues who share the same ambitions as myself, which is why I can start this new chapter with a new game studio where we can form our original ideas. We are already under development for our first work, though obviously will need some time before release. We ask for your patience and to look forward to future announcements,” Toyama’s message reads.
In an interview with Famitsu, Toyama also confirmed that the game is an action-adventure game on multiple platforms. Its scale is similar to Toyama’s previous work, and it will require about 2-3 years to be completed. He added that the studio won’t work on the IP he created at SIE Japan Studio, but he hopes he can keep a good relationship with SIE, and maybe even progress these IPs further together.
Best of luck to them, and it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw Sony Interactive Entertainment acquire them.
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