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Valhalla, I'm coming!

March 01,2010

  Hello, Tomonobu Itagaki here.
  Thank you for visiting the VGS site. The site was neatly designed small to my liking, so if you find it hard to read or have any remarks to make, please contact us. We just designed the site, so there are points that can be improved upon. Keep an eye on us!

  In this "Itagaki's Thought" section, I'll be writing my thoughts and sights down. Today, I'll talk about what has happened to me during these two years. "You seem to have become a photographer?" and "You started up a bar in Ueno?" seem to be common questions directed at me, and it's true, I actually have become a pro photographer. At the same time, I'm also a pro at model railroading, and of course a professional game designer. I haven't started up a bar though - alcohol isn't something you serve to others, it's something you drink.


  Photography has become a second job to me out of interest, just like games have. Professional model railroader was a childhood dream of mine, and although I promised myself that I would become a pro modeler by the age of 40, many things have happened along the way. Still, I may be 2 years late, but I finally have my own business @ 42.
  As far as games go, everything's smooth as usual. Searching for the seeds of the next game, stepping into the future, things like that.

  Going through things one by one - railway landscapes first. I'm not quite satisfied with the railroad diorama I assembled for rent. It was built over a 2-year period, but I plan to take it apart in the near future and rebuild it on a bigger scale. I'm always working on my diorama bit by bit, mumbling to myself, "This won't look nice without a big metal bridge ... Without tunnels, kids in the neighborhood may complain ... Track layout assembled with modular track system lacks realism, it's better to rebuild with flexible rails." "Layouts can never be finished" is a common phrase in this world, but once you start working on details, there really is no end in sight. Perhaps it really is a bad idea to make your hobby a job.

  Photography mainly focused on portraits and railway diorama. I don't really take photos of landscapes or sights. At most, maybe a photo of a suburb while walking. Actually, make that "while drinking and walking." At any rate, sights don't really match my interests. Portraits are slowly coming into shape. I wonder how the feel of things right now will live on in my future pieces. On the other side, model railroad photos are hard. Taking them normally turns them into pictures that look like nothing more than a diorama. My gauge is N (1/150), so under light physics, unless I use a 1/150 scale still camera, I cannot create a real feeling of depth. However, such a camera does not exist. So I thought of using something larger than N, the HO (1/80).

It would be nice to be able to publish photos like these on the iPhone or digital albums.

  [Video games]
  That's right, the most important thing of all. Although I said I was searching for the seeds of gaming, the truth is, I have been visiting people with the newest technology and entertainment, traveling the world. During this, I met a lot of people, and discovered just as many things. And that includes new game theory, which consists of world setting, scripting, new devices, elemental technologies, etc. A different understanding of history and sensitivity towards entertainment. Alcohol and gambling. Meeting with people who run at the top of the world. Oh, and I managed to meet with model railroaders of the world. In other words, I have reconfirmed what is needed for entertainment.

  The strength of all this, namely, knowledge, skill, sensitivity, connections, both material and intangible wealth - I'm developing a game at the pinnacle. Please wait a while more for the details. Today, I can only talk about two points. The first, that the game is not merely an expansion of games I've created. The second, it's a game that can't be created without us. We are waiting for the day to give the official announcement to you all, while silently sharpening our blades.

  Lastly, I'll talk a little about business.
  I'm doubtful about the Japanese game industry's stance these days. Many say things like, "How do we sell games to Americans?", "What games sell well in Europe?", and "How should we face the world as Japanese?" But, in any case, their remarks are localized. I just feel so as a single developer. However, to me, that just seems to be narrowing down one's own market. I would like to ask, but what about Moscow? How about China? Mexico? Or even Sicily? Brazil? A simple question. I've always been of the belief that there's no nationality to entertainment. You just need to make a game for everyone on Earth, one that anyone can enjoy. I have lived for a long time thinking this way, and it's only getting stronger.

  In other news, our studio's Satoshi Kanematsu is Tomonobu Itagaki in Russia. Apparently, a fan insisted on getting my signature, so he did it in my stead. If the fan is reading this, I would like to apologize. That wasn't me, but my partner. Kanematsu said he didn't want to do so, but according to him, he bent to the fan's passion for games. To me, it doesn't matter where that took place on Earth. It doesn't surprise me, to be honest. Instead, I would like to say thank you to fans across the world, and all our comrades.

  This is something in the future, but once our game is finished, give us 5 minutes of your time. Once you start, we promise that you won't be able to let go of the controller. We are making that kind of a game. This is all we think about. And from this, we can say this with a loud voice - it is the pride of Valhalla Game Studios and me.


Valhalla Game Studios
 Chief Technical Officer
& Game Design Lead

Tomonobu Itagaki

Photo:  Weekly Famitsu Magazine