Keiichiro Toyama, the creator of Silent Hill, and the Siren and Gravity Rush series, has left Sony after 20 years to form Bokeh Game Studio.
Keiichiro Toyama has left SCE Japan Studio, the first-party studio for Sony Interactive Entertainment which is responsible for such titles as Shadow of the Colossus, Gravity Rush and… Knack(?), after twenty long years with PlayStation.
Toyama has to his name with Sony the brilliant Siren games (the only horror games I find scary) and the two Gravity Rush games on PS4 and Vita. He kickstarted the Silent Hill series with Konami in 1999.
There will be no (Gravity) Rush to retirement for this video game director and designer, however. He’s already formed a new company, Bokeh Game Studio, which is outfitted with The Last Guardian producer Kazunobu Sato and Gravity Rush lead designer Junya Okura.
In an interview with Famitsu, Toyama opened up about his plans:
“I was soon about to hit retirement age within the company, but I wanted to continue making games as a job even after this point. However, if I only started thinking about this after I retired, I probably wouldn’t get very far. So I always thought I needed to be prepared for something before I left Sony.”
There were two catalysts for the leave now. The ongoing pandemic’s effect in forcing remote working actually made a new studio more feasible. They also yearned for a shift to the freedom of independent development and smaller teams wherein they could have more influence on ongoing development.
As for what the new studio will bring, it perhaps isn’t surprising with Toyama at the helm that it might carry a creepy, horror vibe. Concept art in their first video teases some nasty enemy designs. And whilst it was once destined to be more compact, Toyama says it’s now “not too much different from the experiences I’ve developed before.”
I don’t know about you, but this has me in a Siren and Silent Hill mood. I’m talking about editor Tom Baines’ faulty mod-chip trip through Silent Hill rather than another DLC the poor franchise is exposed to, I think. World of Tanks Silent Hill anyone?