During an interview with Gamasutra today, a full length version of which will go up in the near future, Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim, and director of marketing for Microsoft's Game Developer Group Dave Mitchell revealed some interesting facts about Microsoft's game efforts in Japan, including Pac-Man
creator Toru Iwatani's involvement with XNA Game Studio Express, and the current project from Panzer Dragoon
mastermind Yukio Futatsugi, who is working at Microsoft Game Studios Japan.
When asked about the specifics of XNA Game Studio Express' release in Japan, aside from the worldwide launch that already occurred, Dave Mitchell revealed details on Microsoft's meeting with Toru Iwatani (pictured).
"We have over 80 universities, and this is a worldwide number, including Japan. And in Japan, we've got Mr. Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man
," said Mitchell. "I had the great pleasure to go speak with him last year, and he got extremely excited by Game Studio Express and the possibilities, and as a result, when he retires, he's going to be teaching at Tokyo Polytechnic University, using Game Studio Express to teach game design to future game designers."
Gamasutra also pressed for the specific corporate whereabouts of Panzer Dragoon
series director Yukio Futatsugi, who also released Phantom Dust
to critical acclaim on the original Xbox.
To this, Shane Kim replied, "Mr. Futatsugi is working closely with Mr. Sakaguchi on his projects. As an MGS Japan employee, he's working closely on those projects, since those are the big things we're working on in Japan."
Further explaining Microsoft's current situation in Japan, Kim continued, "I think we're very realistic about our prospects in Japan. When we launched the 360 there, we didn't say we were going to win Japan. We need to do better in Japan for a couple of reasons, one, it's a big market. Two, we know that in order to do more there, we have to develop more great Japanese content with great Japanese developers, which is why the partnership with Mr. Sakaguchi is so important."
"It's also really important to do well there because there are great Japanese developers there, so Dead Rising
, Lost Planet
, and other titles that are coming over from Japan – I think other developers and publishers are looking at the success the 360 is having in the West, and realizing that it's an important business opportunity for them," Kim concluded.