Time to wake up this morning to a bombshell from the world of video game development: popular and beloved video game developer Keiji Inafune has stepped down from his positions within Capcom. If Inafune's name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps some of the titles he's created over the years will: Mega Man, Dead Rising, Onimusha, and Lost Planet. While I bet we haven't seen the last of these franchises, I'm really hoping we haven't seen the last of Inafune. He's a major talent in the industry, although perhaps his stature is less than it was since he made some rather inflammatory comments regarding how he believes that the Japanese gaming development industry is finished and that he hates his job. Here's some of his official statement via his blog:
At least I assume that's some of his resignation. I think we'll just let Kotaku handle explaining this one to those of us who don't read Japanese:
"A manager's work means evaluating your subordinates and speaking your dreams. Anyone who can do both of those can be a manager. I thought that when I came here, and I still think that now."
The problem being, Inafune believes he can no longer do both those things.
He also reflects on this 23 years at Capcom. Inafune started out as a character designer but, as he points out, he's now reached the top of Capcom's development structure. "There's nowhere higher for me to go."
"I'm leaving Capcom with the intention of starting my life over", he adds. Inafune says he's looking for his next challenge and will not be taking a break.
"People that really know me, can see where I'm coming from. I'm not a regular dude. It's probably because I'm strange."
He closes saying he'll do his best and with a "thank you".
Wouldn't it be something if Inafune turned up in a few weeks working with a western developer? If he believes that the future of game development lies outside of Japan, then why not head west and see what opportunities are available? Someone in North America or Europe must want to hire him. Can you imagine him having his hand in the next installment of Uncharted or Halo? Or creating an entirely new property that, for whatever reason, Capcom was reluctant to greenlight? I really hope he's not leaving the business entirely. He has far too many good ideas for us to never experience them again.