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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Sony Japan Studio director Keiichiro Toyama, and 2 other veterans, leave to form new studio, Bokeh

Toyama, who was the creator of Silent Hill, Siren, and Gravity Rush, left the studio in August to create a new studio named Bokeh Game Studio. 2 other Sony Japan Studio veterans, Kazunobu Sato and Junya Okura, also left the studio to serve as COO and CTO of Bokeh. The studio is named after the Bokeh depth of field effect. Bokeh says that they will be developing games for console and PC, and "will take on many challenges in the future, regardless of platform".

Here is Toyama's statement:

“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 really 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 it was possible for myself and team to 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 own 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 am able to 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.”

Bokeh is already developing their first game, an original action-adventure game that will be multiplatform. They say that the scale of the game will be similar to Toyama's past games, with development expected to take 2 to 3 years. 

Here are the resume's of each of Bokeh's 3 founders. 

Keiichiro Toyama

  • Director
    • 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)
    • Gravity Rush 2 (2017, PlayStation 4)

Kazunobu Sato

  • Lead Character Design
    • Siren (2003, PlayStation 2)
    • Siren 2 (2006, PlayStation 2)
  • Game System Director
    • Siren: New Translation (2008, PlayStation 3)
  • Lead Game Designer
    • Puppeteer (2013, PlayStation 3)
  • Producer
    • The Last Guardian (2016, PlayStation 4)

Junya Okura

  • Lead Game Designer
    • 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)
    • Gravity Rush 2 (2017, PlayStation 4)


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How many key people have left Sony these past 6 years???
It seems like every few months someone else leaves.



PAOerfulone said:

How many key people have left Sony these past 6 years???
It seems like every few months someone else leaves.

Yeah, they have definitely lost a good many. I know MS poached some Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Sony Santa Monica people for The Initiative, I think the Playground RPG studio that is doing Fable also poached some Sony people, from Insomniac and Guerilla Games as I recall. 

These departures from Sony Japan kind of spell doom for Japan Studio's Project Siren team, both the director and lead designer on Gravity Rush leaving. Just leaves their Asobi team to make original games I guess, rest of the studio will stay on support I assume, like Demon's Souls, which they co-developed with Bluepoint.



Oh Noooooo Japan Studio is dooooooomed! Just like when Mikami and Kamiya left Capcom, just like when Sakaguchi left Square, and just when like when every other perceived face of a company left it made little difference and in fact i find it necessary for the growth of any studio and franchise since it reinvigorates said studio/franchise and allows new ideas and faces to shine and get the spotlight. 

From what i can tell SIE wanted to expand Japan Studio to Make more AAA games (as per the famitsu article), but Toyama and co were more interested in Niche AA games

No amount of marketing can turn a niche game into a million seller, its the game Quality and word of Mouth and that's fact (even with Sony Marketing GR2 at PSX and E3 alongside TV ads the game sold poorly, like about 300k or so)


https://youtu.be/0INIMjvtCL4

I guess Hades/Atelier Ryza/Hollow Knight/Atlus/Undertale/Astral Chain games sold over 1M because of their massive marketing campaigns /s.

Last edited by B6a6es - on 03 December 2020

It's an industry where people leave to go do another studio or make their own. Not that big a deal. Retro Studios hired a number of former Naughty Dog people last few years. That doesn't mean ND is doomed. People just move around. I think this is good for him as he can be free to do what he wants. Willing to bet he still works closely with Sony. We already knew the chance of a Gravity Rush 3 was about as good as well me asking for an Omega Boost remake and Bradlod asking for a Lagoon remake. It was never going to happen.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

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PAOerfulone said:

How many key people have left Sony these past 6 years???
It seems like every few months someone else leaves.

shikamaru317 said:
PAOerfulone said:

How many key people have left Sony these past 6 years???
It seems like every few months someone else leaves.

Yeah, they have definitely lost a good many. I know MS poached some Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Sony Santa Monica people for The Initiative, I think the Playground RPG studio that is doing Fable also poached some Sony people, from Insomniac and Guerilla Games as I recall. 

These departures from Sony Japan kind of spell doom for Japan Studio's Project Siren team, both the director and lead designer on Gravity Rush leaving. Just leaves their Asobi team to make original games I guess, rest of the studio will stay on support I assume, like Demon's Souls, which they co-developed with Bluepoint.

Doom and Gloom about Sony? Who would have thought?

The gaming industry sees ppl moving all the time. It's really no big deal. It is unfortunate that it is Toyama who is leaving, but honestly there's no way Sony were putting a new Siren or Gravity Daze into production anyways. Neither IP did what they would have wanted it to do. 

As for Studio Japan, the vast majority of their games are usually co-developed so this will not change much. 

EDIT

it's also worth pointing out that a few months ago they went through a restructuring, including the establishment of an external development unit (essentially strengthening their co-development status)



That’s sad news, even though Gravity Rush was a niche game, it indicates the shrinking of Japan Studio. Both Team Ico and Team Gravity were big parts of the internal team at Sony Japan and showed the creative magnitude and talent of the studio and its developers. I don’t think staying a support team only (like San Mateo studio) is a good choice. We need those AA games that bring more diversity to the lineup of Sony’s games



twintail said:
PAOerfulone said:

How many key people have left Sony these past 6 years???
It seems like every few months someone else leaves.

shikamaru317 said:

Yeah, they have definitely lost a good many. I know MS poached some Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Sony Santa Monica people for The Initiative, I think the Playground RPG studio that is doing Fable also poached some Sony people, from Insomniac and Guerilla Games as I recall. 

These departures from Sony Japan kind of spell doom for Japan Studio's Project Siren team, both the director and lead designer on Gravity Rush leaving. Just leaves their Asobi team to make original games I guess, rest of the studio will stay on support I assume, like Demon's Souls, which they co-developed with Bluepoint.

Doom and Gloom about Sony? Who would have thought?

The gaming industry sees ppl moving all the time. It's really no big deal. It is unfortunate that it is Toyama who is leaving, but honestly there's no way Sony were putting a new Siren or Gravity Daze into production anyways. Neither IP did what they would have wanted it to do. 

As for Studio Japan, the vast majority of their games are usually co-developed so this will not change much. 

EDIT

it's also worth pointing out that a few months ago they went through a restructuring, including the establishment of an external development unit (essentially strengthening their co-development status)

I never said all of Japan Studio was doomed, hell they just co-developed the Demon's Souls remake which was massively successful. I just said that it seems like the Project Siren team is probably doomed, losing two of their top guys like this.



shikamaru317 said:
twintail said:

shikamaru317 said:

Yeah, they have definitely lost a good many. I know MS poached some Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Sony Santa Monica people for The Initiative, I think the Playground RPG studio that is doing Fable also poached some Sony people, from Insomniac and Guerilla Games as I recall. 

These departures from Sony Japan kind of spell doom for Japan Studio's Project Siren team, both the director and lead designer on Gravity Rush leaving. Just leaves their Asobi team to make original games I guess, rest of the studio will stay on support I assume, like Demon's Souls, which they co-developed with Bluepoint.

Doom and Gloom about Sony? Who would have thought?

The gaming industry sees ppl moving all the time. It's really no big deal. It is unfortunate that it is Toyama who is leaving, but honestly there's no way Sony were putting a new Siren or Gravity Daze into production anyways. Neither IP did what they would have wanted it to do. 

As for Studio Japan, the vast majority of their games are usually co-developed so this will not change much. 

EDIT

it's also worth pointing out that a few months ago they went through a restructuring, including the establishment of an external development unit (essentially strengthening their co-development status)

I never said all of Japan Studio was doomed, hell they just co-developed the Demon's Souls remake which was massively successful. I just said that it seems like the Project Siren team is probably doomed, losing two of their top guys like this.

Yeah you're right. I added your comment to another when i shouldn't've.

I don't think project siren dismantling is a problem. It's not a true dev team, and they became team gravity for gravity rush or something like that. 



Seems it’s a little common these days to hear that a Sony dev has either joined the competition or left in general. Intriguing



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