Branching Paths : A journey in Japan’s independent game scene



The Japanese video game industry lead the world in creativity and innovation from the 1980's to the mid-2000's, but in recent years Japanese studios had been unable to keep up with advancements in technology, and many have shifted focus away from risky projects and unique gaming experiences.

All around the world, many players long to play games like those that inspired and excited them in their childhood.

For industry veterans and young talents who aspire to the pursuit of originality and creative freedom, going independent is the answer.

Japan has a history of independent creators building lively communities, even within industries where large media companies rule. Comic Market, and events like it attract more than 1 million attendees yearly.

For the last several years, the Japanese game industry has begun to recognize the power of independent creators and the momentum of the fledgling scene, and in 2013, the Tokyo Game Show created a pavilion to feature indie creators for the first time in its history.

Will this be the beginning of a new movement? With this question, we began our two-year journey through Japan’s Indie scene. Branching Paths is a mosaic of the developers, publishers and people who gravitate to indie games in Japan.

Featuring in order of appearance:

Ojiro Fumoto (Moppin)
Yoshiro Kimura (Onion Games)
Katsuhiko Hayashi (Weekly Famitsu)
Hiroki Omae (Unity)
Takumi Naramura (Nigoro)
Takayuki Yanagihara aka. Nanmo (FPSA)
Nozomu Ezaki (Digital Game Expo)
Makoto Goto (Bishamon)
Takashi Nakamura (Kanagawa Institute of Technology)
Kaoru Yasuda (Comic Market)
Hirotaka Yoshida (Tora no ana)
Riki Iwasaki aka. RIKI (RIKI)
ZUN (Shanghai Alice)
Keika Hanada (Novectacle)
Devine Lu Linvega aka. Aliceffekt (100 rabbits)
Rekka Bell (100 rabbits)
Joseph White (Lexaloffle)
Nayan Ramachandran (Playism)
Josh Weatherford (formerly of Playism)
Kazuyuki Kurashima (Onion Games)
Tom Ikeda (Onion Games)
Takayuki Ebihara (Nigoro)
Horyu Samejima (Nigoro)
Masahiro Onoguchi (Quad Arrow)
James Mielke (Bit Summit)
Dylan Cuthbert (Q-Games)
Baiyon (PixelJunk™ Eden)
Lucas Pope (3909LLC)
Shunji Mizutani (Playism)
Toru Kawakatsu (Petit Depotto)
Keiji Inafune (Comcept)
Koji Igarashi aka. IGA (Artplay)
Akinari Ito (Sony Computer Interactive)
Daisuke Watanabe (Yakan Hiko)
Hisanori Hiraoka (Yakan Hiko)
William Chyr (William Chyr Studio)
Thomas Lilja (Friend & Foe)
Momo Murakami (nemk)
Alvin Phu (Dot Warrior Games)
Alexander De Giorgio (IPC)
Isao Murayama (Microsoft Japan)
Shoji Hibino (Astral Gate)
Nal (Edelweiss)
Jake Kazdal (17-bit)
Yuichiro Kitao (Gemdrops)
Chris Kohler (Wired)
Rio Tani (Gamespark)

BRANCHING PATHS - A journey in Japan's independent game scene

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