Ikumi Nakamura, the former creative director of the upcoming Tango Gameworks joint Ghostwire Tokyo, has announced her new studio and it’s called UNSEEN.
The announcement came with a full roll-out for an official website and social media presence on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, and a promotional video that summarizes Nakamura’s journey of introspection and the studio’s ethos of “[using] our imagination to see the INVISIBLE,” to “work without being seen.”
“The Tokyo studio acts as a terminal,” Nakamura explains. “A place where different cultures intersect. A hub for artists to gather. We want to transcend various medium beyond the realm of video games.”
While we still don’t have a lot of information as to what UNSEEN’s first game will be, I’m still pretty excited to find out what Nakamura and Co. will be doing. And I’m sure I’m not alone. Nakamura has been working in video games for over fifteen years at studios like Capcom and PlatinumGames, long before she came to infamy on the E3 stage in 2019, where her presentation of a Ghostwire Tokyo trailer received positive attention. Later that year, Nakamura left Tango due to stress and declining health.
Plenty of speculation was made as to where she would end up, but anyone who has followed her social media (like I have) knows that she’s actually spent the past two years simmering her creative juices. Around this time last year, Nakamura told documentary group Archipel that she has been touring the world visiting studios to “learn what made a good working environment,” and using those experiences to “open my own small studio and build my IP.”
Nakamura told Archipel that although she is the studio’s director and creative director, she intends to put more trust in her teams and their leaders. She expressed a desire to “hire many foreigners” to “learn about new cultures,” as well as “achieve full gender equality” by leveraging the expertise and talents of her individual staffers.
Already she’s got a strong slate of talents on board. Fellow Tango alum Naoki Katakai will serve as Chief Development Officer and Environment Art Specialist. Liam Wong, formerly of Ubisoft, holds the post of Visual Director. Raul Ibarra, formerly of Moon Studios, serves as Animation Director. Misuzu Watanabe, who served as a designer at Capcom, is acting in the role of Game Director. Meanwhile, Akiyoshi Nishikawa is the studio’s Concept Artist & Illustrator.
UNSEEN is also made up of the following members: David Steinberg – CTO, Futoshi Miyamoto – CIO, Kenan Alpay – Senior Game Designer, Johnny Byrnes – Technical Game Designer, Shane Canning – Senior Level Designer, Fumie Kishiwada – U.S. Manager, Gus Martin – Gameplay Engineer, Mai Mattori – Concept Artist, Miho Nakagawa – Assistant Producer, Eriko Nagasawa – Assistant Manager, Justin Nesbit – Level Design Director, Aaron Packard – Senior Gameplay Engineer and Brian Wanamaker – Senior Development Manager.
Shortly after the announcement, Nakamura spoke with IGN. She underscored UNSEEN studio’s international, multicultural staff, saying, “A mix of cultures can be a breeding ground for new ideas, which is the real joy of starting a new studio.”