This article is from the M! 352 (January 2023).
GUANGZHOU • Chinese manufacturers are systematically buying into the heart of the games industry, hiring the most experienced and hippest designers and producers in Japan. Tencent, for example, is getting involved with the traditional manufacturer Kadokawa and taking over a studio around ex-Team Ninja producer Yoshifuru Okamoto. NetEase, the second game giant in China with 20,000 employees and annual sales of almost 10 billion euros, is swallowing up the company in Tokyo No More Heroesmaker Grasshopper Manufacture and is launching a new studio earlier this year with Sega veteran and Yakuza– Boss Toshihiro Nagoshi. In late 2022, another Japanese top man will join NetEase services: along with the long-time Resident Evil– and Devil May Cryproducer Hiroyuki Kobayashi (see photo), NetEase founds the GPTRACK50 studio in Osaka. In order to develop “an original IP”, the team also employs film and TV creatives. “NetEase has a wealth of experience in terms of investment and development cooperation, is a very reliable partner for quality games and entertainment products,” said Kobayashi, who turned 50 this year and joined Capcom’s core Resi team in 1995. With his start-up he wants to “cross the border to film, animation and books, theater and events”.
NetEase opened new studios in Seattle and Texas with American MMORPG professionals over the summer, and the Chinese are now almost casually buying into the region between Berlin and Moscow, acquiring shares or control of Eastern European and Russian companies that collapse during the crisis or need to realign. The Polish game designer and The Witcher IIIDirector Konrad Tomaszkiewicz left his long-term employer CD Projekt RED six months ago with a handful of colleagues and founded the Rebel Wolves studio in Warsaw in February. At the end of the year, Tomaszkiewicz is now pleased to have a Chinese minority stake (the amount remained undisclosed) and welcomes NetEase as a new shareholder: “Having a global leader behind us really builds our confidence.” Tomaszkiewicz and his rebels don’t want to create multiplayer or smartphone arenas, but rather focus fully on their core strength: single-player and storytelling RPGs for PC and consoles. “Financial support was the last thing we needed to get going,” says Tomaszkiewicz, and for the debut game is recruiting creatives who want to work on dark fantasy in Warsaw or “remotely”, employed or freelance.
Fight! Magic! items! • Running Press Adult Verlag • 320 pages • approx. 20 euros
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