You might find this hard to believe, but one year ago, people packed themselves into halls and convention centers, shoulder-to-shoulder, to listen to people talk about video games. One person who made quite an impression was Capcom alumni Ikumi Nakamura, who got on-stage to talk about Tango Gameworks' creepy action adventure game, GhostWire: Tokyo. Nakamura's bubbly energy was contagious. People remember E3 2019 for Keanu Reeves' "You're breathtaking!" remark during his Cyberpunk 2077 cameo, but Nakamura's bright "Mata ne!" ("See you again!") isn't far from the internet's memory, either.
On September 4 2019, Nakamura suddenly announced she was leaving her role as a creative director and art director at Tango Gameworks to pursue other projects. The future of GhostWire: Tokyo—a new project from Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami—has been in question since. We've heard little about the game since Nakamura left, but there's no indication it's been cancelled.
As for Nakamura, she's still searching for her ultimate destiny in the games industry, but she's as positive as ever. IGN Japan interviewed Nakamura and posted the feed today. From the close comfort of her "panic room" (i.e. closet), she talks her inspirations, her past, and what she considers a "dream project." Nakamura's answer to that last point will make Okami fans perk up a bit: Nakamura tells IGN she plans to pitch a new Okami game to Capcom once society regains something resembling normality. Nakamura believes that as long as she "goes after it," the chances for a sequel are high. Nakamura, who was part of the development team for the original Okami, doesn't care what role she gets in a prospective Okami revival. However, she insists Okami director Hideki Kamiya must return to his leading role.
The interview is full of additional personal tidbits that are, unsurprisingly, adorable. As a child, Nakamura's father showed her all manner of horror media. "I grew up in Tokyo. My father and I would watch horror and sci-fi movies. I was a strange kid," she says.
Nakamura's mother didn't approve of her playing video games. She says she used to wake up in the middle of the night with her father, and they'd play games in secret.
Despite the easygoing nature of the chat, Nakamura doesn't give up any information on why she left Tango Gameworks and GhostWire: Tokyo. She did say GhostWire feels like "a treasure box where she can put everything she loves into one video game." Otherwise, she's hoping to open her own studio that would double as a workshop for kids who are interested in game development.
IGN asked Nakamura how she felt when her brief GhostWire E3 presentation earned her a flood of admiration and an instant fanclub. True to form, Nakamura describes the experience as "paranormal." She's happy her passion is appreciated by so many people, but she found herself hounded by new fans whenever she wanted to get a drink or use the washroom. Some people asked her what hotel she was staying in. She says she learned "how scary it can be to be a star."
Nakamura hopes she can get her studio running soon, but for now, she says she's happy to appreciate video games from the point of view of someone who doesn't develop them. An aside: Nakamura says Final Fantasy 7's Aerith is her wife. (She literally breaks out "waifu" during the chat.) I have enormous respect for you, Missus Nakamura, but I'm afraid you're going to have to get in line behind me.