Why Ukiyo is a casual game about escaping a Japanese virtual reality

This is the first in-house game being developed by Seaknot Studios. How did the studio come about and what does it hope to achieve?

Toru Hisai, founder of Seaknot Studios G.K.:

I started working on the development of the game while I was still working at Nintendo of Europe (NOE) in Germany. Back then, I worked as a technical support engineer for third-party game developers in Europe. I helped a lot of developers. That made me want to start developing games myself.

After I left NOE and came back to Japan, I founded Seaknot Studios to create my own game independently. I believe that there are still many hidden talents in Japan, so I hope to help many creators create games with their original stories and characters in the future.

How is it that Seaknot Studios and Freaky Design decided to work together on a game?

Hisai: After I finished the basic system for adventure games based on UE4, I spoke with my friend who worked at Freaky Design about collaborating. At that time, I didn’t expect the project to become so big. But now many of their artists are involved in this project.

What was the inspiration behind Ukiyo and what do you hope to achieve with the game?

Hisai: When Freaky Design showed me the concept art of the game, I was so excited and confident that the game would be successful. I want to make this game very unique in the indie game industry.

Halki Takada, founder of FREAKY DESIGN Inc.: We hope to share the world of UKIYO with gamers not only in Japan, but also around the globe.

Why did you decide to use Unreal Engine to develop this game?

Hisai: As a technical support engineer, I have worked with many types of game engines and middleware. Although Unreal Engine has been around for a while and already has a huge user base, it is still very actively developed and supports many platforms. Also, the availability of the source code was very important to me as a tech nerd!

I was surprised to read how different the game tastes are between the teams at Seaknot and Freaky Design, with one group being really into titles like Monster Hunter and the other being more into games like Undertale and Mother. How did you manage to find common ground between such different types of tastes in games?

Hisai: Actually, the people from Freaky Design also like narrative-based adventure games like Life is Strange and The Last of Us. So I didn’t think the genre of the game was a big problem.

Takada: Rather than explicitly looking for common ground, I believe that we connected as a result valuing each other’s different sense of fun in games.

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