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Shueisha draws inspiration from indies for its mobile game publishing | Pocket can’t say how many people know about Japanese manga publisher Shueisha. But no doubt you know its most popular intellectual property – One Piece, Naruto, My Hero Academia and Dragon Ball, to name just a handful of manga that have found worldwide popularity – and its weekly flagship publication, Shōnen Jump (localized as Weekly Jump).

But its recently announced games division won’t take advantage of the incredible international appeal of its manga lineup, but will instead seek a different inspiration for its game production: indie developers.

Michiharu Mori, Chief Marketing Officer of Shueisha GAMES, shared his thoughts on the studio’s unusual approach and the ubiquity of the most popular titles in mobile gaming. What role will mobile games play within the new Shueisha GAMES division?

Michiharu Mori: We are currently collaborating with a global game developer, whose project will be released as a mobile game, and we will also be actively releasing console and PC games.

In particular, we would like to focus on game development that invests in the talents of Japanese game creators, develops gems, promotes game development that invests in the talents of Japanese game creators – although we cannot currently naming our mobile partners due to the NDAs involved, but we can simply say that we work with leading Japanese mobile game developers.

you need very advanced data analytics to be able to build large-scale mobile games

Michiharu Mori

We see our position as very similar to that of an independent game publisher, but we also work on large-scale projects.

When you say “similar to an independent game publisher”, do you mean that you want to continue working with small teams in addition to large-scale projects, or will Shueisha GAMES work with more independence from about Shueisha?

Yes, we are not only on large scale projects, we also work with small teams that create their own games.

We are strongly tied to Shueisha financially, but we have more independence on the business side.

What are the biggest challenges for the Japanese mobile game industry?

In the Japanese mobile game industry, the top-ranked games are becoming more and more immutable: this is because you need access to very advanced data analysis to be able to create large-scale mobile games.

This is also recognizable in the global mobile games industry. What about the mobile gaming audience that perpetually keeps games on top lists?

This access to data analysis means that the best performing stocks only continue to strengthen thanks to a solid operating structure thanks to capital strength, while those that appear to be underperforming will be quickly removed from stores.

Mobile games not only require a high level of completion as a game, but also good operational skills, such as regular updates and events. This is also an area where considerable strength of business capital is needed, and I feel that strong companies tend to stay strong.

Many of the most popular mobile games in Japan do not find international versions. What explains this and how important will international releases be for Shueisha?

I think it’s because of the uniqueness of the Japanese market.

At Shueisha GAMES, we aim to be not only a developer for the Japanese market, but also globally. We would like to actively cooperate with foreign companies and we will recruit personnel who can promote our products to the world market.

We want to create unique and fun games adapted to the appropriate platform. These games may not be big budget games, but they will resonate with a particular audience, which is why we want to give them a chance to be played by people around the world.

We aim to be not only a developer for the Japanese market, but also on a global premise

Michiharu Mori

Mobile games and anime franchises are becoming an increasingly important cultural force globally, as entities such as Netflix begin to meaningfully engage with international audiences. Can you discuss which franchises Shueisha will be looking to work with?

Games based on Shueisha’s manga are not our goal. Instead, we’re looking at how the indie scene is booming globally, and we’d like to do the same thing we do with manga but applied to games: discover young talent and create original works that will surprise people everywhere. the world.

Just like many unique titles that have paved the way in the past and become famous, we hope to follow this path and create games that will touch and be loved by many players.

And we think we have an advantage because Shueisha has been investing in creators for many years.

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