Traditionally, the company behind the Dynasty Warriors and Dead or Alive series has been a niche player. But with the critical and commercial success of Team Ninja’s Nioh and its focus on delivering titles to the Nintendo Switch, Koei Tecmo suddenly cracked into the AAA games space.
At a recent Koei Tecmo event, we had the chance to speak with the president of Koei Tecmo, Hisashi Koinuma, about the company’s recent successes, and its current outlook on the gaming market. Last February’s Nioh, a new IP from Koei Tecmo that suffered a lengthy development, turned out to be a rather stellar game that coupled the systems of a Souls game with the deep combat mechanics from Team Ninja’s past work–which includes Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. With Nioh behind them, Koinuma spoke briefly about what its success meant for Koei Tecmo.
“It’s been a while since a new IP became so successful like that. So based on that experience, we definitely want to continue to makes games that offer different challenges that push us. [Nioh’s] success has had an impact on us.”
With the success of the Switch over the last year, Koei Tecmo’s President praised the system’s accessibility and library of games, while also affirming the publisher’s commitment to the console. Its plans include releases of Attack on Titan 2–seeing simultaneous launch on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch–along with a port of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3.
“I believe that the Switch was well-received and became popular because it’s really suited for the modern lifestyle, not only in Japan, but the US and also European countries as well,” stated Koinuma. “So we are readily available to make titles available on Switch, and either our own IPs or some other company’s IPs. I feel we’ve been working on making the titles available on Switch much faster than the other publishers. If there is any need or wishes to be played on Switch, then definitely, we will work on that.”
While Dynasty Warriors 9 is moving into the open-world space, set to be the biggest upgrade the series has had in sometime, the developers behind the game are still eager to work with other IPs and design them to fit Koei Tecmo’s particular style. With recent Warriors titles diving into the Fire Emblem, Gundam, Legend of Zelda, and Berserk universes, the Koinuma still has his eye on a particular sci-fi universe that he thinks would make for a great action beat-em-up game.
“I’m always saying this, but I think Star Wars has been really successful and I would love for us to make that game.”