After 27 years of producing some of the best games in the business for Capcom, Hiroyuki Kobayashi found a new home at NetEase Games. Now, he’s heading up his own gaming studio under the Chinese developer/publisher. GPTRACK50 is the new Japanese-based gaming studio under NetEase’s growing umbrella of companies around the world, and it has a clear objective: make great games that can branch out into other media forms.
We can appreciate upfront ambition. With plenty of games being adapted into TV shows and movies lately, namely The Last of Us coming to HBO, it’s understandable that game creators might want to keep adaptability in mind while making new games. While most studios would be happy to have a game picked up to expand the franchise, not many include the goal in their mission statement.
NetEase has said that GPTRACK50 has “brought together a group of experienced professionals from both the gaming and film and television industries to develop quality contents for users worldwide. The studio will primarily focus on producing high quality console/PC game contents with a goal of growing into an establishment with a global media portfolio.” Adding people to the team who are from the film industry right off the bat is a smart approach on paper. It will be interesting to see how this early collaboration will result in story lines that can hold up in both the interactive medium of video games as well as live-action shows and movies.
Kobayashi was a pillar at Capcom for decades, starting out as a young programmer before becoming a seasoned producer of games likes Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Dino Crisis. After a track record like that, why leave? It turns out, Kobayashi needed some more creative freedom in his life.
Capcom has grown considerably in the 27 years since he joined the team. With big companies come yards of red tape, so games can take on years of making their way across all of the right desks to be approved. Kobayashi said, “I’m the kind of creator that wants to be able to deliver a new experience while it still feels fresh, and I had been thinking of creating my own studio to make that possible.” Though he was also quick to say that despite the fresh start, he won’t suddenly be creating the next big dating sim. He’s still going to add his touch to the games he creates.
NetEase Games is the second largest gaming company in China. Tencent holds the number one spot, but NetEase is obviously growing. GPTRACK50 is not the only studio the company has created. Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of Yakuza, is leading his own Japan-based studio under NetEase as well. Jerry Hook from Xbox is now leading the Seattle-based studio, and NetEase has also acquired Quantic Dream in Paris.
No matter the studio, we’re just glad that Hiroyuki Kobayashi is still bringing fans solid games.