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Looking ahead after one year of Shueisha Games: “searching for unicorns”

Shueisha Games, the dedicated games branch of Japan’s renowned manga publishing house, Shueisha, has successfully established itself as a promising player in the games industry. Led by Executive Officer Michiharu Mori, the company has experienced significant growth within just one year of operation. “Our aim is to develop projects that honor the vision and creative abilities of game creators.”

Shueisha Games emerged as a new venture over a year ago with the goal of investing in game creators and expanding its presence in the games market. “Through some trial and error we managed to launch several projects. Later we became a subsidiary to expand our business and hire more talented game industry professionals”, says Michiharu Mori. “Starting with only four employees last April, we now have roughly 20 employees and are actively recruiting domestic and international personnel. Our goal is to double our current number of employees by next year.” 

Unique collaborations

Shueisha Games offers a comprehensive suite of services typically provided by game publishers. They finance game development, provide marketing assistance, perform quality assurance, localize content, negotiate platform deals and handle the publishing process. While they currently represent only Japanese developers, Mori points out that collaborations with worldwide developers have started. “I can’t make an official announcement just yet, but we do everything we can to facilitate these partnerships.” 

Michiharu Mori, Executive Officer Shueisha Games

Mori says the team is still learning the ins-and-outs of the game publishing industry, but admits that Shueisha Games enjoys a distinct advantage by being part of the larger Shueisha company. The affiliation provides valuable support and resources, enabling unique collaborations between game developers and manga artists. “In the case of Soulvars, we enlisted the help of Shiro Usazaki, a serialized artist for Shonen Jump, to create character illustrations”, says Mori. “Initially they were meant for promotional use. However, we have since integrated these illustrations into the game itself.”

Unicorn values

While the Tokyo-based publisher obviously specializes in games with a manga art style, Mori emphasizes that their focus extends beyond any specific aesthetic or genre. “We strive to produce a diverse range of games. Our aim is to develop projects that honor the vision and creative abilities of game creators. At the same time, as Shueisha, we also provide our expertise in character creation.”

ONI – Road to be the Mightiest Oni

When it comes to finding new games to publish, Shueisha Games adheres to, what Mori calls, a set of ‘unicorn values’. “We understand that the unique aspect of a game, or the horn of the unicorn, is crucial for standing out. However, we also recognize that the quality of the game’s body must be strong enough to support its uniqueness. We meticulously assess these values throughout every production stage to ensure that we deliver an exceptional ‘unicorn’ of a game.” 

High expectations

Looking back on one year of Shueisha Games, Mori is amazed at how quickly the company has grown. “Initially, we had planned to start small as a spin-out from a new business”, he says. “But because of our strong brand name the expectations of users were higher than we anticipated. And soon we received more collaboration inquiries from companies than we could handle. We had to decline many business partnerships to maintain control over quality. Moving forward, we plan to significantly strengthen our system and enhance the quality of a broader range of projects and games.”

Ukiyo

Looking ahead Shueisha Games aims to establish a strong presence as a leading game publisher within the global games community. “We are committed to creating a wide range of popular games and are confident we can achieve this goal”, says Mori. “Most prominent publishers started small and we are determined to follow in their footsteps. Being part of the Shueisha Group is a solid foundation that enables us to grow and expand our business gradually. We hold game creators in high esteem and strive to gain their support as a trusted publisher in the long run.”

Eric Bartelson
Eric Bartelson
Editor-in-Chief of PreMortem.Games. Veteran game journalist for over 20 years. Started out in 1999 for game magazines (yes the ones made of paper) such as PC Zone Benelux, PlayNation and GameQuest, before co-founding Dutch industry paper Control Magazine.
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