Last year, we interviewed Voltage Inc. CEO Yuzi Tsutani and COO Nanako Higashi. Both are founders of the romance app-based company that started in 1999. Voltage Inc. has produced over 80 titles and ranked as one of the top 10 app publishers in February. Japan Curiosity had the opportunity to interview the couple again this year.
Q: You studied filmmaking back when you were in UCLA. Did that experience affect how your company made your games? Tsutani: Of course. We are focused on storytelling because it comes from my filmmaking background. What makes Voltage unique is that other gaming companies do not have that filmmaking background like I do. Other companies create battle games such as card or puzzle games, but those not have as much storytelling elements like we have.
Q: When creating Voltage, did you have plans in expanding internationally, or were you focused only on becoming popular in Japan at first? T: We were focused solely on Japan, but five years ago, we released our first English-language product. The series was small, but we put in a lot of effort for the western audience. By 2012, I decided to have a branch in San Francisco. Higashi: Because of that, we started creating a new type of AmeMix games, a hybrid between Japanese animations and western storytelling. It is quite popular. T: Actually, while studying filmmaking in UCLA, I had some American friends that loved Japanese anime and manga like Akira and Sailor Moon. When we started this company, I was reminded of these friends and thought that some other Americans might like these kinds of games too.
Q: What inspired you in creating a company focused on producing games for mostly female players? T: In the beginning, we tried making fighting games, but we were not successful with that because we had big gaming companies like Square Enix and Capcom as competition. We then had to focus on a less competitive market which happens to be games for women.
Q: A few of your games are adaptations of other series such as Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) and Gossip Girl. Do you have plans in adapting more series for your games? H: Like you said, we have released game adaptations in our previous works. We try and make games based on intellectual property titles, but our focus right now are original stories. T: We may release more apps based on IP titles in the future, but we are not sure yet.
Q: What dreams do you have for the future of your company? H: We have a lot of dreams! T: We are currently a global company with plans to expand. We are now we are making animation-type games with motion pictures along with making virtual reality-type games. We will be releasing a small demo of the later this fall.