Tecmo Goes for Casual Players with External Devs, Comfortable Ideas

Tecmo's best known asset is Team Ninja. This development team, formerly headed by the iconoclastic Tomonobu Itagaki, is respected for its attention to detail, fast-action gameplay, and technical expertise. And while Team Tachyon has less renown, it has provided Tecmo with a solid basis for its business: it pioneered the Fatal Frame survival horror franchise, for example.

But while these two internal teams make up the company's highest-profile content, there's another business unit within the company devoted to externally-developed games. Gamasutra recently had the chance to speak with producer Koichi Yamaguchi, who's in charge of the externally-developed, Western market-targeted games coming from Tecmo's Japan offices, alongside Tecmo U.S. VP John Inada.

Yamaguchi's projects include Again, the company's intriguing upcoming casual, western-targeted DS adventure game, under development by external team Cing (which developed Nintendo's Hotel Dusk).

How does this business unit allow Tecmo to expand its business? How does the company decide which games to bring to the U.S.? And can Tecmo get casual gamers interested in a murder mystery? The answers to these questions and more follow.

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