Early Career at Capcom
Hiroki Kato began his career in the video game industry as a protege of Shinji Mikami at Capcom. Kato's first credit was the system planning and camera works for the original Resident Evil (1996), which would go on to define the survival horror genre.
He then worked on several other Resident Evil games, most notably as the director of Resident Evil Code: Veronica (2000). He also contributed to the development of Resident Evil: Gaiden (2001) and the critically acclaimed action-adventure Okami (2006). He was then the lead designer of the beat 'em up God Hand (2006), which was also directed by Shinji Mikami.
Platinum Games and Vanquish
Along with Shinji Mikami, Kato left Capcom and worked at Platinum Games. There he designed what would be his final work as a game designer: the third-person shooter Vanquish (2010), published by Sega and also directed by Shinji Mikami. It improved upon the cover system, where in contrast to previous cover-based shooters, the cover in Vanquish is easily destructible. The game also penalizes the player's ranking for the number of times they have taken cover, though its most important innovation is the power-slide mechanic that allows the player to slide into and out of cover at high speeds, or in bullet time. The game was given GameSpot's "Best Original Game Mechanic" award for its rocket-sliding game mechanic, which acts as both a defensive escape and an offensive setup, opening up new gameplay possibilities for shooters and increasing the pace significantly. The game appears to have first-person shooters such as Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Killzone 3, and Titanfall, and third-person shooters such as Gunslinger Stratos and Sega's own Binary Domain. Vanquish was itself inspired by Tatsunoko's 1970s anime series, Casshern.
Change of Career
In February 2014, Shinji Mikami revealed that Kato had left the video game industry and decided to become a farmer. According to Polygon:
After wrapping his second interview for this story, Mikami checks his phone and sees an email from a former protege, Hiroki Kato, who Mikami appointed to direct Resident Evil Code: Veronica in the late '90s. Despite Code: Veronica's critical success, Kato never struck it big as a director, and instead went on to work as a designer on games such as the beat-'em-up God Hand and Vanquish.
Following Vanquish, he left the world of game development. And he emailed Mikami to let him know he had decided to become a farmer. Mikami reads the message and laughs, then shares the news with Kimura and others at the restaurant like a proud father.
Kato may not have stuck with game development, but Mikami was able to give him a shot and likes seeing him grow up.