SWERY Returning to Game Development with New Independent Studio

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Posted by alex (3747 posts) -
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Following a lengthy, health-related absence, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die and Deadly Premonition designer Hidetaka "Swery65" Suehiro is returning to game development.

Yesterday, SWERY announced his newest gaming venture, an independent studio called White Owls Inc. Based in SWERY's native city of Osaka, Japan, the new studio is aiming to create games that follow in the strange, fantastical footsteps of the designer's previous works.

This follows more than a year away from game development, as SWERY worked on managing his reactive hypoglycemia. During that period, SWERY officially retired from his previous studio, Access Games. And though he stayed away from development, he spent time working on other pursuits, including work on his forthcoming first novel, and becoming a licensed Buddhist monk.

We had the chance to ask SWERY a few questions about his health and his new studio, and though he wasn't able to give us too many details on what's to come from White Owls, the answers seemed to indicate a renewed excitement and passion for video game development.

Giant Bomb: First off, I know you took an extended leave from development to focus on getting healthy. How are you feeling these days?

SWERY: Thank you so much for your concern.

As of now, I've completely gotten over my condition, and my doctor gave me permission to return to work. I also have no more limitations in terms of drinking beer or eating hamburgers or cakes. My palpitations are long gone, and my hands and legs don't shake anymore.

Incidentally, I intend to keep a low carb diet in order to maintain my health from here on out.

GB: What brought you to the point where you decided you wanted to form your own company?

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S: This may sound very rude, but it all started once I tasted freedom for the very first time. During my period of medical treatment, I met a lot of people, went to many different towns and countries, watched a lot of films and TV shows, read books, listened to music, and slept a lot. Strangely enough, these actions filled me with more creativity than ever, and I was able to draw pictures that I hadn't been able to draw before, play musical instruments, and even go out to take pictures. I also made silly games with a game maker and then finally started writing a novel.

In the end, I realized that going to the same office every day at the same time, whether or not I actually had work to do, taking a lunch break at the same time whether or not I was actually hungry, and acting like I was awake even when I was sleepy was not the way to go about creating truly amazing work.

But it's very difficult to put that truth into action within a Japanese company (they're infamous around the world for being very "special", right?) So I decided to make my own ideal company.

Of course, in order to do that, I needed some advice from a lot of creators in the West. What I really needed was true friends!

GB: What is the personal significance of the name White Owls Inc.?

S: Owls watch over the darkness of the night. In Ancient Greece, they deified them as symbols of wisdom. I think that the Greek people looked at the darkness of the night as a metaphor for death. And since owls can see through the darkness, they were seen as sacred beings similar to elderly wisemen.

In that same vein, I've gotten older, and I've gained a bit more wisdom than before. So I decided that the owl was the perfect creature for this new stage of mine.

GB: What's the vision for this studio? What kinds of games are you looking to create?

S: White Owls is a completely independent studio without any capital. Therefore, we can freely create as we wish. We want to make games for all the people who are cheering us on. This means they'll be bizarre, horrific, and filled with laughter, tears, and SWERISMs.

Our slogan is "From Osaka to the World!" I hope you're all excited. Just like the owls that fly through the darkness of the night, the games we make here in Osaka, the city I grew up in, are going to soar out over the entire world.

GB: Can you speak at all on the talent you're bringing together for this studio? Can you talk about where some of the other developers came from, what other games they may have worked on?

S: Since the villains are always trying to figure out the Justice League's secrets, I can't tell you any details. (LOL)

...But the one thing I can say is that there are still a lot of creators in Japan who want to do something on a worldwide level. I'm teaming up with them and creating a secret base.

In order to make this into a reality, I signed a contract with Blake Rochkind from UTA. In other words, I'm seriously working to make the entire world my playing field.

GB: You also have a novel coming this year. Can you talk a little bit about what inspired you to try your hand at novel writing, and what we can expect from this first book?

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S: Currently, I'm working with a Japanese publisher and writing a book for commercial publication. I got feedback from my first draft, and just started working on my second draft. It's been a very stimulating experience. A while back, I said on Twitter that it'd be a combination of a rural town + murder + cat + mustache + nuts. It'll have the weirdness that can only happen in a small town, similar to Deadly Premonition, but I also used the same writing method that I employed to write D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die. I can't say any more than this, but if you're interested in hearing more news on it, please check my Twitter. I may tweet some hints every now and then.

GB: Is there anything else you'd like to say about your return to game development?

S: I can't thank my family enough. They supported me with food and other health support during my period of recuperation. Thank you so much. I also want to thank all my fans who've cheered me on through the internet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now that I'm back in action, I hope you're all looking forward to more SWERY creations!

That's it.

I Love You All!

Avatar image for davotron
#1 Posted by DavoTron (182 posts) -


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#2 Posted by Firepaw (3136 posts) -

Best of luck to you SWERY, can't wait to see what comes next :)

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#3 Posted by Muzhik (79 posts) -

Can't wait to see what he makes with unlimited freedom. Also looking forward to reading his novel if it comes out in English.

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#4 Edited by Psyklon (56 posts) -

In the end, I realized that going to the same office every day at the same time, whether or not I actually had work to do, taking a lunch break at the same time whether or not I was actually hungry, and acting like I was awake even when I was sleepy was not the way to go about creating truly amazing work.

He gets it.

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#5 Posted by DharmaBum (1747 posts) -

That is one badass portrait. I love everything about this man.

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#6 Edited by Metabie (9 posts) -

"I'm teaming up with them and creating a secret base." Excellent

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#7 Posted by MezZa (3052 posts) -

It's good to hear he's feeling better. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he makes next.

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#8 Posted by Pozxz (105 posts) -

That was a very sweet and touching interview. I wish him the best!

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#9 Posted by TanookiSuit (722 posts) -

Love ya, SWERY! Glad to see you're back so soon!

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#10 Posted by Rayeth (1204 posts) -

Love hearing from industry creators like Swery. Thanks for the interview Alex and thank you SWERY for being yourself!

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#11 Posted by Lucifunk (88 posts) -

The best.

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#12 Posted by wandel (80 posts) -

rural town + murder + cat + mustache + nuts.

Good combo.

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#13 Posted by oldenglishc (1547 posts) -

Who do I have to hold long, awkward eye contact with during a unenthusiastic handy to get that book published in English?

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#14 Posted by GalacticPunt (1511 posts) -

Awesome news and interview. Thanks, Alex Scoopsvarro! (Still workshopping the name)

"rural town + murder + cat + mustache + nuts." YASS. Hope that there will be a translation made of Swery's novel.

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#15 Posted by deactivated-5a55abbb2b8a9 (185 posts) -

I love Swery so very much.

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#16 Posted by spoon1234 (46 posts) -

Great to hear that SWERY is feeling better

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#17 Posted by Toug (653 posts) -

Pretty impressed you got an interview. The PR rep looks like he might be hard to work with.

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#18 Posted by two_socks (516 posts) -

This is a good picture of SWERY

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#19 Posted by clagnaught (2140 posts) -

Swery creating a secret base of Japanese developers to make weird games is an exciting premise.

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#20 Edited by Rejizzle (1136 posts) -

Thank God for Swery. So glad he's healthy and back in game development. The industry would be lesser for his absence.

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#21 Edited by Murdoc_ (810 posts) -

That's a cool logo.

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#22 Posted by danlongman (208 posts) -


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#23 Posted by forteexe21 (2034 posts) -

Can't believe Alex didn't ask the most important question: How will this affect his career in PAXAMANIA?

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#24 Posted by niflhe (116 posts) -

The Owls are not what they seem.

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#25 Posted by Homelessbird (1630 posts) -

We love you too SWERY. Keep doing you.

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#26 Posted by WhatsHisFace (745 posts) -

Take my money, Swery.

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#28 Posted by FloppySnake (78 posts) -

You're the bomb, Swery. Love you x

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#29 Posted by Parsnip (1413 posts) -


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#30 Posted by conmulligan (1946 posts) -

SWERY is a treasure.

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#31 Posted by monty222 (75 posts) -

Hail to the drinKING!

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#32 Posted by NoobSauceG7 (1418 posts) -

Swery is the man! <3 Swery :D

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#33 Edited by MooseyMcMan (12638 posts) -

No more limitations on eating hamburgers or cakes.

Swery knows what's up. I'm so happy he's back to making games.

Avatar image for hi_im_rob
#34 Posted by hi_im_rob (267 posts) -

Swery is the best

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#35 Edited by Duecenage (316 posts) -

What a treasure! Swery is the best person in existence!

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#36 Posted by hassun (10029 posts) -

Fund this man. Fund his freedom.

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#38 Posted by chango (1094 posts) -


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#39 Posted by heatDrive88 (3318 posts) -

Every photo involving Swery is a goddamned treasure.

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#40 Posted by JamesDane (75 posts) -

Swery is too pure for this earth.

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#41 Posted by BooDoug187 (494 posts) -

Swery + Suda 51 + Kojima = ???

Make this happen Earth! Point me towards what ever crowd funding site there is I will plunk down anything for this!

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#42 Posted by ptys (2240 posts) -

I didn't realise he left.

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#43 Posted by enemymouse (529 posts) -

How does a SWERY interview make anime-happiness-tears form in my eyes?

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#44 Edited by Fezrock (732 posts) -

What an odd guy; I'm glad he has the opportunity to continue to make odd things.

I wouldn't usually have an opinion on SWERY, but I just recently reached the part of my Giant Bomb unwatched content backlog that contained the two Deadly Premonition endurance runs and I finished watching those the other night. What a strange game. Had a lot of fun watching it though. Shame about the sound mixing problems.

Avatar image for brackstone
#45 Posted by Brackstone (939 posts) -

I gotta say, Swery seems like just about the coolest guy around, and with the way he's talking about running a company, he seems like just about the coolest boss you could ever have.

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#46 Posted by Nigthguy (162 posts) -

Swery is something we need more of. Glad we're getting it

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#47 Posted by whitegreyblack (1977 posts) -

I knew I saw that logo somewhere before.

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In all seriousness, though, I'm very glad to hear Swery is feeling better and I'm looking forward to his next project.

Avatar image for quemaqua
#48 Posted by Quemaqua (48 posts) -

Such a great dude. Always nice to see another update from him.

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#50 Posted by ht101 (2131 posts) -

The phrase "secret base" has me excited.