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Ikumi Nakamura talks about her new game Kemuri, development without rework, and the lasting impact of Okami

Ikumi Nakamura, who began her career as a young artist at Capcom’s Clover Studio and worked on the legendary game Okami, has proven herself not only with her skills and charismatic performance at E3 2019, but also with a special presence that has won the hearts of fans around the world. Although her contributions to the gaming industry have been relatively low-key in recent years, in an exclusive interview with IGN , Nakamura shared details about her new project, Kemuri, described her philosophy of working without grueling overtime, and spoke about the lasting impact that Okami has left on her. professional path.


Looking back at the beginning of her career, Nakamura recalled her time at Capcom, when technology challenges pushed her creativity to new heights:


It was really cool to discover different development methods.



Since then, Nakamura has worked at Tango Gameworks and founded her studio Unseen in 2022, focusing on Kemuri, an action game that interweaves Japanese folklore with a modern twist.


Kemuri is… a combination of all these things and all these experiences.

Unveiled at The Game Awards 2023, Kemuri promises a unique blend of traditional and modern influences, deeply rooted in Nakamura’s love of the supernatural. She discussed how artistic techniques from Okami influenced her current work:


When I’m working with a character artist on, say, a character’s face, I always tell them to pay a lot of attention to detail in every stroke, even on the face and such. Just to give a certain impression or a certain detail. And this idea definitely came from my experience working on Okami.


Nakamura also opened up about the difficulties of balancing her professional and personal life, especially as a mother.


After childbirth, a lot of strange things happen to the body… It really made me realize: Oh, I’m a woman.


At the same time, Nakamura positions Unseen as a beacon of positivity in a turbulent industry, prioritizing a diverse and inclusive culture. Not very original, but social networks love it.


Our talented crew is our greatest asset and we are committed to ensuring their well-being on this epic journey.


Regarding industry overhauls, Nakamura expressed her admiration for studios like Supergiant Games that have successfully avoided this widespread problem, so her team is focusing on similar positive experiences.

It is not yet very clear what exactly Kemuri will be and whether all the hype around Nakamura will be justified. It is noted that the game will feature fast-paced gameplay, reminiscent of Bayonetta, and yokai hunters in the game will be able to run across buildings and other non-horizontal surfaces. At the same time, the game is aimed at free exploration and multiplayer. Some are wary of expecting that Kemuri might turn out to be just another action-packed thriller, just with an anime style.


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