Ikimasho means « let’s go! » in Japanese.
It’s both a tribute to the leap of faith of two friends starting a VR game company in 2017 (ancient times in our hardware-intensive sector), and a way to remember that our inspiration comes from the fun we had playing Japanese games. Had the industry be different we’d have named ourselves Andiamo, Balle or « On y va ».
Like all great love stories, Ikimasho started with an online encounter, when Olivier replied to Yann about the infamous Gamasutra article the latter had just published.
5 years later, Olivier was dabbling into VR here and there after a long stint in movies (he’s pretty proud of being on imdb, look him up here) and Yann was leading gumi’s mobile JRPG behemoth Brave Frontier. Since it’s Olivier typing this text, I won’t bother with linking to it.
The pair saw an opportunity to start a company on a brand new market with promising growth and founded Ikimasho with a fleshed-out business vision, backed by Yann master’s degree in Finance (it really didn’t help that much for launching the company, but he’s proud he has it so I’m mentioning it here), a working prototype of a game that eventually never happened and a great deal of love for PCVR until they had to work a new game from the ground up for the Oculus Quest, which came around right after their preproduction phase…
Long story short, they managed to get a team together, ship their first game, build up on what they had launched to score a publishing deal for their second game and the rest is currently waiting to be written.
They are happy you read the entire story up to this point. Especially Olivier since he wrote it.
Yann loves action games with punk/kink/flashy designs ala Sunset Overdrive and Persona 5.
Olivier has been stuck on the island of Riven since 1997, playing Planescape:Torment every other year.
Because VR immerses us in the virtual world, we don’t just play the games anymore. We live them. To build worlds that are worth living in, we must go much further than traditional “environmental storytelling” into the realm of “world storytelling”, which encompasses just about every aspect of the game and requires the utmost attention to detail in service of the key emotion we creators are trying to convey. And one aspect in particular is paramount: the coherent relationship between player actions and the character’s actions in and on the virtual world.
Involving the body
Our players are not merely pressing buttons anymore, they now physically engage with the actions we require them to perform. This requires of us creators to design each action, even one as benign as picking up an object, into something physiologically rewarding.
Just like the real world, virtual worlds are only meaningful if they are, and keep being, rich, surprising, and allow for meaningful interaction. Us developers, especially with small teams so early into the medium, need to make sure we build our games for scale from the get-go.