Bokeh Game Studio CEO Keiichiro Toyama discusses first game in ‘Focus’ creator spotlight

New title influenced by recent trend of "death games."

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio, the new studio founded by Silent Hill, SIREN, and Gravity Rush creator Keiichiro Toyama, has published a nine-minute “Focus” video introducing the CEO and creative director, as well as teasing the studio’s first game.

“Regarding our first game, I have multiple directions for my works,” Toyama said in the video. “The one I took is quite dark, far from my more recent titles. It’s like I’m coming back to my roots, for example towards horror. My ideas were starting to go that direction. This is where I’m taking my first title. However, rather than something deeply rooted into horror, I want to keep an entertainment note. While keeping elements from horror, I want the player to feel exhilarated when playing the game.”

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio

Toyama continued, “The view I have of horror is the everyday life being shaken. Rather than showing scary things, it should question our position, make us challenge the fact that we’re living peacefully. I like bringing this type of thoughts in my concepts. I would like that to be the theme of my next game.

“I often read comics as a form of entertainment, recently you see a trend for ‘death game’ type of content. These works tend to add entertainment to somewhat brutal worlds. I enjoy these works and often read them. I naturally took that approach. You have these regular people driven into irrational situations. They’re on the edge emotionally, while dealing with action or drama. This influenced me and I think it will show in my next game.”

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio

“One trait of my games is the setting, what city or village do we evolve in, how did these people get there, what’s their emotional state. This is how I approach games. I’ve been inspired by locations this time as well and started with that. I’m roaming through maps, trying various methods to build up the setting.

“One trigger was a trip I took in my private time. My family and I went to visit this city in Asia. It had this dynamism proper to Asian cities, keeping an exotic touch mixed with a feeling of modernity. I started to imagine a setting that kept that feeling of evolution and the energy of the people. I thought it was a good theme to include in my game.”

Additional concept art is shown throughout the video. Here are a few more:

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio

Bokeh Game Studio

Get the full video and transcript below.

“I’ve always liked games as a player. I’ve been playing since I was a child. Surprisingly, I had never thought of making it my job.

“I got into art school, it was right at the time when 3D games were starting to come out. The game industry was looking for young people more and more. At that point, I realized I could consider becoming a creator. It took me by surprise, but this came quite naturally.”

Keiichiro Toyama is the creator behind Silent Hill, SIREN, and Gravity Rush. In 2020, he left Sony Interactive Entertainment after more than 20 years to found a new studio, where he took the position of creative director.

“I founded Bokeh Game Studio in order to keep making games in my own style. Games have become bigger and bigger these past few years. The audience has become wider, especially for companies like Sony, where I was. However, rather than reaching to the widest audience possible, my games choose their audience in a way. They tend to have these odd concepts, in the end I’m confident that they leave a trace.

“I aspire to make IPs that fans can enjoy even ten, twenty years after they’re released. As I want to keep achieving this under the right conditions, I thought that it was a necessity to have my own studio.”

The First of Bokeh

“Regarding our first game, I have multiple directions for my works. The one I took is quite dark, far from my more recent titles. It’s like I’m coming back to my roots, for example towards horror. My ideas were starting to go that direction. This is where I’m taking my first title. However, rather than something deeply rooted into horror, I want to keep an entertainment note. While keeping elements from horror, I want the player to feel exhilarated when playing the game.

“The view I have of horror is the everyday life being shaken. Rather than showing scary things, it should question our position, make us challenge the fact that we’re living peacefully. I like bringing this type of thoughts in my concepts. I would like that to be the theme of my next game.

“I often read comics as a form of entertainment, recently you see a trend for ‘death game’ type of content. These works tend to add entertainment to somewhat brutal worlds. I enjoy these works and often read them. I naturally took that approach. You have these regular people driven into irrational situations. They’re on the edge emotionally, while dealing with action or drama. This influenced me and I think it will show in my next game.

“One trait of my games is the setting, what city or village do we evolve in, how did these people get there, what’s their emotional state. This is how I approach games. I’ve been inspired by locations this time as well and started with that. I’m roaming through maps, trying various methods to build up the setting.

“One trigger was a trip I took in my private time. My family and I went to visit this city in Asia. It had this dynamism proper to Asian cities, keeping an exotic touch mixed with a feeling of modernity. I started to imagine a setting that kept that feeling of evolution and the energy of the people. I thought it was a good theme to include in my game.”

Engraving Emotions

“A motivation I have behind taking photos is to find a way to make records of the emotions I feel. Back in school, I was focusing more in analog videography. I would shoot chunks of our daily lives. Photos have that time machine aspect, allowing you to go back to a moment in time. I enjoy that nostalgia you get from them. I make sure to engrave these moments, it calms me in a way. This is why to this day I keep a camera on me at all times.

“Making games is a group activity, we make them together in a studio. I really enjoy that. However, on the contrary, when I want to express an emotion I have inside of me, I want to create new works as part of my daily life, but it can be quite difficult. Photography is the only way I get to easily express my own interpretation of the world. You feel how times change too. I realize how differently I was seeing the world a few years ago. It especially shows in the colors. It’s a way for me to face the world by myself in a way. Photography goes well with game creation or other group activities, as this own axis of mine.”

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