Shinji Mikami survived a horror of his own growing up in an abusive household.
In an interview with Famitsu magazine published this week, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami talked about his struggles growing up, how he came to work at Capcom, and his goals for the future of Tango Gameworks. He revealed that being raised in the Mikami household wasn’t exactly an ideal situation.
Mikami was abused by his father, sometimes in a sadistic way. Mikami calls his dad “scary” and said he was hit daily. Though Mikami can somewhat understand why his father might have been upset about his life situation, having dropped out of high school to take care of his family, it doesn’t excuse how violent he was.
Mikami describes one particular punishment that really went over the top. When Mikami went to bed one night without going his homework, his dad woke him up, forced him outside without any shoes, and chased him around in a car. By the end of the punishment, Mikami was forced to run six kilometers, and then abandoned to walk home by himself. It’s a pretty appalling situation to have to go through.
After surviving his father, Mikami says he ended up applying to Capcom after attending a company recruiting event because he “just wanted to eat at the Hilton for free.” He also applied to work at Nintendo, but could only attend one second round of interviews as both companies held them on the same day. He chose Capcom, and is grateful for it, because he’s not sure Nintendo would have been the right spot for him.
Today, Mikami hopes to “make games in Japan that can work worldwide” in the “the upper echelons of their field” at Tango Gameworks. He says he won’t be bound by standard Japanese practices, and new parent company Zenimax, which also owns Bethesda Softworks, is giving him the freedom to make what he wants. It must have been a huge challenge for Mikami to go from an abusive household, to become a top producer at Capcom, and now the head of his own studio, but I think we’re all glad he was able to make it so far.