Magazine SWITCH Interview “Thinking about form and connection” Atsuhiro Tsuchiya, Director and CCO, Cocone Corporation

※This article is machine translated.

This article was originally published in “SWITCH Vol.40-No.11” and is reprinted with permission.

Thinking about form and connection

Atsuhiro Tsuchiya is one of the creators of “Livly Island” and has worked on various games as an art director. What is the origin of his creation?

Magazine SWITCH Interview "Thinking about form and connection" Atsuhiro Tsuchiya, Director and CCO, Cocone Corporation

I feel like I’m helping to create the existence of “Livly Island” in this world, and I feel like I’m “translating” rather than “creating” it.

“Hanamaru” that gave me a chance

– What is the origin of your creative process?

I think it was the relationship with my homeroom teacher at kindergarten that was the biggest factor. She was a little bit different. She had a cheerful side that played Antonio Inoki’s entrance music every morning, and she often drew pictures for us. I was a naughty child and once fell and scraped my knee as hard as I could. At that time, my teacher drew a “Hanamaru” on the injured area with a red dot. That experience changed my negative feeling of “I got injured” into a positive one, as if I had received a medal. That experience is at the core of my work as a designer. I want to make things that make people smile when they are in pain.

– There are many options for expression through drawing, such as artist, cartoonist, illustrator, etc. Why did you choose to become a game designer?

When I was in elementary and junior high school, I watched various music clips on tvk, a local TV station in my hometown in Kanagawa Prefecture, and read the magazines “Koukoku Hihyou” (Advertising Review) and “Design no Genba” (The Field of Design), and became interested in video and advertising. So when I was in high school, I thought I wanted to graduate from an art college, enter an advertising agency, and eventually become a director. However, as it turned out, I was not admitted to the Tokyo University of the Arts, which I wanted to attend, and I ended up attending a vocational school. Around that time, a friend from high school invited me to join the art staff of a student event, and through the people I met there, I made connections with various people and became more active in the Shibuya and Daikanyama area. Thankfully, the work I received from the people I met there led to a variety of other jobs. I was facing each job one by one and cherishing the relationship of trust, and I found myself doing the kind of work that I am doing now.

– Did you ever feel conflicted by the gap between your own desire for creativity and “universality” required for commercial and entertainment purposes?

While I wanted to make people feel better, I also wanted to have a job that would allow me to continue my business, so I was rather attracted to commercial design. In addition, there were genius producers, fashion designers, and editors in my generation, and there were many times when I thought that if I wanted to compete, I had to get work in a different way. While keeping the core of myself in mind, I developed a way to devise a way to shape the work even when I received unreasonable requests, and as I completed the work, it led me to the next job. That’s how I got to where I am today.

– You are currently working on “Livly Island” as a company employee, but is there anything that has been important to you as a designer since your freelance days?

I placed great importance on building a relationship of trust with my clients. I myself was shy and had a hard time making friends, so as I worked with clients to create things together, a relationship of trust was born, and I have a strong sense that the number of relationships that could be called “comrades-in-arms” gradually increased.

Values changed by part-time work

– You mentioned that you yourself are shy, so how did you come up with the idea of adding a communication function to “Livly Island”?

I was shy, but of course I found it interesting to be involved with people. In particular, my experience working part-time at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) when I was in high school was a big part of that. When I started working part-time, I used to have the attitude of folding my arms in front of the customer and waiting for their order, but when I started talking with the customer through the service, I was able to get them to like me by my behavior, and the customer took a favorable attitude towards me. I had a different experience. Also, I used to play soccer as part of my club activities, so I had a real sense that the teamwork I learned there would come in handy at my part-time job. I came to think that communicating with people is actually interesting, and it was because of these experiences that I discussed the implementation of the chat function in the classic version with other members, and we decided to make it a “service that allows people to talk with people from far away through their pets.

– In the classic version of ” Livly Island”, the development team and players were able to communicate with each other through a “management Livly”, which was a novel idea at the time.

Nowadays, the existence of a “social media manager” is commonly recognized on social networking sites, but at that time, it was taboo for developers to have direct contact with customers. However, through my part-time job experience, which I mentioned earlier, I felt the joy of serving customers, and I thought it would be interesting to have a direct conversation between the creator and the customer. So, under the name of “Management Livly” the management members, including myself, and the owners actively engaged in conversation with each other. Our intervention allowed us to, for example, create mini-games and events on a spur-of-the-moment basis. I think one of the attractions of the program was that events were realized because it was “live management” and not programmed.

What you can see by not creating too much

– The game is not only to be played according to the worldview and storyline created by the developers, but also to be enriched by the freedom of space within the game.

Of course, it is wonderful to work hard to conceive a scenario and present a worldview, but our goal is to create a story that becomes the experience of the owners. When the founding members and I discussed what entertainment is, we came up with the idea that it is a nutrient for the soul that is necessary in addition to food, clothing, and shelter, and that it expands the space for “living. For example, there are times when I myself am deeply troubled, but when I come into contact with movies and music, I gain a different sense of value and way of thinking, which gives me more space in my mind. I hope that “Livly Island” will be such a place for all owners.

– I feel that the “Livly Island” has a good amount of “blank space” in it, and I also think that it is influenced by the diversity of the Livly appearance and characteristics.

At the time, I wasn’t aware of the word “diversity”, but now that we’ve rebooted the app for smartphones, I’m aware of it all over again.

– How did you maintain the natural appearance and subtle design of the Livly, which somehow seem unbalanced?

In reality, it was more like I feel like I’m helping to create the existence of “Livly Island” in this world, and I feel like I’m “translating” rather than “creating” it, rather than designing it. There were some restrictions and conditions in the “entertainment” category. However, I felt that the restrictions were actually similar to those in the natural world. I think the shape of the Livly was created from the imagination of what they would look like in such an environment, or what they would do depending on their functions or behavior patterns.

– What are your plans and prospects for the future?

We are thinking of using the blockchain mechanism to provide entertainment for everyone. What we are envisioning is a place where people can exist as they like, free from the concept of being human, regardless of gender or appearance. For example, you may feel comfortable living as a “pebble,” but by using NFT, your life of a few years as a “pebble” will have value, and you will be able to create new jobs for your players through crypto-assets. The NFT allows us to create a world that was once unimaginable, where a life lived for years as a “rock” can now have value and become a new job for the player through crypto assets. We are working daily to create a place and system where the boundary between the real and virtual worlds will disappear, and where various “vessels of the soul” can exist and live in a variety of ways.

Atsuhiro Tsuchiya was born in 1977. Formed the designer unit ” Soup ” with Naoki Ishizaka and others, and released the PC version of “Livly – Mysterious Pet” in 2002. He has been the CCO of Cocone Corporation since 2009. Representative works include “Dancing Girl Crinoppe” and “Settling Fairy Settorlin”.

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