Hiro Nakagomi, Producer / Art Director
How does an average day look like for you?
I do not have an average day. I am a manager, so I am aware that I have to move so that the employees I manage can work efficiently. So you might say that I don't have an average day so that my employees can have an average day. I've been in the industry for 30 years, and based on my experience of working in development, I think about how managers should approach their employees to make it easier for the people who are doing the work. All of our employees work remotely, but in order for them to work effectively remotely, managers need to be more attentive to their employees than they would be if they worked in an office. Since we started offering remote working, we have implemented a number of initiatives. These include daily scrums (sharing work progress and goals), lunch meetings (Lunch is held after a visit to a museum or a film.), gamification (Conversations while playing games online) and discussion teatime (Talking about the topic at the day while having tea remotely), We have had many initiatives, some of which are still ongoing and some of which have ended. We always postmortem for various initiatives and create an environment for more efficient remote working. In my managerial role, I sometimes have no tasks, but in these free hours and after the day's work is finished, I try to constantly update my knowledge and skills, mainly through technical studies and research on art, to ensure that the art team is heading in the right direction.
How did your career evolve at Wizcorp?
I joined Wizcorp in 2014, before that I had built up my career at large companies such as Sega Electronic Arts (Vancouver) Inc. and Capcom Inc. Wizcorp is a small company, so the range and quality of work is completely different. So far, my duties at Wizcorp have included sales, producing, project management, game direction, art direction, modeling, animation production and UI production. It may be fair to say that I have done all of these tasks except engineering, but I feel that by doing these tasks and managing development, I have been able to understand game development from many different perspectives and develop my overall skills in game development.
What do you like the most at Wizcorp?
In a nutshell, it's the culture of the company. I have worked for many gaming companies, but Wizcorp is the company I have been with the longest and I would not consider working for any other company in the future. This is because I can relate to the culture of the company, and a good culture motivates me to work for the company and for the employees. I feel freedom in Wizcorp's culture. The good thing is that each of us can devote ourselves to our work without being tied down by anything, and we can spontaneously make suggestions and implement them to improve the company. In such a culture, the switch to full remote working may have been a natural progression. Since it is not always effective for employees who do practical work to go to the office, the company actively promoted remote work and changed to an environment where employees could work more freely, for example by not limiting where they work as long as they can work during their core hours. For example, there was an employee who wanted to study in Germany, but on the condition that the employee could secure one’s core hours and work hours, the employee was able to work while studying in Germany.
At Wizcorp, the company supports employees in developing their skills. When considering their career path, we think about what kind of work is best for them within Wizcorp and try to assign them to the right roles. Some employees may wish to do other work in addition to game development, in which case we may adjust their working hours so that they can do a second job on the side. The idea is that the company's skills can only improve if each individual can improve their own skill.
What do you find the most annoying?
Since Wizcorp became part of the Keywords group, it is now one studio within a larger group, and like any large company, its reporting obligations and approval processes are more complex, which means that managers have to spend more time than ever before. Such work can be painstaking, as it does not improve your skills. Conversely, in a small company, many things are not set in stone, so you have to think and discuss each time, which can be a source of frustration. I have my own problems in large and small companies, but I accept that this is inevitable in a managerial position, as it always happens when people do something in a group. As an individual, I think it is good to have rules with some leeway, because if you make too many decisions, it becomes suffocating.
What have you learned?
At Wizcorp, I have had the experience of developing games in a short period of time in a small team, like I did when I first started in the games industry, and I feel that what has helped me more than anything else is that I have been able to experience this in my position of managing the development. It was a great experience to be able to take the development methods I had developed based on my previous game development experience and implement them in the new field of web games, while working on a wide range of tasks from game production to direction and art production. The most important thing for me about working for this company is that I get to create the culture of the company. The current culture of Wizcorp is close to what I consider to be the ideal culture of a company, and I look forward to working with the employees to improve the culture even further in the future.
What are your aspirations?
I started working in the games industry in the 1990s, when the Japanese games industry was a world leader. I was very fortunate to start my career in such a privileged environment and benefited a lot from it. In the future, I would like to give back to the games industry, which has given me such good fortune. Specifically, I want to help Japanese clients so that more people can play Japanese games. I believe this is something that only someone like me, who has experienced game development both in Japan and overseas, can do, and by connecting Keywords Group's worldwide services with Japanese clients, I believe I can make this happen.
What would you want someone interested in Wizcorp to know?
When people ask me about Wizcorp, I reply. 'It's a company where you can work freely, in both good and bad ways.' Because of the free environment, if you are an active person with ambition, you will gain a lot of skills in this company. Conversely, if you are passive, you will not improve your skills, so we do not recommend you to join Wizcorp. We hope that you will think of Wizcorp as a company of people who are professional, who develop each other's skills, and who share our culture and enjoy working freely and happily together.