Shinji Mikami Believes Game Creators Peak ‘During Their Thirties’

Whether or not his name immediately stands out to you, acclaimed game director Shinji Mikami is one of the most important creators in the games industry today. Having played an integral part in the development of Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Onimusha, and The Evil Within, he certainly has quite a lot of high-quality titles under his belt. That pedigree is what makes this latest interview so interesting, mostly because Mikami believes game creators hit their creative peak “during their thirties.”

Speaking to YouTube channel Archipel, Mikami recounted his career and gave some insight into why he’s sort of stepped back from the director’s chair when it comes to newer games. “When you’re young, you have a good sense of making things,” Mikami stated. “Your energy, your heart and your stamina are better when you are young…On the other hand, when you gain experience, you become more effective in satisfying players. However, your taste starts to fade away.”

To Mikami, it’s not that you cannot create something special as you get older, but more that you tend to play it safe instead of pushing the envelope. Since older age tends to take more out of you, your creative spark is more interested in building on your legacy instead of thinking outside of the box. “Overall, I believe game creators peak during their thirties, if you combine all skills,” Mikami said. “I made Resident Evil 4 when I was 39, I believe I fit in that peak.”

Obviously this isn’t a universal truth in the industry. Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has been churning out classic ideas for decades, even if he hasn’t directed a title since Super Mario 64. Miyamoto is kind of an exception to the rule, though, as Mikami’s words ring true for a ton of influential people.

Mikami even agrees with that. “I could state some examples for some other creators besides me,” he continued, “but generally I think that you see a lot of creators who make their best game in during their thirties. After 40, you realize how much energy is required when making a game, honestly, it becomes tougher.”

Does that mean Mikami has given up? Not in the slightest. The man is currently working as an executive producer on the awesome looking Ghostwire: Tokyo, which is sticking with its PS5 exclusivity despite being owned by Bethesda (who was acquired by Microsoft last month). He clearly has a lot of ideas left, even if he feels they may not break boundaries like in the past.

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