Tango Gameworks has roots that weave deeply into the Japanese gaming scene. The all-star team is based in Tokyo and is led by Resident Evil
creator Shinji Mikami. In 2004, Mikami left publisher Capcom because he wanted to move away from creating horror titles. PlatinumGames offered the creative freedom for Mikami to direct crazy beat-'em-up God Hand, the all-time great action game Vanquish
, and help Grasshopper Manufacture make Shadows of the Damned
. That is to say, Mikami had firmly cemented himself as a fantastic creator, so the next chapter was to create a game studio that offered him the liberty to do exactly what he wanted. So, Tango was born in 2010.
A failed Dune game almost immediately caused financial issues for Tango, which gave Zenimax Media the opportunity to sweep up the talented group. Mikami went with Zenimax Media, the director said to gamesindustry.biz
, because it "supports the development of blockbuster games and works to make it a collaborative effort." Along came the talent with the acquisition: Shigenori Nishikawa (director, MadWorld), Naoki Katakai (artist, Capcom), Shinichiro Ishikawa (programmer, Capcom), and Masafumi Takada (composer, Grasshopper Manufacture). Work began on a AAA project with around 100 members of staff, under the Bethesda Softworks label and sporting a new name: Tango Gameworks.
Mikami went back to his survival-horror roots immediately and made The Evil Within
, released in 2014. This is where all that industry history comes into play: all that talent, working towards Mikami's vision of creating a true survival-horror experience that wasn't weighed down by action — as he has claimed in an interview with The Telegraph
. With that over-the-shoulder, third-person, scavenge and scrap gameplay woven into a bizarre and nightmarish story, the scariness of old Resident Evil titles returned. There were solid gunplay mechanics matched by some amazing environmental designs that oozed a freaky atmosphere. However, the game often struggled to untangle its own narrative threads, deliver varied combat scenarios, and create unique bosses. At launch, the game was also let down by technical issues. Amongst horror fans, though, this is regarded as a must-play cult classic.
The Evil Within proved to be Mikami's swansong as a director, but paved the way for the legendary creator to help produce and oversee the development of Tango Gameworks' next project — The Evil Within 2
. Released in 2017, Tango Gameworks again produced a game with a fantastically disturbing vibe, with great action, and twisting, turning levels primed to make you break a cold sweat. Again, though, there were obvious technical issues and struggles with delivering on a more open world and well-rounded plot. The next project on the docket is the first-person psychic action-adventure GhostWire: Tokyo, a PlayStation 5 and PC only game set for 2022.