Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro has returned to game development with a new independent studio, the Osaka-based White Owls Inc.
Suehiro, the founder of Deadly Premonition developer Access Games, is the only team member listed on White Owls official website - unless you count Sharapova, the stuffed monkey that often accompanies Suehiro in his public appearances. The studio's work will be divided between video games, VR and books, with Suehiro also leaving the way clear to experiment with projects in a "wide variety of fields," listing art installations as one possible example.
White Owls Inc started in November last year, and Suehiro described the studio as only having "taken its first breath." As such, there's no clear indication of what the studio's first project will be, though there are a handful of videos depicting Suehiro's experiments with VR. When they do arrive, White Owls' games will be targeted at a global audience.
This marks the end of a quiet year for Suehiro. After launching D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die for Xbox One, he took a break from game development due to a diagnosis for reactive hypoglycemia. At that point, it wasn't certain that Suehiro would return to the industry, and around a year later, in October 2016, he announced that he had left Access Games in August. Even then the future seemed uncertain. "I hope I will be back," Suehiro said.
However, speaking to Gamasutra, Suehiro explained that his year-long break for medical treatment gave him a new perspective. "I started to feel a sense of danger in regards to the large separation between the Japanese market and the international market, as well as the changes happening in our era, and with my own philosophies," he said. "I really wanted to do something about this, but I was unable to fill that void within the unique environment that is a (Japanese) company."