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Square Enix Producer Shares Reflections on Arson Threat Incident

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Yūichi Tanzawa was leading the project referenced in the threat

Earlier this month, a man was arrested for allegedly sending a threat and creating forcible obstruction of business at game developer Square Enix. The man allegedly sent a message through the company website's contact form threatening to repeat the fire at Kyoto Animation's 1st studio building on July 18.

A Square Enix game designer and producer named Yūichi Tanzawa published a blog post reflecting on the incident on Tuesday. He said that the game he had been working on was the subject of the threatening messages. Although he was not named in the messages as a target for violence, the general feeling among the staff was that they were all being threatened. As the project leader, it was felt that Tanzawa in particular was in significant danger.

Tanzawa wrote that he had always felt as if a fan's love for a game, even warped and twisted, was flattering as a creator. However, this issue was not simply about him; it affected everyone at the company. Beyond reporting the threats to the police and tightening security, there is not much that a person can do to protect themselves from ill intent. As a result of the threats, a summer event for the game was cancelled, along with another event that had not been announced. Tanzawa described this as "emotionally taxing."

He also went on to describe how the threats affected his daily life. He was gripped with paranoia whenever he saw someone break out into a run at the station, or approach him quickly, or whenever he heard footsteps behind him at night. "The exhaustion built up inside of me, and I felt like I was going to break," he wrote. "More than anything, it delivered a crushing blow to my motivation for making games."

Tanzawa explained that he has loved games since he was young, and that he believed in the games to bring people together. For that reason, he hopes that everyone enjoys his games. However, he cannot bring himself to feel that way about the man that threatened he and his team. Nor can he bring himself to feel fondness for the people who inferred that Square Enix must have brought it on itself. The incident has made him realize that humans are unable to identify with much beyond their immediate circle of association, and that as the user base of games get bigger, the more the creators and producers are dehumanized.

Tanzawa wrote that he had always worked tirelessly to bring smiles to the player's faces, often foregoing his free time and even his sleep. But now he has found himself wondering if it is worth continuing. He wrote that once he has calmed down, he will re-evaluate whether he wants to continue making games in the long term.

"This incident gave me a lot to chew on. It was an awful incident, but there's nothing in life that is truly a waste," he concluded.

Yūichi Tanzawa has been affiliated with Square Enix since 2010. He is credited as a producer on the arcade game Starwing Paradox. The game's August tournament was cancelled due to the staff receiving numerous death threats.

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion, Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water, Summer Wars), the character designer for the game, recently drew criticism for his comments last week in which he called Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung's Statue of Peace sculpture depicting World War II-era "comfort women" "dirty" and "vulgar." The game staff's announcement of the tournaments' cancellation did not mention Sadamoto or his comments.

Source: Yūichi Tanzawa's Note.mu


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