Latest posts by Chris "Zabant" Heeley (see all)
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Ryoei Mikage was the CEO of Imageepoch, a relatively small Japanese game studio founded in 2005 and perhaps best known for it’s titles Arc Rise Fantasia, Luminous Arc, and Last Ranker.
Sometime around late February of this year a number of fans, employees and investors started to notice something strange was happening within Imageepoch and that something bad might have happened to Mr, Mikage. The veteran game industry personality had seemingly up and vanished without a trace.
It wasn’t just weird things that were happening with the main man either, the official websites for developer http://imageepoch.co.jp/, and JRPG site, http://jrpg.jp/, had also been abruptly wiped off the net with no explanation, no warning, nothing.
Now it’s not unusual for Japanese studios and developers to keep internal strife under-wraps, as seen with the recent dismissal of Metal Gear series head and notorious industry personality Hideo Kojima by Konami, however something was especially strange in the case of Mr. Mikage. It seems that even industry peers like the President of developer Idea Factory, Yoshiteru Sato, had tweeted out that they could not get in touch with Mikage, and thus, had no choice but to make a public announcement via various social networking sites in hopes of finding him.
So concerned was Mr. Sato that Another tweet asked for those able to get in contact with Mikage to please contact Idea Factory. However the main reason Idea Factory wanted to get in touch was most likely is in regards to publicity for upcoming PS Vita game Makai Shin Trillion, which is being developed by Compile Heart, a division of Idea Factory.
On the discovery of his Twitter it was apparent that the Mikage had not posted an update since October 2014.
As people began to dig deeper A report from Japanese site Otapol was discovered mentioning that there were rumours that developers, many of the most talented ones, have been leaving Imageepoch. Worse yet, Otapol reported that the company’s offices were apparently for rent.
A swath of rumours followed and began circulate online; some believable, some not quite so much. had the man been kidnapped? had he died, murder, suicide? Amongst the more lavish and fanciful rumours one seemed to stick out. The studio currently owes 43 creditors 1.1 billion yen or US$9 million, and with no way to pay this debt back Mr. Mikage had gone on the run.
Earlier this month following a long period of no new information or updates on the status of the man and his company, the official Twitter account of Ryoei Mikage was deleted, It was still online up until that point. Many pointed to this fact that Mr. Mikage was indeed still alive as the twitter accounts of the deceased tend to stick around long after they’re gone, and many were saying that the now reclusive Exec was trying to remove all traces of himself from the net.
As of today the studio has officially started bankruptcy proceedings, Nobody has seen hide nor hair of Mr. Mikage and many are speculating that he has probably fled the country and has assumed a new identity.