Kazutaka Kodaka (小高和剛) is a Japanese video game creator and writer. He is the creator and scenario writer of the Danganronpa series. He is a former employee of Spike Chunsoft and the co-founder of TooKyo Games game developer studio.
Kodaka was born on July 8th, 1978, and lives in Tokyo, Japan. As a child, he attended a private boys' junior high school where he made very few friends, instead spending all his free time away from school watching anime, watching movies, and playing video games. He was very studious in high school, but became tired of studying for his college entrance exams in his third year, until he learned that he could study film at the Nihon University College of Art. He majored in and graduated with a degree in film studies.
While at university he worked part-time in Chameleon Club video games store, during what he feels was a turning point in the video game industry since they were having a huge surge of popularity with the increased availability of home consoles. He was able to play a lot of games because he got them at a discount from working at the store, and his interests changed from being focused on movies to heavy interest in video games. Kodaka explained to his professor that although he was majoring in film, he did not want to become a film director like his classmates, and instead intended to apply his film degree to making video games. The professor helped him get the opportunity to work as an assistant director to Kinji Fukasaku during the production of Clock Tower 3, where he contributed to the cutscene videos featured in-game. Kodaka's first post-graduate role was writing for the Jake Hunter (known in Japan as Tantei Jingūji Saburō) mobile game series in 2008, contributing to 6 of the games, and several tie-in books, and was later hired by Spike (now Spike Chunsoft) to write the scenario for the Nintendo DS game Meitantei Conan & Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbou.
Seeking the opportunity to write an original work with his own scenario, Kodaka submitted a pitch to Spike for what would later become Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc alongside character designer Rui Komatsuzaki. After some initial reworking to tone down the dark scenario to make it more easily marketable, the pitch was accepted and the first Danganronpa game was released on November 25th, 2010 for PlayStation Portable. Though the game was only expected to sell around 50,000 units, the game instead became a cult sensation through word-of-mouth, selling 25,564 units in its first week and debuting in 8th place in the weekly game sales charts, with sales topping over 85,000 within the first three months of release. Danganronpa's cult popularity led to three critically acclaimed sequels: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Danganronpa Another Episode, and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, which were all given an English localization by NIS America from 2014 onwards.
Too Kyo GamesEdit
After the completion of Danganronpa V3 and the Danganronpa spin-off anime series Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, Kodaka approached his Danganronpa character designer Rui Komatsuzaki and composer Masafumi Takada to discuss his plans to create his own independant development company. Along with other industry veterans and fellow Spike Chunsoft employees such as Kodaka's long time friend, the Zero Escape series creator Kotaro Uchikoshi, the group founded the studio TooKyo Games in 2017 and officially left Spike Chunsoft. The company's name is a wordplay on Tokyo – where they are based – and the Japanese word kyō (狂, "crazy"), thus meaning "Too Crazy Games". As Kodaka explained, "The object of this company is to do something new, which is the creation of a new IP commonly known all over the world, and in the future we will make indie games by ourselves. This new company enables us to move freely towards the goal". As of 2020, the studio has five titles in development: Death Come True, Death March Club, two other untitled video game projects, and an anime series created by studio Pierrot. He also mentioned that he would still like to go back to the Danganronpa franchise at some point in the future.
Death Come TrueEdit
Without the restraints of working for a big studio, Kodaka was able to work on projects he wanted to, rather than ones that a big studio would consider marketable. One such project is Death Come True. His aspiration with the game was to create a project that was "neither a game nor a movie", but a new kind of entertainment which is a blend of both. Despite knowing that FMV-style games have a very small audience - self-deprecatingly predicting that a Death Come True might "only sell 35 copies worldwide, all bought by my relatives", the game is a passion project for Kodaka because of his previous original goal of working in the film industry and his first video game credit working on the FMV cutscenes for Clock Tower 3.
- Clock Tower 3: Video Assistant Director (2002)
- Jake Hunter series: Scenario (2008)
- The Six Sheets of Crime (6枚の犯行)
- Search for the Dying Smoke! (亡煙を捜せ!)
- The Night of Quito (キトの夜)
- The Square Trap (四角の罠)
- The Man Who Was Called a Dog (イヌと呼ばれた男)
- Bakuso Dekotra Legend Black (2008)
- Meitantei Conan & Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbou: Scenario (2009)
- Danganronpa series: Creator and Scenario
- School of Ragnarok: Scenario (2015)
- Death March Club: Creative Director (2020)
- Death Come True: Creator, Scenario Writer, Director (2020)
- Danganronpa: The Animation: Scenario (2013)
- Wooser's Hand-to-Mouth Life: Screenplay (2015)
- Detective Wooser's Final Problem (名探偵うーさー、最後の事件)
- Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School (2016)
- Detective Saburo Jinguji: The Ghost of Shinjuku (探偵 神宮寺三郎 新宿の亡霊): Novel (2006)
- Detective Jinguji Saburo Shining Mirai (探偵 神宮寺三郎 輝かしいミライ): Novel (2007)
- Danganronpa Zero (ダンガンロンパ／ゼロ): Novel (2011)
- Guren 5 (グレン5): Manga Series (2013)
- Danganronpa Gaiden: Killer Killer (ダンガンロンパ害伝 キラーキラー): Manga Series (2016)
- Gamblers Parade (ギャンブラーズパレード): Manga Series (2018)