Deadly Premonition creator Swery starts own studio, White Owls

Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro, the mastermind behind bestworstbest game Deadly Premontion, has started his own studio. He left longtime home Access Games in 2016 after being away for a year’s convalesce, and apparently he’s not going back. His new studio is White Owls, based in Osaka. Though their first game is still under wraps, Swery says they’ll be making more weird, scary, dreamy, funny games. That’s exactly what I want to hear. Oh, and of course Swery’s using this freedom to deliver voice messages from his stuffed monkey partner, Sharapova, and absolutely you can buy an official wall clock with Swery’s bum and his Sharapova ‘tattoo’.

White Owls officially formed on November 1st, 2016 — the day after Swery announced he was leaving Access Games — and announced itself to the world this morning.

Swery tells Gamasutra that the seeds for White Owls were planted during his sabbatical.

“During that time, 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. 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.”

Then some western developers suggest he go independent and make only what he wanted, and here we are. White Owls do have a game on the go but it’s still secret for now. I’m encouraged by him telling Gama this:

“We want to create games for YOU, the people who like us. Games that are bizarre, scary, grotesque, and dreamlike, yet also have a strange realism. Games that remind you of the past, that are comical, and sad yet lovable. Those are the kind of games we’ll be making.”

Swery’s games are always wonked out in ways – and barely playable on PC, in the case of Deadly Premonition – but they have such good heart. Deadly Premonition is genuinely one of my favourite games, in spite of the bad shooter wedged in (requested by a publisher, so the story goes) and the bugs and the… it’s such a wonderful melodrama, and such a warm place. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear he had become a certified Buddhist monk.

Oh, and the owls? Swery says it’s a reference to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, rather than more Twin Peaks riffing.

15 Comments

  1. Rao Dao Zao says:

    This might ruffle a few feathers, but owl believe it when I see it.

  2. Ghostwise says:

    This clock certainly constitutes a bold statement when it comes to interior decoration.

    I wouldn’t use it for the ambassador’s party, though.

    • sneetch says:

      I would, but then again I made all my money in monocle repairs.

  3. lupinewolf says:

    AVANT GARDE

  4. gbrading says:

    I hope SWERY continues to make weird crazy things, but more than that I hope that if there are PC versions of them, they’re actually good versions and not ridiculously broken.

  5. poliovaccine says:

    Not that I dont take his point, but I think it’s funny that the article makes a point of noting the owls have to do w Minerva and not Twin Peaks – mainly because those references, bound into those symbols, are inextricable. Like, the owl referred to Minerva back when Twin Peaks used it too. It’s just kind of a token of our present-day cultural illiteracy, that such a distinction has to be made, that we couldnt be trusted to take it for granted that the guy is entitled to whatever symbolism he wants withouy being beholden to the one single pop culture entity other people know the symbol from first. If enough folks had run across “Minerva” anywhere beyond Swery and Twin Peaks (say, Greek mythology unit, Ancient World History, 6th grade?) they might recognize that symbol as universal enough that Twin Peaks doesnt own the damn thing and in fact that’s why Twin Peaks used it, too.

    In case my bile is ambiguous, let me clarify: I love Swery and his games (especially Deadly Premonition – I refuse to abbreviate that to DP), I love Twin Peaks and the other associated canon of David Lynch, and I know that the symbol of an owl for wisdom/night knowledge is a loooot older and richer than either one of those characters. And it’s not that I mean to be critical of the article for its last sentence – if I were writing this article I’d feel the same need to note the same thing. I just wish you could rely on the world these days to be literate enough that such statements are no longer necessary – and that your readers might actually recognize the symbol of an *owl for wisdom* from enough other, earlier sources.

    Like, just.. it isnt an abstract notion, that last-line disclaimer was *warranted;* I saw this story and the first thing my friend said over my shoulder was, “Aw man, he’s just making more Twin Peaks stuff huh?” Because he saw the owl. My point is, maybe he is, maybe he isnt, whatever – but Twin Peaks does not own and did not invent the symbolism of the owl! Cultural literacy is in fucken *peril.*

    Maybe it’s nothing, but I say it’s *representative* of *everything.* Maybe that’s a manic perspective. Maybe it’s correct regardless!

    • Psychedelic Squid says:

      I think maybe it’s brought up because in this case Swery himself has previously used it directly as a nod to Twin Peaks (since the entirety of Deadly Premonition was a love letter to it), so in that context it could seem like him going for that reference again rather than the underlying one, and he wanted to make a point of it being the direct reference this time.

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      subdog says:

      I don’t think the owls in Twin Peaks had anything to do with Minerva or wisdom. They were very clearly being used as malevolent spies for otherworldly beings.

      I rewatched the series for a third time a couple months ago and don’t remember a single reference to the Owls as representations of wisdom (much less the Roman pantheon).

  6. horrorgasm says:

    Great, but…can we not do a dead-end episodic series this time?

    • magogjack says:

      I don’t know if I can bring myself to start it since it will never end….

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    Edski says:

    I like his cravat. Is that moustache real?