Kenji Matsubara Interview

Kenji Matsubara Interview

Kenji Matsubara, President and COO of Koei, says he’s “really looking forward” to completing a merger with Tecmo. Matsubara  also claimed that “both companies are financially healthy and cash-rich” and he believes this is a good reason for their compatibility.

Matsubara explained how he saw an opportunity after Square Enix recently tried – and failed – to acquire Tecmo.

“Koei initiated talks between our two companies,” Matsubara said. “I heard that Tecmo had declined an offer from Square Enix, and that was when I first thought about the possibility of Koei making an approach. I called a board meeting for the very next day [September 1] to discuss the viability of a merger with Tecmo; we then decided to contact Tecmo, which we did on the same day, and discussions between us ensued; three days later, we were able to make an announcement.”  

Matsubara-san believes such a hasty decision isn’t as reckless as it might appear to outsiders, as Koei’s founders were close long-time friends with the founder of Tecmo, who passed away three years ago. Tecmo’s new president is the founder’s son, and he has apparently maintained good relations with Koei’s senior figures since taking over.

There is still work to do in ironing out the details of the merger, “We’re still at the stage where discussions between Koei’s board and Tecmo’s have just begun,” Matsubara clarifies, “and we’re about to start looking at how we can best combine our companies’ skills and properties … But I know that both Koei and Tecmo’s software engineers are already excited about the prospect of merging and are talking among themselves about what kinds of game they might be able to produce together in future.”

Matsubara-san admits that Koei and Tecmo have differing development philosophies – at the moment he has “no plan” regarding how the two might be fused – but he is adamant that change will bring good results in terms of quality and innovation in future game projects: “Tecmo doesn’t want to merge just for the sake of merging – rather, we both realise that we need to change if we are to produce interesting, successful games in the future.”