Shinji Mikami's Tango made an unreleased game about four-inch cockroaches gunning down humans

Sebastian staring at a photo of himself.
(Image credit: Tango gameworks)

Shinji Mikami, president of Tango Gameworks and one of the great directors, recently spoke to Variety to mark his 30 years in the games industry. As well as some enjoyable recollections about his days at Capcom making various Resident Evil titles (Resi 4 was such a departure because "It just felt more fun"), Mikami digresses into the earlier days of Tango Gameworks, and speaks about a smaller project that, though completed, has never seen the light of day.

The initial concept behind Tango's work was that the studio's established developers would make a big title (The Evil Within) while its up-and-coming talent worked on smaller projects. Very soon after Tango Gameworks was launched, however, it was acquired by Zenimax, and the idea of the smaller titles fell away. Which is a real pity, because the game Mikami goes on to describe sounds hilarious. 

"In the beginning," says Mikami, "we had a game where the main character was a cockroach, and the cockroach was to defeat humans. The cockroach was about four inches tall, and would, at times, walk on two legs and at times walk on four legs—or all the legs that a cockroach has—and sometimes would pick up a gun and start shooting up at humans to defeat humans.

"The execs obviously were not happy with the concept and it didn’t get released. But we did make the game to the end."

The full interview is crammed with interesting tidbits, like The Evil Within emerging from a concept called 'Noah' as a quite different game, and Mikami's desire to return to that idea, possibly as his last project. 

“My thinking is that if I had a chance to make a game from the beginning to end that’s completely my vision, then definitely, that would be my big last project as a director. It would probably be more fitting as that 'last game I direct' kind of thing.”

Tango Gameworks' current project is Ghostwire Tokyo, and here's everythiing we know about it. But that game's directed by Kenjii Kimura, with Mikami in his longtime producer role. Look Bethesda, I'll pre-order Mikami's next game as director sight-unseen, just get him on it. And release the damn cockroach already!

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."