Shinji Mikami may now be working hard on The Evil Within at his new studio Tango Gameworks, but he made his name creating titles for Capcom — most notably Resident Evil.
He's been speaking to Famitsu about how he got started in the game industry, and has revealed that he was given a rather unusual gift when his employment was confirmed with Capcom: a copy of the NES (or in Mikami's case, Famicom) title Willow. Based on the 1988 Ron Howard fantasy epic starring Warwick Davies and Val Kilmer, the game was apparently offered to new starters.
In the interview, Mikami explains that he didn't see himself as a games designer to begin with, and his first connection with Capcom was when he visited a company buffet-style presentation with a friend in the hope of getting a free meal. Intrigued by a speech given by Capcom's president Kenzo Tsujimoto, Mikami decided to take an entry exam in the hope of scoring a job:
All the results, including whether you were hired or not, were announced the same day you took the test. It was a very unorthodox system. At the very end, people who were hired were given a copy of the NES game, Willow, but I didn't get a copy.
Mikami went away dejected, but reveals that he later got a phone call telling him that he had indeed secured a job at Capcom — and his copy of Willow was in the post. The rest, as they say, is history.