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Lucas Pope and His Wife Keiko Ishizaka Were Co-workers

Himal Ale Magar


One of the pioneers in developing Indie games, Lucas Pope, has worked with his wife, Keiko Ishizaka, on some of the best indie games.

After the success of their collaborative work, the developer has thanked his partner for her support and inspiration.

Lucas’ Wife Is His Inspiration

Lucas thanked Keiko during his acceptance speech when winning a BAFTA for Papers, Please in 2014. The game also earned him several prestigious awards, including the Top Indie Game 2013 from Forbes and Best Game of 2013 from WIRED.

The married duo had even worked together on previous projects like Helsing’s Fire.

Recently, the game designer has been working solo with his better half behind the scenes. According to Lucas, his wife works as a producer, and he refers to her as the voice of sanity.

Lucas Thanked His Wife During The Award Acceptance Speech [Photo: BAFTA/YouTube]

Keiko plays video games but is not a gamer. Regardless, she helps him realize the bigger picture while working on a project.

Further, the developer described how his partner helped him escape the bubble and think out of the box. Their dynamic chemistry is a testament to their togetherness and understanding throughout their relationship.

Besides, the couple are secretive about their personal life and have not shared much detail about their relationship and married life.

Interesting Read: Kyle Dutcher’s Wife: A Look Into Their Marriage

Met His Future Spouse in His Workplace

The Virginia native Lucas Pope kicked off his career in the gaming industry at Naughty Dog. While in the company, he helped create games like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

Further, he met his future wife, Keiko, as a coworker at Realtime. The pair would form a deep bond, which grew into a blossoming relationship.

Roughly a year before the release of Uncharted 2, Lucas took a two-week vacation with his better half, making a video game called Mightier.

They worked together for years before the developer left to start his first game, The Republia Times. Regardless of his departure, the spouse continued their relationship while working for separate studios.

Moved to Japan with Keiko

After leaving Naughty Dog, the game designer moved to Tokyo, Japan, with Keiko in 2010 to work on smaller projects before the U.S.A. release of Papers, Please.

The game was inspired as he had to often travel with his significant other. He had to go from the USA to Japan to see her family and help Keiko with her jobs.

During his travels, he spent a lot of time doing passport checks, which influenced him to develop a game based on the job.

Having players make decisions based on people’s papers was an exciting and new idea in the Indie genre.

Besides, the developer was rushing to release it as Keiko was pregnant with their first child. He planned to release the game and look for a stable job in either Tokyo or the U.S.A.

Pope recalled the moment as he stated, “My wife played [an early Papers, Please prototype] and said, ‘You can finish this, but afterward, you gotta get a job.”

Eventually, his dedication and hard work came to fruition after the game sold more than half a million copies worldwide.

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Keiko Is More than Just a Mother of Two Children

Similar to Lucas, Keiko is a game developer; she currently works in Japan as a Game Developer for 3909 LLC.

Her previous work experiences include programming and software engineering. The game designer’s spouse attended Pierce College and later graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Computer Science.

According to Ars Technica, the couple has a nine-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter.

During the exchange with the reporter, Lucas bought a board game and a few animal toys for his kids. Besides, he also mentioned that he was working on an unnamed project that could be released.

Lucas wanted to finish the game early to spend more time with his children and Keiko. Since he started his own family, his projects are also focused on family, making them more relatable.

For instance, his latest game, Mars After Midnight, is a light-hearted game currently being developed as of this writing.

The Developer Wants To Make His Upcoming Game Entertaining For His Kids [Photo: Archmage/YouTube]

With that latest installment, the designer focused on the theme for his kids and the hardware to create a fun experience for everyone who plays it.