240°
Submitted by Caspel 1359d ago | opinion piece

Are Japanese Developers in Trouble?

"But it isn’t just tired game design that’s plaguing Japanese developers. One can only look at the Westernized bastardization of Resident Evil 5 or the glut of ultra niche cookie-cutter RPGs such as Cross Edge being pumped out and blame them for so many problems. Ask anyone that’s played a Japanese game in the past five years if they can remember the plot and almost invariably they’ll give the same response: No." (Deadly Premonition, Nier, PC, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360)

MariaHelFutura  +   1359d ago
No they`ve made some of the best games of this gen.

GT5, MGS4, Demon Souls,VC and lots more. Feel free to add more. But those 4 are some of the best of this is gen in the respective genres.
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ZgreenZ  +   1359d ago
Uh, GT5?
GT5 hasn't even been released yet, how can you say it's one of the best games of this gen?

Also, yes, they are in trouble, the Japanese market is a total minority in the video game world, and if developers don't focus on Western markets more, it will be impossible for them to compete in the video game market.
MariaHelFutura  +   1359d ago
I own GT5P and you don`t need to much insight to know GT5 will be one of the best games released this gen. Even 360 fanboys who hate the PS3 would admit that.
No FanS Land  +   1359d ago
yes the japs have fallen from grace since this gen but they must NOT focus on westernising their games. It's what brought them to this stage.

EDIT: I don't mean by sales, They have less of their japanese touch.

But hey, it seems every company has lost a bit of its touch this gen (don't know why though), but I feel that japan has got more problems.
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MinskyM  +   1359d ago
"yes the japs have fallen from grace since this gen"

Top selling console this gen, the 70 million selling Japanese Wii.

Soon to be 2nd place console this gen, the 42 million selling PS3 from the Japanese company Sony.

The best selling 150 million units worldwide console of all time, 10 years old and is almost outselling the only Western console this gen. Japanese once again.

Wii Sports (67.71 million)[67]
Mario Kart Wii (24.01 million)[67]
Wii Fit (22.61 million)[68]
Wii Sports Resort (20.94 million)[67]
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (16.73 million)[67]
Wii Fit Plus (15.22 million)[67]
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (9.48 million)[68]
Super Mario Galaxy (8.84 million)[69]

Top selling games this gen. All Japanese developed.

Yeah, poor Japanese developers...
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No FanS Land  +   1359d ago
@minskyM
however, all those games are internally developped by nintendo, and whatever the big N throws, they're almost garanteed high sales. Also most of these games are casual games (bought by whole families and not dedicated gamers).

Unless you defend casual gaming as your biggest hobby, no problem, but I'm mostly referring to the 3RD party companies, Capcom, Namco Bandai, SE, etc, they're all trying to conformize to the western audience to get more sales,

(just look at those companies + MS fiasco : vesperia becoming 360 exclusive, star ocean, SE's slap in the face with FFXIII, Capcom with RE and DMC, also the New DMC)

So as I said before, it's not about sales (for me at least), it about the fact some japanese franchises are getting westernised to much.

EDIT: wiisports should not count in this list as it is included with every wii sold, except japan. Unless there's a new bundle, but then again I don't think N sold 67M standalone copies of wii sports.
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Dragun619  +   1359d ago
Are Japanese Developers in Trouble?
No

Demon Souls, Vanquish, Bayonneta, Super Steet Fighter 4, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Valkyria Chronicles, MGS4, Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, No More Heroes, Monster Hunter Tri, practically most of the Mario games, etc are all great games that were developed by Japanese developers this gen and that's not even including The Last Guardian and Gran Turismo 5 which will probably be one of the shining examples that will show Japanese devs are not in trouble.

The problem is most Japanese devs are on the DS and the PSP and Japanese Publishers are letting some of their franchises be developed by western devs rather than their own internal japanese devs. The only Japanese Publisher that may be in trouble is SE. And that's due to losing their touch with their own fans.
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DragonKnight  +   1359d ago
ZgreenZ
Focusing on Western markets is what destroyed the Japanese industry for the most part. Catering to the West is a bad idea, because the West is just as stale with its repetitive, cookie cutter/assembly line/generic shooters and supreme focus on graphics over substance.

Japanese developers need to NOT focus on the Western market and stick to their own style. Because most western fans of Japanese games hate the Western focus and miss that Japanese touch.
Stealth20k  +   1359d ago
and mario galaxy the highest rated games of the gen. Japanese
xino  +   1359d ago
do you people even know what everyone is talking about the Japanese gaming industry?
I don't think so because you all look for sales and quality.

It's not the sales or quality of the Japanese games we are talking and worried about. But the overall process and content of their games!

Their games are always aimed for their own countrymen/women rather than other regions. Their games are always set in Japan and not other places. It's always the same content, gameplay, character personality and narrative you get in their games. It's like Japanese games are just copy n paste!

There's no innovative or new gameplay elements to their games a more as they do not like change, they prefer to stick to the same over used formula.

Such we are seeing quite innovative games and breakthrough elements from Japan. Like Demon's Souls with it's unique online integration technique system. Vanquish that totally changes how we play Third Person Shooters. Bayonetta that shows how an hack n slash can be done without limitations in terms of moves and control.

These are just small titles that shows little sign that not all developers in Japan are falling behind that there are some key designers who bring new things to gaming. While other designer in Japan gaming industry will never change and continue to use over used works and tech.

MGS4 is one of the best games ever created or the best. One thing that makes this so game unique is that it doesn't even feel like a Japanese game or a game made by Japanese!

What does GT5 has to offer? a game that couldn't even do real time damage and recently just got greenlight to have real time damage. What innovative feature does it have that other simulation racing games don't? All I see in GT5 is realistic racing like other games but with superior graphics.

Still doesn't change the fact that Japanese gaming industry is in trouble.

They are in trouble!
DragonKnight  +   1359d ago
What?
You obviously don't pay attention to Western games if you think they are any more innovative or diverse. Let's take a look at a typical American game.

It is typically a shooter, typically based on an actual war that has happened, or is happening now. It is therefore typically occurring in the area of said conflict, and the American soldiers are typically the good guys no matter what. Or, it's a space marine shooter. Same thing basically, only on another planet and with aliens. Then there's the GTA's, portraying the extreme of American stereotypes of crime, gangs, etc, all in.. you guessed it, the U.S.A.

You can't fault a Japanese developer for making a game based in Japan, but in case you haven't noticed that isn't really the case either. Take a look at games like Devil May Cry, Valkyria Chronicles, Demon's Souls... do they look like Japanese landscape to you?

You think Western games are any more innovative? CoD, same thing every year. Guitar Hero too. Sports games with nothing but updated rosters. Halo is no improvement either. Gears of War took stuff from older games and just put it in a different world with newer graphics. I can go on and on and on.

The Japanese industry's problem is that it listened to critics and people like you telling them they're doing something wrong. And when they changed, the true fans wanted what they always wanted, that Japanese style we came to love and wished never changed thanks to a very vocal, and very WRONG, minority.

It's why Demon's Souls old-school difficulty and feel appeals to so many. It's why Valkyria Chronicles is a sleeper hit. It's why people are clamoring for more of that and less of the guns guns guns and more frickin' guns. How many first person shooters do you frickin' need before it's enough?

As soon as the Japanese devs return to their roots and ignore what the west wants, they'll be fine.
dredgewalker  +   1359d ago
@Dragon

Well said. Let's not forget it was the Nintendo that saved the entire console gaming industry when Atari lest the scene. I still enjoy a lot of Japanese styled games and recently I've played Vanquish and enjoyed the hell outta it even if the gameplay is a little short. Most of the disappointments are from Japanese devs trying to imitate western style games. I can already see the new Devil May Cry reboot utterly failing because of western adaptation. I don't dislike western styled games but I want my gaming diet to be diverse as much as I can and the absence of Japanese games will imbalance any healthy gamers diet.
EvilBlackCat  +   1359d ago
Oh yes they are in trouble and guess why... YUP! Western domination with versatile style.

so PS3 is the console of choice by gamers in japan?

ok cool

but the japdevs are in big trouble in Europe and America.
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ABizzel1  +   1359d ago
The gaming industry as a whole is in trouble. Gaming is changing and for the hardcore it's not for the better. The casual market has expended beyond that of the hardcore, and companies are going to start catering to that audience more and more.

This is a fear among game developers and insightful gamers. Big budget games will be dropped in favor quick iphone or facebook like games for mobile devices. And that's something the entire industry has to be on the look out for.
unicronic  +   1359d ago
@ MariaHelFutura
You do point out some good games but....

GT5 is hardly a Japanese game certainly not in spirit of the article. It is a game that is designed to be globally appealing and reaches its' intended audience. MGS has always been designed with western influence in mind (Kojima has said that many times - Snake Pliskin being the starting point). VC & DS yes totally awesome games but VC has lukewarm sales (I loved it).

But still if you compare against Western games it is not unreasonable to believe the following:

- Dragon Age is what Final Fantasy once was in terms of grandeur and execution
- God Of War, Mass Effect, Uncharted, Gears Of Wars, COD, DeadSpace, Ratchet and Clank, Halo and many more games are far more globally appealing the most Japanese games
- After much battle FIFA not tops PES

HOWEVER, a few nuts the Western devs have yet to crack:

- StreetFighter style fighting games still made best in Japan
- Western Devs still don't sell all that well inside Japan (although around Asia is a different story).

The Japanese devs are fighting to reinvent themselves and the likes of Demons Souls (truly original), Vanquish and Bayonetta show that the future may be globally bright.
Seraphim  +   1359d ago
guess a few people skipped the article & went straight for the post...

Quite frankly I think storytelling is a lost art in gaming period. Doesn't matter if it's Japanese or Western. There are few and far between that actually sustain a solid & memorable story...

as for the Japanese. I think in general, aside from some of their RPGs (obviously), I think they're just good @ making fun games. Arcade style games, pick up and play, etc. Just games that are fun play & have their very own feel. For instance I'm playing Vanquished finally atm & the story is meh through Chapter 3 but it's been a blast to play. On the other hand another game Platinum did was Bayonetta which I also recently finally played & the story was very forgettable but at the same time it was solid.

I just really think storytelling is... how do I put it... perhaps an undertone and afterthought in many games as of late. Be it Western or Japanese. Perhaps the driving desire to appease online players and more focus toward online components has lead to less stellar storylines and plots. Or perhaps we've just been around to see so much that very little satisfies us as gamers anymore. Whatever the case might be I think storytelling is just lost in gaming today and there are way to few games out there that truly capture something notable.
George Sears  +   1359d ago
"Time will tell if they can commit to a next evolutionary step, or if the Japanese game industry simply ceases to be."

Hopefully this would be the former instead.
alee  +   1359d ago
These observations probably apply mainly to large developers and publishers, and for the same reasons that people often complain about large Western developers and publishers. They're all trying to make the safe business decision of doing what worked before. They'll be more willing to try new things if and when their sales drop.
Ozarot  +   1359d ago
I can't believe it...
I prefer a lot of the games I see from Japan over games from anywhere else. I've played many J-RPG's and loved most of them.

Tales of Vesperia for the Xbox360 was exquisite. It was plain out awesome. Star Ocean 3 and 4? They were extremely disappointing. Grandia 3? Disappointing. Grandia and Grandia 2? Awesome games. Grandia Extreme, not so much.

Final Fantasy 2/4 and 3/6? Really good and Extremely good. FF7? Extremely good. FF8? It had its' moments. FF9? Really good. FF10? Excellent. FF11? Interesting, but wasn't willing to fork a monthly fee to play. FF12? Extremely good. FF13? Hated it.

The Final Fantasy remakes? FF Advance... Way too easy to be called a remake. FF Tactics? Good, but I didn't care much for it.

Resident Evil got worse and worse as the games went on. The story line is the only thing really enjoyable to me these days... I think it happened when they hit RE3.

Games that NISAmerica sells? Most of those games I want, simply because they look enjoyable.

All in all... There are hardly any innovations people can use that haven't already been seen, so areas other than Japan are feeling the heat as well.

Can I remember the plot of any game I play? Depends on the game. Most Westernized games I cannot remember... Out of the 50 games I have for Xbox360, and 2 I have for PS3... Hm.

I haven't played either PS3 game, but I have seen MGS4 played. Then I went out and bought it despite not owning a PS3. The other was Valkyria Chronicles... I saw the anime, then I saw the game. The game had some uniqueness to it, so I decided to buy it as well, but a lot of that was because I liked the anime.

For the Xbox360, I remember a great majority of Bioshock, don't know much about the plot of Oblivion yet... Never played the story much... Armored Core 4 and For Answer, I know the plots for those.

All in all, I would have to say that I remember more Japanese plots than Western plots primarily because majority of my collection seems to be Americanized Japanese games.

All I have to say is... If I liked the game, I will remember the game. Best console ever? Super Nintendo/Super Famicom. Next in line? Playstation One.

You don't need innovations to make a good game... You need a good plot, good gameplay mechanics, and various other stuff to make the game good. Wasting your time to make innovations that may or may not work for the game while making the game WILL EASILY make or break the game.

Seems this post is pretty long. Hm. Oh well.
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Neckbear  +   1359d ago
Thing is..
Some games simply DARE to SHOVE DOWN YOUR THROAT the GAME'S PLOT. AND IT'S BAD MOST OF THE TIME.

At least some Japanese games just use the plot as an excuse to show off awesome stuff. Western developers? WRRHAGH I SO MAD I'M ALWAYS SERIOUS HRRRAAAGH.

You need some comedy to spice things up, people!

Hell, mainstream Western games are horribly, horribly written. Japanese games? They don't even bother with the plot sometimes, and don't forget they're games. 'Sides, they usually are light-hearted, wich is always a plus. Sometimes they ARE great plots, though, and that's when the game itself is awesome because of it.

Now, second, I kinda agree with you. I've played alot of JRPGs and enjoyed most of them, but it's because two things:

-They barely take themselves seriously (Ar Tonelico and Grandia come to mind. Hell yeah, those games were awesome!) or include some jokes and comedy between characters that simply makes you laugh (I'm lookin' at you, Tales of Vesperia!) instead of trying TOO hard for a plot,

-Or simply are incredibly well-written (Hello, NieR!), have some interesting topics presented through the plot, etc.

Personally, I like it when games mix comedy with seriousness, and it's something Japanese writters do VERY well. Their plots aren't MIND-BLOWING (most of the time), but their character development, background stories and pure comedy is often spot on.

A few games that did this exact charm Japanese games have, when it comes to plot, were Black Isle games. They simply were well-written, with brilliantly placed jokes and dark humour here and there.

On a side-note, Valkyria Chronicles Anime was awful compared to the Game. It completly destroyed character development, personalities, and the plot overall.

The Game is just better, and in this case it's really true.

On ANOTHER side-note, I just feel like Western developers try too hard to take stuff so seriously it becomes a borefest of character 1 interacts with 2 with cliche dialog and 2 says "fuck", "bitch", or any other profanity on the book, then 1 responds with MORE profanity, and it's not even funny. After that there's grimdark dialog everywhere, gray morality, deaths, drama, and...zzz...

Yeah. I simply don't like the way they present the plots, it's too cliche and non-inspired most of the time. Oh, the irony, but at least Japanese games include funny jokes and badass (as well as hilarious) main characters!
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Ozarot  +   1359d ago
Black Isle games... I don't think I will ever hate Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights or Icewind Dale. There were times when I played on the normal setting of Baldur's Gate 2, did a fight that I should have won easily, but died because I freakishly missed with regular attacks 90% of the time and the enemies landed criticals 30% of the time while only missing about 20%...

I haven't played Valkyria Chronicles yet, so I have absolutely nothing to compare the anime characters to. I found them to be relatively fine on their own, but maybe once I do play the game, I will be able to do such a thing. One thing I did like about the anime though... It had a huge factor that I hadn't seen in a game or anime before. The victors of the battles are the ones that write history to make themselves be the good ones.

The anime wasn't poor, nor was it excellent. I found it to be plain old good. 6.5 to 7.0 area. As you can see, nothing spectacular, but it was memorable.
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cnagel47  +   1359d ago
the RPGs they develop alone will keep them going for a while.
smithey253  +   1359d ago
from the way it looks, the Japanese games industry is going down the pan. Hopefully this is not the case though, as some of the best games are made by Japanese developers and companies
doubled215  +   1359d ago
Yes they are in trouble. Their games have been getting a little stale for awhile now.
user858621  +   1359d ago
They are in trouble, all the japanese games I was hyped for this gen were HUGE! letdowns

MGS4 (nothing compared to 3)
DMC4 (Nothing compared to 3)
FF13 (Nothing compared to 4 and 7)
RE5 (Nothing compared to 4)
Vanquished (4-5 Hours...)
Neckbear  +   1359d ago
Hm...
MGS4: I agree, kinda didn't liked it.

DMC4: The game leads left Capcom. Of course it would turn out to be a letdown. Look at Bayonetta instead, now THAT'S basically what DMC4 could have been.

FF13: Final Fantasy wasn't good after IX. Hell, after 6 the series began to show a downhill in quality.

RE5: Same as DMC, lead designers and directors left, as well as a healthy part of the original crew that made RE games awesome. Of course it'd be a letdown.

Vanquish: How 'bout you play the damn game first? Also, the game only counts the time from where it says "Act X Mission X" to right after you kill a boss/reach your target/simply end the mission. It doesn't takes in account cutscenes, retries nor pointless walking.

'Sides, when you complete Challenge 6 or the game in God Hard we'll talk about it bein' short. After all, I'm still on it, and bought the game the day it came out.
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Stealth20k  +   1359d ago
How often do american game makers do quality writing? call of duty? guitar hero? enslaved? honestly

And while I am at it people forget that western games are basically non existent on portables

So many amazing japanese portable games this gen, so many amazing console games.
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George Sears  +   1359d ago
Red Dead Redemption

This article is talking about Japanese games and there industry in general. I don't see why people always have to dis on western style like it sucks every time articles like this show up. Both have there own flaws, both have there own advantages.
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sashimi  +   1359d ago
Just Square-Enix/Capcom/Bandai-Namc o.
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knifefight  +   1359d ago
Japanese EVERYTHING is in trouble.

I live here in Japan -- have for 3 years now -- and I love it to death, but dang, their whole culture seems obsessed with assimilation and trying to mimic the strengths of others rather than playing to their own strengths. Rather than do what they do best and keep working on ways to improve it (this applies to almost anything, not just games), they see someone else do something that earns a lot of praise and say "Why not me?" Sometimes it works (cars, cellphones), sometimes it doesn't (recent attempts at hybrid-genre video games...and their hot dogs are just awful XD).

I like this place -- like it a lot -- but sometimes I feel like the locals don't appreciate their own strengths as much as outsiders do. Maybe the grass is always greener on the other side of the ocean?
Redempteur  +   1359d ago
"Ask anyone that’s played a Japanese game in the past five years if they can remember the plot and almost invariably they’ll give the same response: No."

Now i know you're talking nonsense.
let me give you an example:

Blazblue : ( superbe plot for a fighting game ).. lots of replay value on that alone ..the blazblue story mode is one of his Strong points.

I could give you any "tales of" Plot without problem , heck if you play a Japanese rpg and don't get the plot ... then it's your own fault!!
The plot of resonance of fate is also quite easy to pick up .
Heck let's pick something mainstream ..FF13 it's the easiest plot ever made for a final fantasy game.
Heck i fail to see HOW persona 4 is another cliché RPG showing the decline of the japanese industry ..

For action , i'll give you yakuza 3.. a simple tale of a kick-ass ex yakuza member trying to manage an orphenage only to be hindered by ties long lost from his yakuza tribe and the premise of an US naval base being build on the land he resides

and i could go on and give you examples of japaneses games WAY above some stuff being done on other countries.

no more heroes, vanquish, bayonetta,resonance of fate, valkyria chronicles and i could go on ALL night if i have to. New IPs this gen showing how the japanese industry can still work and make excellent games..

Inafune is a moron that killed lost planet and DMC and prevented the rise of many other franchises, please stop dumping his words like the holy grail and start enjoying your franchises this gen because cool japanese games are still easy to find.
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fei-hung  +   1359d ago
excuses to shit on the jap game industry:

1) not westers enough - well thats like going to a japanese restaurant and asking for fish and chips! like duh!!! we dnt like jap games because they are western, we like them because they bring their own style into it!

whats next? americans gona be blamed for being to american with every COD game which is released and SONY UK gona be blamed for the Getaway being too british :p
2) not innovative - like COD, the dozen need for speeds, Halo's, Ratchet and clanks, Gears are? so what about titles such as, bayonetta which have raised the bar in action hack n slash games? or demon souls with the new online system? or SF4 with its going back to 2d with 3d elements style? or yakuza with its small maps deep character and story driven gameplay? or Vanquish which just raised the bar on 3rd person shooters?

if the jap industry is in trouble it is because many gamers out there only want to shed cash on cod sequels and casual games. so unless we want the jap devs to create cod like games year after year, i think they shud just carry on doing what they are doing.

bottom line is, i can carry on gaming without another cod, or another rockband, or another nba title, but as a gamer, i wouldnt like to give away my yakuza's, ico's, SotC's, GT's, bayonetta's, Vanquishe's, demon souls.
joel_c17  +   1359d ago
Very very true!
Best comment I've read in months. Bubbles for u
fei-hung  +   1359d ago
thank you very much kind sir :)
Handhelds_FTW  +   1359d ago
I think they need to take some risks.
I wished some of the major publishers would bring some of there niche titles over.

Give us those dating sims, first person dungeon crawlers. Bring Hatsune Miko over to bury Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

I just don't think any of the major publishers are taking any risk like they used to.

All you got is NIS, Atlus and Xseed doing that.

Remember at one point RPGs as a genre where niche. That caught on real quick.
cmrbe  +   1359d ago
Lets revisit this subject
once GT5 and TLG releases.
Caspel  +   1359d ago
The Last Guardian looks beautiful
kraze07  +   1359d ago
Can't figure out why articles like this always turn into "what's so great about western games?" comment. Some of you guys act just like politics, trying to glamourize one thing by slandering another. I for one will admit that there aren't as many hit Japanese games coming out these days and the only reason western games seem to be so dominate is because most of them sell well (thanks to the casual market and those who like to stick with what they know) when in reality western gaming is in the same boat as japanese gaming in terms of creativity.
Tito08  +   1358d ago
Agree with u bro
bubbles!!!!
mosher666  +   1359d ago
in my personal opinion i think that jap games are getting a bit stale. Their are a few good hits but generally western games seem to be better option
earbus  +   1359d ago
Yes games with really poor controlls more cliche stories but the whole industry is feeling stale to me
Rohered  +   1359d ago
Si il y a un fiasco chez les devellopeurs Japonais c'est au niveau commercial et pas au niveau devellopement.

Les joueurs européens réclament du RPG Japonais sur consoles Sony.

Ou sont-ils?

Les seules exclusivités européennes de la PS3 viennent de petits devellopeurs sans budget.

Les grosses productions sont sont a 90% des portages de vieux Jeux X-box360 alors que leur ancienne base de fan est chez Sony.

Il n'y a aucun effort de traduction des RPG en europe sur PSP les rares fois ou les jeux sortent et en version dématerialisées pour la plus grande partie.

Ou sont les Tales sur PS3 en Europe?

Ou sont les exclusivitées écrites pour la PS3.

Le RPG Japonais ne se porte pas mal car en fait il est inexistant en europe.
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Redempteur  +   1359d ago
tu réalises que t'es sur un site anglais ?

WHY DON'T YOU SPEAK in english ..silly guy speaking when most people can't understand them.

evne if i agree on your point and understand them correctly
guzman  +   1359d ago
Looking at this quarters financials for EA and Thq, Japan's industry is the last thing I'd be worrying about.
archangelreb  +   1359d ago
Japans gaming developers are far from done. Look at the amount of games imported by hardcore gamers.If they are a lost cause it would be because they are trying to hard to westernize their product.
SandWitch  +   1359d ago
I don't think that they in trouble at all, they doing fine at the moment.
CombineElite  +   1359d ago
Are Japanese Developers in Trouble?
Why? are they all pouting and standing in the corner or something?

Seriously all they have to do is pump out a Pokemon, Yu-gi-OH or Zelda or Mario you know the usual games that pump out millions of copies every year.

Besides what do American developers have to offer besides Sports, FPS, third person shooters with Zombies in all of them, even the sports titles. So I think it's a balance that goes up and down like back in the day Japanese 2D shooters were all the rage so now FPS shooter are all the rage so the next All the rage will be Japanese or Europe where a lot of good developers have come forth with great games like STALKER and Metro 2033 Arma II and others.
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QuantumSponge  +   1358d ago
Well, this thing turned out longer than I'd intended..
Call me pedantic, but journalists just seem to keep getting these things wrong. They seem to have Final Fantasy VII confused with just about every JRPG that came after it. (to say nothing of the Compilation, of which the less said, the better. Suffice to say that we gamers now have our very own George Lucas, in the form of Square-Enix). Is it because of bad memories, or just selective ones?

"teen heroes, amnesia, chosen one syndrome"

Yes, since Cloud/FFVII have become 'cliches of themselves', it's interesting to note that only one of these phenomenons ever rears its head in said game. (Most of the principal are in their twenties or thirties, protagonist included). Said protagonist was not a 'chosen one', just some guy with absolutely rotten luck (gets tortured by a madman for five years simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is forced to watch not one, but two of his best friends get killed in front of him, mentally manipulated into thinking that he doesn't really exist, etc. You'd think that would leave someone just the slightest bit unhinged..)

As for the amnesia trope, yeah, it's the convenient storytelling kind, but it's not just there to help move the plot along. At the outset, it's hardly even an important factor in the story. It's only as the story draws near its conclusion that the characters are forced to reconstruct past events, in a Rashomon-like manner, in order to to finally accept the past and move on.

But then again, deep analysis is not exactly the calling-card of flippant video game writers (to call them journalists would be a stretch). "teh Aeris is teh died!? big whoop!" is usually about as far as any attempt at dissecting the story goes.

And that's part of the game's lasting appeal. Final Fantasy VII It's revered not just its surface story, but its subtext, something that is missing in most JRPGs... hell, most games today altogether. Burned-down village? That trope is older than dirt, and FFVII was hardly the first videogame to incorporate it. However, it was likely the first game to sidestep it as a simple Call To Adventure. A burned-down village is where most games begin, FFVII begins years later, with not even a mention of the incident. Even when it is first brought up, the people involved don't seem all that distraught by it, treating it with an attitude that borders on quietism.

Another example of subtext: The hero understands his motives, and knows that they are not altruistic (and he forces the other characters travelling with him to acknowledge the same in their own nature). The villain, on the other hand, though confident and arrogant, does not fully comprehend his own motives or meaning, and is ultimately the plaything of an eldritch horror, whose motives are by their nature inscrutable. (The irony being that the hero was supposedly being "puppeteered" by said villain). That's just one example.
QuantumSponge  +   1358d ago
(cont'd)

Sadly, since the whole 'Compilation of FFVII' began, it's image has been further tarnished by releases that were either not up to snuff (Dirge of Cerberus), unnecessary (Crisis Core) or even ones that flat-out contradict the internal logic of the original story (Last Order). Square-Enix know of people's love and nostalgia for the game, and are aggressively capitalizing on them, but they probably won't risk ever doing anything "serious" with it again. It's no wonder it's becoming the chew toy of facetious writers as any memory of the original game and its importance vanishes further into the hazy past, all the while being replaced by cargo cult imitations.

So, um... rant over, I guess.

Oh, and it's "toe the line", not "tow the line". If you get paid for writing, make sure you know how to do your job.

Also, "rein in", not "reign in". As in "during his long reign, the king would often rein in his ministers". You'd be amazed by the number of professional writers who get this wrong. Okay, I'm seriously done this time.
Aleusia  +   1358d ago
Versus XIII will be a major turning point, for better or worse. You can take that to the bank.
tatsukishi  +   1358d ago
I disagree and I also think that last gen had alot better games then this gen has so far.
Aleusia  +   1358d ago
FF7 was the first game to do playable flashbacks.
athmaus  +   1358d ago
i agree...i think they need to kinda change things up

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