IncGamers: Co-designer of Mega Man and former head of R&D at Capcom speaks out again on the state of the Japanese games industry.
Cause they focusing toooooo much on western Games, they alienating only their FANBASE look at Square-Enix, Capcom (which is your (Inafune-san) fault, in my Opinion), Namco-Bandai...Ridge Racer Unbound as example does not look like Ridge Racer the old fans wanted. The FANS dont want westernized Japanese Games, we want Japanese Games...mostly JRPGs ala Legend of Dragoon, Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma, Wild Arms, Suikoden, Rogue Galaxy, Dark Cloud,Skies of Arcadia, Final Fantasy and many other JRPG franchises, which almost died on Consoles, cause of this Westernization...
That and some of these major Japanese publishers/developers backing a console their games just doesn't sell well on.
have you idiots played ff13? what kind of western game has those kind of cheesy happy go lucky characters. that was made for the japanese audience through and through.
OMG, you guys still don't get it! I know you loved japanese style games. But while you were playing them, you missed the fact that western games were selling more while japanese games were selling less! In any business, that is a sign that you need to change the way you operate and who you target! Even though it is very populated, japan is a small island compared to areas in the west! And with so many japanese gamers liking the idea of handheld gaming and anime, the big consoles just aren't appealing to them as much! Us in the western areas are the graphic whores, so for companies like SE to adapt their graphic centric games to a western audience was only a matter of time. You may not like the idea, but it's the price we have to pay for wanting more!
I have to agree with evrfighter as far as FF 13 is concerned. I can't vouch for the gameplay, but its overall look is incredibly Japanese. If THIS was an attempt to reach out to my average-American-ass, they failed miserably...and this is coming from a fan of their snes/ps1 games.
"what kind of western game has those kind of cheesy happy go lucky characters." Happy-go-lucky??? Have you played FF13? They spend most of their time running for their lives and the rest whining(albeit justifiably) and arguing about their terrible circumstances! Your discription is of six Vanilles!
the only character ff13 had going for it was Fang lightning was extreme cliche angry japanese tough chick vanille...no explanation needed Snow was just as bad as Vanille when it came to that upbeat cheesiness. Hope was your extreme cliche I've got a grudge on you and I'll hide it in pure japanese fashion...Name one western kid that wouldn't deck snow in the face a few times for gettin their mom killed and then let it be known he hated the d-bag. In happy go lucky japanese fashion he turned into Vanille after they kissed and made up. I don't even remember who the antagonist was. that's how much of an impression it left on me. Afro Guy...seriously an afro? Was that aimed at the western audience or the japanese audience? Could go either way.
@AAaSS5: Tell that to Nintendo. All this talk about Japanese companies needing to get their finances together, while western companies like Ubisoft,Thq and especially EA have been bleed white this gen.
@Rocketsauce: You're right. FFXIII needed more fat people, Mountain Dew, cheeseburgers and Fps shootin'.
still sells more games but its closer to 50/50 versus 80/20 of last gen
I hated Vanille with a passion even while through the ending.
Kain81... you are a wise man! Couldn't have said it better myself! Stop bloody 'westerfying' my Japanese influenced games! If I want western games, I bloody live in the west, I can get them easily! Ridge Racer now just looks like Burnout... The new Front Mission is a travesty... God knows what they are going to do to Devil May Cry now... I'd take any Yakuza game in the series over 'western influenced' game like Quantum Theory!!
All I want is a REAL HD Final Fantasy. Even a good, classic HD JRPG. But apparently these guys know better, and all I want to play is another Gears/COD clone with a throw-away story and mediocre graphics.
You should seriously check out Breath of Death 7 and Cthulhu Saves the World.
Don't bother, that's his excuse to keep making lame @ss crappy westernized games... lost planet, anyone? lol
I have to agree with everything you said Kain. ------ Some companies can pull westernizing a japanese game, look @ vanquish and then some companies can't look Quantum Theory. ------ The point I do have to agree with Inafune about is expanding. Japan could try expanding a little. I get consoles where its at but expanding to Android or iOS or even a Facebook app could go a long way. Expanding on these platforms would/could also mean expanding japanese culture to new heights.
I feel the developers have nothing to do with the Westernization but the money men in Capcom or Squareenix. Developers are first and foremost game designers not business men. Believe me there will be a few good men that will stand up against this problem Japanese developers are facing.
"a few good men that will stand up against this problem" = Get fired by developer boss who can't get a western publisher because his game isn't "western-influenced" enough.
@incipio did Shinji Mikami get fired? did Hideki Kamiya get fired? did Keiji Inafune get fired? or did they resigned and formed their own businesses?
I agree,i miss all the great jrpgs from the 16bit,32bit,and ps2 era.they do need to stop westerfying their rpgs cuz as long as they do im not buying.
They have to westernize, in the end they need to make money and the market for traditional JRPG's and other japanese games is not that good. If they didn't appeal to other audiences they could all end up closed or tiny. It's a double edged sword. Namco Bandi just made LA Noire, so that is def wrong. Successful westernizing there.
"Namco Bandi just made LA Noire" I didn't know that. O.o
Team Bondi != Namco Bandai.
U can disagree w me all u want, it is the sad truth. the japanese dont buy that many games, its a niche market my bad w the bondi/bandi confusion. lol
Haha, the Japanese don't buy many games. Look up Monster Hunter. Also the games they purchase are often not released outside of Japan. Trust me. After being out there a few years back there are many games I had never heard off. They buy games. Just not necessarily the same ones we do. I think that maybe why the big Japanese developers are trying to Westernise so much.
I agree with the article
Inafune is a raging moron " Japanese developers needed to try and understand what sort of games were popular in the West and learn how to create content that would appeal to Westerners. So they would kind of have to empty their glass and fill it up with what foreigners like" So hes basically saying everything needs to be a shooter or an action game. Yeah thats really going to work out super for the industry, Have less originality and diversity and genres. If japan just does western genres were am I going to get my srpgs? or my turn based rpgs? Or my platforming rpgs? Or my super platformers? Or my vn type games? Where am I going to get something thats not hyper realistic? No wonder capcom siliently fired his ass
Agreed wholeheartedly with you!
... and then proceeded to do exactly as he wanted?
With that kind of logic, the gaming industry would head to something similar to the Video Game crash of 1983 but worst...
I don't see this paragraph in the article. dude, where did you get this quote? any source? Did he really say this?
http://www.1up.com/features... full interview page 2 stupidity towards the middle
Here's the full quote, instead of the completely taken out of context one: "Inafune told me that in order to sell games to the world, "[Japanese developers] have to empty their glass and fill it up with what foreigners like," rather than "forcefully push[ing] their own way of doing things." In other words, he feels Japan must actively try to create new things rather than figure out how to better sell the products they're already making -- something he doesn't seem optimistic about: "That's very difficult for Japanese people to do...because they have a lot of pride." Of course, this doesn't sell the "he only wants to make shooters" narrative, so it's been excluded.
@TheoretocalParticle I think it sold it quite well with the rest of the quote. "Empty the glass and fill it up with what Foreigners like". It's still saying the same thing. Make games that western people play. Guess what? I don't dull looking D&D type, realistic, and gray European settings(Looking at you Dragon's Dogma). Or running around just seeing my hands stretched out in front of me. There's a reason I look foward more to what's coming out of japan than what's coming out of the "West". If CAPCOM wants to do something like Demon's Souls they ought to take a que from From Software and put some damn flare in the game's set pieces and character/monster designs.
Actually that wasn't the full quote, either. 1up truncated it, and then had the full thing in the full, unabridged interview. You should really read the full interview, because it doesn't sound at all like, "Make Western games". For example, when he opens the interview, he says, "Of course, Capcom was always a company that worked out more in the West; their brands were more popular in the West, we made an active effort earlier than a lot of other Japanese publishers to try and make things work in the West, and so a lot of people internally had to kind of get in line with my thinking of working with the West which helped. But even though they got the concept of "we need to work with the West" they didn't understand how to do it. And so that's when you get things like them just trying to throw money at a Western developer without working with them to create an IP. Just giving them money and saying "have at it," that's not the right way to design a game that's going to sell in the West. Or just outright buying a Western developer or gaming company, also, that's not the right way to go about it." If he just wanted them to make shooters, why wouldn't you just buy a shooter developer? Why wouldn't you just give them money and have them make the game they wanted? What's the only part of the equation missing? The Japanese influence. Therefore, this can only be read as him favoring the hybridized approach. This is immediately followed by the out of context quote in question: "So they were focused on trying to get Japanese games to be more popular in the West, but what they really needed to do was, Japanese developers needed to try and understand what sort of games were popular in the West and learn how to create content that would appeal to Westerners. So they would kind of have to empty their glass and fill it up with what foreigners liked in games and that's very difficult for Japanese people to do -- and certainly Japanese creators -- because they have a lot of pride, so rather than trying to mimic or understand another person's way of doing things, they try to forcefully push their own way of doing things." Kind of empty the glass (i.e. not completely empty the glass.) and fill it up with what Western gamers liked in video games. That's clear as day. He's saying you have to take western design elements and incorporate them in your game. It's still a Japanese glass, and it contains a mixed liquid that is one part Japanese, one part Western.
I read that interview before and I still can't figure out how people here boil that down to only "make more shooters". Especially when a better explanation is right under the quote itself.
hey, it will be alright. I heard he is working on exclusive game for ps3.
If it's a shooter, I'm going to completely ignore it..
in short" I want to make more money" that is was he is saying.
This guy needs to stfu, all he does is bitch about how Japan is falling behind. Like seriously go and help out and make an awesome game instead of bitching. Also part of it is cause developers there are trying to make their game to appeal to a western aduience which usually ends up being shitty.
Japanese developers have to move forward as the west did.developers and publishers are out to make money,western developers are making money hand over fist. everyone knows japanese culture is different than western culture when is comes to games.they better decide what they want to do before the west leaves them in the dust.
By the way Inafune, here is one Japanese influenced game that I love which is great: "Within two weeks of release by December 20, 2010, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd sold 2.58 million units in Japan. According to the game's publisher, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is “now the fastest selling PSP title ever in Japan” and “the fastest selling game in Capcom's history.”  By March 2011, the game's sales in Japan had reached 4.6 million units" That's in one bloody country alone!! This game is selling more than Streetfighter!! Make good games and the gamers will buy....no matter the 'influence'
One game. That's real useful to a guy talking about a whole industry that is failing at home and abroad. Great.
the Antarctican gaming industry is the best
I have a hard time believing that Japan is falling behind when they are the ones who dominate the handheld market, a market that goes hand-in-had with their culture and society of daily widespread commuters. I mean, where are all the western games for the PSP or DS? They don't really exist. Sure, handheld games might not yield that large of a profit margin compared to console titles, but they tend to offer a positive return for minimal investment. And that's how the Japanese developers manage to get by. In fact, with that sort of game-development environment, I wouldn't be surprised if the indie game scene suddenly exploded over there. Edit: Phantom disagree (yಠ,ಠ)y y u no agree?
I'm glad to see someone here who can look at the issue from more than the fan's perspective. Japan has always controlled the handheld market almost totally. But in recent years, they've lost a lot of their clout in the gaming industry thanks to the maturation of the West as a dominating force on consoles. I don't honestly know how profitable handhelds were back in the day, but despite having a lucrative handheld market, Japan's game industry is still shrinking moreso than the industry globally. Something seems to be wrong. And I think it's nothing more than a natural result of the industry's expansion.
I didn't disagree with you earlier, but I will now. "Sure, handheld games might not yield that large of a profit margin compared to console titles, but they tend to offer a positive return for minimal investment." This is patently false. The DS offers the lowest possible returns per unit for any platform on the market. Think about it. Cartridges are far more expensive than optical media. So it costs more to make a physical DS game than it would for a 360, Wii, or PS3 disc. The lowest priced games at retail are on the DS. Highest cost, lowest average retail price = lowest profit margin. You're also doing battle with everyone trying to crank out the lowest cost product at the same price point. When the big titles on the system and the average titles on the system all occupy the same price point, you have to spend more on advertising to get noticed. That equates to far more risk for developing a title from the ground up. The indie scene in Japan may very well blow up because there's still room there for budget non-shovelware. DS games in Japan can sell for upwards of 7000 yen. PSP games go for that same amount. D3 makes their Simple 2000 line for each platform, so an indie publisher can easily shoot for 4000 yen and provide an experience that is quality. The more portable-oriented culture there means more people are likely to look for a good portable game, and the 5000 yen price gap allows for mid-tier games to have a shot. But those games won't even get localized here. The game would have to be sold at the same price as the AAA or at least A titles on the platforms, and they're going to be niche games here. That's just looking at the problem on the DS. On the PSP, you have the problem of the lower install base and the smaller shelf space in retail stores. Sure you get some downloadable sales, but since Sony went and screwed themselves by still forcing publishers to print physical copies of their games, it's almost as much of a crapshoot. Japanese developers can tread water by operating in that 4000-5000 yen portable space. But when they have one of those games bomb, they aren't finding any cash from US localizations to fill their coffers anymore, even if the games are relatively well received. American publishers just can't take a chance on trying to put a game on the market that they're not sure can break 50,000 units anymore.
I think japanese games are crap, all but shenmue i steer well clear of any games made there.
The guy's partially right, and the people railing against him aren't comprehending what he's saying. Japan's falling behind in terms of market share (they haven't held the title of #1 gaming market for QUITE some time now.) and they don't seem to understand what's going on. All those niche developers and publishers in Japan that people have either merged or gone under or have reported financial trouble are an obvious sign that they need to get money from somewhere other than the Japanese audience. That doesn't mean he's saying "only make FPS/TPS games" as some would try and have you believe, because as we've seen, that shit doesn't work either. The retail Bionic Commando failed. Mindjack was utter crap. Sniper Elite was garbage. Vanquish was predictable and boring. Front Mission Evolved had a decent engine, it's just that the story, the typical Japanese mishmash of cliches and facepalm-worthy plot non-twists brings the game down like a lead balloon. (Spare me with the "they sold out" cries. The MechWarrior style mech shooter is an even DEADER genre in America than the strategy RPG. If anything, Square actually went indie by making a slower paced mech shooter.) What the Japanese game insdustry needs to do, is stop resisting the Western influence. Not every RPG has to star an angst-ridden teen or pre-teen. You don't need to have child characters in your party. You don't need a furry. You don't need a bishie. You don't need to be the chosen one who fulfills a prophecy. This isn't to say that you should go and make a Japanese game with only the stupid-ass Western plot cliches. (which is exactly what Bionic Commando was.) Every game doesn't need to have a muscle-bound badass jarhead. You don't need a superior that chews your ass out. You don't need to be a douche to everyone who isn't in your party. There's a world of space to work in between those two completely tired extremes. You ever wonder why the characters that you're allowed to play in RPGs aren't anything like the characters you create or the quests that you play in pen & paper RPGs? Where's the character that instead of going full emo midgame just has a mild crisis of confidence? Where are the 20-30 year old main characters? Where's Bruce Willis' character in Die Hard...he's just that guy that happens to be in the situation where he can save the day. The West needs to learn from the East, and the East needs to learn from the West. Right now, the West is in a position of financial dominance, and unless the East starts producing games that aren't actively super Japanese (anime is DYING here) they're going to produce far more financial misses in America than financial hits. Inafune's not wrong. Japan's losing the money game.
That sad thing about Evolved is that the story and script were handled internally by SE. So it looks like Double Helix did their job well while SE wrote a nugget. *shrug*
If you do what you're good at and work hard on it people will buy it. Western developers can make more than enough games that focus on their style, Japanese companies should focus on making their games in their own style. There seems to be a pattern here and I'm surprised no one has noticed it; whenever Western developers make Japanese style games they fail and whenever Japanese developers make Western style games they fail too. If the developers would just stick to what they know and what they're good at we'd have a lot more to look forward to instead of being wary of what the future holds.
Obviously, when you try too hard to pander, it comes off as really, really obvious. That's why instead of one side trying to ape the other, they should try to take cues from the other side.
they haven't evolved with the times
Almost 50 comments but 70 degrees. Lol.
I think Inafune has a point. Japanese developers need to communicate not just with their fans, but with other developers as well. This way they may come up with something new. Look, I don't think listening to fans is really the solution here because then companies will refuse to make "new" games and just continue to make sequels with the same old gameplay just to simply satisfy fans.
i don't like western games too much, capcom, western games aren't that great
... so no one has had the brilliant idea of maybe polling/accepting feedback from the Japanese gamers to find out what they want?
Shut up infaune, there are still a ton of good japanese games, just because you haven't been able to create a good game in several years doesn't mean shit. Japan has a lot of best sellers including: Monster Huunter Mgs Almost every first party nintendo game Tales Kingdom hearts Bayonetta Almost every fighting game that isn't Mortal Kombat (because that's American) And like every atlus game now a days sells pretty well down there as well now. Then there's final fantasy Do you know whats missing from that list of games Infaune? Oh that's right your games are. Not all of japan Infaune. Not every japanese game is gonna sell as well as the best and sometimes some good ones get shafted, but just because your games have been pretty shallow doesn't mean the japanese industry is getting murdered
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