ABizzel1 (User)

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"If you want to go there, I'll gladly."

What's going on in Japan?

ABizzel1 | 1136d ago
User blog

I believe the title says it all. Japan was once the "IT" country when it comes to games. But now North America has blown them completely out of the water when it comes to game development. Japan were the kings of the RPG genre (JRPG's) and Action/Adventure games, but now little of anything worthwhile comes out of Japan. We're lucky to get 2 - 3 good games a year out of Japan, and I just don't understand what's going on over there.

There are the Big 3, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Of the 3 Sony and Nintendo are Japanese based companies, but most of Sony's content is now developed in the North America and European regions of their company, with little from SCJ making it's way over to the Americas. Is their contend coming to Japan only. Nintendo the house of Mario actually makes less of their franchises than you would think. A quick look at your Wii games will show you that Nintendo does a lot of outsourcing with their properties doing a good amount of business in you guessed it North America and Europe, but the Big N does keep most of their big franchises in house.

This bring me to the next group of developers/publishers. In North America we have EA and Activision, with newcomers trying to compete and doing a great job (Bethesda, Take-Two, and THQ to name a few). Japan's big wigs (excluding Nintendo and Sony) would be Capcom, Square Enix, Sega, Namco, and to a lesser extent Konami and Team Ninja (Konami makes one of gaming's best franchises, but what else).

Capcom has been hit or miss this gen. Standouts include Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter 4, Monster Hunter, and Megaman arcade games. But Capcom has also had quite a few duds this gen sales wise, review wise, and fan wise. Dark Void, Bionic Commando, Devil May Cry 4 and the reboot, Lost Planet, and Resident Evil 5 were all big games for Capcom that wither fell flat sales wise, had poor review score, or upset fans in some kind of way. But the worst thing Capcom has done was giving fans the reach around. Capcom has been notorious this generation with DLC and re-releasing games over and over and over again (I'm looking at you Street Fighter 4). This kind of business practice will run any fan's loyalty into the ground, and Capcom needs to rethink things before doing it anymore than they already have. But that's not what this blog is about. This about game, and with Capcom like the rest of Japan there are tons of them missing. A quick skim through of what Capcom made during the previous generation and what they've made so far this gen is just sad. Where is Onimusha, Viewtiful Joe, Okami 2, Maximo, Darkwatch 2, Clock Tower, Capcom vs. SNK, Namco vs. Capcom 2, Strider 3, Dino Crisis 3, Darkstalkers, and Power Stone? All these franchises that you had where are they now. We're stuck in an endless mass of sequels and now is the time for something new or a reboot of a franchise that hasn't seen the light of day in over 6 years. Even if the games are released as PSN/XBLA titles just give us something NEW, and something new from Japan

Square Enix. You guys sucked hard this gen. I don't know what's going on over there, but you need to get your business in order. Having to wait 4 years for the first Final Fantasy was absolutely ridiculous, especially for it to turn out to be a bit underwhelming. The JRPG's released thus far have been B material at best. We still don't have FF13 vs., we still don't have FF13 PSP (move it over to NGP now), we still don't have Kingdom Hearts 3, we still don't have FF7 remake (not confirmed, but goodness they need all the help they can get) I mean what are you guys doing. Were you not ready for this gen, are you one of the developers who aren't ready for the PS4 and Nextbox? A look at the games they've made thus far for next gen console is absolutely abysmal and makes Capcom's look amazing by comparison. 90% of Sqaure's games have been made for Nintendo DS and PS2 with PSP just now getting some love after becoming really popular in Japan. With the information from that last sentence it's clear to see Sqaure's in it for the $$$, because they're not making games games for console that's for sure. It's a good thing they bought Edios, because now they have some games that look good.......wait that's Sqaure Enix Europe :(

Sega. Sega has been down and out in the dirt for a long time now. It seemed liked nothing was going their way, and they couldn't make a good game to save their lives. But along comes Platinum studios and with them Sega got they magic back.....somewhat. Sega has held the fort down for Japanese gaming, which is shocking considering has badly they were being talked about what a couple of years ago. But enough of the past with Bayonetta, Vanquished, and MadWorld under their wings (thanks solely to Platinum games) Sega has obtained a nice set of NEW POTENTIAL FRANCHISES. They've also developed highly praised Tactical-RPG Valkyria Chronicles, the well received Yakuza franchise, and theire finally pumping out some good Sonic games. Now all we need is a real Golden Axe, a new Virtua Fighter, Shinobi, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Panzer Dragoon, and whatever else you can pull out of there. Oh and give Platinum games any and everything they want since they're the best you have. As a matter of fact tell them to make the next Shinobi game. Oh and stop making those crappy movie games, I sure you trick some poor ignorant fool into buying them, but doesn't it hurt your soul to sell that trash to someone....it should, it should.

Namco. You guys are in the same boat as Capcom, maybe a little better. Namco has really had a lot of bad games, but they haven't had anything really good either. After a quick overview of all the games/franchises you have I can see you don't really have much to reboot either. You guys need some new franchise and bad. I liked Enslaved, Tekken 6 was OK, Soul Calibur 4 was OK, and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 was pretty good, but there's nothing AAA in your library at all. You guys need to hire some people with big ideas and soon.

Konami. So now Kojima's pretty much calling the shots, since he's working on a new engine, has what 3 studios now, and working on MGS HD Collection, ZOE Collection, MGS Rising, a new IP, Contra, and that game about that Immortal guy. That's all I can ask for from you guys since most of your other stuff isn't geared towards me. I guess Suikoden 5, a good Silent Hill, and start working on expanding and getting some new IP's under your belt.

Team Ninja. WE'll see how you do without Itagaki, and with teh new Ninja Gaiden before I comment on you guys. So far you've been in the fame boat as Namco, but far worse. All you have is Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. It's time to work on some new franchises, and start working on more projects (but leave the writing and storytelling to the original IP owners "Metroid Other M"), most importantly hire some screenwriters and build a new engine.

The best way to sum this up is with this statistic Japan owned 50% of the game market share, now they only own a mere 10%. So Japan wake, because we need you and we need you to innovate with some brand new Japanese titles.

MintBerryCrunch  +   1135d ago
i'd say some of this has to deal with Nintendo going mainly casual once the Wii released, the majority of 3rd paty devs whether Japanese/N. American are not supporting the system due to the games not being able to compete with Just Dance being one example, second being the PS3's slow start, i'm pretty sure that most expected Sony to dominate once again, yet MS and Nintendo have become strong competitors, the devs went where new opportunities popped up

plus this generation of consoles has turned companies like ND and Epic Games into top tier developers,and i know that they have been around, but i doubt that they ever got the attention and success that they are getting today, the devs you listed were all established before this generation of consoles, the spotlight has shifted due to the popularity of new IP's, Japanese devs have really stuck with what they know will succeed, sort of like the saying "if it isn't broke, don't fix it"
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dedicatedtogamers  +   1135d ago
Japanese devs are terrible, but I don't think that Western devs have gotten any better. In fact, I'd say a lot of them have gotten worse:

- Starcraft II is vastly inferior to the likes of Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft (Blizzard)

- Mass Effect II and Dragon Age II are jokes compared to Mass Effect, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur's Gate (Bioware)

- EPIC's latest games are a joke compared to their legends like Unreal and Unreal Tournament. Same goes for id.

I could go on and on. Western games are declining in quality, but they're just not declining as quickly as the Japanese games, giving the (false) impression that they're waaaay better.
Gray-Fox-Type0  +   1135d ago
Mass Effect II is a joke compared to Mass Effect I?? What you said is a joke.
Convas  +   1135d ago
DedicatedtoHaters needs to bow out of gaming if he thinks this is so.
ramonahoustong   1135d ago | Spam
bunfighterii  +   1135d ago
I think it may also be that this generation has pretty much come to the status of 'AAA or bust', where the smaller games studios have been pushed to the brink by high development costs, and the level of output from Japan is probably reflective of that.
ABizzel1  +   1135d ago
I've said this for a while now. If your game isn't a AAA title it won't be bought by the majority of gamers since everyone's basically going all in on their big franchises.

But that's what PSN and XBL is for. Not every game needs to be retail release, and if you know your team is small and can't compete with big budgets then you need to develop a name for yourself on those services.

Developers have to remember not every game needs to be a $60 release. I'm not sure if any game has broken the million sales mark on PSN and XBL, but if not that's because most games on those services are small $5 - $10 games, and those games aren't for everyone.

Someone needs to step up and be the team to make GAMES for those services.
tee_bag242  +   1135d ago
I couldn't agree with you more.
Its a Brilliant point.

I think part of the problem is games take too long to develop for these days and its stifling creativity. In the 16/32 bit days, small teams could bring out great stuff and often, there was so much variety in genres. And yeah.. aiming for AAA $60-$100 doesn't guarantee success.

More so on a personal note. My friends and I are from the arcade machine era. We love coop gaming and are all waiting to see Sega, Namco, Konami simply re-release all there arcade hits with online enabled so we dont have to play by ourselves. It would be such an easy job to have them offer these games cheaply through the online store. My crew would be snapping up all the Daytonas, Vitrual Cops, House of the Deads, Time Crisis's etc.
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Godmars290  +   1135d ago
Japanese devs just weren't ready for HD gaming. Nintendo didn't care, Sony did worse than offer any help or support by requiring effort to make PS3 games, and MS was only telling them they needed to be on their system while their focus was FPS. With the only real thing to work with was the UE which was broken.
theonlylolking  +   1135d ago
At least the best console comes from Japan. Although a lot of people I have talked to think playstation is american and not Japanese...*facepalm*

Square Enix FF13 is a great game. It was the first FF I bought(I have played many before FF13) and it was great. A bit linear for my tastes but not nearly as bad as you FF fans make it out to be.
Kos-Mos  +   1135d ago
Why people sometimes thinks n4g is childish:Read the article.
Definition of good games is not understood by the majority.
ABizzel1  +   1135d ago
I don't understand what you're getting at, but let me clarify. I'm not upset that there aren't any good games coming out of Japan, as a matter of fact I'm not upset at all more like disappointed and not because I don't think Japan has a lack of good games. I liked Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 4, DMC4 was ok, Namco made some decent games, Platinum Games have done excellent, Ninja Gaiden Sigma was great the others not so much, and MGS4 is my second highest rated game this gen so there has been some good to come out of Japan.

But looking at this blog you can clearly see there are more games/franchises MIA then there are being made, and instead of making them Japan keeps dishing out re-makes, bad sequels, and year-long developed DLC. Onimusha, Viewtiful Joe, Okami 2, Maximo, Darkwatch 2, Clock Tower, Capcom vs. SNK, Namco vs. Capcom 2, Strider 3, Dino Crisis 3, Darkstalkers, and Power Stone are all MIA for consoles and that's only Capcom. This gen has had a serious lack of diversity partly because FPS's have become so popular, but also because Japan is seriously lacking in the development of games.

The top 10 rated RPG's of this gen only 1 was a new property JRPG that tied for 10th and that was Demon's Souls. 2 more JRPG's made it to the top 10 Chrono Trigger a re-release, and Person 3 for the PSP which again was a re-release. That's insane to me. Japan was once known as the kings of RPG's and yet they haven't made 1 new RPG that break in the top 5. And thing don't get any better in the Action genre, or Adventure genre with the exception of Mario Galaxy 1&2 and MGS4.

Now answer me this, what should be more important Street Fighter 4 Super Arcade Edition or having a new Darkstalkers, Capcom vs. SNK, Namco vs. Capcom 2, and Power Stone?

What should be more important FF13-2 or FF13 vs., FF13 PSP, making FF14 a good game?

What should be more important making a ton of bad movie games, or making a real Golden Axe, a new Virtua Fighter, Shinobi, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Panzer Dragoon.

What should be more important Namco sticking with anime games, or Namco making a name for themselves as a serious developer because they have the skills to do so much more. They upset me in a different way, I'm upset with them, because they could be so much more, but they settle. Take what you've learned from making all those fighting games and make a dope new IP's. They could make their own new Fighting game franchise to replace the staleness of the current games, they could have their own Ninja Gaiden/ DMC, they could have their own MGS, they have the potential to do so much, but they're stuck making these anime games.

I have nothing negative to say about Konami beside expand so you can make more GAMES, and less cash in games. Also put Kojima as CCO (Chief Creative Officer) so he can watch over all your development studios.

Team Ninja, you need to expand and work on some new IP's and get a new engine. Ninja Gaiden 3 will be your test, if it's not up to par then you guys to to take a quick break and reevaluate your business.

So I don't think Japan makes bad games, there's just a huge lack of Japanese games and instead of pushing new games out they're just sitting there falling into oblivion within the games industry.
CrescentFang  +   1135d ago
Hm, Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky just got released in the US... it took a while but it's finally here. Falcom isn't well known because most of their games haven't left Japan. I think there are a good amount of goames that don't leave Japan and of course no one knows about them...
I think some good Japanese games to look forward to are El Shaddai, Tales of Graces/Xillia, Dark Souls, Mega Man Legends 3, Zelda Skyward Sword, Xenoblade (if you live in Europe), KOF XIII, Disgaea 4 and possibly Persona 2 (I didn't want to include this because it is a remake that the west never got...)
The only problem with my list is that (and any game for that matter) it is debatable if a game is any good... It was indeed a good article, I didn't realize how bigger companies weren't doing that well this gen, it seems like I like stuff that's niche and less mainstream nowadays and haven't paid attention to what's going on haha
ABizzel1  +   1135d ago
I completely agree. I enjoy niche games as well, because they do things completely different than the mainstream titles.
laptopsony   1134d ago | Spam
Picnic  +   1134d ago
The Japanese don't seem capable of coming up with a game like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. It's ironic as that game partly seems to borrow from series like Resident Evil.
But Capcom became tempted by westernising that series and now it is different from what it was. That doesn't mean that they weren't right to make it faster paced, it's just that even Resident Evil 4 didn't completely revolutionise things, not in a sort of Big Daddy hitting you right across a floor kind of way. So Japanese games don't necessarily have a better sense of mystery than Western games. In fact, throughout the history of videogames that has often been the case. Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy show an unusual imaganation that rivals anything produced in Japan. British studio Rare managed to expand on the Mario 64 template. Naughty Dog expanded on the Mario Kart idea with arguably the finest karting game, Crash Team Racing.

FPS and third person action adventure shooting games are dominant and the Japanese don't like that style. Meanwhile, Western studios have become better at aping a quirky Japanese style - maybe it's more videogame courses or the way that Japanese style is in high street shops- it's no longer thought of as exclusively Japanese.

If the Japanese studios become seduced in to making their games cinematic in a Western way then they will not distinguish themselves because Western studios have some really talented artists. Japan has to be weird for weird's sake and yet it also has to be more innocent too. Remember the great Disney games on the Megadrive - all Japanese made. You wouldn't think that.

Where is the next Jet Set Radio installment from Japan? That is the kind of thing that we need more from them. They should be hitting us over the head with their futuristic urbaness. Western studios have become too adapt at aping everything else that they do.
zerocrossing  +   1134d ago
I think the reason is pretty obvious Japan being a different country catters to a different taste, One that seems to be becoming less and less popular with alot of gamers this gen in the west. Its not that Japanese games are worse now its that many people in the west would rather play Uncharted and Gears of war rather then MGS and Disgea, Sure they try to make games that would be popular in NA and Europe but they often don't get very good reviews, Personally I would much rather Japan keep making the games they make because I honestly enjoy them more. Im still very happy with Japanese games Im not saying they are perfect but neither are western games, Basically western made games do well in the west because they are geared towards the western audience wants, Japanese games for the most part are made to appeal to Japanese and do well there, For me and many others we enjoy and appreciate the differences and we don't want Japanese games becoming westernised because we would lose the games we enjoy playing..
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JoeSchmoh  +   1130d ago
I think here in America we like more Multiplayer Shooters and Open world type games were you have a lot of customization. The Japanese developers have come to a stalemate when it comes to making "Shooters" and "Open World RPGs". I think the Japanese aren't doing anything wrong, it's our assumption that everyone worldwide should play online-FPShooters and Open-World RPGs (Mostly shooters also). Think about it, all the big titles in America are Shooters Red Dead Revolver, Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Uncharted, Gears of War, Fallout, Borderlands. It's like everything in the west is geared toward open-world shooters. Look at what "The West" did with Resident Evil, now it's an open-world shooter with Operation Raccoon City.
As for me, I play games like Ken's Rage, Bayonetta, Vanquish, Devil May Cry 4. I really stay away from the whole online movement..from time to time I play Rainbow Six Vegas 2, but thats about it. Online-Shooters are killing the gaming industry period..it's not Japan thats the problem really.

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