Nakazato Talks Lost Odyssey, Western Success In Japan

Ray Nakazato has had his fair share of jobs, from the early days of programming PC games in Japan, to his time at Broderbund, then EA Japan, Capcom, and Microsoft Game Studios, all the way through to his current position as president of FeelPlus studio, working on Lost Odyssey with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Nakazato was a speaker at GDC Prime this year, and Gamasutra took the opportunity to interview him extensively about his past and present experience. He offers a refreshingly honest perspective on all aspects of the Japanese industry, speaking plainly about subjects most developers shy away from, diminish the importance of, or dodge entirely. These subjects range from the Japanese perception of the PS3 and 360 and the future of game technology in the region, to the status of notable industry figures such as Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), Yukio Futatsugi (Panzer Dragoon), and Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy XII).

They also spoke at length about Lost Odyssey, including a few new gameplay details, the problems with Ninety-Nine Nights, and, in brief, a canceled 360 project from Game Republic's Yoshiki Okamoto.

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kewlkat0074183d ago (Edited 4183d ago )

lots of Big names and has worked under some big developers. He is right about one thing, Japanese is starting to lag behind in high-end entertaining games. "The gaming industry is global, so as long as the global industry is healthy, it should be fine. But if you consider the Japanese economy with the Japanese industry only, it's a concern."

They really should start thinking on a global scale, when developing new titles. Not so much abandoning Classic Japanese games but taking a step out the BOX is not going to kill ya.

Developers licensing western/European game engines is a good sign of a first step, like Square and others have done. If Japanese games starts to play/enjoy more western/european games, then I can see a major shift in their gaming culture, which will also help MS and their game console, over there. As well as our games.

"Now, you'll find a lot of interesting and fun games coming from North America and Europe, but because of that experience that we have from the early 1990s, people tend to stay away from Western games.

I think there's a market for Western games in Japan, so I tried hard to bring those in. But still, pro-sports games are not popular in Japan. Somehow, they prefer Konami's Winning Eleven soccer sim series over EA's FIFA series, and they prefer Japanese-developed baseball sims as well. We have our own feeling for baseball, and American baseball games are very different. It’s really hard. "

Now I can understand how tough it is to crack the Japanese game market with Western/European offerings. I mean EA is the only true successful western company over there, and thats saying a lot for such a huge Developer. I always knew there is more to this then "Japanese not liking Western Products." It's all about their gaming culture.

On a series note, they need to step up their game...take it from CAPCOM. If they continue to go down that path, the rest of the world will surpas Japan in gaming big time. Well just a matter of time.

All I know is Lost Odyssey is looking to be a good RPG, I can't say anything great since I don't know much. Just look at the people working on the game, and "Lost Odyssey is using Unreal Engine 3 as well".