"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."
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.
"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.
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.
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.
the RPGs they develop alone will keep them going for a while.