So I’ve been giving alot of thought into the argument about how Western developers have apparently far surpassed Japanese developers as a whole, there really seems to be alot of chest beating especially from the western game “journalist” community about how much better western developers supposedly are than their eastern peers.
I suppose the real question here would be in what way exactly are developers in the west so much better than developers in the east. I’ve been playing video games for longer than I’d really care to admit sometimes, I love video games both as a hobby, and as what I consider a genuine form of art in many ways (argument for another time). I will also say that the majority of my favorite franchises and games come largely from Japanese developers.
Almost every major game conference, or expo I have seen over the past few years I’ve noticed something that gets vastly overlooked by many people covering games, and that’s the fact that western developers make first person shooters more than any other genre in the gaming landscape. Obviously have do have some western developers who make other genre games, like Bioware and Bethesda who focus on RPGS ( although Fallout 3 is a FPS as well), Criterion who makes racers, Media Molecule (probably the most creative western developer) making LBP ,and a few others but I can name about 20 First person shooters hitting shelves between now and the end of next year.
How many times can we play the Space Marine, or Foot solider before we see that just as much as in the east, the west has found their niche and they stick to it just as much.The eastern market right now is making games like Last Guardian, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, Demon’s Soul’s Vanquish, Disgaea, Catherine, Gran Turismo, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemists Of Arland, and Metal Gear Rising all being games that are very different from each other.
Developers in the west are making games like Call of Duty, Halo, Medal of Honor, Fallout New Vegas, Brink, Killzone, Bullet Storm, Resistance, Socom, Ghost Recon, etc. Yes there are western developers not making shooters, but more of them are than are not. In fact even when you take a game like Vanquish although it is a third person shooter when you begin to understand and use the systems within the game it has a very unique feel to it, where as almost all of the western games I named will feel fairly similar to each other with different paint jobs (all shades of grey or brown).
It’s seems mostly that the biggest advantage that western games have over eastern is the budget for things like graphics, lighting, and marketing, because quite frankely it seems to me that creativity in large quanities is still an advantage that Japanese developers continue to have over western.
Keep in mind that this is not me saying any of the above games will be bad, I’m actually looking forward to quite a few of them. Just trying to balance the argument when it’s really not as open and shut as some might have you believe, and for the record in my opinion there really are not many developers I would hold above Team Ico.
Do you believe that western devs have greatly surpassed their eastern peers, if so, or not feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.