Inafune: It's a "Dark Time" for Japanese Studios

Inafune: It's a "Dark Time" for Japanese Studios

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Capcom's Keiji Inafune says it's a "dark time" for Japanese game developers as the videogame market today has become "primarily Western."

Inafune is a big player in the Japanese game development community. He's in charge of R&D and the Global Head of Production at Capcom, he's the co-designer of Megaman, he's been a producer on the Resident Evil series, Dead Rising, Street Fighter 4 and a whole lot more. So when he says he's worried that Japan's game development industry is declining in the face of pressure from the West, it's a good bet that there's some validity to the point.

"If you look at the major titles, they're now primarily Western. If you look at all the different signs and all the billboards [at E3], most of those are Western titles. A lot of the key announcements are also Western titles," he told VideoGamer.com. "I think to myself sometimes, if we keep on this course, the Japanese gaming market will disappear totally."

It's a "dark time" for Japanese developers, he said, and while Capcom wants to "fight the good fight" to makes it games succeed in the increasingly Westernized market, he recognizes that it won't be able to do it alone.

"It's going to have to come through collaborative efforts and co-operation. It's our U.S. staff, our European staff, working closely with them," he continued. "Of course we are working with a lot of different Western developers as well. It's being able to share their knowledge and information, to collaborate with them on a very in-depth level, that's going to allow us to grow as a company and to be able to understand how the market is changing in the West."

The comments are similar to those he made in September of last year, when he said the Japanese videogame industry is "finished."

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Maybe they should've modernised their RPGs a bit? Just a thought.

I know they don't just make RPGs by the way.

Well yeah its bound to happen. Japanese games are primarily made for Japanese culture. Now for how large of a market that is people in the west are tired of the same shit being produced time and time again; epically in the rpg department.

Japanese developers need to realize they need to evolve with the global audience if they want to survive.

I think for starters Japanese developers might want to consider making their main protagonist an actual adult rather then a effeminate teenage metro-sexual. Don't get me wrong there is a market for that, but most of your original fans have grown up and are now adults. We seriously don't want to play games where we are playing a teenager.

* Also if Capcom wants to get back into the good graces of the RPG fans how about going back and making that Breath of Fire game you fucking owe us after that last piece of shit Dragon Quarter you stuck us with as a "final game of the series?"

I'm sorry, but isn't CAPCOM the only people saying this? Dudes, shut the hell up and release something super cool. I know you're doing that Marvel vs Capcom thing but it would be awesome if you also did Devil May Cry 5. With Dante.

Calumon: Nero can be a supporting character.

Wait, isn't this the same guy who said Dead Rising wasn't western enough?

I like the labels they put on themselves. Maybe they should make games that don't suck, then the "Japanese Studios" will rack in the cash.

Honestly I'm not surpised you know with E3 being a western event. Thats like western developers saying theyre worried about the state of western game development because its mostly japanese games at TGS.

Anyway the japanese game market will always exist. It may get stronger or weaker but it will never dissapear

Given the general quality of their products, I would not be particularly saddened if the Japanese games industry dropped dead.

Would it kill them to try something just a little different? Maybe if they did they wouldn't be having such trouble.

I don't feel eastern and western styles of games are completely different. Oh yes there are marked differences between the two, but it is not night and day.

What the Japanese developers, who have talent, creativity and resources, is make games in the new western mold, but maintain their eastern feel.

Think of it like Samurai Jack. It was a western cartoon that had the eastern feel of an anime, sorta. The studios could do something like that, only reverse.

I think this is more of an opportunity than they realize. While there are many features that make 'western games' what they are, there are an equal number of tired and over-used features that can make one western game look and feel like another.

A Japanese company doing a western game may have the perfect mix of appealing to the new gamer with a western style game, but approaching it from a different, non-westenr angle to keep things fresh.

Long and the short of it, as long as Japanese game makers avoid like behaving like American car-makers, they'll do just fine.

They need to evolve. SE Imperial Hot has the right idea, he is trying to embrace and change the way the market works...but, it will take time.

Jack and Calumon:
I'm sorry, but isn't CAPCOM the only people saying this? Dudes, shut the hell up and release something super cool. I know you're doing that Marvel vs Capcom thing but it would be awesome if you also did Devil May Cry 5. With Dante.

Calumon: Nero can be a supporting character.

Bring back Godhand and I buy again.

Or viewtiful joe.

Zhukov:
Given the general quality of their products, I would not be particularly saddened if the Japanese games industry dropped dead.

Same here - but I know the Wapanese folk will whine if it does.

I think the reason for such events coming around is not too complicated. As far as I can tell the Japanese side of the videogame industry has been somewhat well...closed-minded when it comes to innovation from abroad thus far. It might sound racist, but it tends to remind me of the cliche of Japanese xenophobia (of being afraid of influences from abroad).

And if such sentiments run within an industry, that has by now become very clearly global, then it comes as no surprise to me that the Japanese side is slowly being snubbed by the global audiences. With things like Japanese games released purely within Japan, but not being open to the western audiences...this kind of development really strikes me as being inevitable. If Japan is making videogames purely for Japan, then obviously the rest of the world will march on without them while they live off of whatever earnings their own country provides them with. And if they try to make their games appeal to global audiences...how can they do that when their development has worked so hard to insulate themselves beforehand? How can you understand an audience that likes other things that you do if you've not been paying a bit more attention to them beforehand?

In the end it all seems to me as if Japan is getting left behind because it excluded itself from global developments too much.

Pinstar:
I don't feel eastern and western styles of games are completely different. Oh yes there are marked differences between the two, but it is not night and day.

What the Japanese developers, who have talent, creativity and resources, is make games in the new western mold, but maintain their eastern feel.

Think of it like Samurai Jack. It was a western cartoon that had the eastern feel of an anime, sorta. The studios could do something like that, only reverse.

No More Her-Oe's: Good for your daily dose of samurais, and Western gaming with Eastern flavor:


Sorry to bring that up again, but Suda 51 seems to be the only one who grasp the concept "Fun Japanese-made Western game."
But It must be a dark time if they shut down Clover Studios. Still never gonna let go of that.

Well. Seems to be working for Nintendo with Mario, Zelda etc.

Maybe they shouldn't make poor games (that aren't called Okami) and be awesome again.

The day every game on the shelf is American made is the day I give up gaming.

Capcom is about the only Japanese game developer (besides Nintendo if I had a Wii) I'd buy from because they actually make game palatable for western audiences. If you look at other games coming out of Japan, they are the same old JRPGs we've seen a thousand times before. A bunch of teenagers with questionable sexuality and fashion sense put together in a really drawn out story with turn based fighting. Nintendo gets it. They release a lot of platformers that are unique, but identifiable. They also have Zelda, which is kind of like a JRPG, but it is quite conservative when it comes to characters, and there is no turn based fighting (and it doesn't throw you into battle every 3 seconds).

His statement is very late...

All they needed to do it get the games outside of japan and that's exactly what they've been doing.

Square bought Eidos for this exact reason.

Reaction 1: Really? I don't think Nintendo's noticed a thing.

Reaction 2: This is terrible for Capcom. Too bad they don't have a side studio devoted to take risks exploring new and interesting game ideas so they could develop new inventive material to keep the world enticed like, hell I don't know, making the main character a wolf, or interpreting classic movie special effects into gameplay.

Sounds like a lot of cry-facing to me. Like Rect Pola said, Nintendo? They still dominate the video game market. Sony is a Japanese company as well, if everyone forgot. Hell, I don't think Square is hurting either.

I just hate the JPRG's with so much passion with some exceptions to it. In all honesty, BioWare is like a company that's synonim for stories and amazing experiences regarding making a game with a proper story for once. FF13 sucked hard in that regard.

On the one hand, yes, Westernized RPGs and free-form games have basically make the more linear story-driven games Japan loves more of a persona non gratis in the modern environment. On the other hand, so what? You make a good game, people will buy it. You make a crap game, people won't. Mario is an Italian plumber who beats up dinosaurs and sentient mushrooms, for whom mushrooms, technocolor flowers, and stars with eyes on them are his chief weapons. When you take two steps back, it's a damn weird concept, but it worked because the gameplay was so damn good. Bring to the market games that rock, and the market will follow. If that means evolving your model, then evolve it. It's not about East or West, its about how much fun we get out of our 50-60$ investment, plus time devoted to playing it.

Maybe if he worked on Megaman Legends 3... Wink wink, hint hint.

WHERE IS IT ALREADY!?

They should make a game so revolutionary, so amazing, so desired by the fans that it alleviates this "dark time." Like, say, Mega Man Legends 3.

All the Japanese need to do to turn their games around is to start penning solid stories set in less fanciful worlds. I think there are three main approaches to current, game based, Japanese storytelling:

1. Virtually non-existent (Crystal Chronicles)
2. Starts reasonably enough but then dives head first into a pit of convoluted absurdity (Metal Gear: Solid 1 - 3)
3. Was on track to becoming a number 2 but ran out of time and/or money after recording 5% of the dialogue so the developer just threw what they had together to make some incoherent rubbish (Dead of Alive 2 and 3)

It should be noted that there are two tonal variations of each type of story - hammy (Ninja Gaiden) or angsty (FF7 onward).

Najos:
Sounds like a lot of cry-facing to me. Like Rect Pola said, Nintendo? They still dominate the video game market. Sony is a Japanese company as well, if everyone forgot. Hell, I don't think Square is hurting either.

Exactly, or Konami from that stand point, infact aren't Capcom's games selling pretty well over here too, I saw a tonne of adverts for Lost Planet 2 and that isn't even an important game. Then we see Sega doing pretty well too, not to mention smaller devs like Clover, Team Ico, Rising Star, Level 5 etc. doing very well with japanese games like Bayonetta, No More Heroes and Professor Layton.

So what if Halo or COD sell stupidly well, where was the last JFPS this gen?
So what if Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls are big games at the moment, JRPGs have ruled the consoles long enough and still need to find a good balance between presentation and gameplay this gen.

The japanese still pretty much own the platforming and action genres as well as the quirky artsy games that evolve the gaming industry, they need to chill out and realise that the world changes and you can't make art that pleases everyone.

Dammit

I misread the title; I thought jRPGs were going to become more dark

Because, gee, catering to one country is less profitable than catering to the entire Western world.

Who'da thunk it?

Besides, a lot of us Westerners enjoy Japanese games, and I'm willing to bet a lot of Japanese would like Western games if they weren't so xenophobic. Can't we all just get along?

Let's be honest here, when he means, "All I see are Western games.", he really means, "All I see are FPS games."

 

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