Dead Rising 2 Producer Blasts Japanese Game Industry

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Dead Rising 2 Producer Blasts Japanese Game Industry

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Capcom's Keiji Inafune says that his company is "barely keeping up" with the West, and the rest of Japan's developers have fallen way behind.

Inafune is not a man who minces his words, and he is severely unimpressed with the Japanese game industry right now. Speaking at the Tokyo Game Show, he said that Japanese developers were making "awful" games and were at least five years behind their Western counterparts.

Inafune believes that Japan is becoming less and less relevant in the gaming world and there need to be some pretty significant changes if the country is going to compete. He said that Capcom was only just managing to stay level with Western developers and thought that Japanese developers should be trying to understand the West in order to make their games more appealing to that audience.

Earlier in the year, Capcom said it was going to increase its output by making use of foreign talent. Capcom outsourced the production of Dead Rising 2 to Vancouver-based Blue Castle Games, and has recently announced that the next Devil May Cry game would be made by British developer Ninja Theory.

Whether you agree with Inafune's assessment of the state of Japanese games, it's hard to argue the point that making them more appealing to a Western audience would be a sound business decision. But we already have an entire hemisphere of Western developers, and it would be even better - in my opinion, at least - if Japanese game makers could find a way to appeal to the West, without copying it.

Source: New York Times via VG247

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Man, that's like having Germany compliment your country's cars.

SODAssault:
Man, that's like having Germany compliment your country's cars.

More like having America compliment your country's attitude to freedom. Japan used to be leading the way with games, but they got lazy and complacent and haven't advanced since the good old days.

Well take a look at XBOX's reaction to Bungie leaving: Gun Gal. It's a rail shooter, but you shoot girls and they "swoon" over ou or something like that (Or have tremendous orgasms and collapse to their knees, I can't quite tell yet).

If Japan is gonna keep trying to make weird cartoonish games and games about bikini samurei, they WILL stay behind. We're not all sexually charged adolescents

I think Keniji is right, there wa s a time when the bulk of games coming outta Japan were awesome. Nowadays they produce less and less of the greats.It was the right idea to move DR2 to Vancouver, I downloaded the demo the other day. A genius marketing move and the demo has convinced me I will buy it. The game is a vast improvement over its original and I loved Dead Rising.

Call me a weeaboo or fanboy all you want but if the new "Dante" is the end result of that appeal, then Japans developers really deserve oblivion. The last thing the gaming industry needs is a cultural globalization into bland shit to appeal to everyone.

And obviously the ratio of awesome western games and awesome Japanese games has shifted. Japan had pretty much a monopoly on video games for quite a long time, now they have to compete with the whole western hemisphere.

I guess the old phrase 'admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery' comes into play here and while I know some people will be synical of this and try to rally a defense against such a statement by pulling out games like FFXIII or the first Dead Rising but let's face facts.

There are nowhere near as many good recent Japanese titles in the market as there are Western games (seriously, I've been sitting here for a couple of minutes trying to think of a major one besides FFXIII that didn't have major western influences and just couldn't do it), a bit of transcontinental observation and exchange could result in not only Japanese games improving in quality and popularity but could very easily also be beneficial to the development of Western games.

I'm looking foward to seeing what comes as a result of this.

Anaphyis:
Call me a weeaboo or fanboy all you want but if the new "Dante" is the end result of that appeal, then Japans developers really deserve oblivion. The last thing the gaming industry needs is a cultural globalization into bland shit to appeal to everyone.

And obviously the ratio of awesome western games and awesome Japanese games has shifted. Japan had pretty much a monopoly on video games for quite a long time, now they have to compete with the whole western hemisphere.

I agree with these notions. Japanese game design, for the most part, has stagnated a slight, and as many complaints of space/real marines in gritty games the West gets, the West seems to try new stuff more often. Do you think Japan would ever make a Mass Effect? I think not.

Also, rather than shipping off their franchises to outside companies, I would rather see what happens when these companies take a crack at mixing up their own games a fair bit. Seriously, unless that trailer is poorly made and Ninja Theory is hiding stuff like a motherfucker, I fear for Dante's future.

"Boys, we are about to witness the fall of Japanese gaming. Grab your popcorn and sodas quickly, you dont want to miss this!!!"

But in all sreiousness, Im not sure if I find this good or bad. While Resonance of Fate may have been one of the few (if not the only) JRPG ive played in the past few years, there are still pleanty of games I played that were Japanese in origion, and most of them were pretty damn good. So I see this as lossing strictly Japanese games, and gaining more Western games. Which is where the question comes into being, as im still getting the same number of games, will I be bothered that half of them wont be the same games I use to play?

Why do Japanese devs feel the need to suck the fat Western cock every second they get? Japan is not America, it has its own values and its own cultural standards. Its audience wants something, and if there's a demand, a company will always service it. Maybe that demand doesn't make sense to us in the West, and really, it doesn't have to make sense. We simply don't need to buy those games if we don't like them. If you guys are so worried about your industry stagnating, then try something else! Don't be working the shaft of White devs, get out there and show some ideas, or step down and let somebody else run things.

You don't need to turn your gaming ideas into culturally universal meaningless crap. When something tries to appeal to everything on Earth, it will inevitably appeal to nothing.

Even if he is correct after this new DMC unveil where a huge swath of the hardcore base hates the new design and is rightfully worried about the gameplay he is the last person who should be saying this. As for FFXIII the main reason it failed was because it wanted to be an action adventure game but then stopped at the last minute for no damn reason. You can't just copy what western developers do and expect to get anywhere. (See Quantum Theory for an example of just such a failure.) They have to understand that trying to turn themselves into white men is not going to work because they are not white men. (This is who they are really talking about when they are talking about Westerners.) Why would westerners buy Japanese games that desperately try to appeal to them when they could games made by westerners that don't have the problems associated with desperation ploys? (Namely the games tend to suck, or miss the point of why people bought them in the first place if they are an established franchise.) The same strategy isn't working for Microsoft and its' latest console in Japan is it? The same strategy doesn't even work for Western developers that try to copy other Western developers!

With games like Resident Evil which is already heavily influenced by the West why in the hell are the controls stuck with limitations that were no longer necessary by the Playstation 2 era? I think that the problem that industry is experiencing has more to do with a nonsensical resistance to the right kinds of change, a delusional belief that they can merely copy what other people are doing and gain lasting market penetration, and perhaps most importantly the fact that the bigger Japanese publishers who keep going on about appealing to the East have forgotten that they are in fact Eastern.

Living in Japan you can tell it is a whoile different market without even speaking the language. The games that are popular here (Monster Hunter seems to be the latest) get real popular but next month it'll be something different. Tokyo of course is all about the portable market so at TGS the Monster Hunter PSP game was doing good business. I no expert but I think the Japanese love a good yarn like the rest of the world but their TV/Movie is not much to speak of. Really the only option is either anime or games for a nice long epic tale.
-these are my thoughts and opinions and I have no way to very the truth of them until my japanese gets better.

I think this is a joke to be honest. I think the big issue here is that Japan has gotten used to being the de-facto force in game development, especially on consoles. Western developers have gotten better and more prolific. The days when you could see the credits at the end of a video game and 90% of them would be Japanese are indeed gone.

This isn't so much a "failure" on Japan's part, or them losing ground in any true sense, but simply what happens when an industry goes from having one group of people doing everything, to having multiple major producers.

Right now the dumbest thing Japan could do is try and emulate Western games as they are now, because that will just lead to the sub-standard aping that occurs whenever Japan tries to duplicate something Western (or at least for a long time). They should keep right on doing what they have been doing, providing a differant international "flavor" for games, and simply accept that now it's a divided market and they will NEVER be seeing the level of dominance and profitability that they once did... aping western games isn't going to do anything to actually make the competition disappear and that's the issue.

While this goes back years, I have mentioned here on numerous occasions that I used to read translated Japanese gaming/anime periodicals. One of the things that annoyed me was the basic attitude I saw being expressed that a western release cheapened something, and there seemed to be actual fear among producers that a western release could turn domestic sentiment (and the market) against them. A "let's keep the best stuff for ourselves" attitude, and one of putting cultural support/superiority above profits and international marketing.

A couple examples of this that paticularly annoyed me seemed to be how the US never got the "International" version of "Final Fantasy X" nor the last part of the story called "Final Fantasy X: Final Mission".

Ask yourself, how many games you really wanted to play that were coming out in Japan but were never localized? Especially if your an RPG fan, you can probably think of dozens. Even now with games like Atlus' "Catherine" getting attention, there is some genuine doubt as to whether we'll see a US release, and if we ever do, if that release will be worthwhile since Japanese companies rarely fight against censorship, generally either going for "released under the radar" or "willful submission" if there is anything contreversial involved at all.

We also routinely get some seriously ridiculous stories involving "liscencing" which don't hold up under inspection when people wonder why the US hasn't gotten more "Super Robot Taisen" titles or things like "Namco X Capcom".

The point I'm getting is that Japan's problem isn't not being western enough. Their problem is how they have been doing business within the market. If they don't localize their best stuff and send it overseas, they can't whine about not competing all that well. At one time Japanese "shovelware" with the occasional genuinely big game was enough to compete with the fledgeling western developers. That isn't the case anymore. If they want to compete with AAA type titles, they need to release their equivilents here.

What's more keeping their games "Japan Exclusive" for a period seems to be a cultural thing, ensuring fans other countries are a year or so behind even if a release is planned. To be honest there is no reason WHY more Japanese games can't see simultaneous global releases. I mean they CAN record multiple voice tracks at the same time, and we have seen the occasional simultaneous worldwide release (or something close to it). If Japan keeps releaing games that are a year old already, to compete with this year's "AAA" titles which are as good as what they are making, The Japanese shouldn't be all that surprised when people treat the game like a year old game that should be selling for half as much. Tech improves a bit every year and your year old game is an inferior product to a game coming out this year. Once this was less of an issue when Japan was ahead of the curve, but it isn't anymore.

At any rate, that's my opinion. I think Japan need an attitude adjustment. It's not the games themselves or their style that needs to change, it's pretty much the rest of their industry around the games.

Yes, I know many are going to disagree, but as I just said, that's my opinion.

Seems more and mroe of the JP community are speaking out about it. The problem are so many are set in there ways, its going to beh ard for them to break it.

Its going to be intresting to see where it will lead

Logan Westbrook:
But we already have an entire hemisphere of Western developers, and it would be even better - in my opinion, at least - if Japanese game makers could find a way to appeal to the West, without copying it.

I would think that simply by virtue of being Japanese they'll have their own interpretations of things that appeal to global gamers. But I, for one, would love to see them get out of their rut, so to speak. I think that you can see the stagnation in their development most prominently in JRPGs - they tend to revisit the same themes, using the same character/anime stereotypes, over and over again. As a consequence, the games are probably appealing to a narrower and narrower group of people each time. Vocal people, sure, but not the audiences they need to stay above being niche developers.

Compare the equivalent Mass Effect and Star Ocean games. Similar settings, both RPGs, but Mass Effect had far more complexity and higher production values, and welcomed a more mature audience. Star Ocean, on the other hand, could have been an upgraded PS1 game with enhanced visuals.

An apt comparison would be Fable. Fable is a distinctly British game - particularly the dry humour (note the extra "u" in there) - but still manages to appeal to global audiences. I think there's just as much room for Japanese equivalents.

Alternately, they could embrace being niche developers. Atlus does exceptionally well being a developer/publisher specifically for niche audiences. They'll never have the clout that a major studio does, but there's something to be said for knowing your audience and giving them what they want.

Iron Mal:
I know some people will be cynical of this and try to rally a defense against such a statement by pulling out games like FFXIII or the first Dead Rising but let's face facts.

I wouldn't. Dead Rising is an example of westernization by Japanese developers, and how it worked well for Capcom. FFXIII is an example of everything that's wrong with Japanese developers.

WanderingFool:
As I'm still getting the same number of games, will I be bothered that half of them wont be the same games I used to play?

Here's how I see it: I don't want to keep playing the same games I used to play. I want to play new, better games that have improved on the ones I used to play. This includes JRPGs. They've improved on the visuals over the years, but I don't think they've made any steps forward in terms of the actual gameplay, and that's what's starting to hurt them.

Logan Westbrook:
But we already have an entire hemisphere of Western developers, and it would be even better - in my opinion, at least - if Japanese game makers could find a way to appeal to the West, without copying it.

Except that most people in the "western" gaming world can't handle anything that deviates from their preset expectations. (I would expect the Japanese are the same way by virtue of being human)

I think the real problem is that japan has had a heap of trouble getting used to the HD generation. Consloes are becoming more and more like PCs, this is a granted, but the real problem comes when we realise there is almost NO PC gaming market in Japan. The people who have done best, and got the most criritcal acclaim, out of this generation have been former PC stallwarts like EPIC with their domination of the middleware market and Valve moving source to new platforms.

Japan is simply lost in this new era, not to mention the whole indie game explosion has happened mostly in the USA and Europe with quite local appeal. The world has moved on and Japan needs to adapt and continue to flounder, it's not a cse of "Making your games more western" its a case of realising that Japanese games DO have appeal outside japan unedited and uncensored if the support is put in place and if the game is good enough.

I think that's a BIG point, the real loss of directoin and folding inwards of the Japanese market has caused them to really lose focus and hence there have been less amazing games outside of the realms of nintendo and capcom (and even there we have seen some mixed results). The Japanophiles amoungst you need to realise that there IS a problem. Most japaese series like FF have been surviving on name alone, Square Enix is a bit of a mess at the moment and are only just recovering from a spate of frankly borderline unplayable games like the techically broken "The last remnant" or the crushingly badly desinged "Star Ocean; Last hope"

I mean compare the most recent Japanese big hits the the western ones, stack Mass Effect 2 up with FF13 and you will see the problem. If you don't then you are simply part of it.

SODAssault:
Man, that's like having Germany compliment your country's cars.

Maybe build wise, but they lack soul IMO :P

OT: He's right of course. Japan seems to be making Dreamcast-esque games with good graphics...

At least the guy's noticed though, and we'll be spurred by a load of new awesome Japanese games once again!

Virgil:
I would think that simply by virtue of being Japanese they'll have their own interpretations of things that appeal to global gamers. But I, for one, would love to see them get out of their rut, so to speak. I think that you can see the stagnation in their development most prominently in JRPGs - they tend to revisit the same themes, using the same character/anime stereotypes, over and over again. As a consequence, the games are probably appealing to a narrower and narrower group of people each time. Vocal people, sure, but not the audiences they need to stay above being niche developers.

Compare the equivalent Mass Effect and Star Ocean games. Similar settings, both RPGs, but Mass Effect had far more complexity and higher production values, and welcomed a more mature audience. Star Ocean, on the other hand, could have been an upgraded PS1 game with enhanced visuals.

An apt comparison would be Fable. Fable is a distinctly British game - particularly the dry humour (note the extra "u" in there) - but still manages to appeal to global audiences. I think there's just as much room for Japanese equivalents.

Alternately, they could embrace being niche developers. Atlus does exceptionally well being a developer/publisher specifically for niche audiences. They'll never have the clout that a major studio does, but there's something to be said for knowing your audience and giving them what they want.

I wouldn't. Dead Rising is an example of westernization by Japanese developers, and how it worked well for Capcom. FFXIII is an example of everything that's wrong with Japanese developers.

Here's how I see it: I don't want to keep playing the same games I used to play. I want to play new, better games that have improved on the ones I used to play. This includes JRPGs. They've improved on the visuals over they years, but I don't think they've made any steps forward in terms of the actual gameplay, and that's what's starting to hurt them.

Very well put, i've been attempting to explain to many how people outside of the hardcore sphere of fans sees many games. It's hard work.

"Vocal people, Sure"

That part made me laugh a little because i know exactly what you mean. As every itteration comes out the games become more and more stangnet but the audience becomes more and more entrenched in it's perception these games are still the example of the best the market has to offer. Let me go on record saying FF13 is a prime example of just how far behind the japanese market is.

I hate to have to sound like the tired old guy over and over again but many western games are better not simply by virtue of being western but being better, more fully realised and more innovative and progessive experiences.

I would rather all Japanese games remaining the same, than them becoming just like western games, not because I like japanese games over western games, but because I like a greater variety in games.

Japan generally did a terrible job adapting to making games for the players they hooked on Nintendo in the 80's and 90's. They never figured out how to make games for adults. Adding boobs and badly translated swearing and up-skirts is NOT making a game for adults.

They still make great kids' games (it helps that kids' minds are more maleable and open to accepting shit that makes absolutely no sense) but they have failed to make games that the adult player will tolerate. Even the hallowed Metal Gear series seems like it was written by and for a 12 year old.

I may be remembering incorrectly, but I think the japanese market for games is shrinking. People just aren't buying as many games as they used to, so it only makes sense for developers to turn their eyes outward.

Games like Vanquish and No More Heroes are exactly the kind of thing the news writer asks for: games meant to appeal to a western audience that are something very different from what we're already getting.

Well, I don't live in Japan, and they have some great games we don't have (including Porn Games) so I can't say I care much until something more big happens.

He's right, but if Capcom hires anyone, they need TO HIRE WRITERS!

Seriously, Dead Rising 1 had some of the worst dialogue writing of any game.

Therumancer:

The point I'm getting is that Japan's problem isn't not being western enough. Their problem is how they have been doing business within the market. If they don't localize their best stuff and send it overseas, they can't whine about not competing all that well. At one time Japanese "shovelware" with the occasional genuinely big game was enough to compete with the fledgeling western developers. That isn't the case anymore. If they want to compete with AAA type titles, they need to release their equivilents here.

What's more keeping their games "Japan Exclusive" for a period seems to be a cultural thing, ensuring fans other countries are a year or so behind even if a release is planned. To be honest there is no reason WHY more Japanese games can't see simultaneous global releases. I mean they CAN record multiple voice tracks at the same time, and we have seen the occasional simultaneous worldwide release (or something close to it). If Japan keeps releaing games that are a year old already, to compete with this year's "AAA" titles which are as good as what they are making, The Japanese shouldn't be all that surprised when people treat the game like a year old game that should be selling for half as much. Tech improves a bit every year and your year old game is an inferior product to a game coming out this year. Once this was less of an issue when Japan was ahead of the curve, but it isn't anymore.

Some snipping for length, but I agree with quite a bit from your post. I find that Japanese games still have oomph, but the country on a whole has been practicing a policy of protectionism in an increasingly global market. I think this, above all, has hurt them in the gaming industry.

OT: I for one would hate for Japan to lose that unique flavor that their games have. I love Western games. Bioware is one of my favorite companies. But one of my other favorite companies is Atlus, or was Atlus. I don't want all my games to be the same. I enjoy the variety of gaming styles I get from the different publishers. Japan still leads the market on edgy titles like Catherine that just wouldn't be made here. It would be a shame to lose them to conformity.

Inafune has REALLY got to cut this out. Japan is not without talent, they're just going through a meek, complacent phase to try and find excuses for sales not being as high in the west. They need a REALLY big kick in the ass. Otherwise their identity is going to vanish, I mean look at that terrible DMC trailer

Maybe Capcom needs to just simply get its shit together; shipping your franchises over to incompetent developers just because they're Western is not the answer.

Other Japanese developers are atleast still making their games themselves.

I think a trend is going to start of JRPGs where everyone has crew cuts

Indeed. We can safely say the Western RPG's from companies like Bioware are totally kicking their asses in the said genre.

Beside, I think the only games I actually would obtain from them is Tekken Tag 2. Totally loved the game, their fighting games are usually a-okay.

.... Because Western games are sooooo much better with one generic FPS after another... Fucking fail

Dectilon:
I think the japanese market for games is shrinking.

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Good...Good...

Soon enough the JRPG will be just a footnote in gaming history. Then all of the Western games shall rule the world...

In my opinion both the US and Japanese Game Industry's are flawed.

Reading most comments, I really can't say much as everything I wanted to say has already been said... BUT, I want to compliment/rant a bit.

Okami... that game is almost a 100% japanese, and I said almost because it's in english, but everything the game offers is completely japanese, the art style, the silly humor, the locations, the epic soundtrack is a beautiful blend of japanese instruments, even it's mythology is heavily based on japanese mythologies.

I don't want a westernized Okami, in the first place, because I don't see it working in any form, and second, because I don't want a gritty and realistic wolf battling 9 headed dragons bleeding thousands of gallons of blood...

Also, Street Fighter IV is completely japanese with a handful of western inspirations, it not only has a distinctly good artwork and graphics, it also redifines the fighting mechanic that they almost invented.

Japan needs to ralize that they need to improve what's already worked for them, but they also need to realize that we don't want the same games with better graphics over and over again.

Isn't this like the 5th time someone from Capcom has made a statement along the lines of 'Japan sucks, the West is awesome'?

Seems to me that instead of actually making compelling and diverse games, they're just going to attempt to suck up to the larger market.

'Buy our games that may or may not actually be made by Japanese because we realize we suck and you wonderful people are killing us!'

danpascooch:
He's right, but if Capcom hires anyone, they need TO HIRE WRITERS!

Seriously, Dead Rising 1 had some of the worst dialogue writing of any game.

But he's covered wars, you know...

OT. I think that this could be both a blessing and a curse, as, while they do need to step up to the mark (I was so hyped for FFXIII. Never been let-down more by a game.), they have, in the past, led the industry with they're games. DMC, RE, Castlevania. What they need to do is completely reboot the JRPG genre into something enjoyable, and appeal to western consumers more, without completely copying them.

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