Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima is addicted to everyone's favorite co-op zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead, which makes him all the more bitter about the state of game development in his home country.
Speaking to Famitsu, Kojima expressed his envy of the Western side of the games industry. "The US and European marketplace are far better balanced," he said. "There are games everyone can play...but there's also a deep base of core titles made with movie-industry people that explore the depths of hi-def. I'm addicted to Left 4 Dead right now, but people say to me that that game would never work in Japan."
You'd think that a guy could just enjoy the game, but the idea that something like Left 4 Dead could never come out of Japan just seems to make Kojima more than a little peeved about the state of Japanese game development. "Maybe I should quit being Japanese," he said. "And speaking of which, there were hardly any Japanese games nominated in Spike TV's Video Game Awards this year. It's sad to see that Japan's games failed to even register in America last year."
Kojima pointed to the insularity of the Japanese market as the main factor preventing Japan from catching up with the West. Asked why exactly Japanese developers can't create games like Left 4 Dead, he bluntly explained that it's "because they're Japanese. Japan makes all their own books and movies and music. You can't export entertainment made by Japanese people in the Japanese language, so it's all made with the sort of budgets that guarantee profit within the Japanese marketplace only."
Nevertheless, Kojima has faith in the creativity of his countrymen. He only fears that if Japan fails to catch up with the rest of the world that that creativity will be exploited. "The scariest scenario I see is people overseas taking the ideas from Japanese games, running the Hollywood business merchandising machine on them, and taking all the revenue," Kojima said. "If that happens, then there won't be any new Japanese creators."