Atsushi Inaba, the man behind bizarre(ly awesome) Capcom titles such as Okami and Viewtiful Joe, thinks that Western developers are simply "superior" to their Japanese counterparts.
Speaking with Develop about his upcoming Wii gorefest - a phrase I never thought I'd hear myself saying - Madworld, Inaba confessed that he didn't think Japanese developers were keeping up with the West:
"So we the Japanese developers should realise that we have to work hard to reach the Western level. We're fast reaching a stage where it's going to be about individual developers and not about what country they are in, globalization is coming to our industry too."
While Japan is still a driving force in the industry - with two out of three console manufacturers and a host of iconic developers like Capcom, Konami, et al - the country is quickly finding itself marginalized as far as buying games is concerned, with Japanese sales a mere fraction of the market in North America and Europe. As Japanese developers realize just how important the overseas market has become compared to their home turf, it's interesting to see this kind of thing come from people like Inaba and Hideo Kojima.
As might be expected of the man behind Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and Madworld, Inaba thinks that more developers should focus on creating new IPs: "The best way for a developer to make a mark in the industry and secure its future is by creating new and successful IPs. It's a very hard process but if you succeed, the rewards are massive."
That said, the need for new IPs is hardly limited to either side of the Pacific. Of all the new games that gamers are looking forward to for 2009, how many of them aren't sequels in some form or another?
Other than Brutal Legend, I mean.
If you're interested in everything Inaba had to say, you can find the full interview here.