Inafune on the sad state of Japanese gaming

Comcept founder and former Capcom exec explains why Japan isn't producing hits on par with Skyrim or Call of Duty, says he'd be willing to collaborate with Capcom on a new Mega Man.

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Despite years of hand-wringing over the waning Japanese game industry, former Mega Man series producer Keiji Inafune believes the state of game development in the island nation has shown no improvement. If anything, he believes it has gotten worse.

During last week's Game Developers Conference, Inafune took time aside to talk with GameSpot about a range of topics, from Japan's myopic game publishers to the rise of indies and smartphone gaming and his wish list for next-gen consoles. He also addressed his new multimedia company Comcept, confirmed plans to launch its debut title internationally, and teased big collaborations with surprising partners.

Keiji Inafune.

GameSpot: At Capcom, you were vocal about the dire state of Japanese game development. What do you think of its current state and what are the biggest problems it faces today?

Keiji Inafune: I had wanted Japanese games to be better. But looking back on the last couple of years, it hasn't changed. I had hoped it would have gone better, but because it hasn't changed, it's probably gotten worse. But compared to when I started being vocal, now everybody knows for sure that it's not in a good state. They just haven't come to a conclusion as to what they should do, so I'm still hoping it will be better.

GS: What are the biggest specific problems with it today?

KI: There are a lot of specific problems, but a good example would be that this is GDC. It's the Game Developers Conference. Out of the Japanese creators, how many of the major ones are here at the show? It's very limited, and that itself states that Japan is not taking global business seriously. They should be here at the show, giving sessions and mingling with the rest of the world more, intentionally. But I don't see that, and that's one of the biggest problems...that Japan is not looking at the global perspective. We all know for sure that we have to go global, but the actions are not there.

GS: How would the rest of the game industry benefit from a healthy Japanese development scene?

KI: I believe that in Western or other parts of the world, they all liked Japanese games from the past and benefitted from them. They had a significant amount of influence in game development around the world, but that's all from the past. Because Japan is not in a healthy state right now, not everybody is being influenced by us now. If Japan was in a healthy state, it could influence developers from the rest of the world.

"[Japanese games] had a significant amount of influence in game development around the world, but that's all from the past."

GS: Do you see the Western game industry as a perfectly healthy model to follow?

KI: There are great big franchises like Skyrim, great titles for the iOS, the Call of Duty franchise, of course. But in Japan, there is nothing like Call of Duty or a similar franchise, so there aren't any titles spending a lot of development costs. There's nothing big, and no iOS titles that can go global. Though the Western development scene may have its own problems, it's way healthier than the state of Japan right now.

A slide from Inafune's GDC talk, in which he teased that he's working on a PlayStation Vita game.

GS: Comcept is set up to work on a lot more than just games. Why did you feel the need to branch out into other media?

KI: Let's look back on a couple of years ago, when somebody said "games" it was all PlayStation and Xbox, very console oriented. But now there's the DS and the handheld market, social and mobile gaming…The definition of games has come to change over the years. Maybe right now we're moving toward [a point] where we don't necessarily need a device. At Comcept, all of my inspiration is based on game creation, but the output doesn't necessarily have to be "PlayStation" or "console." A lot of the entertainment I come up with is derived from that inspiration, so I don't feel like I'm doing something so different.

GS: There's a "Collaboration" section on your website, but it's empty right now. What sort of people are you looking to collaborate with?

KI: It's amazing because we just opened our English website today, so I'm happy you mentioned it. Under Collaboration, it probably said "Coming Soon." I'm looking to announce big collaborations with people you didn't imagine before, and it doesn't necessarily have to be games. Because I'm on my own and away from my past life, I want to do whatever I couldn't do before in my former responsibilities. So I really want you to stay tuned and we really want to announce big collaborations.

"I'm looking to announce big collaborations with people you didn't imagine before."

GS: [To translator]: Did I hear him mention Capcom there?

Translator: Yes, he wants to do big collaborations he couldn't have done when he was at Capcom.

KI: But if we came up with a collaboration with Capcom, that would surprise you as well, right? It's not on my list right now, but it could happen.

GS: With the rise of tablet and smartphone gaming, there seems to be a negative sentiment toward traditional gaming handhelds like the Vita and 3DS. Given that King of Pirates is a 3DS game, I assume you don't share that pessimism?

KI: I don't see pessimism for the change because they can coexist. Probably the difference between dedicated games and these smartphone games is the play duration of the game. You wouldn't play a smartphone game for two hours straight, but if you have a Vita or a 3DS, you would do that easily. If I only have a couple of minutes on the train or waiting for a dentist appointment, I would probably play my smartphone games. But if I had time to sit down and play the Vita, I would. So I'm not too pessimistic about the whole movement, but you're right that there will probably be a different balance because it takes a different amount of time to create these different games as well.

GS: Can we expect a worldwide release for King of Pirates?

KI: Of course.

King of Pirates is planned for a global launch.

GS: As creator, what would you like to see out of the next generation of consoles?

KI: More than the spec or the insides, what I want to see in the next generation is that development costs go down. Lately, it's only going up, and it's making it hard for creators to make great games in a short time. The more the development cost goes up, it's going to directly affect the users because the retail prices have to go up. That defeats the purpose in general. So no matter how the hardware developers come up with good hardware, it doesn't mean anything if we can't create games for it.

GS: Is there any need for new hardware then?

KI: Like I said, it doesn't mean anything if the cost is only going to go up. But there's definitely a need for evolution in the gaming industry and the hardware industry as well. Unless there's evolution there, both creators and gamers are going to stop growing.

GS: One big evolution in recent years has been motion controls. How do you think they've done so far? Are they a fad or the future?

KI: I don't see it as a fad. When there's evolution, there's always challenge and trial. I see it as in the midst of growing and stepping up. With what you see in the Kinect and motion-control devices, we're in the trial stage, and that's necessary for growing. We're still trying to define if it is the future or just a step in some other growth. But we're interested to see where it's going.

GS: What are your thoughts on the Wii U so far?

KI: I can't comment too much about it because I haven't touched it yet, but whenever Nintendo comes out with something new, it's always good. So I'm confident it must be impressive. If I get a chance, I always want to try out creating for a new platform. So I'm looking forward to that chance. The same thing could go for the Wii U because it's part of the challenge in evolution, and it's a challenge in motion control. It's in that testing stage, so I'm really interested.

Inafune is looking for a chance to work on the Wii U.

What you see with Apple, they've been attacking different challenges, but they change the world with every product they come out with. They instantly come up with a solution, and we have to remember that is rare. In the ordinary world, there's always a trial-and-error process. That's why Steve Jobs is considered a genius. But in an ordinary world, we try, we challenge, we evolve, and it takes time. What we're doing in the gaming industry is understandable.

GS: We've got a lot of different business models for games now with free-to-play, subscription-based games, downloadable games, boxed retail products…Can all these business models coexist?

"I probably feel the same way as all the Mega Man fans."

KI: Of course I don't believe it will all coexist in the future. We're in a constantly changing world. It probably won't become one system, but it will narrow down to a couple, at least two business models. Each model has its good side and bad side. Free-to-play is good for the consumers, but it's not necessarily good for the people running the business. It's sort of like the tax system. If taxes are really low, it's good for individual people, but it's not necessarily good to keep the country going. It's a matter of balance.

GS: What do you think of the growth of indie games?

KI: It's a very good thing that there's growth in indie games. There are more people playing games, but it also means there are more people creating games. A couple of years ago, there were more hurdles to game creation. You had to work for a game company and it was a long path before you were the person to create games. The opportunities are much wider now. This is a country of opportunity. America has always had that, but this is a global movement. Everybody gets a chance to try. Now the big creators are thinking, "Oh my god, there are more creators running after us! We have to keep creating good games or our throne is going to be taken over." It creates a good competition, so it's very healthy.

GS: What do you think of the way Capcom has handled Mega Man lately?

KI: [Laughs] I have to be careful with the Capcom questions. I probably feel the same way as all the Mega Man fans. All I can say is I hope to see the new Mega Man because I've left a lot of people with my DNA [at Capcom]. But if they can't, I'm always open if Capcom asks us to be the developer. We'd take it.

Discussion

221 comments
XxMikeyXxX
XxMikeyXxX

The single japanese games that i like are that I dont know are japanese when i see them firt time, like Lolipo Chainsaw, Rident Evil. Their standard game look to childish, and I hate 2D games ,with some excepitions, that are the standard. About fighter their still god with it(Street Fighter, Tekken and Soul Calibur). Well,barehand, i never liked their games.

Iamshmee
Iamshmee

Thank god you guys asked his opinion on what he thinks about what Capcom has done with Megaman. They should just sell him the rights since they obviously want to destroy the character like they did in Street Fighter x Tekken. I can see playing games by Keiji Inafune, and Shinji Mikami, but at this point I'm boycotting capcom because all they are doing is destroying everything there fans want.

grbolivar
grbolivar

Don't mess with my MEGA MAN!!!1

Deinbeck
Deinbeck

Intelligent guy. I hope his new venture succeeds.

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

its actually better as it is, they only thing western gaming industry is good at first person shooter same mumbo jumbo all-over again. even skyrin is like a shooter with just sword or bows. in japanese gaming you got a variety. Good fighters heck they probably the source of the best like tekken or street fighter. and even though their rpg aint as grand as before at least the story is still good. PS: Inafune is good but i dont like him that much anymore because of him MML3 got cancelled. and western gaming is like we say kings of lay-off haha

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Most japanese games seem to be the same anime rpg type games. Nothing original. Mega man? I like mega man, but how bout something new? This is the same formula Nintendo follows. Release the same game for every system (Zelda titles for example) Release a new hashed out version of Mario, Oooh. The successful titles he listed are aimed towards an older crowd. Why not try something new with a different target audience? Ahhhh.....this isn't working soooo..I'm gonna release a new megaman..come on.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@rilpas, I agree with your assessment of the JRPG target audience 100 percent. Many Westerners don't realize that game makers target a younger audience in Japan. When I lived and worked over there, it was difficult to find anyone out of high school who played video games. I think that might be one reason Japanese designers are so concerned with the international market. They've been going after Japanese teens for a long time. Now, the country's population is both shrinking and graying, and the game companies need new customers. I also think there is something inherently childish about most video games. So, no, I'm not going to let games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age off the hook, either. But, they're not nearly as childish as most JRPGs.

rilpas
rilpas

@IceJester45 I think the problem with the way stories are told in a lot of JRPG's has to do with the genre's original target audience, JRPG were originally called "light RPG's" in Japan were targetted at a younger demographic, hence the feeling of "high school drama" on said games WRPG's on the other hand I always that at first their target audience was college students, at least that's how games like Ultima and wizardry began. Now before /some/ people misinterpret me, I'm not saying all Jrpg's are for children and all WRPGs are for adult, in fact, most WRPG's we see these days seem more geared towards teenagers then college students in both story and gameplay, but it is how these genres started and in a way and it still sticks to them. But then again, a good, deep WRPG that requires, thought, strategy and has a deep and complex story to boot is a rare thing these days and no, Mass Effect and Dragon Age do NOT fit the bill

Gensmith007
Gensmith007

I think that the main problem with all the different game people is that they don't have the same motivation they had long ago I see plenty of improvements that can be done in the future games but most likely will never see such improvements becuase the game developers just want to release a game not an amazing game

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, By "childish," I mean overly cutesy and naive. I don't want to generalize too much (we've been doing that a lot lately, and it makes me feel dirty), but many video game characters talk like teenagers, regardless of their age. Actually, they talk like teens in a soap opera or Korean drama. This isn't limited to JRPGs. For instance, I find it hard to believe that an actual adult male in the military would have the kind of conversations Solid Snake has in the field. What about the comment system did you want me to address? I sent you a PM, by the way.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

"Frankly, I don't see how someone who reads literature regularly could say the plot and writing from a game like Tales of Vesperia isn't childish." What defines Childish? I am curious what that defines that in your opinion? I am keeping this short, as again I am tired of the long posts due to Gamespots rather poor commenting system. You never addressed that either, my point on the Comment system.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, I actually prefer the Marine ****-talking to the typical long-winded JRPG cutscene. JRPG writing appealed to me when I was in junior high and high school. However, that type of writing -- where everything is spelled out and elaborated on ad nauseam -- started grating on my nerves years ago. Gears 3's writing is not exactly Pulitzer Prize-winning stuff. But, at least the writers leave some of the thematic elements for the player to figure out. I hate how JRPGs often mercilessly beat every theme into the player's head with a baseball bat. That, and the juvenile writing, bother me greatly. Lastly, I have played SMT, Demon's Souls and the other games on the list you gave. I still give JRPGs chances to reignite my passion for the genre. However, aside from a few notable games, nothing has done it for me. Frankly, I don't see how someone who reads literature regularly could say the plot and writing from a game like Tales of Vesperia isn't childish.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, I am not making excuses for Crysis 2. I'm just saying the linearity is not CoD's fault. I don't doubt that Crytek said CoD is an inspiration to them. I don't find that particularly troubling. What troubles me more is that the team developed the game for consoles. I believe that's why Crysis 2 is more linear than Crysis 1 -- the PS3 and 360 can't handle Crysis 1-style vistas with Crysis 2 graphics. Either EA or Crytek made the decision to put Crysis 2 on the consoles. So, the fault clearly lies with a Western publisher or developer. As I said, I am not making excuses for Crysis 2's linearity. I agree it's a problem. I just differ with you on the cause. Oh, and Crytek went on record saying the current-gen consoles are holding back game development.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, I just want to reiterate that I do not take the position that Western games have no flaws. As I have said, Western publishers make many of the same mistakes that Japanese publishers do. I used CoD as an example. I haven't paid money for one of those games in five years because I don't think the newer games are different enough to warrant a purchase. However, I don't think CoD is in as dire a need for change as, say, the Tales games. CoD hasn't been stuck in idle for nearly so long. Plus, it's still selling very well and, for the most part, pleasing fans with gameplay tweaks and such. I'm not sure how I've proven madia bias. If anything, I've shown that your claims that the media are biased against Japanese games are overblown. There are too many holes in your position. Why are many great Western games overlooked? Why are many Japanese games praised and covered heavily? Why would media outlets harbor such a bias in the first place? What do they have to gain? Having worked in the media for my entire professional life, I have seen my share of people blaming the messenger for the failures of brands, products, political movements, etc. It's not the product's fault for being mediocre; it's the media's fault for reporting on it/being critical of it in a review. Often, such claims are bunk. I think this claim of bias is one of them. I do think there is plenty of bias in the media -- just not this kind.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 By the way, I do enjoy our debate. i am not tired of you, I am tired of the comment limit in all honesty.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester By the way never said I was being kind by the way. You missed the point of my arguments. I never said Japan is not guilty of it, I am simply saying Western games have the same flaws, it is just people such as your self, and the gaming media ignore them. I think you are being way too kind to Western games, because your clearly making excuses for games like Crysis 2. I have nothing personal against you, but you have clearly proven my point of bias. Let me be frank here, the bias is not a loud we hate japanese game. It is a subtle more, dubious jab such as double standards and completely ignoring games. I am well aware Japanese games have flaws, but are you aware that Western games do as well? Crysis 2 proved my point, and you make subtle excuses for it. Oh by the way I have a link to an interview with Crytek saying COD was an influence....I think it disproves your point? By the way I am getting tired of all these wall texts, I am to blame as well....so I say we can carry this over in Pms, or you can listen to my podcast(Shameless plug) and hear my partner on there who is basically on your side of things and hear us go at it.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 Well considering I wrote alot, and what not, you made a critical error in your argument. It seems we will be getting no where, because clearly we feel the other is completely wrong however...this is what I want to comment on. "What's sad is that the games you menionted are some of the better, more original ones, and, with the exception of Demon's Souls and possibly SMT to an extent, they still feel cookie-cutter. By "teenage-style melodrama," I meant that the games tend to feature overly dramatic, emotional plotlines delivered through heavy-handed writing. The plots and writing lack nuance and focus on action and convoluted interpersonal relationships that go nowhere and teach the player nothing." Now I am very curious if you actually played any of these games. That is evidence there because you have not. If we are talking about pure emotion there, you are completely wrong....The shooters donot feature any of emotion at all. There is nothing to get me to care about the conflict at all. Where as in the JRPG, the so called heavy writing and so called convoluted inter personal conflicts, are more attatching than some generic cookie cutter marine spewing **** all the time. Simple as that.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1 Lastly, I agree(d) with you that CoD has influenced the game design. It's the market leader. That happens with all genres. But, not all shooters are rip-offs of CoD. Again, I still think Crysis 2 is a bad example to use to make your point. It felt almost nothing like CoD. CoD tries to keep at least some token level of realism, while Crysis 2 is pure fantasy. Enemies take a ton of hits, the player has superpowers -- and that's before you get into the game's crappy, but different from CoD's, plot. I'm sure Crytek cited CoD 4 as an inspiration (just like I'm sure most JRPGs makers cite FF and DQ games as inspirations), but that doesn't mean Crysis 2's linearity is the result. And, aside from that linearity, Crysis 2 is not all that different from Crysis 1. I am fairly confident Crytek had to make the game more linear so it would run on consoles and still look good. It probably has nothing to do with CoD. Resistance , with its health packs and weapon inventory, 3 felt nothing like CoD. I actually thought it felt more like Half-Life 2 than CoD. In fact, if R3 were a rip-off of anything, it would be Half-Life 2.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, The media report on the gaming industry. Of course they're going to tell us when things aren't going well. The media didn't manufacture Japan's declining influence -- it's reflected in sales. Game designers, inlcuding Japanese ones, have been complaining about Japan's supposed lack of creativity and declining relevance for years now. I expect the media to cover this just like I expected them to cover Jonathan Blow's criticism of AAA -- including Western AAA -- titles. As a side note, Japanese games do make the cover of magazines. I recall seeing Demon's Souls/Dark Souls, Resident Evil 5, various Nintendo games, Street Fighter and the different flavors of Final Fantasy XIII on the cover of magazines. You see them all the time in GameSpot's homepage carousel. In fact, a Japanese game, Street Fighter x Tekken, is plugged there now. I think you're being way too kind to Japanese publishers with respect to milking genres. Guitar Heroes was milked pretty heavily, but it was milked no worse than, say, Street Fighter of Fatal Fury was milked in the mid-1990s. Hell, NamcoBandai is still milking the Tales games to death, and the Tales games have always felt like derivative cash-in games designed to get some of that sweet 1990s JRPG boom money. They still feel that way to me.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, I have played the newer CoD games. I put a dozen or so hours into each of the three newest ones. I just never bought them. Because they're multiplayer-focused, I feel like a dozen hours isn't enough to be an expert on the games. I'm not blindly accepting my friends' word; I've played the games myself and seen the changes. This isn't flaw. Hearsay really has little to do with gaming opinions. If it did, then why should I give any credence to your opinion CoD when I can't take my friends' opinions into consideration? After all, your opinion could distort mine as easily as theirs could. I find JRPGs to be at least as formulaic and manufactured-feeling as shooters. At least. What's sad is that the games you menionted are some of the better, more original ones, and, with the exception of Demon's Souls and possibly SMT to an extent, they still feel cookie-cutter. By "teenage-style melodrama," I meant that the games tend to feature overly dramatic, emotional plotlines delivered through heavy-handed writing. The plots and writing lack nuance and focus on action and convoluted interpersonal relationships that go nowhere and teach the player nothing. Whether the game is set in modern Japan or a fantasy world, this is what the plot almost always boils down to. To me, most JRPGs feel incredibly manufactured. As is the case with shooters, most JRPGs seem like poor knock-offs of whatever the market leader is (are) at the time is.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 Sure you can use those examples that some US games are forgotten, but, when do you say a Japanese game the front story, or the cover story to say something game informer. Also the fact that websites such as this are always bringing up stories about the trouble Japan's game industry is in. Which while they do have problems I find they are not. I would take a modern JRPG. And yes you will see that all over the place. The gaming world is not just exclusive to this site. As for your example of shooters, sure a few are slightly different and are not military, however the problem with those games are they follow the COD trend. COD has more of an influence than you think. Resistance 3 I felt was not as unique as 1 or 2, again the CoD influence. And if you look at interviews with the Crysis team, they will state the influence CoD. Crysis was unique where as Crysis 2 was not. They are guilty of fads, but let us be fair western developers kill them far worse than Japanese. Remember Guitar Hero? My point is that the Western game is as flawed as the Japanese. I think you give way too much credit to Western games.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 Actually it is hear say. Getting other's opinions can distort your actual views on something even when you never actually play it. So it is not your opinion, but it is theirs that you are using in their argument. That is why it is flawed because it is distorted. Really Teenage melodrama? Similiar settings? Again no offense but I sense you are unfamiliar with those games I mentioned. SMT games are set in Modern Japan or in certain parts of Japanese history. While Star Ocean is a science Fiction setting, Tales games do have a fantasy world setting, but as you know with Final Fantasy they all change setting from fantasy to sci fi. I hardly call that similiar. As for the Teenage melodrama, some do, some donot. SMT games for example, perhaps Persona has teen age melodrama to some degree but surely not Digital Devil Saga, or Nocturne. Here we do agree about Shooters, but I find more individualism in a JRPG than in a shooter. Most JRPGs I feel are different from each other as I have explained. The fact of the matter is that they do have invidualism where as the shooters feel, well manufactured.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

"I'm always open if Capcom asks us to be the developer. We'd take it." And I would buy it and play it. I certainly hope Mega Man gets brought back from the brink.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, This is my final post tonight. I swear. Japanese publishers are just as guilty as Western ones when it comes to creating and cashing in on trends. Remember the fighting game fad of the 1990s? The JRPG fad that began after Final Fantasy VII sold well in North America and Europe? The character-based platformer fad of the 1980s? The arcade beat-'em-up fad? All of those genres were driven into the ground by Japanese developers. Trends are just part of the industry. Publishers from all regions like to cash in. I have a copy of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 to prove it.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, I don't think the Jonathan Blow article shows that the media are biased against Japanese games. If anything, your problem should be with the game developers themselves -- the people actually making the statements. The media are just reporting the news, which is what reporters are paid to do. Media outlets also reported Hideo Kojima's defense of Japanese games. Also, in the 1990s, I read more than my share of articles about how Western games lagged behind Japanese games. I find it hard to believe that journalists who grew up playing Japanese games would suddenly develop an irrational hatred of them. Why would they do that? Finally, there are many types of shooters available -- especially on PC. Military shooters are the most popular, but games like Bulletstorm, Resistance 3 and Goldeneye are out there. I do think the genre is in need of innovation, though. I agree with you there. I just don't think shooters need new ideas as badly as JRPGs do. Historically, I have preferred JRPGs. However, I'd take a modern, mediocre FPS over a modern, mediocre JRPG nowadays. Finally, I think Crysis 2's linear gameplay had more to do with the fact that the game was simultaneously developed for the consoles than it did with the CoD formula. CoD certainly steers the genre in many ways. But, I think Crysis 2 isn't the strongest example of that.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, Getting another person's opinion of a game is not really hearsay. And, it's not a flaw in my argument. Getting other people's opinion is perfectly reasonable. I think JRPGs are, by and large, stale because they usually rehash the same handful of character archetypes, plot points and combat mechanics. Because JRPGs, generally, have been doing the same things for so long and because they are story- and combat-driven, they are in need of change. The RPGs I like best are usually the ones that break with tradition or embrace new features (I liked Dragon Quest IX's multiplayer integration and FF XII's battle system). I also like ones that eschew JRPG cliches (Radiant Historia). Actually, I find that the games you mentioned -- with the exception of Demon's Souls -- have similar settings and use similar story-telling techniques (teenage-style melodrama told through long-ish cutscenes). With respect to bias, I think the main reason Radiant Historia didn't get much press after release is that the game was released by a boutique publisher and not marketed very heavily. Japanese RPGs like FF and Demon's Souls get a ton of press after launch -- partly on the strength of their gameplay and partly because they receive strong backing from their publishers. Quality Western games, such as King's Bounty and Sins of a Solar Empire, get great reviews and then are forgotten by the press all the time. It's not because the press hate them or their countries of origin.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 Actually I do believe shooters are in need of a change. They are all modeled even none military shooters, around events. What about adding some corridor shooters? Or even shooters in the vain of Half life that mix both corridor and event? You donot see that much. Most are all FPS/Rail Shooter hybrids....because of the call of Duty Formula. Thankfully we have rare stuff like Deus Ex Human Revolution and games like that. Crysis is an example of this. The first Crysis was this wonderful open ended shooter. You could approach situations the way you want, however Crysis 2 became a scripted event based rail shooter like game...much like every other shooters. Why? Crysis came out around the time of CoD4, where as 2 came out post CoD 4. The influence is there...

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 And that is where your argument is flawed. You are going by hear say. If you should use that as evidence towards your arguments, you should actually play them. I have played every single COD, and hence why I will not be picking up this year. Tweaks are not enough to make a game new from the other. Tweaks are balance fixes and things like that. MW3 added only a horde like mode which is not new(It was not even new in Gears of War 2, Ghost Recon was doing this before that game ever did) and that was about it. THere were a few different perk trees, but that in itself was flawed, and the perks were still over powered and unbalance. And sure shooters were stagnant. Remember the whole burn out from World War II shooters? That is the problem with Western games, they burn trends to death. Explain how stagnant the JRPG is? I like you man, but I donot think you really explore the genre. I would say with a variety of games such as Tales, Final Fantasy, SMT, Star Ocean, and the Souls Series, make the titles different from one to the other. Each of these games vary in terms of setting and gameplay. Radiant Historia was much more fresh than any Call of Duty. Sure the game got good reviews but was quickly dismissed and forgotten by the press. And than you have articles such as this and the Johnathon blow article that continously praise the equally flawed Western game market.

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

Don't worry as Nintendo is still around. :)

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

@IceJester45 hmm well i dissagree with you on your point that there isn't much left to do with the jrpg formula. I cite Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII as examples. The very beginning of type-0 opens with the dying moments of a warrior and his chocobo. I think that intro alone just shows how much square can do with jrpg's also the gamepay for type-0 is very much unique. Versus XIII seems to try to play closer to reality than the previous ones with some very nice-looking gameplay to boot. I think both are testaments to how much square can still do with jrpg's and the directions they can be taken in, away from all the flamboyance and fluff and into more emotionally impactful stories. And if square does it you can bet more will follow. I also cite Ni No Kuni as an example. Very unique gameplay, the story is very imaginative, and the art is done by Ghibli. but these are only a few jrpgs. One large problem I feel is that way too many jrpg's merely use the same cutesy design, the same kind of story, the overly frilly music, and some turn-based style combat, and they end up being too similar for anybody to particular care about any of them.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I never liked jap games (just shorthand). I understand it's an entirely different culture, but they like the strangest things. I have no appreciation for those oddities. Like one of the magazines said... "all you need to be successful in Japan is to make another Monster Hunter game." They have no motivation to do anything different. They're seriously stuck and not willing to progress. Survival of the fittest, eventually they'll die off as a gaming population and I can't say I'd even miss them.

Dragdar
Dragdar

"GS: As creator, what would you like to see out of the next generation of consoles? KI: More than the spec or the insides, what I want to see in the next generation is that development costs go down." THIS should be one of the main focuses of the next generation. More devs should be able to step into the ring. If the cost is too high then what we'll se will be BY THE BOOK, tried and safe game design. and SEQUELS .

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, Well, I think CoD does get docked a little for not being that innovative. If you've noticed, people on this site often say something along the lines of, "If this game is better than its predecessor, then why did it get a lower score?" I think one reason is a lack of innovation. Sure, the game might be great. However, it lacks that newness -- that paradigm-changing wow factor -- to turn it from an 8, 8.5 or 9 experience to a 9 or 10. Like Call of Duty, Radiant Historia is an excellent, though not particularly innovative, example of its genre. Both CoD and Radiant Historia raked in similar review scores. Again, I don't see a real double standard -- certainly nothing caused by an inherent dislike or hatred of Japanese games. Also, the shooter genre hasn't been stagnant as long as, say, the JRPG genre has. I believe that, as a result, shooters aren't in need of change as badly. Tweaks and small improvements could be enough to justify higher scores. Keep in mind, I am not much of a military shooter fan. I am not going to buy a new CoD every year. So, I might not be the best person to talk to. However, I have plenty of friends and family who are CoD or Battlefield fans. They tell me that the tweaks, while minor on paper, significantly change gameplay and keep the experience fresh.

Sendmn23
Sendmn23

don't worry Inafune, we're sad too...

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

@Darkmoone1 Something selling and being a "hit" doesn't necessarily equal quality...it just simply means it sells. I'm just getting tired of developers going with the "it sells" approach instead investing in making quality games that are entertaining. Just look at AC: Revelations in comparison to the rest of the series. Was it any good? Sure it was OK, but being ok isn't what made AC II a game changer for the series. It was the complete reinvention of the series and its core mechanics. From Brotherhood and so on, Ubisoft has just settled into the basic AC II formula because it sells...not constantly doing new things to keep the IP fresh! Playing it safe because the bottom line has obviously just become to make money and not top quality entertainment. Too many series these days are going in this very ugly direction and COD is one of the main culprits!

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 This is where we disagree. Yes there are minor tweaks, but the problem with Call of Duty again is not its quality, it is it's repetitious nature. Sure it may have some minor tweaks, but I never see anything really different to make it stand out from the other games. It is the same thing over and over. Which goes to your response where you say Japanese games are the same thing over. Yes the same is true about military shooters and Call of Duty specifically. Again I will state that if you dock a Japanese game for doing the same thing over and over than you should dock Call of Duty. There are tweaks, but not enough to justify a new game ever year. I was once a big fan of Modern warfare, it was a very visceral game, but Activision has since killed that series for me, by making it the same thing. There is no invention, nothing to keep it different. I donot want something innovative per se, but I want something different. I can say the same about Pokemon, but again, if Pokemon gets docked so should Call of Duty.

franzito
franzito

Well, at least he doesn't sound like a mindless money craving developer.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

it has to start with final fantasy. they need to get series back to its roots, afterwards, the rest will follow suit

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, Sorry for the late response. I had to get back to working for The Man. Anyway, I think the media do detract points from Western games for being mediocre, cookie-cutter experiences. Many people dump on CoD for being bland or bad or whatever. However, I think CoD is actually pretty good. It's certainly one of the best military shooters on the market. Also, each game refines mechanics and introduces new features. The games aren't as groundbreaking as they were five years ago, but they still improve. I think CoD probably deserves the scores it gets. Truly mediocre, cookie-cutter Western games, such as the original Section 8, and heartless, terrible games, such as Tunnel Rats, do get blasted by media outlets. Playing games such as Tunnel Rats and even the mediocre Homefront gives you an idea of just how solid games like Battlefield and CoD are. @heroesfan261, I might have sounded a bit too harsh. I still enjoy FF VI. I think it's aged reasonably well. And, yes, the score is one of Nobuo Uematsu's best. However, I don't think it's that much better than what has come since. JRPGs hit a plateau a decade to a decade and a half ago, and they just haven't gone anywhere since. We get the occasional flash of brilliance, such as Radiant Historia or Dragon Quest IX, but, for the most part, we're treated to rehash after rehash of what is basically the same story. Frankly, I'm starting to think there just isn't anything left to do with the JRPG formula.

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

I think Japan makes great games, it's just that they don't try at all to get the attention of American players, advertising-wise. I've played many Japanese games that had more heart than 95% of American games, 5% being games made by Rockstar and rare gems from other developers. It hurts me most of all that games like Call of Duty that has halted the creativity of the video game world, and games with no personality and zombie-like world such as Skyrim are considered the cream of the crop. Now, let me go enjoy my Tales of Graces f.

Takeno456
Takeno456

I hope Japan can rise once again to the gaming peak that it once held.

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

@IceJester45 really because I just went back and played it as well and it's better than I remeber. Especially the fact that the opening sequence is better than 90 percent of games now. the music, the characters, story, and content vastly overshadow most games today. If it were released today with an audio-visual overhaul it would still be one of the greatest jrpg's of all time.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@Darkmoone1 In all honesty I do not care that Call of Duty is liked by alot of people. My point is that there are far better games getting ignored by the press. Saying something is a hit, does not mean it is good. This is something tried and true through out our history. But I will bash on it, as it is a game that is over saturating our market. A game that over shadows game in my opinion of actual quality. Many many people are tired of these type of games. They are oversaturating our market, and such. People love it fine, but if you want my explanation on that refer to my discussions with Ice Jester. I explain why those games sell....But again sure it is a hit, but it is just not good.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

@TheTrueMagusX1 First off, I do not need a lesson in quality and quantity, BUT if you do want to go there, maybe you should look at the articles on CoD's success. Do you even know why it gets the money it gets? Becuase the franchise sells. Why? Becuase its a HIT! People love it. That doesn't mean you do or I do. Alot of people love twilight as well. Do I like twilight? No, but doesn't mean tons of others do. I don't understand why you must shove it down anyones throat CoD is bad. Thats your opinion of course and you are entilted to it, but other people have opinions themselves. This poor man you two are hating on doesn't even express his love or hatred of the game. Unlike you two, he has the brass b@llls to go out there and say it how it is, despite the hatred or love for the franchise. That it IS a big franchise.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 Good man. It is games like those that keep me buying Japanese games. It is too bad that those games are ignored.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 (Cont) The problem I have are not with the games. I see the validity in both types. I think alot of the negativity towards Japanese games stems from the Mainstream gaming media. They apply double standards towards Japanese games. For example some games are accused of being stagnant and cliched, where as there are Western games i.e Call of Duty that are stagnant and have it's own cliches, but yet never get docked. And to be honest, or assumptive perhaps even you have seen this. My problems with gaming are ironically not with the games, it is with the conduct of both gamers and gaming media. And double standards like that are quite prevalent in the industry.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, You're too late. I bought Radiant Historia last year. Great game. I plan to get Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story this year. Enjoyed Dragon Quest IX, too.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@IceJester45 You are quite welcome. You I can respect. Now moving on, I think if there is a JRPG you may be interested in that falls into the criteria you are talking about, I would look into Radiant Historia. It is out of print, but should be reprinted later on this month thanks to Atlus. To me sales just donot matter to me. Here is my thing with Call of Duty. It appeals to a certain market. This market are hard core Call of Duty gamers, but not necessarily hard core gamers. What I mean is that many of the people who do buy Call of Duty year to year are much like the Madden Crowd. They buy only that game, and dedicate themselves to only that game. And believe me there are alot of them. Now mind there are plenty of Western titles I appreciate, such as Uncharted, The Batman Arkham games, Elder Scrolls, mass Effect, and plenty of others, though whats funny for me is I enjoy these games as much as I enjoy games such as Yakuza, Suda 51 games, the soul games, Tales, Shin Megami, Rune Factory and various other games.

IceJester45
IceJester45

@TheTrueMagusX1, Once again, I'd like to stress that I'm not knocking FF VI's visuals. I thought they were great in 1994. I still find them endearing today. And, I am actually thankful that they aren't all that detailed. If modern JRPGs are anything to go by, I might not like the details. I'd rather leave the details (and the characters' voices, for that matter) to my imagination. Also, I'm not particularly happy with the state of mainstream Western games. I told you I haven't played much CoD in the past four years. A big part of that is because I don't want to dish out $60 for a slightly improved military shooter each year. I just don't like the genre that much, and there are too many damned shooters out there. Though Western games have some of the problems that Japanese games have, they do have one virtue: they sell. Personally, I think that's because Western devs have done a (slightly) better job at keeping up with newer technology and consumer demands. Plus, shooters appear to be pretty popular in most parts of the world -- at least for now. I'm sure that helps. Finally, thanks for being civil. I don't blame you for being wary of strangers on a gaming website.