BitSummit aims to raise awareness of Japanese indie scene

First international game dev summit will bring Western media to Kyoto in March to meet with Japanese development community.

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Today, organizers announced the first BitSummit, an international game developers gathering aimed at raising awareness for the Japanese independent development scene.

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Disclosure: GameSpot is a media partner for the event

More than a dozen Japanese game developers will be in attendance at the event on March 9 in Kyoto, including Pixeljunk studio Q-Games and Hidetaka Suehiro (director of Deadly Premonition).

The BitSummit is aiming to create a bond between the Japanese indie developer community and Western media in an effort to spread awareness of the nation's development community. GameSpot will be in attendance at the event.

The event will feature keynote addresses and interview sessions, allowing Japanese developers to speak with Western media through translators, if necessary.

Speaking with GameSpot, BitSummit director James Mielke said the event is a necessity because the Japanese game development scene has been largely ignored.

"There are so many great indie games coming out on a monthly basis in the West--to the point where they garner as much coverage as the next Grand Theft Auto--but stuff like this is happening in Japan, too. Basically I got tired of all the post-TGS 'Japanese gaming is dead' discussion. Yes, there may not be as many high-impact games like there were in the late '90s when Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil 2 were dominating headlines. But there is so much cool stuff being created in Japan; the problem is no one knows about it. I hope BitSummit can help to shift the momentum and shine a light on some of these games. I'm not talking free-to-play Farmville clones, either. I'm talking about real games."

If Japanese and Western indie game developers can better communicate, what does that mean for the future of indie games?

"It's a pretty simple formula, really. If BitSummit can help Japanese independent developers make connections with the Western media, then they can build long-lasting relationships. If the Western media knows these guys on a first-name basis, then they'll be better prepared to write about something new and fresh, instead of the same old Call of Duty headlines," he said.

Mielke added that a healthy and successful Japanese development scene is beneficial to all gamers, saying he hopes BitSummit can help achieve this.

"The more exposure these indie games get, the more interest comes of it, and hopefully we see some success stories emerge from this effort. I'd love nothing more than to have played a part in some great, independent game becoming successful outside of Japan. If Cave Story was one of the first modern-era independent success stories, I'm confident there can be a dozen more of those in the near future. A healthy, successful, thriving independent Japanese development community is good for all of us, because it will help change the notion that the 'good old days' are gone for good."

More information is available at the BitSummit website.

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