Final Fantasy Creator Says He Doesn't Need To Be Inspired By Western Games

At a panel, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi said that his Japanese cultural roots are why people like his games.


Earlier in March, Final Fantasy XVI producer Naoki Yoshida said that he feels that the label JRPG is "discriminatory," which launched a firestorm of debate over the history of JRPGs in general, as well as the term itself. During a recent panel, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi discussed the waning era of the JRPG in the 2000s, stating that he doesn't feel the need to be inspired by Western games.

As reported by IGN, the panel covered the whole history of Japanese games, from the emergence of Dragon Quest in 1986 to modern-day hits like Final Fantasy XIV. Sakaguchi said that Japanese games dominated the 1980s and 1990s because developers mastered their native hardware, like the NES and PlayStation.

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"At the time, people in the West saw pixel art and three-heads-high characters as something for children," Sakaguchi said. "It was frustrating that our games were struggling there, as we wanted to find a way to expand our business. That finally happened when we were able to incorporate CG for Final Fantasy VII."

Sagaguchi further stated that when the differences between console and PC development started to fade in the PS3 era, Japanese developers struggled to keep up. He also noted that many Western games are inspired by Japanese ones, but he doesn't personally view it the other way around.

"In the West, children often get their own room from a very young age, whilst in Japan the whole family sleeps together in the same room," said Sakaguchi. "I think that such small cultural differences can be felt through the games we make today. Even when Western games became mainstream, I didn't feel the need to be inspired by them. I believe that cherishing my Japanese cultural background is what attracts people towards my games in the first place."

Fellow panelist Koji Igarashi, well-known as the director of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, offered his own take on things, stating that "Igavania"-style games like Hollow Knight have become one of the most popular genres in the indie space. He jokingly asked for those developers to "please leave my field," before saying he should call fellow Metroidvania developers his friends, as they're all learning from each other to try to make better games.

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