In a brief article that appeared on Sokuhou @ Houkanko (Japanese within), 75 Japanese developers were polled to list their favorite games from 2010. Yes, this is the type of thing that feels like it should have been making news in January instead of March, but we’ll let it slide based on the interesting results of the questioning.
These Japanese developers were given one stipulation when listing their favorites from 2010: they were not allowed to pick games that they worked on. Easy enough. The folks polled were from companies all over the country invested in all types of games: Square Enix, Atlus, Ignition, Capcom, Level-5, Platinum Games, Namco Bandai and many more.
That said, the really interesting part of this list were the creation regions for the titles that dominated these developers’ 2010 favorites. The games most heavily noted, by a large margin, were Heavy Rain and Red Dead Redemption. Heavy Rain was developed by Quantic Dream out of Paris, France, and Red Dead Redemption was developed by Rockstar San Diego.
Read the full list in English at Andriasang. You’ll definitely notice that there is a significant western influence on the games selected by just about everyone in the pile.
What does that say about the gaming industry currently?
Basically, and there’s a lot of room for exploration here, the Japanese development landscape really isn’t what it used to be five, ten, 15 or 20 years ago. Ten years ago, Japanese developers positively dominated the top whatever charts across magazines and hilarious late ’90s early ’00s web sites. Nowadays, the preference of gamers around the world tends to lean towards games developed in Europe, Canada and the U.S. DICE, makers of Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge, are based in Sweden. EA is based mostly in the US and Canada. Ubisoft is based in Canada and France.
Massive third party publishers with development houses internally are stationed all over the world, not just in Japan. There are still Japanese developers, of course, but gamers now are privy to entries from basically every region. And, because of that regional shift, games today are designed on wildly different principles than they were ten years ago. A lot of that comes from the evolution of technology over time, yes, but there is an inert method of storytelling and learning that applies to each portion of the world. Put simply, Japanese stories are typically told differently than European or American stories.
With these Japanese designers listing so many Western influenced titles as their favorites in 2010, one would expect the method of development in Japan to likely start shifting to a more globalized style. These developers will learn from the games they love and apply the same stylings to their own projects. And, because of that, we’re likely to see an exceptionally strong surge in the development principles of Japan. That’s when the cycle starts all over again.
Think back to 2010. Where were your favorite games developed?