Earlier this year, there was uproar when Fez designer Phil Fish said modern Japanese games suck. Braid’s Jonathan Blow and Mega Man master Keiji Inafune even backed him up with explicit agreement. If fans were angry about it though, the developers themselves seem to be aware of it and wanting to make it better. The newest Famitsu devoted ten full pages to an interview with a number of Japanese developers about the state and future of the industry over there, and Andriasang provided a summary of the piece.
Some developers took a more focused approach, talking about what they’re working on or want to work on, while others approached the situation more broadly.
SEGA’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, for example, told Famitsu that the Japanese console market is getting worse, and that even the international market is showing a drop to a lesser degree. The Yakuza series developer wants game designers to work on understanding the market better to come up with better solutions.
He also says that he was once told that a big difference between game design and pro sports was that you could continue to design games forever. He says that has shown itself to be a lie and he wants companies to take better care of their creators.
Speaking specifically to what he wants to work on, Nagoshi says he wants to create an online game using the studio that makes the Yakuza games, but not “Yakuza Online.”
Capcom’s Motohide Enshiro wants to see his company work with other companies to form a framework to “fight off the ‘Black ship’ coming from overseas,” according to Andriasang. My guess is Enshiro is comparing the Western game industry to the black ship that came to Japan in 1853 to force trade with the West. He says he wants Japanese developers not to copy Western development but to try to do something different. The latter part of his answer is a fairly stereotypical response when Japanese developers talk about the industry, but the desire for interaction between developers is a newer and more encouraging sentiment.
Capcom is showing some of this with the recent outsourcing of series like Lost Planet and Devil May Cry to other developers for a fresh perspective. Capcom’s Hideaki Atsuno added in his segment that DMC is getting close to where they want it.
Itsuno also spoke about Capcom’s newest successful IP, Dragon’s Dogma. The Dragon’s Dogma we saw was only about 60% of what he wanted to put out, both in terms of the world size and the concepts he wanted to incorporate.
Suda 51 of Grasshopper Manufacture said that he wants GM to become less synonymous with “Suda 51” than it is now, and that he wants to delve deeper into social elements of gaming, something we’re seeing more and more with Japanese titles.
Developers from Tecmo Koei and Square Enix talked more directly about titles they are or are wanting to work on, while Team Ninja came in and ruined the party by saying they’re working in Dead or Alive 5 to convey the softness of the girls’ skin. Way to make things awkward, creepo.