#1 Posted by I3elmont (26 posts) -

When inafune first said that japanese game developers were becoming lazy and unimaginative ... i thought it was crazy talk! but.. as the months go on since he said it things are starting to ring true. The slew of japanese publishers like konami, capcom dashing to acquire "western" developers and licensing some of their most prized IP's, like DMC, DeadRising, Castlevania. The attempt of Capcom attempting to cash in on the skyrim bandwagon and making dragons dogma..

Maybe inafune was right..

im looking at my library and there isnt a single japanese game on there save for street fighter x tekken.

thoughts?

#2 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

Inafune has since done a 180 on his assessment.

Also, one person's game library is not indicative of a trend.

#3 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4628 posts) -

There are good and bad Japanese developers just like there are good and bad Western developers. I think it's easier to make generalizing statements about the Japanese industry because it's comparatively smaller . When you have a bunch of 'smaller' devs like Compile Heart, Idea Factory, NIS, etc who pump out games that are either extremely niche or considered bad by the press and combine that with the occasional screwup be Sega or Square, then it's easy to look at that and say, "oh, they're lazy and unimaginative." However, if someone were to sit down and look at all the recent Japanese games in the past few years, I bet it wouldn't be as bad as one might think.

In the West, we tend to get so many games from so many developers that all the good games tend to overshadow all the crap so people look at that and think Western games are leaps and bounds better than Japanese. However, if you think about it, we probably put out more crap in the span of a few months than they do in a year.

Online
#4 Posted by Brendan (7834 posts) -

Are Japanese game studios going out of business at a faster rate than similar industries in other territories? Has the output produced by Japanese game developers lessened overall, or in relation to the output from other territories? If you don't have an answer to either of those questions, then the specific phrase "game development in decline" is meaningless and inflammatory.

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (9307 posts) -

@I3elmont: Japanese developers have had a difficult time over the last few years, but I'd say the last year or so has actually shown their willingness to evolve and transition toward greater innovation that appeals to a wider audience. Many Japanese developers still have their issues, but they're making progress. Inafune's frustration at the time was reasonable, but he has since expressed greater confidence in Japanese developers going further. I'd say interesting games like Dragon's Dogma are actually more indicative of their willingness to try different things than some kind of negative. In the next few years, I think you'll see plenty of Japanese developers doing fine. They have had their rough patches, but things are looking up. :)

#6 Posted by Animasta (14711 posts) -

logically there would be way less japanese games than western games anyway, considering Japan has a population of 120 million and the 'western' world has significantly more than that.

also you are wrong, 4/10 of the new games I've played this year were Japanese (Binary Domain is my favorite game this year in fact)

#7 Posted by egg (1469 posts) -

It's probably a conspiracy fueled by Microsoft.

#8 Posted by dungbootle (2458 posts) -

I feel like it has recently leveled out since then. Or hell, maybe it's all relative, what the fuck do I know. I was behind what Inafune said at that time, and I still think it was true then, but maybe not now.

#9 Posted by runnah555 (148 posts) -

Maybe it's because they have been making the same game since the 90's?

#10 Posted by believer258 (11984 posts) -

Maybe it's not doing as well this year as it did in the past but I don't think it's drastically declining or dying or something like that.

Besides, video games didn't necessarily start in Japan but for a lot of people, the Nintendo was their first real game system besides arcades and a lot of those games were Japanese. It makes sense that Japanese games would have exploded for a little while, then Westerners would have slowly returned to their own culture's games for the most part.

#11 Posted by ajamafalous (12029 posts) -

Dude, have you seen Tokyo Jungle? Japanese game development is better than ever!

#12 Posted by Mcfart (1658 posts) -

I don't think so. The smart developers (Vanquish, Bayonetta) are just conforming to western styles, but even if Japanese games died out in the US, who cares? The fact that games made in a foreign country with a different language and culture succeeding (despite not having American cultural references) is quite amazing, and Microsoft are slowly but surely sending Nintendo and Sony back to Japan from whence they came. It's impossible to ask Japanese developers to make one game to satisfy 2 different markets. It's like trying to market grindy Korean MMO's to the US market. We don't want Monster Hunter, we want Gears and Halo.

#13 Posted by konig_kei (644 posts) -

If you're in the market for dating simulators, japan has you covered for a looong time.

#14 Posted by SomeJerk (3296 posts) -

Japanese game development is not in decline.
 
Large Japanese game developers are.
 
Increased cost to produce, increased pressure, greatly increased "How can we cater to 360 users because that's where the money and investments come from, success in the US" thinking.

#15 Posted by Mcfart (1658 posts) -

@konig_kei said:

If you're in the market for dating simulators, japan has you covered for a looong time.

the thread title has "game-development" right in it. Did you read even that much?

#16 Posted by Veektarius (4920 posts) -

I think that Namco is in decline and the largest divisions of Capcom might be as well. But you know what Japanese Developers really need to work on? Menus and and menu text.

#17 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

I think that Namco is in decline and the largest divisions of Capcom might be as well. But you know what Japanese Developers really need to work on? Menus and and menu text.

There's a whole ton of Japanese games with fine menus and text. Any issues with menus can often be the fault of the localisation team for iffy translating.

and it could just be me, but I couldn't really care less if the font on a menu looks a bit weird.

@Mcfart said:

and Microsoft are slowly but surely sending Nintendo and Sony back to Japan from whence they came.

That's news to me, considering Microsoft are being absolutely trounced in terms of online features (PS+ > XBL) and exclusive games by Sony right now.

iirc the 360 is still outselling the PS3, but not by a lot, it's certainly not anywhere close to the effect of sending them back. (whatever that means, as Sony have had the PlayStation consoles worldwide since their inceptions)

You must mean very slowly too, as Nintendo have still sold something like triple the amount of Wiis to 360s, and gain profit on their handhelds.

#18 Posted by RE_Player1 (7563 posts) -

@Sooty: Didn't Iwata say they had to take a hit when they dropped the 3DS price from $249 to $169 or are they profitable again now?

#19 Posted by Veektarius (4920 posts) -

@Sooty said:

It might not be just you, but it certainly isn't me.

@Veektarius said:

I think that Namco is in decline and the largest divisions of Capcom might be as well. But you know what Japanese Developers really need to work on? Menus and and menu text.

There's a whole ton of Japanese games with fine menus and text. Any issues with menus can often be the fault of the localisation team for iffy translating.

and it could just be me, but I couldn't really care less if the font on a menu looks a bit weird.

#20 Posted by Jams (2962 posts) -

I don't know what it is about Japanese developed games, but I always notice a few things that I usually can't stand about them. Now to preface, this isn't all Japanese developed games, hatefulness towards the Japanese or anything like that, but just something I've noticed about some of the games that have come out lately.

To me it seems like they don't spend the attention to detail that they should, in the right spots. Like for instance controls may seem wonky and counter intuitive. The kind where you know the devs didn't care enough to polish them out. Or they didn't take the time to figure out what the best way to do something is. The same can be said for menus or just general organizing of information. A lot of the time Japanese stories don't make any fucking sense. It's like they don't know how to make sense of things in the world. It kind of goes back to organization of information. A lot of the stories just seem like a diarrhea of nonsensical information. Kind of like in the DOA 5 quick look. I get the feeling if you asked the developer who made that time line how it worked, they'd just shrug and say, "I dunno, that's just how it is".

I'm just kind of typing this out while I think about what I don't like about Japanese developed games. The more I type, it seems like it just a lack of polish and poorly organized information. When they hit those marks in games, I think those games really become amazing. Like the Metal Gear games get more and more polished and the mechanics feel better each game. You know they're making that effort to polish and improve on the mechanics.

#21 Posted by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

@I3elmont said:

When inafune first said that japanese game developers were becoming lazy and unimaginative ... i thought it was crazy talk! but.. as the months go on since he said it things are starting to ring true. The slew of japanese publishers like konami, capcom dashing to acquire "western" developers and licensing some of their most prized IP's, like DMC, DeadRising, Castlevania. The attempt of Capcom attempting to cash in on the skyrim bandwagon and making dragons dogma..

Maybe inafune was right..

im looking at my library and there isnt a single japanese game on there save for street fighter x tekken.

thoughts?

I mean, yes. But there's more to it than that.

The bigger problem is that smaller japanese dev studios who are still putting a lot of time and effort into putting out original stuff are being blackballed by japanese publishers. There's a reason why Vanillaware's "Dragon Crown" still isn't close to completion, but the VITA port of Muramasa is moving along with steam. These days, there aren't a whole lot of options for smaller studios to get their games out there without losing a ton of options for further use of the IP's or simply losing out on a ton of money. Japan's development cycle now is very similar to how it was at the beginning of this generation of consoles; a lot of interesting potential with no one striving to put it under and umbrella that's both fair to publishers and developers. Because the best methods of putting out "indie" games are still all western focused, most dev teams don't even see them as an option, and the ones that do almost exclusively have to rely on word of mouth to let people know what their games are even out there. Giant Bomb's quicklook of Trouble Witches Neo was good television, but didn't do the game any favors in showing that game in a positive light, and does anyone even realize that there are 2 Touhou Shooters on XBLA available right now?

As for games under big publishers, well just look at Sega and Platnium. Relationships between big publishers and smaller developers have become so stunted across the board that it's not uncommon for entire projects to just be dropped without a word when the publisher starts to panic. It's friggen shameful that we still don't have any sort of release date outside of japan for Anarchy Reigns, and that game is probably going to have to be saved by another publisher since Sega has pretty much removed all meaningful ties with Platinum.

The state of game development in Japan is fucked. The biggest problem is, publishers gain nothing in fixing it, which means it's going to stay that way for a very long time until something else simlar to how steam came along or Microsoft started pushing XBLA games in Europe and the Americas comes along.

And not related to that: You messed up in buying SF X T and not Dragon's Dogma, Dragon's Dogma has problems, but it's quite good. SFxT is the worst fighting game to have come out in the past 10 years.

#22 Posted by Brodehouse (10068 posts) -

I'm sure they're feeling the pinch in this gen. For the late 80s, 90s and early 00s, the best Western talent was working on the PC. Microsoft brought them into the console fold.

#23 Posted by Azteris (810 posts) -

I love how this east vs west thing is now also becoming Microsoft vs Sony/Nintendo. Not sure how all of you tribe members are really going to win that argument, haha.

#24 Posted by Draxyle (1874 posts) -

I wish we could see more indie games from Japan. I bet that scene is flowing with creativity and ingenuity much like the indie scene here is. They really need to start embracing the PC, Steam, and other digital distribution methods.

A lot of big budget JP developers have been faltering, but I'd say the same thing about our own big budget developers. I don't remember the last 60 dollar game that didn't disappoint me in some significant way this gen (besides Demon's/Dark Souls, a JP franchise).

#25 Posted by RE_Player1 (7563 posts) -

@Draxyle: I agree 100%. Rarely does a game, Japanese or otherwise, make me feel like my $60 was well spent. Funny you say the Souls franchise because Demon's Souls was the most recent game I felt good about buying and actually bought an extra copy for a friend when it dropped in price, that's how satisfied I was with it.

#26 Posted by GunstarRed (5294 posts) -

I'd say a little bit yes and a little bit no. The best stuff coming out of Japan seems to be of an incredibly high quality, but it's hard not to notice how a lot of their design is completely backwards. I do tend to gravitate towards a lot of games out of Japan due to their gamey nature, but other than a couple of extremely excellent examples a vast majority of the best games this generation have been made in the west.

#27 Posted by YI_Orange (1162 posts) -

I actually think Japanese game development is still better than Western development.

#28 Posted by That1BlackGuy (217 posts) -

When I think about my current gen collection most of them where ironically published by Japanese companies (mainly SEGA). The dedicated handheld space is where Japan has truly shined this gen IMO and real shit the console space for Japanese games ain't even all that horrid but at the same it's all subjective.

One of the primary reasons that Japan's internal development has faltered from my view is simply because of the nation's rigid corporate culture and the lack of new/young blood in the industry. Japan is steeped in tradition, while not necessarily a bad thing of course it can stifle evolution. Externally, PC development moved to consoles, tastes in the "west" changed and the "west" is a colllective of numerous nations thus being larger in size compared to Japan, thus shrinking their marketshare and mindshare. Adults in Japan don't even play consoles because gaming is socially perceived as children's toys and handhelds are more acceptable (thus more supported by Japanese developers) and hell, even if consoles were socially accepted they damn sure won't have any free time to play them.

#29 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (642 posts) -

Platinum Games Says There’s Tons Of Terrible Western Studios Too

“I don’t like it when people lump Japanese games developers all together into one group. Frankly, I think it’s a joke. What do these people know?”

“Think about Western developers. There are many Western developers making terrible games, and then you see one like Infinity Ward making a game that sells 20 million and everyone goes, ‘hey, Western developers are amazing!’

“There are tons of terrible Western developers, just like there are tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point.”

- Atsushi Inaba

#30 Posted by Kidavenger (3582 posts) -

About half of my console games are from Japanese developers, mostly because they tend to not come out on PC which is where I buy most of my games, but I still enjoy Japanese made games.

Online
#31 Posted by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

@Wong_Fei_Hung said:

Platinum Games Says There’s Tons Of Terrible Western Studios Too

“I don’t like it when people lump Japanese games developers all together into one group. Frankly, I think it’s a joke. What do these people know?”

“Think about Western developers. There are many Western developers making terrible games, and then you see one like Infinity Ward making a game that sells 20 million and everyone goes, ‘hey, Western developers are amazing!’

“There are tons of terrible Western developers, just like there are tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point.”

- Atsushi Inaba

And the biggest problem with that statement is that big Japanese dev houses are HIRING those bad studios. Why is Capcom working with Spark Unlimited?

#32 Posted by I3elmont (26 posts) -

@Mesoian: thats what im saying... japanese developers are picking up western studios

#33 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -
@I3elmont

@Mesoian: thats what im saying... japanese developers are picking up western studios

That's not indicative of Japanese studio quality, either. Eidos's financial situation pre-acquisition because games they developed either sold or reviewed poorly. And their post-acquisition games like Deus Ex have seen developer influence from Japan. Studios in these situations don't work in cultural bubbles.

And Capcom's western-developed games like Bionic Commando and Dark Void didn't do any better than their Japanese-developed releases.
#34 Posted by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@I3elmont

@Mesoian: thats what im saying... japanese developers are picking up western studios

That's not indicative of Japanese studio quality, either. Eidos's financial situation pre-acquisition because games they developed either sold or reviewed poorly. And their post-acquisition games like Deus Ex have seen developer influence from Japan. Studios in these situations don't work in cultural bubbles. And Capcom's western-developed games like Bionic Commando and Dark Void didn't do any better than their Japanese-developed releases.

I get why you say that, but I do't believe that for a second. The Hitman and Tomb Raider Licence were doing just fine pre-acquisition; most of Eidos's properties were still selling very well which made them a choice dish to consume for square. Bionic Commando didn't set the world on fire, but that's mostly because that game wasn't what the world wanted. Bionic Commando: Rearmed did very well, but Capcom's push to make a quick and dirty sequel didn't pan out, mostly because we (the consumers) didn't need that game a second time. Dark Void almost doesn't count as that was a clusterfuck of development nightmares on the management level.

Square's devouring of Eidos was an incredibly smart move on their part. As we all know from Square Japan's sales, if it weren't for Eidos, they'd be on the brink of bankruptcy for the second time in ten years. That being said, I think square is a bad example because they have been fucking up royally for the past 5 years with these multi hundred million dollar projects that FAIL SPECTACULARLY and become dependent on their subsidiaries to stay afloat. Personally, Square needs to be completely restructured and resources devoted to putting out more products. I know they're trying to go down the Capcom route with this new engine they're making where they can make the engine once, shop it out UE style and have an easy platform they can use to shove out games that look amazing quicker, but that was also their plan with the White Engine and that has been used 3 times (with a 4th next year). But, that being said, Tomb Raider is slated for February, Hitman is slated for April, Dues Ex:HR2 is slated for Q3 2013 (Q1 2014 really, who are we kidding) and those will all sell multi-millions, and Square is hoping that they'll be able to break 750k with FF13, and meanwhile they refuse to localize FF Type 0 and are selling FF3 for 20 bucks on PSN...they have no reason to change because this thing that they are only loosely controlling is still working out swimmingly.

/Square rant.

Conversely, look at CC2. They have a good relationship with Capcom and Namco, two of the biggest (the biggest 2?) publishers in japan, every game they've made has broken 400k worldwide, they're supporting all platforms and have said openly that they will take existing properties owned by other companies and makes games from them (Hell, they offered to pull Megaman Legends 3 out of the garbage). They're doing it right, even though they are leaning quite heavily on the popularity of the licences they own and a lot of their smaller scale games are a bit lacking in quality (not that they're bad, they're just not setting the world on fire).

But they are pretty much completely dependent on those publishing relationships. If they wanted to make something on their own, they'd still have to shop it to one of those two. There's no good steam-esque umbrella for Japanese Devs right now and Steam or PSN or XBLA isn't doing enough to court these dev houses. The fact that there are games that just aren't coming to america because of a lack of publisher is fucking stupid when we have these massive hubs for digital distribution. Even in the american indie scene, if you don't have a ton of money, you can do things like apply at the IGF or apply to become one of the PAX10 or get in touch with other small devs and do something like the PAX megaindiebooth. There's nothing like that in japan, save for a few very small shows where very few people actually see your work. The goal is to get into these large houses which already have an agenda and once your their, you're working on their plans, not yours, and it stays that way until you reach some sort of position of power which could take, what, 5 years? 10? Creativity gets smothered. But that's not exclusive to japan either, that happens all the time in the states.

It's a tough situation, but there are a lot of avenues of opportunity in the states that don't exist in Asia, that's a big part of it.

#35 Posted by I3elmont (26 posts) -

Post release RE6... this thread carries a little more water now, holy fuck is that game terrible.

#36 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -
@I3elmont

Post release RE6... this thread carries a little more water now, holy fuck is that game terrible.

No, it doesn't. Once again, you're confusing singular examples for widespread trends. The quality of Resident Evil 6 reflects only on the development team and publisher. Nothing more.
#37 Posted by believer258 (11984 posts) -

@I3elmont said:

Post release RE6... this thread carries a little more water now, holy fuck is that game terrible.

Would you have said the same about American game development after Duke Nukem Forever?

#38 Posted by Mcfart (1658 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@I3elmont said:

Post release RE6... this thread carries a little more water now, holy fuck is that game terrible.

Would you have said the same about American game development after Duke Nukem Forever?

This. One game dosen't determine the state of the industry. Japan's doing fine. Hell, even Capcom's doing fine. I know you don't know who's responsible for getting that Street Fighter game you love so much into your hands, but it was Capcom.

#39 Posted by Galactor (2 posts) -

@Jams:

I can't really argue with you here too much as I tend to agree with you on a decent amount of those points, though not nearly as harshly. The one point I wanted to make though was that: I don't think Japanese devs "don't know how to tell a story." I think the main issue is that Japanese storytelling and "Western" (or to speak from my perspective, simply American) style storytelling is remarkably different. They focus on different aspects of the performance, they are normally less focused on following a linear narrative, things like that. I don't claim to be an expert on this sort of thing or anything, the only reason I say it is I had the same sort of feelings about Japanese anime. Not to tangentialize this, but I have always felt that a lot of animes end poorly, and I was always confused as to why that is. When I asked around to people who I trust would know a bit more about it than I did, they pointed out how closure in the way we know it in the West is different then how they view it in Japan. Different cultures provide different emphasis when it comes to storytelling. Thats not to say games like DOA have excellent stories that "You just don't understand man!" I'm simply saying that there may be aspects of the story that you think are super important that they miss, and bits that they probably -did- put a lot of effort into because a Japanese market would find them important that you're probably missing.

#40 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

I can think of three games that came from Japan that I liked for this generation.  It seems that their games are lacking on game play and just filled with cut scenes.

#41 Posted by I3elmont (26 posts) -

@sins_of_mosin said:

I can think of three games that came from Japan that I liked for this generation. It seems that their games are lacking on game play and just filled with cut scenes.

i know right?

#42 Posted by Mcfart (1658 posts) -

@I3elmont said:

@sins_of_mosin said:

I can think of three games that came from Japan that I liked for this generation. It seems that their games are lacking on game play and just filled with cut scenes.

i know right?

Tales of Vesperia, the PW games, The Last Story, Xenoblade, Bayonetta, Vanquish.....shall I go on? Jap. developement is fine...Now TRANSLATE TALES OF XILLIA DAMN IT!!!

#43 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -
@Mcfart said:

@I3elmont said:

@sins_of_mosin said:

I can think of three games that came from Japan that I liked for this generation. It seems that their games are lacking on game play and just filled with cut scenes.

i know right?

Tales of Vesperia, the PW games, The Last Story, Xenoblade, Bayonetta, Vanquish.....shall I go on? Jap. developement is fine...Now TRANSLATE TALES OF XILLIA DAMN IT!!!

Bayonetta was tedious.  I got Tales around here somewhere but no interest.  Vanquish was one of the three.