Keiji Inafune's Message to Japanese Developers

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Posted by patrickklepek (4926 posts) -
Inafune has been a loud voice in trying to steer Japanese game development in a new direction.

Fez designer Phil Fish has been criticized at the Game Developers Conference this week for his harsh, crass comments about the state of Japanese video games.

Fish isn't a Japanese game designer, however. Keiji Inafune, formerly of Capcom, definitely is.

Inafune was at GDC to discuss the future of Japanese games, and his talk was equal parts introspection on his own work and motivational speech for the Japanese developers in the audience.

"For fans of our games, our country, our culture or people, please don't look away from me. Please don't look away from me," he said. "This is the honest truth that I want to share with you today."

The crux of Inafune's argument was pointing out that Japan used to be a trailblazer, and the country has become increasingly lazy in the years since. Japan needs to have the desire to win, he said.

The motivation to "win" was a central point, a refrain Inafune returned to over and over again.

"Back in the day, our Japanese games were used to winning and achieved major, major success," he said. "We celebrated many victories and walked down all sorts of avenues as winners. However, at some point, these wins became losses and not realizing, acknowledging and accepting that fact has lead to today's tragic state of Japanese games."

Even though fans have come around on Mega Man Legends, it was considered a failure for Capcom at the time. The press wasn't interested in Mega Man Legends, and the sales were disappointing. Inafune put his heart and soul into that game's development, but commercially, none of that mattered. What making Mega Man Legends did, however, was push Inafune to work hard and work through adversity.

"That experience is my biggest failure and biggest treasure in my video game career," he said.

After Mega Man Legends, Inafune worked on Resident Evil 2. He found it incredibly easy to get anything he needed approved for the project, and generating press was effortless. Inafune dreamed about a world where he never worked on Mega Man Legends, never experienced passionate failure, and envisioned a scenario where he was used to being treated as he was during Resident Evil 2, and how that could instill a poor work ethic.

"If you never get your hands dirty," he said, "you'll never be able to understand the nitty gritty details."

Mega Man Legends went on to become its own spin-off series, but that didn't happen initially.

He made sure to pay his respects to Resident Evil designer Shinji Mikami, pointing out how the original Resident Evil had development similarities to Mega Man Legends. No one believed in the project, no one was talking about the project, and canceling it was a real possibility. Mikami earned his stripes making Resident Evil, and could better appreciate the freedom in Resident Evil 2.

Inafune pointed outside video games for inspiration on how Japan can transform itself: Apple.

"If Apple chose to stick to the glory of the old days with their personal computers and its operating systems, they probably wouldn't be around today," he said. "Steve Jobs chose to develop the brand and not just maintain it, and that's why the Apple we know today exists."

Leaving Capcom was part of Inafune choosing the hard path, rather than the easy. Comcept still has to prove itself, but Inafune sounded upbeat, happy, and optimistic. He's also developing a brand-new game for the Vita, though he didn't provide any details on it.

Even though Inafune was incredibly critical of modern Japanese designers, developer and publishers, he seemed to do so out of desperation and hope. He wants Japan to be big again.

"Time is running out, and we should have realized this when I made that bold statement a few years ago," he said.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (4926 posts) -
Inafune has been a loud voice in trying to steer Japanese game development in a new direction.

Fez designer Phil Fish has been criticized at the Game Developers Conference this week for his harsh, crass comments about the state of Japanese video games.

Fish isn't a Japanese game designer, however. Keiji Inafune, formerly of Capcom, definitely is.

Inafune was at GDC to discuss the future of Japanese games, and his talk was equal parts introspection on his own work and motivational speech for the Japanese developers in the audience.

"For fans of our games, our country, our culture or people, please don't look away from me. Please don't look away from me," he said. "This is the honest truth that I want to share with you today."

The crux of Inafune's argument was pointing out that Japan used to be a trailblazer, and the country has become increasingly lazy in the years since. Japan needs to have the desire to win, he said.

The motivation to "win" was a central point, a refrain Inafune returned to over and over again.

"Back in the day, our Japanese games were used to winning and achieved major, major success," he said. "We celebrated many victories and walked down all sorts of avenues as winners. However, at some point, these wins became losses and not realizing, acknowledging and accepting that fact has lead to today's tragic state of Japanese games."

Even though fans have come around on Mega Man Legends, it was considered a failure for Capcom at the time. The press wasn't interested in Mega Man Legends, and the sales were disappointing. Inafune put his heart and soul into that game's development, but commercially, none of that mattered. What making Mega Man Legends did, however, was push Inafune to work hard and work through adversity.

"That experience is my biggest failure and biggest treasure in my video game career," he said.

After Mega Man Legends, Inafune worked on Resident Evil 2. He found it incredibly easy to get anything he needed approved for the project, and generating press was effortless. Inafune dreamed about a world where he never worked on Mega Man Legends, never experienced passionate failure, and envisioned a scenario where he was used to being treated as he was during Resident Evil 2, and how that could instill a poor work ethic.

"If you never get your hands dirty," he said, "you'll never be able to understand the nitty gritty details."

Mega Man Legends went on to become its own spin-off series, but that didn't happen initially.

He made sure to pay his respects to Resident Evil designer Shinji Mikami, pointing out how the original Resident Evil had development similarities to Mega Man Legends. No one believed in the project, no one was talking about the project, and canceling it was a real possibility. Mikami earned his stripes making Resident Evil, and could better appreciate the freedom in Resident Evil 2.

Inafune pointed outside video games for inspiration on how Japan can transform itself: Apple.

"If Apple chose to stick to the glory of the old days with their personal computers and its operating systems, they probably wouldn't be around today," he said. "Steve Jobs chose to develop the brand and not just maintain it, and that's why the Apple we know today exists."

Leaving Capcom was part of Inafune choosing the hard path, rather than the easy. Comcept still has to prove itself, but Inafune sounded upbeat, happy, and optimistic. He's also developing a brand-new game for the Vita, though he didn't provide any details on it.

Even though Inafune was incredibly critical of modern Japanese designers, developer and publishers, he seemed to do so out of desperation and hope. He wants Japan to be big again.

"Time is running out, and we should have realized this when I made that bold statement a few years ago," he said.

Staff
#2 Edited by pekoe212 (453 posts) -

Very nice to see a discussion about this, especially from game designer's point of view. I love lots of Japanese games but lots of the criticism leveled at them is totally valid. They've become fossilized to a great extent.

#3 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

Yeah. Part of the problem is outdated game design. When capcom can release iterations of the same series over and over and still make money off their long-time fans, there's not much impetus for change.

#4 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Could not agree more.

#5 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

Also, the internet. They REALLY need to get on that.

#6 Posted by DanTheGamer32 (224 posts) -

he's not wrong

#7 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

first

#8 Posted by Animasta (14698 posts) -

yeah be like apple that's a great idea

#9 Posted by bretthancock (778 posts) -

@Example1013: I would argue that Capcom is one of the only big players in the Japanese development and publishing of games that has continually invested in games that break from the standard tradition of Japanese game design. Dark Void, Dead Rising, Monster Hunter, Asura's Wrath, Dragon's Dogma, and so on. Varying degrees of success in there but not really your traditional JRPG. At the time all the games were pretty unique. Compare that to NIS or Konami who seem content to release some pretty boring stuff.

#10 Posted by JuxJuxJux (43 posts) -

Inafune did what Fish couldn't do. He logically broke down why current Japanese games are having problems, and from what I can tell, offered insights on how the industry might get back on their feet. A lot more constructive than "YOUR GAMES SUCK!"

#11 Posted by Sacerdos87 (157 posts) -

Well maybe, JUST MAYBE, if they stop westernizing the fuck out of their franchises. And stick to what worked they could have success instead of these crap games they've been spewing out lately with no depth to them.

#12 Edited by PenguinDust (12533 posts) -

Interesting but it's not something that hasn't been said by other developers both Western and Japanese. I would have more hope if I heard these sentiments coming from game publishing leaders; business heads who do not create games but instead fund and market them.

#13 Posted by TheHT (11389 posts) -

Awesome.

#14 Posted by Biggie (41 posts) -

I can't help but feel the depressed state of the Japanese game industry, isn't somehow tied to the poor showing of the PS3, commercially and technically, on top of arriving late to market. It just put Japanese devs behind the 8 ball coming to grips with modern console development environments. I also wonder if Western devs didn't also benefit from their more PC centric legacy.

#15 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@bretthancock: Don't forget Ghost Trick, either. All interesting games, but none of them have been big hits. And also to speak to that point, how many Monster Hunter and Dead Rising games have we had in the past 5 years? Shit, how many Dead Rising games in the last two? My point was less about specifically the design of the games themselves and more about the mechanical, iterative nature with which 80% of the games are developed. The last "next big thing" game to come out of Japan that I can think of is Bayonetta, and that was what, two years ago? Nevermind releases and content updates for Capcom's fighters. There have been like 5 separate Street Fighter releases in the last couple years with SFIV, Super, OE, II Turbo, and III OE. Capcom does produce interesting new IPs, but they sit in a giant dungheap of overpriced sequels, rereleases, and content updates, none of which really push anything forward, nor make a ton of money.

And we're talking about Capcom, the most progressive Japanese publisher.

@Animasta said:

yeah be like apple that's a great idea

I really don't understand how that's supposed to be insulting. Apple is the biggest consumer technology retailer in the business. They've been dominating the consumer mobile market for the past 6 years. THE biggest story last year in tech news was the announcement of a Verizon iPhone--it got airplay on every local news station in the area. Regardless of any discussion of their business model for PCs now, you can't deny that Apple is the single most competitive force in modern consumer tech. My grandmother wanted an iPad. 'Nuff said.

#16 Posted by MrMazz (990 posts) -

Pretty much that. From everything i've read Japans dev scene is pretty stagnant.

#17 Posted by Animasta (14698 posts) -

@Example1013: capcom is not the most progressive publisher don't be silly (it's atlus, or you could make the argument it's Squeenix after they bought Eidos)

also I don't care that apple is the biggest consumer technology retailer or whatever, game development is inherently different than phone development; how, exactly, would they "be like apple" beyond making new IP's, which is also a problem in western game development?

#18 Posted by Neonie (438 posts) -

I've tried to make some sense of what this dude is saying but I just can't. Everyone is praising his speech, but it looks like to me he just keeps repeating him self saying "Japanese game design is outdated" and "They should of kept up with the west."

But if companies like Gust and Nippon Ichi weren't around at this point I would of probably given up on video games because if EVERY GAME where "You are a muscle head with a gun now shoot dudes" it would be head hurtingly droll.

He also says Capcom (OF ALL DEVELOPERS!) has kept up with the west, and I find Capcom to one of the most amazingly disappointing developers of all time, having had to give up on each series they've ever put out that I liked it, and which is pretty much a hurricane of bad decision after bad decision.

I seriously don't understand the blind praise for this dude, and that's all anyone seems to be doing.

#19 Posted by richinjapan (15 posts) -

I appreciate the article and I'm glad a Japanese dev is speaking up against this, but I don't think the article makes good on its promise of telling us what Infaune's message is. I want to know more on concrete examples of what is going wrong and how it can be addressed. I'm not sure if his presentation made good on this, or if the article just gives the surface of it.

#20 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@Animasta: Well if we're talking about becoming DOMINANT again, since Western developers are also in a cycle of iteration, it seems like bringing new IPs in is actually the PERFECT way to do it.

#21 Posted by LaserLambert (167 posts) -

hasn't he said all this before? why not make a game? that would be a good example.

#22 Posted by Dourin (233 posts) -

@Animasta: I would actually argue that Nintendo is being "like apple" with their approach to console creation. Unfortunately, however, unlike Apple, Nintendo has to rely on those third-party developers to be a success. However, in an industry fueled by big budget, iterative development, focusing even equal development to the Wii or WiiU as is being focused on the other platforms just isn't fiscally viable for most developers out there, due to how games need to be redesigned around how Nintendo's systems work.

In a world where multiplatform wasn't a thing, Nintendo would be leaps and bounds ahead of the other console manufacturers with what they bring to the table with both the Wii and the WiiU, as can be seen in the handheld market. Unfortunately for Nintendo, that is not a world in which we live with consoles, which is why we will rarely see large, commercial successes come from the Wii or WiiU that are not created by Nintendo themselves.

#23 Posted by Chris_Ihao (102 posts) -

I dont know. Although initially having told myself that I would stay purely PC oriented this time (I have a very decent rig and hundreds of games) I recently went ahead and bought a ps3 recently, mostly due to these "japanese games". I guess some of them are "old" per definition (like the two Yakuza games for the ps3, demons souls and the two first Ninja Gaiden Sigma games) in the world of gaming, but I do love these games to death.

I guess it comes down to what you're after. I never was a big fan of Megaman, although fun enough to play, so any fancy pancy repackaging, better graphics and gameplay changes would never really "do it" anyways for me I guess. On the opposite side, the variously received Yakuza series is just what I'm after when chilling on my couch after a tiresome day. To be honest I dont mind the graphics of the PS3, I already got that covered with my pc's oc'ed GTX580, largely due to the fact that I'm in love with som parts of japanese gameplay. In other words I dont WANT them to change it around too much. Its not unlikely that such a change to some extent would wash out the quirks and odd ends of japanese games (see: melodrama for instance) and make them more like the generally speaking "hollywoodish" (and obviously at times also great) north-american games.

Capcom has had its share of problems opinion-wise the last few years due to some bad decisions, for instance who likes to have to buy three different Street fighter IV's to keep up (and that planned horrendous DMC "revamp"), and imho this would naturally color mr. Inafune a lot. That said, the state of things could surely have been better, but I'm personally glad as hell that we still got Japan as a player in this game. My PS3 told me that.

#24 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5834 posts) -

I don't agree 100%, but he makes some interesting points.

#25 Posted by tourgen (4518 posts) -

I'm looking for the part where we gives some real concrete steps to improve things but I'm not seeing it. Just some arm waving and Apple envy.

#26 Posted by ZmillA (2272 posts) -

japene sdont want tot a bel

#27 Edited by bonkers (34 posts) -

While I think that there have been some great Japanese games released in recent years, there have been times where I thought certain parts of game design in some of those games could've been reworked, but that gripe is mostly to do with interface stuff more than anything. So my question is, would it be enough (to reclaim the global throne, as it were) if certain aspects of game design in some Japanese games were improved while the stuff that people love about those games stayed the same? I would hope so, because while I can understand Inafune's sentiment, I don't think I'd like it if Japanese games stopped being...well, Japanese because the developers wanted their games to have the same broad appeal as titles like Gears or Call of Duty.

#28 Posted by LoktarOgar (382 posts) -

Regardless of whether or not he has a point, I find it hard to take Inafune at face value. How can he complain about Japan becoming lazy when Mega Man, of all series, is his greatest success? 9 and 10 might be considered nice fanservice, but at the same time, it's also the antithesis of trailblazing. I can't help but think he's one of the worst offenders.

Online
#29 Edited by Curufinwe (1266 posts) -

Inafune is well past his used by date and can't get games made any more, but he thinks he knows how to fix Japanese developers - tell them to stop being lazy. I'm sure all the Japanese devs working 70+ hours a week were so happy to hear how they could solve all their problems.

#30 Posted by Shady (503 posts) -

@LoktarOgar said:

Regardless of whether or not he has a point, I find it hard to take Inafune at face value. How can he complain about Japan becoming lazy when Mega Man, of all series, is his greatest success? 9 and 10 might be considered nice fanservice, but at the same time, it's also the antithesis of trailblazing. I can't help but think he's one of the worst offenders.

That definitely has more to do with Capcom than Inafune himself. Inafune was the only one pushing new projects at Capcom (Dead Rising, Lost Planet) and wanting to work with western developers.

#31 Posted by King9999 (613 posts) -

The JRPGs are the real problem, IMO. Of course, there are always exceptions, but those exceptions get thrown under a bus while less deserving games get the spotlight.

#32 Posted by Garrick_Greathouse (55 posts) -

Japanese game development 2012 is in the same place American game development was in 1990. Many American NES from that time games were garbage because they were being developed by guys from the 2600 era. Believe it or not, there are NES games where up is jump and the B button is not used at all.

Lookat the nightmares that are A Boy and His Blob and Bart VS The Space Mutants. American games made by old Atari guys that hadn't played modern NES game.

It's telling when a dev on FF 13 admits to not playing videogames himself in interviews. It's just like my profession, Graphic Design.If you live I a vacume, the industry passes you by.

#33 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

idk i think the main reason whey japanese studios lag behind is online

they need to figure out how to make it work well with their genres and ips

#34 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1647 posts) -

At least his point was well-articulated. I'm really glad he's calling for a push for something new

#35 Posted by SYMPHONICOLOSSUS (39 posts) -

@spartanlolz92: No, most of the ACTUAL GAMES themselves are just not as amazing as they used to be (Final Fantasy, anyone?). Sure, there are exceptions, but not many from year to year. It goes beyond simple "online" shit.

#36 Posted by JackSukeru (5917 posts) -

As much as I like the man, he definetly has everything to prove.

As for Japanese game develpment, didn't a couple of guys from Square Enix recently say that focus testing was a new concept to them? Maybe their failures have less to do with a lack of ambition and more to do with them fighting in the dark. If you don't know what you're up against, how are you supposed to adapt to and fight it?

Then again you could argue that this supposed complacency with past successes is the reason why the world has gone them by them in the first place.

Oh wait..

Hm, I guess identifying what needs changing is the all-important first step.

#37 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1449 posts) -

It seems so rare that Japanese developers can muster up a unique story or interesting setting, that isn't Final Fantasy-ish, yet their film makers can be masters at pushing that same thing.

#38 Posted by Hailinel (24977 posts) -

He's certainly more diplomatic than Fish, but Inafune doesn't really say anything new or particularly helpful, and issues he highlights aren't exclusively problems with Japanese development.

Online
#39 Posted by Sergio (2131 posts) -

@Dourin said:

Unfortunately, however, unlike Apple, Nintendo has to rely on those third-party developers to be a success.

I'm going to have to nitpick and disagree with this. Apple does need to rely on third-party app developers to be a success considering much of their success can be attributed to iOS devices. If there were only producing iPods and MacBooks, they wouldn't be as successful as they are now.

While there is a large influx of app developers churning out $1 apps compared to Nintendo's third party developers, they wouldn't be as successful without a certain degree of passable quality. There's plenty of Android app development too, but unfortunately it isn't quite up to par to iOS right now.

#40 Edited by mnzy (2914 posts) -

I feel like Japan has learned that lesson already, it's just that games are in development for years and we are just starting to see progress. Games like Dark Souls or Dragon's Dogma are a totally new thing from Japan and they are/look fucking awesome. 
 
One thing Japan seems to have a problem with, though, are Indie developers. I really only know good ol' Cave Story and some insane Shmups. There are probably more in existence, but if they don't make it over to the west, that's a problem, too. 
 
And one last thing, and maybe that has to do with him being Japanese, but where are the specifics? Where did they go really wrong, what is missing? Some details for such general critic would be nice.

#41 Posted by Korne (625 posts) -

@spartanlolz92 said:

idk i think the main reason whey japanese studios lag behind is online

they need to figure out how to make it work well with their genres and ips

I'm not so sure. Atlus is finding a lot of success without online play. If anything, many western games are becoming stale because of their online play. We need more developers to be willing to fail rather than doing something safe. I see Vanillaware, From Software, Grasshopper Studios, Team ICO, Atlus, and Platinum Games doing very interesting things, and their games are starting to find some success in the west.

#42 Edited by gringbot (94 posts) -

See, there's a significant difference in the way he addressed it compared to Phil Fish. Saying something "sucks" or is "fucking terrible" isn't probably the most professional or even most helpful way to talk about it. I still think Japanese games need improvement, but not as much as people think. It's just opinions build inertia to the point where it takes a lot to change that, and were already seeing that change from Japan recently, but most people still have the old mindset.

The biggest problem at this point is that the worst of what they offer gets the biggest amount of attention, while the good Japanese games are completely overlooked. I partially blame Squareenix for this, because it went from "JRPG's suck", to "all Japanese games suck" almost immediately following FF13.

I don't know, its just hard to just throw so much blame on Japan when really Western games could also use improvement in many ways. In my opinion, Western games can actually learn a lot from Japanese games, and definitely vise versa. Another problem is that the only thing most people look at to determine "success" is straight up sales figures, and advertising really helps in that department, something Japan rarely does outside of Japan.

It just kind of bugs me that people will just glance over the entire discussion by saying something so vague as "____ sucks". Ok, say WHY you think it sucks, and almost always it's more about "well I don't like _____" rather then it just being flat-out terrible or a broken game. You want to know what terrible is? Go play Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde on nes. That shit is truly TERRIBLE.

#43 Edited by UltimAXE (392 posts) -

Goddamn. This whole "Japanese game development is dead" conversation has been going clear over my head for years now. I just don't see it. But then I look at my PS3 library and, for the first time ever, notice that a good 80% of it is composed of American or European-made games. It's bizarre.
 
I mean, Demon's Souls is good. Mario Galaxy is good. Sonic is good (sue me). Bayonetta is good. Devil May Cry is good. Resident Evil is good. Kingdom Hearts is good. Vanquish is good. Street Fighter, BlazBlue, Tekken, and Soul Calibur are all good. What's the problem? Sales numbers? Honestly, seeing Japanese developers imitate western developers to influence that is exactly what I don't want to see.

#44 Edited by vhold (415 posts) -

Does anybody else get the feeling that there are prominent Japanese developers that despise gamers? 

#45 Posted by Animasta (14698 posts) -

@vhold said:

Does anybody else get the feeling that there are prominent Japanese developers that despise gamers?

did you play dark souls? that's proof enough

#46 Posted by gringbot (94 posts) -

@Korne said:

@spartanlolz92 said:

idk i think the main reason whey japanese studios lag behind is online

they need to figure out how to make it work well with their genres and ips

I'm not so sure. Atlus is finding a lot of success without online play. If anything, many western games are becoming stale because of their online play. We need more developers to be willing to fail rather than doing something safe. I see Vanillaware, From Software, Grasshopper Studios, Team ICO, Atlus, and Platinum Games doing very interesting things, and their games are starting to find some success in the west.

Skyrim is a great example of how you don't need multiplayer shoved into your game in order for it to sell well. In fact, I'm starting to notice a trend that when multiplayer is put into an singleplayer style game, it ends up diluting the experience on both sides. This is something that Western Developers/Publishers need to learn.

#47 Posted by zockroach (58 posts) -

Inafune is a classy gentleman. Great read, Patrick.

#48 Posted by GreggD (4505 posts) -

@Shady said:

@LoktarOgar said:

Regardless of whether or not he has a point, I find it hard to take Inafune at face value. How can he complain about Japan becoming lazy when Mega Man, of all series, is his greatest success? 9 and 10 might be considered nice fanservice, but at the same time, it's also the antithesis of trailblazing. I can't help but think he's one of the worst offenders.

That definitely has more to do with Capcom than Inafune himself. Inafune was the only one pushing new projects at Capcom (Dead Rising, Lost Planet) and wanting to work with western developers.

True.

#49 Posted by Doobie_Wop (26 posts) -

Huh, a negative article on the Japanese gaming industry, Giant Bomb sure are keeping up to par, especially when the whole Phil Fish incident was completely thrown under the rug by Patrick, most likely because most of the Giant Bomb staff agree with the indie developer that has never even released a game. I find it hilarious that a whole bunch of Western publishers have been hemorrhaging money most of this generation, have reiterated on old ideas and IPs to the point of making their franchises boring or completely destroying whole brands, have had a complete lack of new ideas when it comes to game design and have instead relied on the last 15 years of PC gaming to bring 'new' ideas to console gamer's, but it is Japan that is always criticized.

Keiji is bitter, it's so obvious, especially coming from a man in a culture that prefers to find fault in themselves instead of blaming it on others (unlike Western developers who only talk when it involves a head piece directly connected to their public relations agent). Continuing to listen to this man is like constantly posting articles and making a fuss over whatever crazy thing Peter Molyneux says anytime of the week.

#50 Edited by Kosayn (452 posts) -

Sometimes when someone says something rude that everyone else already knows but won't talk about, it can be a positive thing. Better to talk about it while something can be done.

Japan is still the #2 after the US, and there are fledgeling game developers all around the world. Japan at least has its internally successful games to grow from, and hopefully by then, we'll also see better games coming out of quieter places like Europe and Korea and Canada. Hopefully more non-shooter games and non-console games will be getting AAA levels of investment. It's just the gold rush mentality, it takes an innovative game that also sells a ton to get other companies to take risks. Japan hasn't really had a big innovator that sold in the West for a while now. Instead it has Mario and Pokemon, and those have already provided all the influence they ever will.

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