By Meteora 32 Comments
I'm not sure when developers from Japan began losing their grip on the whole gaming industry, but developers from Japan used to be very dominant in the western market, something that I feel was brought alongside thanks to the NES. I'm not going to go into the specifics of gaming history and whatnot, but most of us get an impression that Japanese developers are a generation behind the western market; where new gaming philosophies, concepts or mechanics are introduced and standardised as the norm. These developers has had limited luck in penetrating into the western market in the 7th generation of console gaming, especially in JRPGs where things feel ancient and that they clung onto for dear life.
As you may or may not know, Japan has trouble either adapting to the new market or just stubborn to change their ways. I feel that the most prominent example would be any JRPGs, where there's a number of common themes and quirks (spiky hairdo, saving the world as the plot theme, extreme linearity, bad/mediocre dubbed voice acting, etc). The market has changed where these themes aren't picked up positively by the western market or aren't getting big enough sales. I feel that it is starting to feel like a common trend that developers and publishers are starting to feel discouraged and may stop or slow down localising games over, because whatever localisation they're doing and the lack of sales aren't warranting any localisation.
Granted some of us just don't give a fuck, but I know there's a few that grew up with Japanese games and or are fond of their games. I see it very difficult and if not impossible for Japan to pick itself up back up and to adapt to the western market. Its just too hard and there's too many obstacles. Gaming development has more or less doubled since the beginning of 7th generation, making whatever game they localise over here unprofitable. Competition is fierce with gaming juggernauts like the Mass Effect trilogy, the Elder Scrolls/Fallout instalments, the unstoppable Call of Duty franchise and other big names that popped up and were made by series in this new generation. Cultural barriers hinder as well, because whichever theme goes with their games story wise, seem to be favoured by the locales over at Japan.
Even the behemoth Final Fantasy XIII was in my eyes, was a great disappointment (then again, I probably should finish the bloody game. It was just the best example of a freaking linear path as hell).
Its not looking good for Japan's future in the western market. We might see a disappearance of their games in the near future, and I wouldn't like that.
Or maybe I'm just frustrated that Namco Bandai announced that there will be probably no localization of Tales of Xillia; a mothership title of the Tales series. I played Tales of Vesperia and its the best JRPG I've played to date in this generation. Though to be honest, I did a bit further digging and Namco Bandai never did specify that they wouldn't localise this new Tales game, seems like I was judging from the overreacting fans (there was some games in the series that haven't been localised, nor did the North America's PS3 version of Vesperia got a a release).
I suppose my only hope for any good JRPG would be Persona 5 when that gets announced and hits the markets.