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Ubisoft: Journalists Often Biased Towards Japanese Developers

This is bound to generate a reaction big enough and nasty enough to force this guy to either elaborate or retract.

In speaking to CVG, Assassin's Creed III creative director Alex Hutchinson said journalists often "forgive" Japanese developers for seriously flawed productions.

"I think there's a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists' side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do."

He went on to say that this preferential treatment is "condescending" to their director and all developers should be held to the same standard. In other words, he believes Japanese game makers are getting a free pass when it comes to certain aspects of development, and that includes the writing. Said Hutchinson:

"Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There's no way [a western developer] could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say 'oh it is brilliant'. Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it's the worst written narrative in a game ever. I'll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.

I just think the simple question should be; is the story any good?"

I might expand on this later but for now- I don't think any critic anywhere said the narrative/story in Bayonetta was good, Alex. Pretty sure that wasn't even the point of that game. I also know for a fact that the written narrative in Gears of War isn't all that great. Just...no. That being said, I get your point, at least in terms of story.

Beyond that, besides first-party Nintendo products, which apparently don't receive less than 10s anywhere, I'm not sure I'm seeing a whole lot of bias towards Japanese games in terms of review scores.

Tags: gaming industry, gaming culture, japanese developers, japanese games

8/17/2012 10:22:22 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 10:39:38 AM
Reply

I think he's wrong. Story is very important but the simple question I ask myself when reviewing a game is "How well does this accomplish what it sets out to do?"

Is Bayonetta trying to have a deep impactful narrative? Of course not. Are games that have roots in anime going to have corny dialogue? You bet they will. It's part of a cultural art style that extends beyond visuals.

Setting that aside, Japanese games aren't getting a pass; they are getting hammered.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/17/2012 10:41:27 AM

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Highlander
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:31:59 AM

Indeed they are getting hammered. I'd mention examples but some wise-ass would call me a weebo.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:41:12 AM

What's a weebo?

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Highlander
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:44:18 AM

lol, I had to look it up as well. Apparently (and someone will have to explain precisely when and why this term came into use) it's "Someone not of the oriental race that tries impersonate or emulate the japanese or japanime culture"

Peronally I think it's a ridiculous term, but I have seen and heard it used...and not generally in a positive manner.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 12:56:25 PM

Awwww that's lame, whatever happened to that song "Turning Japanese"? So what if people are more drawn to another culture's entertainment? We gotta be who we are or we're just pretending.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 10:40:10 AM
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oh, man. this is just bull. is he stuck in the "all your base are belong to us" era? I don't think any journalist I know of is cutting the Japanese any slack. And what a crap example he makes, too. Isn't the WHOLE reason DMC was handed over to Ninja THeory was because they wanted a team that could really do cinematic acting well?

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BTNwarrior
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 10:47:01 AM
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Well Dragons Dogma would be a good example of this. I still don't know what the hell the story is about, but it got alot of good reviews

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 10:50:03 AM
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Big mistake!

See he's not looking at the context of the titles, the majority of western games focus on realism. Sure, Gears of War may have Mutants and what have you, but the world is real and the character are realistic as possible despite the themes. While a Japanese will be more fantasy based so the story lines however ludicrous suit the style of the games.

Even classic Final Fantasy you have moments where aspects of the story will seem 'unrealistic' so some people will pan it. But as Stanley Kubrick has said 'Real is good, interesting is better.' Because of the context sometimes titles set within fantasy can use methods of story telling to surpass something grounded by a project tied to realism. In a way one of the reasons why I dislike this western wave is due to the way they're trying to stamp out fantasy.

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 8/17/2012 10:51:27 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:21:47 AM

Fantasy is good.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:21:17 AM
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It kind of reminds me of how movies based on comics and graphic novels can get ripped for having a script that is comic-booky. Well, ya know it's kind of supposed to be that way unless they decide on a new direction.

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Highlander
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:31:06 AM
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Wait a minute. This Ubisoft person is saying that there is subtle racism because in their opinion journalists give Japanese game makers a soft ride on story quality? That doesn't exactly make sense, but whatever. What takes this to the height of stupidity though is for someone complaining about condescending or patronizing attitudes to then say this;

"Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There's no way [a western developer] could write it with a straight face"

So it's OK for him to whine and moan about bias and racism, and then describe the work of Japanese developers in such pejorative terms? What a bloody hypocrite.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:42:57 AM

I picked up on that as well, funny how racists (or we could be nice and say culturist) are the first to cry out about the subject.

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homura
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:38:37 AM
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likeness to the story is varied, it depends on what kind of person is the journalist. As for me, when it comes to the story, I'll take Final Fantasy XIII over Assassin's Creed any time.

Last edited by homura on 8/17/2012 11:41:57 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:43:43 AM
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Sometimes a gibberish story is a wonderful thing.

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enjoi
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:51:25 AM
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It has nothing to do with race. It's just the bigger named studios, whether Japanese or Western, get more leeway for their mistakes by the gaming media. Imagine if a new or nameless studio produced a game as buggy as Skyrim or Fallout 3. They would be destroyed by reviewers, yet Bethesda gets showered with 9.0 scores and GOTY nominations.

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homura
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 11:54:46 AM
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"Japanese developers are just too creative for your stagnating mind to understand their stories. They are geniuses and AC is just the same over and over again. Japan still writes the best stories in the industry and journalist are usually hating on japanese games while praising western stagnation."

By: Fr33Kye (comment from the CVG site)

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Lotusflow3r
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 12:27:53 PM

I can agree with that comment the most.

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homura
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 12:07:39 PM
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Alex Hutchinson should accept that the world is really not fair.

"The world is not perfect, but that what makes it more beautiful." By: Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist.

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Lotusflow3r
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 12:26:58 PM
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I thought it was the opposite?

Lastly, he accuses others of subtle racism....i don't know about you guys, but he came across as just that.

This guy either needs a reality check, needs to learn about narrative or just needs some research.

Massively ignorant. Can he see past his nose?

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homura
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 12:48:18 PM

Maybe he needs all of the above.

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ddsfan2
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 1:58:50 PM
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Has this man ever read XPlay or G4TV? They constantly make baseless generalizations about JRPG and Japanese games in general, which verges on racism, and use inflammatory language as an editorial policy on many Japanese related articles. I actually blocked their domain in firefox because I found their behavior so repugnant, so I don't know if it has changed since their crude commentary on Resonance of Fate or whining about Xenosaga 3 (or probably dozens of other games).

I'm not very familiar with the Assassin's Creed seires, but aren't their gameplay mechanics inspired by/copied from the Metal Gear series?

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ddsfan2
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 2:06:12 PM
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I almost forgot to mention, that escapistmagazine in general is very strongly biased against Japanese games, almost regardless of their quality.

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Knightzane
Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 3:21:34 PM
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I love assassins creed but i will say this, the way the story went after AC2 was ridiculous. I was honestly like.....uh wait what? I wasn't blown away i was kind of pissed off. I spent like 30 hours in that game only to be rewarded with "Find the temples in 2012" In AC1 i liked the aspect of good vs evil but good doing evil that no one else could do to preserve good. AC:B also had a great story but every time they mentioned the..(i liked ezio's story im talking about the present story like desmond, don't want to cause confusion) temples i died a little inside. A great japanese story this GEN is easily Deus Ex. Dark Souls does have a pretty deep story too. I remember playing GoW and getting bored then playing resistance fall of man so i can't comment on that. His opinion is clearly the opinion of a sad man. Someone wants the recognition FF had...'HAD'

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DeathOfChaos
Saturday, August 18, 2012 @ 1:01:38 AM
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*facepalm* Just a shooter junkie that can't understand a creative story, even if it slapped him in the face.

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SmokeyPSD
Saturday, August 18, 2012 @ 3:50:31 AM
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Tries to say journalists are being subtly racist. All he achieves is his own racist comment...

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___________
Saturday, August 18, 2012 @ 4:39:11 AM
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oh bullshit!
most games dont get criticized for having a poor story because there not suppose to have a good story!
criticizing games for having a poor story is like advertising supercars for having poor fuel consumption!
its the LAST thing on the manufactures priority list!
its nice when games have good stories, just like its nice when the fastest car in the world also is the most economical.
but that does not mean you can go criticizing games for things there never suppose to be!

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Gamer46
Monday, August 20, 2012 @ 1:06:09 AM
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Another brain dead fool. The people at Ubisoft do make some great games, stick to that and shut the hell up please. Between this guy and Jade Raymond I don't know who's had more dumb crap to say recently.

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