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Inafune: Japanese Gaming Has Declined, But It Isn't Hopeless

Keiji Inafune always speaks his mind, no matter what.

One of the first well-known game developers to call out the Japanese industry for its perceived decline, Inafune isn't happy with his countrymen's progress. During a PAX Prime panel, the former Capcom executive and Mega Man creator said things in Japan have only "gotten worse."

On the plus side, Inafune said that designers still have "options" that can be pursued. He cited Kickstarter as being one such excellent option, which isn't surprising, as he has started his own Kickstarter campaign for Mighty No. 9, a retro-style side-scrolling adventure. The project has already earned $650,000 of its intended $900,000 goal so that may actually happen. Inafune believes Kickstarter can "show other Japanese indpendent developers that there is a way."

He also said game makers will require "great content" in order to receive lacking consumer support. Do you think certain Japanese developers and franchises can reclaim lost former glory in the new generation?

Tags: keiji inafune, japanese games, japanese gaming industry, video games

9/1/2013 9:13:07 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (19 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 10:41:50 PM
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A million freakin dollars for a side scroller? Maybe the Japanese devs need to look into not wasting away their budget.

When I push back from the computer and reflect I do see a lot of people yearning for traditional gaming mechanics. And I also see some of them leaking into games through subtraction. For instance The Last of Us was more compelling because you did not have an indicator telling you where to go or a minimap so you had to get around the old fashioned way.

So, like, overall I think it's possible that older styles of gaming could return in bits and pieces. If smaller attempts like Project Phoenix and Soul Saga take off then bigger devs might go "Oh wow, people like that gameplay style again!" Even though they never actually stopped liking it. What's old can be new again.

Then Japanese devs can just do what they've always done best and stop their nonsense.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 9/1/2013 10:43:00 PM

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ethird1
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 7:35:35 AM

I would help fund another HD Ducktails. :) Wussy!

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Akuma07
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 9:29:29 AM

You see this everywhere.

Retro ALWAYS come back in.

People are just as fascinated with the past, as they are the future. Gaming developers have made the wrong choice by thinking that tomorrow is the only thing that matters.

The only way to forge a brighter future, is to understand the past. They should look at previous mechanics and understand why they worked so well, and what people loved about previous games. Find ways to incorporate that into the future.

Alas. This level of thought seems too complicated for most Japanese Developers.

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Akuma07
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 9:30:18 AM

It's even stranger if you consider that Japan is a country with such strong traditional ties.

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bebestorm
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:17:27 PM
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Inafune keeps criticizing japaenese developers yet his recent projects are nothing special. Im not hating on the man its just he's been saying the same thing the past couple years he seems all talk and no action.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:25:14 PM

This is true, he should consult some of Ghandi's thoughts on being the change you wish to see in the world.

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Jawknee
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:40:47 PM

HD side scrolling action game that's Megmanesque? Sign me up.

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Jawknee
Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 11:30:13 PM
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Never cared for this guy but I do like that he's giving Crapcom the middle finger. If they're not going to make Megaman games, I'll take a redo from the creator.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 1:05:54 AM
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This guy is such a constant downer..

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Lawless SXE
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 3:55:24 AM
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I like that he isn't afraid to speak his mind, but I'm not sure that he really understands what is wrong. I mean.. a 2D sidescroller made with the assistance of Kickstarter? Yaiba made with Spark Unlimited? These aren't the kinds of ideas and games that are going to help the Japanese segment of the industry sit up and take notice.

You want to know how to do it? Look at Tango, look at Platinum. They're making games that aren't afraid to show that Japanese flair, while marrying it with great gameplay and awesome concepts.

Inafune... You aren't happy with Japan's progress. I'm not happy with your progress. Shut up and prove that you're able to lead by example.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 9:43:17 AM

Maybe it's just that Inafune never has the budget he needs to do anything exceptional and he's talking about the big budget people. Though that doesn't really help his case shouting from the little leagues, lol.

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KidPresentable
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 9:48:42 AM

Just because Spark Unlimited is involved with Yaiba doesn't mean it is not going to be a great game. feelplus, the same company behind the very terrible, MindJack, is also the same company that co-developed one of the best JRPGs this gen, Lost Odyssey. If the people in charge of the development foster an environment of excellence, the game will turn out fine. Why is a Kickstarter with tons of fan input and access to development a bad idea? Especially, if the game ends up being great. And, Soul Sacrifice is a great game.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 3:25:00 PM

On feelplus, you have a point, but I'd like to know what they brought to Lost Odyssey considering the quality of their since is much lower.
And look at Spark's track record... It's not just poor, it's abysmal. The fact that it's a zombie spin-off of Ninja Gaiden is no greatness of concept and. I won't write it off completely, but I have very little hope for it.

As for The Mighty No. 9, it has promise, I'll give you that. But he keeps talking about how the Japanese industry is falling behind - how is, effectively, remaking a 25 year old game going to solve that issue? It promises unique mechanics, sure, and the talent behind it pretty much assures quality, but that ain't enough.

World, you could be on to something with that, but smaller budgets usually mean bigger creativity and I haven't seen that from Inafune.

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Banky A
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 6:41:44 AM
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well i just platinum'd Soul Sacrifice three hours ago so you can be as critical as you want inafune - for now..

even though the game isn't The greatest Offering japan could've given to the vita.

get it lol

Last edited by Banky A on 9/2/2013 6:42:15 AM

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PlatformGamerNZ
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 6:58:51 AM
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i think they definitely need a rethink of current stuff or some nice new IP's/series's to reinvigurate their business

happy gaming =)

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Kiryu
Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 1:02:05 PM
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Inafune i respect you for making great games like Onimusha 3 but can you shut the hell up about japanese games not doing well,as far as i know,Yakuza Ishin, Final Fantasy XV and Metal Gear solid V are all Japanese AAA Games which are going to be epic. I respected games only games from Naughty Dog from NA on PS3 generation.

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ricksterj
Thursday, September 05, 2013 @ 12:21:05 PM
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Japanese gaming had things correct initially but then Western (N. America) tastes said "this is good BUT we'd like things our way" and Japan complied here and there bringing things to where gaming is now.

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clue
Thursday, September 05, 2013 @ 12:53:18 PM
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Ben you should update that value, mighty no 9 is at 1,630,000 now

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zard
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 9:43:12 AM
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I feel the secret lies not in Japan evolving to meet western standards but in doing what Japan always does best, why we all fell in love with them. JRPGs. Turn based battle systems, and strategy!! Japan has always been about taking something and making it theirs and they just need to get back to their roots! Remember what people liked about their games when they were the cutting edge and go back to that! Raise your hands if you miss good ol turn based battle systems and gut wrenching stories! *raises hand*

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