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Payton: Japan "Disinterested In Next-Gen Gaming"

For years, everyone identified Japan as the hub of the video game industry, and while that may remain true in terms of sheer ratios and numbers, industry insiders seem to be accepting the fact the primary focus on game development seems to be in gradual shift mode. Where? To the U.S., of course.

Kotaku sat down to talk with Ryan Payton, fresh off his gig with Kojima Productions and now home in North America once more. He spoke a lot about the differences in Japan and the U.S. in terms of gaming these days, and how - in some ways - the Japanese just don't feel like moving forward.

"The Japanese public seems to be disinterested in next-gen and high definition gaming. There is a stigma still attached to western technology there. There have been a lot of good mainstream games built for the Japanese Xbox 360. But they only sold a small number of copies. I think that kind of drained a lot of expectations.'s not about the tech in Japan, it's about the games, it's about nostalgia."

As for one Japanese developer that appears to have embraced the new generation and everything it provides in terms of technical capability, Payton singled out Team Ninja. They're responsible for the high-quality and high-tech Ninja Gaiden titles, and Payton hinted that he likes the idea of Square-Enix nabbing Tecmo; the marriage could prompt something very special. Payton is still looking around for his next position, but he just wants to "go wherever we can make a big massive game." That makes sense, considering he just came from making Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

But in the end, what Payton says is certainly true. Many developers have noticed the power shift going on, and that the Japanese gaming public aren't quite as drawn to technical accomplishments. But eventually, everything is going to come together - just an opinion - because the industry becomes more and more global every day. The future is bright, regardless of who's making the best games.

9/1/2008 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (10 posts)

Monday, September 01, 2008 @ 9:57:32 PM

Just want to say I hate Kotaku. Never ever liked them.

Payton is awesome tho'. Because of him we expereinced MGS IV at its very best.

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Monday, September 01, 2008 @ 10:49:21 PM

I think the credit actually goes to Hideo. And about Japanese interest in gaming: Not so much about nostalgia vs next-gen, more like abstract quircky style vs traditional mainstream style. But I agree with Payton on Team Ninja. Their ambitious push on tech was hardly acknowledged by mass consumers on both sides of the oceans.

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Monday, September 01, 2008 @ 11:09:27 PM

Um.. we get most of our "western" technology from Japan ol'Ry Ry.

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Monday, September 01, 2008 @ 11:12:49 PM

I'm hating the fact that American made games and Japanese games are looking more and more similar each day. You just have to look at the new Silent Hill coming out to see this. The trailer is A JOKE compared to previous Silent Hill trailers. WTF has the atmosphere gone? American horror isn't scary. Sorry, but the Japanese are kings when it comes to this. No-one gives a crap about combat in Silent Hill, so why has it been made a priority? Do American developers think that will have to kill something every 3 seconds? And Star Ocean going to XBox... it seems the Japanese companies are being forced to produce games that appeal to the American public to turn a profit. It seems sad that no-ones buying these games anymore. Hey, great, don't worry about it, lets all go play an "original" futuristic FPS, like Halo 3. You've said it before Ben, and you couldn't be more right, the days of traditional J-RPGs are almost up. :(

Last edited by AntDC on 9/1/2008 11:14:02 PM

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008 @ 11:31:58 PM

Of course it's my opinion, as everyones comments on here are made up of opinion lol.
Sorry, when writing that comment, I was a bit confusing. What I was trying to say was that I'm cut that this is happening because I have little to no interest in a lot of American made games. Not because I think they are of bad quality or anything, just because I don't I don't find them very original, therefore I get bored quickly. To me, every Japanese RPG seems so fresh and different, and that's why I like them. Of everyone has a different opinion on that, but that's my opinion anyway. Haha I certainly hope they don't ffgamera, but its starting to look more and more like that.

Last edited by AntDC on 9/3/2008 11:33:11 PM

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Monday, September 01, 2008 @ 11:31:32 PM

hideo did think it up. but im gonna go with all the japanese ppl i watched it role through the credits their had to be 2,000 or more of them and i seen hideos name like 5 times.. cmon the credit is split 500 ways .... Thank You Japanese People who work for less than us!!!

and i realize hideo is japanese haha i do think he deserves his name mentioned more often but i would like to see some of the developers and designers more often. Btw thats what my future career might be =Þ

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008 @ 4:54:24 AM

Sadly, or not depending on how you look at it lol, I've been gravitating to same decision as they have. Seems a lot of games in the past few years have concentrated on looking as great as it can and forgetting to add depth along with it. Now the current formula in U.S. games seems to be,''Oh you want to progress? Well shoot this first. Crap it's dead. Ok, have another.'' More and more games, over here, are turning action only. Which could explain why the RPG is so scarce this generation. Just my opinion.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008 @ 6:37:44 AM

as far as technical accomplishments go, im always gonna love getting those "wow..." moments. like when i first played Ratchet and Clank Future and the screen panned out into a highly detailed metropolis, or my first drive through Paradise City. There's more to a game than the initial "wow", but if you deliver a solid game on top of the beginning awe, people are gonna get hooked.

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Tim Speed24
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 @ 10:17:17 AM

Very well said Lightshow.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008 @ 7:13:07 PM

Sounds like good news on some fronts: Western fan service on the way, fewer fanboys that are "experts on Japan" and most importantly of all, Microsoft will have dumped countless Millions of Dollars down a bottomless pit in their attempt to gain the Japanese market by stealing RPGs and other exclusives.

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