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Wada Proposes "Japan Alliance"

By now, it has become relatively clear to all that Western developers and publishers are starting to eclipse the traditional Japanese juggernauts. And it's not like Japan isn't aware of the shift, either; publishers like Square-Enix are continually trying to appeal more to Western gamers.

However, they're still falling behind. According to Kotaku, Square-Enix boss Yoichi Wada spoke about his country's lagging at the Tokyo Game Show and then he elaborated in a Nikkei Business article. He calls the current Japanese gaming industry a "crisis," primarily due to Western game companies having more capital and resources than their Japanese competition. Hence, he proposes "some sort of 'Japan Alliance,'" which would force smaller companies to realign and come under one banner. Obviously, Wada wants them to retain their individual identities, but perhaps in order to compete, it's time to unite in a common goal. "Individuality is important," said Wada. "It's not forcing everything into a single corporate brand. The ideal is a holding company under which several companies and brands can hang." Tecmo and Koei recently merged forces, but this would only be the tip of the iceberg if a "Japan Alliance" ever formed.

The question is, would it ultimately be good for gamers to have the big Japanese publishers like Square-Enix, Capcom, and Nintendo snap up the smaller developers and put them under their umbrella? The goal is more capital to work with, which would allow them to create bigger and more competitive titles, but would it work? Well, this is a classic "wait-and-see" thing, so...

10/22/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

snglbck26
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:20:38 AM
Reply

I believe this is done quite often in the US with larger companies financially supporting(not sure if they're necessarily buying) smaller developers. The relationship Infinity Ward has with Activision I believe is one that comes to mind. I'm sure there are many others.

As long as these smaller companies have the breathing room to be creative and aren't denied this creativity I think it could be a very good thing for gamers.

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Shatterday
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 12:55:59 PM
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I think it's a wonderful idea if it actually turned out as intended. While it would give resources to smaller companies and enable them to put more into production of quality titles, I think that it may not work that well when some of the "juggernauts" like Square-Enix haven't put out a decent game since FF9 in my opinion.

I'm not saying 9 was my favorite, just that I liked it and thought that it was better than 10, 10-2, 12, dragonquest... blah blah blah.

Although Legend of Dragoon beats all of them.

I got off track. Good day!

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 12:57:05 PM
Reply

Hey Ben, great to see you're still coming up with really engaging articles.

Just had to sign in and comment 'bout this.

This is just not some "comments," this is a big proposition Square-Enix's boss is proposing...

This would mean that the bigger companies might start having way too much influence on the smaller companies(since they're all going to be responsible for making back expenses).

BUT I do like the fact that they're noticing how a large majority of Japanese games aren't appealing to North American and European crowds. There are many things I notice in Japanese games, one is that the kinds of characters they're creating are "stuck" in this "pretty characters" phase. Where even male characters look like females. It's the bishounen crap. I know it's a cultural thing over there, but in the US we like badass characters over cutesy/wimp characters. We're not all like that of course, but I think Japanese games need to start adding more creativity to their games. For some reason many of their games are starting to look too uniform(specially the rpgs)

In design, how is The Last Remnant much different than any other Final Fantasy(or any other rpg for that matter?)

The Japanese need to look back at the things they did in the great Playstation1 years and add as much variety(in design) to their games.

This is also a problem American Devs will face in the near future. All the games are war/gun games, this will surely catch up to them.

Life's a balance, the Japanese just need to stop
making games which are too similar too each other.

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www
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:28:40 PM

Yeah,one of those Japanese Execs said it! is it Yoshi Wada or Hirai or Kibashi or Kutaragi or Mishima or Jinpachi or some other SHI! admitted Japanese characters all look alike,but it's not a bad thing.

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LightShow
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:42:54 PM

whenever i think of girly looking game characters, i think of FFII

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karneli lll
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 1:41:27 PM
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The japs got overconfident,to the extent that we have to wait months for an english release.they underestimated their competition. As for the alliance,i dont see that working out.

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www
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:21:41 PM

RIGHT!

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Alienange
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7:01:47 PM

You friggin' said it! They want western dollars? Make your games in English right out the door! Talk about lost opportunity. Hire a translator for crying out loud!

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www
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:23:33 PM
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For Rpg's n Fighting games,Japan is the best.
For any other game it's the West,where Bioshock Ben n the rest live.

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Alienange
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7:02:34 PM

LoL @ Bioshock Ben comment

Last edited by Alienange on 10/22/2008 7:02:53 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:57:30 PM
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If you like anime then you have no problem with all the characters looking the same except for the unique hairdos. I might even go so far as to say that westernization of Japanese titles is what is killing them. The death of turn-based, the integration of shooting with swordfighting, isn't that when things started to go wrong? If they want to westernize outside of RPGs that's fine, but we will never see an RPG with the fun factor of those in the PS1 if they don't get back to their roots. As far as an alliance goes I think SquareEnix just wants to rule the entire world.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 3:18:47 PM

I LOVE anime....
But still, in animes you can still see a lot of varieties.

In many of these rpg games it's really hard to find a lot of variety.

Even anime is having its problems, but animes are mostly based on female protagonists so that's why I don't have much a problem haha. For some reason there's more variety in female characters than in male characters in Japan for some reason....

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Joe_III
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 4:32:09 PM
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I think the larger issue here is that the japdevs largely ignored the american market at the beginning, not realizing the juggernaut that is the american consumer. All these great games of yore that never made it over here, like most of the FF series or Sakura Taisen. If they had released games as steadily as they do now back in the days of the NES thru the saturn, western devs would have a lot more in the way of competition and a lot less capital to spend on production today.

One thing that would be very cool imho would be to release more japanese games here now. All the cool adult themed games could make for an excellent market -- especially games for the DS/PSP. Because quite frankly, I'm getting tired of playing games geared towards minors (which just about every game of every rating is) on my 4 hours of public transportation commuting every day.

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Jed
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7:39:04 PM
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this is exactly why ff13 will be on 360

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BigT_1980
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 10:50:42 PM
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I think this is a good idea. If the smaller development teams merge with larger publishers they would be able to have larger budgets to be able to create IP's the they way they were intended to be. Look at EA for example, they have been creating for really good IP's as of late as and I would say it is because the smaller development teams merged with EA. Having EA publish their IP's gives them the financial backing they need.

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