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Capcom On Japan's Industry: "We Can't Rely On Our Own Skill"

It's a very dark - albeit common - theme in the Japanese gaming press as of late: the Japanese side of the business seems to be slipping away.

And Capcom's Keiji Inafune has proven to be one of the more paranoid, typically predicting doom and gloom if things continue as they are. In speaking to VideoGamer at E3 last week, the Mega Man and Dead Rising creator said the Japanese gaming industry will "disappear totally." He says that every year he comes to E3, the Japanese contingent gets smaller, and that "if you look at the major titles, they're now primarily Western." Furthermore, looking down the road, "a lot of the key announcements are also Western titles." This echoes Inafune's comments after last year's Tokyo Game Show, where he said quite simply, "Man, Japan is over. We're done. Our game industry is finished." During E3, he added:

"I think to myself sometimes, if we keep on this course, the Japanese gaming market will disappear totally. That is one of the valid concerns that I have, which is why as a Japanese publisher, as Capcom, we really want to fight the good fight, and try and make our games work within this more primarily Western market."

Still, Inafune wants to keep kicking, as Capcom plans to collaborate with the Western side with titles such as Dead Rising 2, which is in development at Canadian studio Blue Castle Games. Said Inafune:

"We can't just rely on our own skill, our own Japanese developer skill and know-how, to steer us through this dark time. It's going to have to come through collaborative efforts and co-operation. It's our US staff, our European staff, working closely with them. Of course we are working with a lot of different Western developers as well."

Capcom is hardly the only company to take this business line. Square-Enix has been well-known for catering to an entirely new audience this generation; they've picked up Eidos, opened a studio in LA, and even put their flagship franchise on the Xbox 360. And that's hardly the only example of a Japanese developer desperately trying to appeal to the Western crowd...we're just wondering why they have to do it while alienating their long-time fans in and out of Japan. They must honestly believe all those fans are gone...

Tags: game industry, western, japanese

6/22/2010 10:35:21 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (52 posts)

CHAOS THEORY X
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 10:57:40 AM
Reply

:.(

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Vitron
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:28:52 PM

>:[

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frostface
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 10:58:49 AM
Reply

Why is it so hard to cater for both Japanese and Western audiences? With the Japanese games, westerners play them too, the sales will still be there. So really I'm asking 'Why?'

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godsman
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:45:45 AM

The problem is probably not enough Westerners to play Japanese style games. Even big games like MGS4 did not sell as much as in the PS2 days. So the production costs go up, but sales start sliding in the next gen.

Now imagine companies or departments in Capcom that are smaller. Japanese companies that are at the edge of profit in the PS2 age, now moving onto PS3. Companies couldn't afford to rack up AAA titles every year. It also doesn't help to get hit by such economy, and the hardcore market split in half between PS3 and Xbox.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 10:26:58 PM

@Godsman, the point is that games that are profitable within Japan could sell well enough in the west to justify at least a subtitled releas here. RPGs are particularly popular in the west. but instead of maximizing their market, Japanese developers appear to be full of self doubt, self loathing and an insane belief that if they cater to western tastes all will be well.

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coverton341
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 10:59:59 AM
Reply

I don't get this in the slightest.

Sure gaming has become more mainstream, meaning that there is going to be a larger and more diverse crowd of gamers, but that does not mean that the original gamers and fans are gone. It simply means that there are more people playing more types of games.

Just because your percentage becomes smaller does not mean that your sector of the industry is not wanted or even needed, because it is; it is very much wanted by the original fans and it is very much needed by the industry as a whole. If all publishers decided to start making "Western" games then we lose an entire sector which will in turn, turn some gamers off. I know I personally am just a little bit irritated at being catered to by a sector that I used to look to for a wholly different experience than I could receive from Western developers. Now from the Japanese developers it seems like I get the same old same that I can get from any other dev.

That is what is going to kill the Japanese market if anything does; the thought that they have to emulate the west.

WE HAVE A WESTERN MARKET. Time and time again I and many others on this site have stated it. We have western developers, we still need and want Japanese developers.

Sigh and end rant.

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:43:17 AM

Thank you. It seems that we (western gamers) get it but these Japanese Devs don't.

Atlus and Level 5, keep doing what you're doing. I think these power house devs need to study their past, understand where they went astray and become grounded toward what it was that made them so beloved in the first place.

Namco Bandai , Square enix. Stop signing stupid exclusitivity contracts with MS and instead do it with Sony and SEE what happens.

-fin

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godsman
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:53:49 AM

@shadowscorpio

I think Namco's Tales group is still losing money. That's probably why they initially signed the Tales of Vesperia exclusivity deal with Xbox, then rack up the remainder from PS3. As a PS3 owner, I hate this, but I start to understand that it was the best business deal considering the company is losing money.

As for Square Enix, they are just an @$$. End of story.

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shadowpal2
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 4:33:09 PM

Completely agree Coverton...they need to keep on doing what they were doing - not change anything.

Listen, games don't need intense graphics and try to have the best graphics of all time. Games don't really need an unbelievable shocking amazing storyline like what Kojima san or Nagoshi san constantly gives out.

Although it would be nice with those kinds of factors to it - gamers care about one thing...and one thing only. IS IT FUN TO PLAY!?!?!

I can get my story from reading a book...I can get my beautiful graphics in CGI films! I can get all of that kind of stuff in movies. The gaming industry and especially the Japanese gaming industry just needs to keep pumping out one thing and one thing only: A DAMN FUN GAME!

Many of us love Japanese games and will continue to love Japanese games.

Nearly 90% of all of us love:

Metal Gear Solid
Yakuza
Final Fantasy
Kingdom Hearts
Resident Evil
Devil May Cry

But let's be honest...we don't love them nearly as much as we did during the last generation of console gaming (SAVE FOR MGS, YAKUZA, & KINGDOM HEARTS).

So what does this mean? Well let's see...didn't the games DMC 4, RE 5, and FFXIII not do as well/and were not as classic as their predecessor? So STOP TRYING TO WESTERNIZE GAMES!! Stick to your culture...stick to what still sells!!!

I love the Ar Tonelico series, I love the Fatal Frame series, I love the Persona series, I love the MGS series, and I love the Ryu ga Gotoku series - PLEASE DON'T CHANGE THEM! Stick with your original DNA.

Consumers need variety in the market...NOT fully western games! I don't want another Killzone, I don't want another Mass Effect, I want Kingdom Hearts to be Kingdom Hearts...I want Final Fantasy to be Final Fantasy and I WANT MY BELOVED JAPANESE GAMES to 4EVER BE JAPANESE GAMES.

On a side note...I am actually a bit disappointed by Yakuza since it eliminated the hostess clubs! -_- But I'm glad since SEGA listened and put them back in Yakuza 4. There we go - that's some improvement!


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Scarecrow
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:25:38 AM
Reply

Hey Capcom, what 'bout Bionic Commando?

It was made by an European dev on your behalf and look at how it failed

Quality > Eastern/Western

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Vitron
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:23:00 PM

Yeah! Whatever he says!! >:(

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Oxvial
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:28:00 AM
Reply

Dead Rising a western game? I find it very japanese .

pfft they should start releasing japanese games only in the console that has a userbase that gives a fu** about those games , just look at namco they are in deep sh** for favoriting the 360 with tales of vesperia.


Last edited by Oxvial on 6/22/2010 11:31:38 AM

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godsman
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:05:12 PM

I find it funny how Japanese Developers "Westernize" their games.

Dead Rising: make the main character a white guy.
Quamtum Theory: Big guy with guns and gore.

But anyway I was looking at vgchartz for Namco's Tales sales. None really broke 1 million sales, which sounds about right. Tales of Vesperia, they managed to rack up 0.8 million Xbox/PS3. They have yet to release in US, so it should break 1 million. Their series did the best in sales they could. So I don't think they are in deep sh** for favoring 360.

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:35:08 AM
Reply

Capcom and Square Enix are just ridiculous. When these Japan developers were making "Japanese" games and localizing them here in the US over a decade ago people were biting.

This guy says the need to "compete" with the Western market but has it all wrong. Why does it seem like these Japanese game developers don't have any belief in their own cultural style anymore, when showing it to us lovers of the Japanese style?

DAMMIT!! If you want to compete, then compete with JAPANESE STYLE GAMES! And for heaven's, God's, Gamer's and YOUR sake LOCALIZE and ADVERTISE!

p.s. Seems like a little tricklet of the rumor that Namco Bandai may still localize Tales of Vesperia for PS3.

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DeathOfChaos
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:34:14 PM
Reply

I still don't get where they think making everything just like America is going to help them. It's a 'dark time' BECAUSE they're trying to cater towards the Western audience. They're losing their long time fans to people who don't give a sh** about them.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:41:15 PM
Reply

The thing I don't understand is what I was talking about concerning Square-Enix: they don't want to "expand;" they seem to want all new fans. How is that helping? If I were a Japanese gamer, I'd feel entirely betrayed by the entire industry.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:19:17 PM

Ben
<<<<<If I were a Japanese gamer, I'd feel entirely betrayed by the entire industry.>>>>

And I don't think that SE owns any mirrors, just because SE should feel the most betrayed, every single time it looks in one of it's own.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 6/22/2010 1:21:23 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:23:51 PM

I would feel betrayed too. And at the same time as a Western gamer i feel insulted that Capcom assumes all we want is crap like Dead Rising, Dark Void etc..

I called it when Capcom announced their "western partnership" with MS. I said their games would start to suck and well.....

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:48:24 PM

I'm an American gamer and I feel betrayed.

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Nlayer
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 9:32:03 PM

Well, has anyone ever considered 'asking' some Japanese gamers what their opinion are? I never see any polls or news about what they think. I only hear about what us Westerners think. I could probably find something if I looked hard for it, but the sites I normally go to don't ever do any Polls/News on Japanese gamers. Maybe they actually buy Western games more nowadays? I doubt it.. But maybe PSX should ask some people in Japan! :D

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Vitron
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:25:19 PM

Ironic: They doubt their early success...

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kraygen
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:44:48 PM
Reply

Maybe they'd be selling more games if they were doing their own thing and would stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.

I want real japanese games, not imitations of western games. I don't like half the western games that come out anyway, so imitating them is only going to mean that I have less games to buy, imitation is never as good as the real thing, see where that leaves me.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:49:21 PM

fark yeah

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enjoi
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:49:22 PM
Reply

Bad games don't sell. There are tons of western games that don't break 1million in sales. Do they believe that every western game sells GTA type numbers? Stop making mediocre games, stop making 360 exclusive jrpgs, stop trying to cater to western tastes, and please get better voice actors.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 12:56:18 PM
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This idea that it's only a Western audience is a myth. I'm sure the percentage of the market is shifting, but that's only because there's more volume. Additionally, what do these new gamers have to interest them in the Japanese market? They have all the same fans they used to. The only reason it's not growing, is because they aren't producing! How can Japanese dev's possibly expect to attract a portion of the market when they aren't producing Japanese games?

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ro kurorai
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:09:49 PM
Reply

Guess the mentioned Japanese devs/publishers simply lost sight of/forgot why their games were popular to begin with. They were popular because they were distinctly Japanese.

Now the first thing a major Japanese publisher/dev sees is how well western games on 360 sell.

They wanna have a slice of the pie and sign some stupid exclusivity contract with MS and westernize their games to appeal to the 360 crowd.

That way they're alienating us, the loyal fans who love(d) their games because they are (were) Japanese and not western.
As the Japanese market is comparatively small they don't care about appealing to them anymore but rather focus on Western gamers.

The results are mediocre games without any identity that sell in moderation. Then the Japanese publishers/devs bi*** about a plummeting "Japanese game market" whereas their games ain't Japanese no more.

A shame those guys never read comments on community pages or they simply don't wanna understand.

I just hope the Japanese game market will recover and start making games with a true Japanese identity, the ones fans loved because they were Japanese.

Still not losing hope that last Guardian and FFvXII can demonstrate that Japanese games can appeal to both Japanese gamers and westerners alike for what they are and not for what they wanna imitate.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:13:57 PM
Reply

Really Capcom? Because your Western games are steaming turds.

Their best games this gen are completely Japanese. TvC and SSFIV. Bionic Comando, Dark Void and Lost Planet are garbage.

With people like this guy and Wada in charge, no wonder top tier Japanese developers like Capcom and Square are becoming irrelevant. All they do is whine and pander to the Western shooter nuts.

Kojima still makes great games and complains less. Maybe they should take some advice from him.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:25:23 PM

TVC and SSFIV are Japanese games

You're right 'bout Bionic Commando and Dark Void (such a HORRIBLE game)

Last edited by Scarecrow on 6/22/2010 1:26:37 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:32:35 PM

I'm playing Peace Walker as i type this and i gotta say, there is nothing wrong with Japanese games when they are made right. The problem is Capcom and Square have forgotten who their audience is so instead of making quality Japanese stuff like Peace Walker, Tatsunoko vs Capcom and SSFFIV, we get these freak games that don't know what they are. RE5 is a good example. "am i Resident Evil or Gears??!! Oh god i don't know!"

Square and Capcoms's Doomsday will be of their own making. Ever since they ventured out on this Western Crusade, their games have becoming less interesting and bland.

Last edited by Jawknee on 6/22/2010 1:33:58 PM

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sticklife
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 3:55:05 PM

Man, I am loving peace walker... I wish more reviewers would revisit some old games after 6 months or so, lost planet 2 got a huge update I hear. Also, after a few more updates to modnation I think it will be great, it's already underrated.

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:44:01 PM
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I'm beginning to think corporation heads are delusional. I mean, honestly, people still want eastern style games. People still want that style and flair from games that you often don't get with games developed in America. What was successful n the past should remain to be successful today, only perhaps not on the same comparative scale.

For example: if there were 1 million people playing games in 1999 and 200,000 purchased FFVII, while 30million are playing today and 200,0000 purchase FFXIII, it should still be considered a success. Just because the overall userbase has grown does not mean that changing the formula will attract more consumer to your series. I know that I'm probably waay off base here and most will disagree with me, but that's the way I see it.

Peace.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:40:16 PM
Reply

They are dying out because they abandoned turn based games.

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Alienange
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:40:39 PM
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FFXIII is one of, if not THE worst FF game in the series. Despite that fact, it's a really fun game and it sold what? 5 million now? How about this Capcom? How about you make GOOD Japanese games? Even the worst in the series will sell like 'the madness.'

The Tales series took a serious downturn as did Star Ocean and it's cruddy combat system. Complaining about Western gamers isn't going to get you any money. Good games will get you not only money, but loyal fans who will be back to support you every time.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:44:59 PM
Reply

Japan developers have tons of mad skills, they just need to stop wasting those skills trying to emulate Western developers.

They just need to go no further than to talk to Atlus for one, in regards to their very own salvation.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 2:55:07 PM
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What they have to do is stop worrying about how Western games look. The best thing about a great japanese game is you don't care if it has Uncharted 2 quality graphics to appreciate them.

SE threw TOWNS out of a Final Fantasy because they couldn't make them gorgeus in HD. WKC did it just fine with decent graphics, but no, apparently we are all only superficial.

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JackC8
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 3:41:25 PM
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Other than Super Street Fighter 4, most of Capcom's recent titles haven't been very good. A simple Google search will net dozens of reviews spelling out the specific problems of each and every one. I guess these incredibly highly paid executives can't figure this stuff out though. Nope, blame it all on some quasi-mysterious thing like "not Western enough".

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 4:21:39 PM

I don't think they go on the internets and read.

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bridgera
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 6:19:42 PM

You hit the nail on the head.

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sticklife
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 3:50:45 PM
Reply

I think if Japanese devs make more handheld games that may help, didn't the gba/ds help keep Nintendo in the game while the gamecube wasn't doing so well? I would love to see a devil may cry for psp. =D

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A2K78
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 4:19:41 PM
Reply

Square and Capcoms's Doomsday will be of their own making. Ever since they ventured out on this Western Crusade, their games have becoming less interesting and bland.

This I cleary agree with

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Naztycuts
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 5:06:52 PM
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Wow I'm kind of wondering if they remember WHY Japanese games were the S! I mean come on! The original Resident Evil was awesome for a reason, if they weren't so intent on running the series into the ground making it into an action movie it could have been putting Dead Space to shame! The other thing I dont understand is why are they having such a hard time? Just stick to the formulas of the games that were successful and add new ideas that you couldnt put in due to hardware limitations before.

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just2skillf00l
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 5:36:56 PM
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Can anyone point out to me why Resident Evil 5 wasn't so good? I mean...I disliked it too but my reasons completely elude me. Was it the abandoning of Leon for Chris...what exactly was it? Honestly, Resident Evil 4 is hands-down my favorite Resident Evil game ever...because of some very limited access to previous titles and well simply put, 4 and 5 are the only ones...no I played an earlier one, I don't quite remember which but why was 5 so bad? Anybody?

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 5:45:21 PM
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They were probably influenced by games like GTA and CoD, these 2 franchise easily sell 10 million copies each series.

After 2 years in a row, a western game has set record for entertainment launch, of course the greed in some of the Japanese will boil......

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Wissam
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 6:07:21 PM
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Demon's souls is a very good example of the Japanese type games. and capcom needs to shut up because they are the last one that has the right to speak about the future of Japanese games.

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bridgera
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 6:18:23 PM
Reply

So that's what all the SE non-sense is about!

So rather than make good products, they are fearful that they will be annihilated by their competition.

Well, let's take Capcom and the Mega Man X series.

Mega Man X 1-3, good games, setup some story. X4, ok-ish. X5, hit and miss.

X6 & X7, universally reguarded as utter garbage. That's really the problem, releasing poorly translated trash that doesn't play well. It's no wonder why that series stopped.

Word to the wise Capcom, make crap games, and yes, your competition will annihilate you.

To Square Enix, pull your head out of your *ss and just listen to the fanbase you DO have, rather then have these "FPS elements" crap that you intend to have in FFXV.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 7:45:03 PM
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All hope is not lost!!!

I should be relieved that we still have Atlus and NIS.

These 2 are still making tons of PS3 exclusive and I believe they're making more than the likes of Namco, Capcom etc.

I know for sure I'll be supporting NIS a lot this gen, they got me as a fan the moment they released Disgaea last gen and this gen, I'm so looking forward to the likes of Trinity Universe and Atelier Rorona.

Last edited by Snaaaake on 6/22/2010 7:45:56 PM

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Vitron
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 11:25:57 PM

Lv5!!!



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fstop
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 9:22:41 PM
Reply

I've read pretty much all the comments (as I always do) and I feel there is not much more I can add that you guys haven't already said very, very well.
The only thing I have to add is Team ICO (or SCE Japan Studio) is a Japanese studio that has great ideas and sees them through...properly. They don't alienate their fans by looking at why Halo sells so much and then tries to implement what that dev team did. Their games don't sell as well as GTA or even Resistance but the fan following is immeasurable when it comes to ICO, SotC and now The Last Guardian.
There is a game out there for everyone Japanese or Western developed. People will buy them in droves.
As Naztycuts said; "Just stick to the formulas of the games that were successful and add new ideas that you couldn't put in due to hardware limitations before."
Well said, my friend. Well said.

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___________
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 4:11:40 AM
Reply

why not?
see this is what is destroying the industry today all publishers have just turned into greedy fucks!
i mean look at $E for example FXIII did not sell enough for them?
your kidding right!?

if i wanted a western styled game, i would buy a western styled game not a Japanese styled one!
what is it with developers these days and shooting for audiences they can not get?
if i want Chinese food ill go to a Chinese place.
if i want Italian food ill go to a Italian place.
so why do we have Asians trying to create western games?
i dunno if anyones tried a Chinese made pizza but they taste like sh*t!

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ZettaiSeigi
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 4:32:19 AM
Reply

While I have certainly given up on other Japanese developers (particularly Square-Enix), the opposite is true for Level-5. After reading this article, I headed over to IGN (yeah, don't ask) to see if there are any other PS3 news that hasn't been featured here yet.

To my very pleasant surprise, there's a news there that Level 5 is also making a PS3 version of the game where they are collaborating with Studio Ghibli. I only said "OMG!" after reading the news. I haven't really read everything about the game yet, but I am amazed at how much Level-5 is becoming the antithesis of Square-Enix nowadays. All hope is not yet lost!

Now Sony, please grab Level-5. I think they'll be worth every penny!

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DemonNeno
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 8:21:12 PM
Reply

Are you kidding me? Capcom hasn't put forth TRUE effort to ressurrect themselves since they've been a company. Here's are some ideas, Capcom..

Ghost & Ghouls, Breath of Fire, Mega Man, Final Fight and D&D.

You have absolute CLASSICS in your arsenal and all you've always cared about was SF. That's not my fault! That's not the consumers' fault, either. You pick your faith. You rode out SF through EVERY console I could think of EXCEPT the TurboGrafx (what was it called? "CD"? 3D? i can't remember) and tossed in typically 4 of them out there. Then, Puzzle Fighter.

GROW UP! You aren't even Japanese anymore, to me. You're STREET FIGHTER! Breath of Fire was a GREAT JRPG. Ghosts & Ghouls was dreadfully difficult, extremely different (from the levels to the liquid-like movement of your character who kept momentum to a stop when you left off your d-pad for realism) and VERY addictive! Where's that at? Where's my Final Fight? Why can't you make fighting game that involves a intriguing story? Like an actual storyline, not your pieced together, but acceptable, SF stuff. You know, where you play for the STORYLINE, not just to kick someones' ass.

Where are YOU at?! Smokin' a bunk-weed doob with S-E??!! I'm still willing to buy Japanese gaming. Bens' still willing to buy Jap games. I'm sure A LOT of people will buy them! You just have to make one worth a damn and truly CARE for it.

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Kevin5
Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 4:10:22 AM
Reply

Capcom have been whinging since when? Devil May Cry 2 being turd paint? Note to Capcom,
stop crying in the shadows & make me another Onimusha title. The lack of Onimusha love is disturbing & please lord ditch that thing you call a game, Lost Planet. That series with its horrid sequel won't rake you in $$$ or any respect that the few loyal Capcom fans have left for you.


Last edited by Kevin5 on 6/24/2010 4:11:01 AM

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