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Kojima: Japanese Devs "Lack Motivation And Passion"

When Hideo Kojima speaks, people generally listen. And as a well-known perfectionist, he's just sick and tired of working with game makers who have "no motivation."

While some publishers and developers have been vocal about the declining state of the Japanese gaming industry, Kojima hasn't said much on the subject...until now. He has been talking a lot about the pressing topic at his Twitter account (as summarized at GamerZines), and the Metal Gear Solid creator says these days, the problem is that Japanese devs are "lacking the motivation" to succeed. On the flip side, he believes Western studios have the "focus, ambition and ability" to realize their visions. He was actually inspired to talk about the subject after watching a TV show about foreign exchange students studying Manga at Kyoto Seika University. He refers to one US girl who is clearly into Manga and wants to learn everything about it, apparently in contrast to those around her; this led Kojima to say:

"The Game Industry is very similar. The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing. The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true. So it is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing, we are lacking the motivation."

Kojima also notes that fewer Japanese students are seeking to expand their studies abroad, with less and less attending prestigious institutions like Harvard or MIT. "The engineering population in Japan may be in jeopardy," he says. He says that lately, he's come to believe that "highly motivated foreigners" working with "highly motivated individuals is the only way to move forward." And in the end, he's "tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion."

"Time is used differently between people who have and don't have motivation. They are willing to learn and study on their own. Saying you don't have time because of work, using work as an excuse, will not help you grow. Creating abilities, at it's core, is reliant on your love for the creation."

Well, the master has spoken. Now what say you?

Tags: kojima, japanese games, hideo kojima

7/9/2010 10:47:04 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (53 posts)

Highlander
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:04:54 AM
Reply

LOL, his comments could have been made by an American engineer about the state of America. I hear people all the time decrying American engineering students as just not 'wanting it' as much as students from abroad. Those same people often talk of the decline of American engineering. I hear it in software circles too, not games developers, but others.

I think that some of the demotivation in the Japanese industry is self inflicted. comments by some Japanese companies have left me thinking that they really have no confidence in themselves, and that can not be motivational at all.

I think I can understand his point of view, hopefully they are going through a cycle of renewal where renewed interest is born of the current apathy?

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Akuma07
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:45:07 AM

The Japanese once hired americans to train their military did they not?

These same people who were once some of the most skilled warriors in the entire world.

They are doing it again now (LOL) with games of course, they are hiring Western help to make their games better, when they dont realise, they already have the talent to succeed. GOD they have been doing it for decades!!

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johnld
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 9:03:16 PM

i graduated as a mechanical engineer 2 years ago. what pisses me off or demotivate me is that there are no jobs available for entry level engineers. all the job posting i have seen always wanted at least 2 years of engineering experience. They dont even count the time you spent (5years) in the engineering curriculum/college. Sure there were internships but being a full time college student kept me in school from 8am to 12midnight, monday to saturday,most of the time.

Why cant they promote someone in the company and hire entry level guys. that way, they can mold that employee the way they want so that they fit into the company.

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Highlander
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 9:05:16 PM

Well, in the world of Tech, that happens because it's still cheaper for companies to play the H1-B visa game and hire someone from overseas.

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 1:01:51 AM

Finally, He spoke our pleads (tears)

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manofchao5
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 2:26:58 PM

wow, imagine if kojima worked with square enix, the fans would no longer be waiting for the FF7 remake because he would organize the whole team

Last edited by manofchao5 on 7/10/2010 2:29:44 PM

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Karosso
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:07:59 AM
Reply

Please let $quare, Crapcom and other Japanese developers read this and understand why they are failing this generation.
Thank you master Kojima!

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Jawknee
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:10:52 AM
Reply

YES!!!!!!!!

This is why he continues to wow gamers across the globe while his counterparts sink like the titanic.

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Akuma07
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:39:31 AM

Exactly.

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Natalisrubbish
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 10:22:17 AM

@jawk
Fully agree, one has to wonder what the gaming world would be like without hideo. A sad one for sure, he is one of the gaming voices of reason.

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Qubex
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:12:06 AM
Reply

He is absolutely right... one can't use excuses... unless in a real life and death situation... if you want to achieve something badly enough, make the time - go out and achieve it... it's that simple... (with some semblance of talent of course)...

Developers should sit up and take notice...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 7/9/2010 11:13:01 AM

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Akuma07
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:43:14 AM

Excuses are bullsh**.

Reasons are truth.

That is the difference, there are always reasons for things, an action, is always followed by a reaction.

An excuse, is just bullshit, its what you tell yourself and everyone else to make yourself believe it is the reason, but it is not.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/9/2010 12:04:00 PM

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WolfCrimson
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:12:49 AM
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Glad you finally changed the pic, Ben.

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hellish_devil
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:27:01 AM
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Damn japanese, learn from the master Kojima. It's time for you to open your eyes... literally

Last edited by hellish_devil on 7/9/2010 11:28:48 AM

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Nynja
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:31:31 AM
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Amen.

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Steel
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:33:29 AM
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Well as much as I personally wanted to verbally slap wada and square, I think it pleases me even more that Kojima pretty much did it himself.

-Steel

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Akuma07
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:41:39 AM
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Hideo Kojima deserves a Nobel Prize.

He is the best Video game creator of all time, he is an inspiration to every gamer and the like around the word.

He is exactly right, and it is brilliant to finally see a Japanese developer that isnt making excuses.
Thats all they do, make excuses for why they arent selling as much, when the truth is, they are trying to be something they are not, Western will always be Western, Japan will always be Japan, stick to what your good at, imrpove it, but do not attempt to change it entirely.

Japanese developers be warned, the future is Hideo.

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Scarecrow
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:46:06 AM
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I don't know, I actually don't think I can agree with him

As Highlander points out, it's also a problem in America.

But I agree on the "passion" statement. If they really want to make an amazing game, they'll make it.

The problem I see is companies like Squeeeenix and Capcom forcing their dev teams to "Westernize their games."

^That would really demotivate me if I were Japanese.

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Akuma07
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:50:20 AM

They have just fooled themselves into thinking that the Japanese style of making games isnt working anymore, and that they need to "Westernize"

Its the end of the samurai age alllllllllllll over again.

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Highlander
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:52:20 AM

Don't sell Kojima short here. What I take from his comments is that he thinks that Japanese developers should widen their life experience so that they can break out of the stagnation that grips their industry. I don't think he is saying that they should become more western. I think he is saying that they should revitalize their own hunger and passion by looking outward, instead of constantly contemplating their navel.


Last edited by Highlander on 7/9/2010 11:52:34 AM

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Jawknee
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 12:06:56 PM

That's what i took from his comments too Highlander.

He wants Japanese companies to find their passion again so they can make good Japanese games again.

Contrast Kojima with Wada and the point is that much more clear.

For me anyway.

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Steel
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:54:58 AM
Reply

^ Bingo.

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main_event05
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:58:36 AM
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Kojima for World Dictator!!

But seriously, I think this man is going to single handedly save the Japanese gaming industry. How great would it be if he pulled some Big Boss type moves and took over SE? I'd be pretty damn great.

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Jawknee
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 12:07:45 PM

Errr...how about just Japanese gaming Dictator.

;)

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:48:59 AM

This guy needs our help!

Lets support Kojima as Gamers!!


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Naga
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:46:49 PM

Konami too?

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DeathOfChaos
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 12:22:01 PM
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Kojima knbows what he's talking about. Sitting down and talking to Kojima would feel muc more enlighting than sitting down and talking to Wada, lol.

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main_event05
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 12:59:57 PM

They should have a contest. Give them identical basic plot lines, let them make their own characters, and stuff have have them make a game out of it.

whose would be better?

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johnld
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 9:06:07 PM

how is that a contest? wada cant to anything but make idiotic comments. "these plotline isnt western enough.

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:56:06 AM

It'll be landslide :)

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DjEezzy
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 1:40:36 PM
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Kojima is a great developer but he isn't the GREATEST. I think people should stop riding him so hard. He's made plenty of crappy games too.
I do think he's absolutely right about this situation though. It's good that he can call it like he sees it.

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Kangasfwa
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 5:04:21 PM

What is this crap you refer too?

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Swavey
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 7:59:50 PM

I too would like to know what these "crappy games" are. please, do tell.

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:54:20 AM

He may have made some crappy games, (I wonder if there are any) but thats how he made it here.
Did failures stop hip from achieving that? No, because he respects his principles, his passion and also us gamers.

Because thats a man who follows his dreams...






Last edited by Vitron on 7/10/2010 12:59:50 AM

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Deleted User
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 2:31:33 PM
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It's good to see somebody being truthful like Kojima and not lie or spout out BS like Wada.

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Ultimate_Balla
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 2:51:43 PM
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Howas Street Fighter 'Westernized'? ('-').

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airwedge1
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 3:30:27 PM
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I'm a developer. When I do something new, i'll work hard, but get bored really easily. There are so many high level tools that are suppose to increase productivity in general software development and I am sure in game developing as well, and those tools are fun for a little while, but then get very monotonous. Maybe game developers are doing a ton of monotonous work and get bored, and then lose motivation.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 4:15:04 PM
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The whole damn world lacks motivation and passion. The lassitude is just greater in some places. Reminds me of my short story 'Misery' (shameless self-plug, even if it hasn't been published, it's on my myspace page... ugh). But no, I agree with airwedge1. When you focus on one thing for too long, that thing really does start to become very boring. And that I think is the major problem for Japanese developers. Their entire careers have focussed primarily on a single type of game, at the expense of their motivation.

What I propose for them to do, is to take all of them, and put them to work on some grand shooter title, while transferring some Western devs to Japan. Once those games are done, transfer them back and maybe just maybe we'll get something relatively fresh. As long as it isn't tainted by the shooter experience. Maybe I'm talking out of my ass as usual...

Either way, my cast iron excuse: "It seemed like a good idea at the time." It works.
Peace.

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Steel
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 5:20:52 PM
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I would be interested in hearing what this "Crap" is that Dj is discussing. I am not flaming; I am truly curious.

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fstop
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 5:21:36 PM
Reply

This man is a genius!
That is all.

Last edited by fstop on 7/9/2010 5:21:53 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 5:30:03 PM
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He is missing the point, the problem is that Japanese Devs don't have the drive and ambition to create Japanese products, they have no confidence in their own model of games. Like his example shows, westerners still love Japanese made stuff. JRPGs are dying, what's next? Anime altogether?

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Scarecrow
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 7:15:07 PM

^Correct

That's what I'm saying

Japanese companies are AFRAID that we don't like their Japanese games anymore.

So now they're hiring every European game dev they can.

Case in point Namco-Bandai hiring Ninja Theory (Europe)

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Douchebaguette
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 6:20:15 PM
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The last sentence has just given me a wake up call boost. Time to get off my ass and train.


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kraygen
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 8:13:19 PM
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I think Kojima just slapped the Japanes devs in the face and yelled "WAKE UP!"

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:50:47 AM

I hope SE and Capcom is reading this.

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DjEezzy
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 8:43:52 PM
Reply

Wow, by the way you all have reacted you would think i would have slandered your mother or family or somethin. Relax... Count to 10... I didnt meant to offend anyone. It's not like any of you have ever met the guy. It's all subjective and opinion driven anyways. Maybe its just me but i find it hard to idolize someone i've never met. Anyways, i've had my laugh for the day. The list is below. Its not huge by any means. So chill out... Everything is ok...
Snatchers CD-ROMantic, Policenauts, ZOE in my opinion are far from great(at least the ones after the first one), Stock Trading Trainer,LOL and lets not forget all the dating sims he did. Most of the Gameboy Advanced games. I can't remember their names though. "B" something. I'm not saying he's not great. In fact,as of lately everything he's come out with is an absolute must play. I'm just saying that he's not the greatest and some people need to get off his N***. No offense. But it seems as if he's got a Steve Jobs thing going on. Like everyone worships anything he touches and the ground that he walks on.
Another thing that's kind of stupid is people are automatically dismissing Metal Gear Rising because Kojima-san didn't direct it. I call bulls***. These guys are his protege's. He's their mentor. He's not the only talented developer on earth! It's probably going to be awesome execept in a different way.

Last edited by DjEezzy on 7/9/2010 9:01:33 PM

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BigBoss4ever
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 9:57:16 PM
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Kojima should advocate in Japan video game industry to get rid of Wada in SE, and seek to merge Square Enix into Kojima production, and then be the leader of his own Kojima production and Square at the same time, and keep inspiring the gaming world.

Squeeeex is the typical example of what he described, and their games lately has no passion whatsoever, and their head has nothing in him but greed, global greed.

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Alienange
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 11:22:41 PM
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Kojima is right on the money about this. Regardless of WHY many are lacking motivation, he's still right when he's saying people today who are simply sitting at their jobs and are not motivated are a waste of space.

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Vitron
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 12:49:38 AM

Try adding confidence...

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___________
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 1:55:29 AM
Reply

i would not say lacking motivation, its that there getting greedy and wanting more more more its never enough!
$E changed FFXIII into a more action oriented game because they wanted it to sell more, and in doing so they effectively told their fans to f*ck off!

capcom are doing the same thing, look at bionic commando how did that turn out?
there shifting there well known IPs to western developers and keeping only new IPs internal.

well thats fine capcom and $E if that is how you say thank you for buying our games and constantly supporting us than im not buying anymore of your games.
it takes 2 to tango baby!!!!!!!!!!

Last edited by ___________ on 7/10/2010 1:55:50 AM

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RebelExtrm02
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 4:45:59 PM
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All developers are lazy anymore.

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THE NTMIDTR
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 5:05:16 PM
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LOL, This storyline is getting old... see my older posts on this topic. Sums it up, and looks as though Kojima (whom I referenced in the original) may feel the same way!

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THE NTMIDTR
Saturday, July 10, 2010 @ 5:41:50 PM

I had time to kill... Here is my original post:

(pulled from Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 11:02:43 PM Capcom story)

I'm calling BS on this guy...

1st: Nintendo still based in Japan?

2nd: Perhaps Capcom doesn't understand that a lot of great games the "West" has come to love were MIJ.

3rd: 2 words... TEAM ICO

Maybe this moron doesn't know how he and his company will make the future games from Japan for any audience... but I seriously doubt the rest of the Japanese devs share his anxiety... is Kojima up at night worrying? Doesn't Street Fighter sell a ton of games?

RE5 was a flop compared to the brilliance of RE4... the customer is becoming more educated and discerning... games are not as cheap as they once were so shovelware BEWARE! He sounds as though he wants a "bailout" instead of buckling down and making a good game! If he doesn't have the desire or drive that Naughty Dog had for UC1&2 then he should be looking for a new career. Boo effin' hoo! Shut up and get to work... get an idea, hire the talent to bring it to life... problem solved. What a chump! Who put a microphone in his hand?

<steps down off of soapbox>
It needed to be said... I apologize If I offended anyone.

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