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Kojima Sounds Off On Japanese Vs. Western Development

If all of gaming came together into one organization, there could be only one president. Somebody give this guy a gold star, at the very least.

The East vs. West debate in the video game industry continues; fans of Japanese titles wonder why their favorite developers have abandoned their followers to cater to "Western tastes," while the Japanese designers in question face an industry dominated by Western studios. So where does Hideo Kojima stand on the issue? Well, as he asked during a Famitsu interview (as cited by CVG), "Do we really need to succeed worldwide?" Damn good question, isn't it?

And he goes on to give voice to the thoughts of a great many:

"That's what I'm really wondering about. Everyone talks about overseas, overseas, but nobody's really thinking about what needs to be done if we want to succeed. We get obsessed with thinking about worldwide because we've had previous success with games and anime worldwide, but none of those successes matter nowadays.

When you're making a game, it doesn't matter what nationality the team is -- I think there was a lack of understanding among Japanese developers on that issue. It all comes down to the team you have. Even if I brought in the best developer in the world, it won't result in anything if nobody around him understands what he says."

Kojima also admits to a lack of development quality between East and West, and he Japanese developers still fail to comprehend the differences in culture. That being said, isn't it interesting to hear that even Kojima assumes Western gamers want "aliens and guns," even if he admits it's an "extreme" assumption.

"To put it in an extreme fashion, Americans like games where you have a gun and you're shooting at space aliens. If you don't understand why that's fun, then you shouldn't be making games for the world market; you don't need to. I mean, Japanese people might say 'Why space aliens?', but Americans will counter with 'What's with these games featuring these feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords?' It's no wonder the target audience for a lot of games is getting so compartmentalized."

This controversy will continue to rage but now that Kojima has given us his input, what do you think?

Tags: hideo kojima, video games, gaming industry

6/22/2011 9:04:15 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (79 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 9:46:48 PM
Reply

Well, aliens are on the out. Chimera might be aliens, Helghast are just space nazis. I guess Halo is still playing with aliens and Duke pretty much has to but for the most part people want to shoot people. His point stands though, why should japanese devs have to cater to the interests of people who aren't even remotely interested in what they have to offer in the first place.

Stick with what works, anime has tons of fans, turn based JRPGs have tons of fans. Tap that base and you'll succeed, throw your fans in the trash and go after the masses with action a la Square Enix and you probably won't live to tell the tale. It's pretty simple really. The cash-in changes to games hurt more than help.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/22/2011 9:47:13 PM

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johnld
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:37:40 PM

hell, most anime fans dont even want the english dubs and goes straight for the subbed ones. i know i do. english dubbing make it sound stupid.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:29:42 PM

Depends on the series, English dubbing is getting a lot better. But a lot of the anime I watch is for the art so I like to look at that instead of subtitles. I'll agree with Kiryu on one thing though, the Yakuza series is better in the original Japanese. It's too much part of the feel to remove.

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BIGRED15
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:31:46 PM

lol space nazis...

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godsman
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:41:25 PM

It's not easy to make another great turn-based RPG. Let's say an RPG game generates $10 million of revenue. Then the budget of this game will be restricted by this upper-limit. Unless they can generate more money, as games get more expensive to develop, RPG games will become smaller. FFXIII is the perfect example. The best selling current gen RPG that fell flat on their face.

There will always be games that sell 100k-200k copies, but those will only be PS2.5 games, not AAA games. Even Valkyria Chronicles that sold almost 1 million copies aren't good enough in sales to get a sequel on PS3.

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:49:16 PM

Game sells for $60, publisher get's around $20 per copy, perhaps $25.

To generate 10 million you have to sell 500,000 copies. That's not out of the realm of possibility, and even though it sounds small compared to some games you don't really need that 10 million budget - depending on the game and production values you're aiming for. If you absolutely must have in-engine rendered cut scenes that look as good as pre-rendered, they you need a 50 million budget, if you are satisfied with in-game cutscenes that look like they were generated by the in-game engine, you can probably save 80% or more of that 50 million.

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:59:02 PM

@John,

Exactly! For the cost of a straight translation of all the text and subtitles in the games, they could sell their Japan only PSP and PS3 releases on PSN in the West. We don't need full localizations, just a translation please. I mean, I have nothing against full localizations, but I know they are more expensive, so if the publisher is scared of the cost, let them to a basic translation instead and release it on PSN, the additional investment is virtually negligible, and yet we'd get lots of great games that sell incredibly well in Japan, but we never see here.

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johnld
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:49:52 AM

@world

i agree about yakuza series, i cant see that game with english voices, it'll definitely kill the theme. i can just see them using "boss" all of the time when the relationship in the game is more about brotherhood/family. it just wont feel right dubbed.

@highlander

yeah, i agree with that too. i mean its not like were asking to redo the whole game. just make it so we can understand it. translation of on screen words and subtitles is just fine. its not like we go into an Eastern type game saying they needed to change some things, we just want to be in on it. i could care less if my rpgs speak japanese, most of the time i prefer it because something gets lost in translation. its like they think the fans look at games on that region saying that they need to fix this up and bring it to the west with more western appeal. we became fans of those games because we loved how they made them. Then square enix turns around and releases a game that they "know" have everything i wanted completely ignoring why i followed their games for so long. its gonna take a lot to get me back as their loyal customer.

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main_event05
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 9:53:38 PM
Reply

Did he mean the Alien thing literally of metaphorically? Because it works either way. He hit the nail on the head again. I'll add that Japanese Devs should stick to what they know because thats whats gonna sell here.

p.s. I Lol'ed at the comment he made about the girlish looking men and the such.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:04:02 PM

He meant illegal aliens, everyone seems to want to shoot the poor Mexicans =P

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Dridion
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:51:05 PM

I know you're just being you and throwing out tongue in cheek remarks...still, that's very offensive. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:10:14 AM

To whom though? I mean only to be offensive to those who, similarly to John McCain, say things like "I've been told that illegal immigrants from Mexico often start those wildfires to divert attention from their crossing."

To those people I say they deserve all offense I can give them.

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main_event05
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:51:27 AM

World does have a point. Illegal aliens seem to be a hot topic.

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Killa Tequilla
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 3:06:23 AM

World should of never have said anything as stupid as that. Im Mexican & I find it offensive regardless to what Mexicans you are talking to. I had to be summoned because of some stupid comment of yours?

Ben you delete trolls, people you dislike, people who disrespect you, but you let offensive racism slide by?

I carefully read what Kojima had to say & nowhere did I see illegal aliens in there nor Mexicans.

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Jawknee
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 4:12:03 AM

I'm Mexican and I thought it was pretty damn funny.

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frylock25
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 6:24:15 AM

Jawknee are you really mexican? i honestly dont care either way and never thought about it til you just posted that. i think i always pictured you as your avatar lol.

i have to agree that they dont get a right to be offended. if you are somewhere illegally you dont have the rights that the people that are there legally have. thats part of the whole "illegal" thing. its go back to start and try again. this time do it legally.

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 8:45:15 AM

When I read World's comment, I see nothing offensive in it unless you're bent on being offended. Don't want it offensive? Then make the government strike out the phrase "illegal alien" from it's vocabulary. It's an official term.

Not sure how World showing sympathy to Mexicans saying basically, "For some reason, morons in government seem hell bent on shoo-ing out Mexicans."

At any rate, come to Canada. We love all immigrants.

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Jawknee
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:15:51 PM

Ha, yea I am. Well I am half. My mother is Irish and Scotish and my dad is Mexican but I grew up more around his family. There was no reason to be offended by his comment. It was just a joke. People choose to be entirely too sensitive about these issues. I don't even agree with Worlds point, there is proof illegals start fires while on their way into the US for either camping reasons, to signal other illegals or to throw off boarder agents. They have been doing it for years and there is evidence that the Arizona wild fires were human caused. Just thought Worlds joke was funny.

EDIT: and Underdog, we Americans love immigrants too. We are a nation of immigrants, however we are also a nation of laws and when many illegals come here they break the law when they sneak accross the boarder and also when they steal peoples identities to get jobs. Mine has been stolen before for that very purpose and it was easy to do seeing as I have a Mexican last name. I highely doubt Canada would apreciate it if people where doing the same to her citizens. Plus it's not fair to all those immigrants who did it the right way, paid their fees, got in line and waited. Like my wifes parents.

Last edited by Jawknee on 6/23/2011 12:22:41 PM

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:40:23 PM

True that, Jawk. Don't forget, we only border with the US and Russia via the North Pole. So... yeah, not a whole lot of border jumping. lol.

We have illegal immigrants too, but not very many. I think the fact that there is no border to "sneak" across helps. Plus, if illegal immigrants are already in the US, why would they risk going to Canada? Both have similar opportunities and freedoms.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/23/2011 12:40:43 PM

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Teddie9
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 8:53:06 PM

yeah he admitted to the feminine looking male characters :p which was great. Not to say that I don't love such characters :)

Kojima always around to say it how it is.

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gungrave
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 1:31:36 AM

I found it offensive...and I'm not even Mexican.

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Underdog15
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 8:24:25 AM

Oh yeah? To whom and why exactly. Tell me exactly which part is offensive and why. Use specific quotes to make your point.

It's unfortunate you found it offensive. Because it wasn't.

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Jawknee
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 11:24:49 AM

I find your avatar offensive underdog! I prefer Pepsi to Coke.

:P

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NoSmokingBandit
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 9:59:10 PM
Reply

"feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords"

LOL.

Seriously though, this guy gets it.

I think it is odd that eastern devs are very concerned with sales out west, but western devs dont seem to care about anything but the west as well. If a dev made a really japanese game it would sell well in japan and get a handful of sales over here due to old-school gamers like most people at PSXE.

Could you imagine how many copies of a good, turn-based RPG would sell in the market right now? It has been so long since anyone has put a ton of effort and production value into one, so there is a longing for it. I can't blame devs for not taking the risk, but i think it would be tougher to get into the fast-paced shooter market than it would be to make something original.

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main_event05
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:06:22 PM

I'm guessing they don't get the point of all the petitions and requests to bring those Japan only games stateside.

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johnld
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:43:14 PM

hell, if they dont get the message when fans crashed their own website because they asked if we wanted a ff7 remake then i dont think they'll even look at those petitions

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godsman
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:46:20 PM

It's all about the culture. The school-boy capture's people's imagination. It makes the teenagers think that they can become the main character if they look younger. I remember when pokemon first came out, I walk home from school thinking a rare pokemon will jump out of the bushes. You can't get that kind of imagination in Western developed movies/games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:11:53 PM
Reply

My bottom line opinion:

Changing Japanese games to cater to western tastes accomplishes two things: You sh*t on your old fans and lose them so there's nobody to buy the japanese style games they like, and you fail at grabbing new fans because they don't like your genre anyway!

Then you wind up with nothing but a game that doesn't seem to belong anywhere and very few people who want to play it. Does that sound like success? Then all the game has left to run on is its name, and that won't last forever.

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johnld
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:40:49 PM

they have a great example in square enix right there. they left their fans SEVERELY disappointed to cater to the xbox type gamers and those gamers dont really give a crap about the game and will gladly play their older halo/gears/COD game without a second thought.

Last edited by johnld on 6/22/2011 10:41:27 PM

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:51:18 PM

Dude, we've been saying that for years, and it's taken years for anyone to get it, at least our efforts have been answers in some way. Kojima finally shows some evidence of understanding.

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Teddie9
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 9:00:07 PM

Unfortunately Kojima doesn't do rpgs..

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SoulController
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:22:36 PM
Reply

Japanese devs, especially management, Listen to the master speak!!

Japanese devs need to be themselves again. Plain and simple. If they wise up soon, maybe we can get back to the amount of genre diversity we had in the PS2 days..

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:54:14 PM

Let Japanese developers do what they are best at and Western developers do what they are best at. Diversity doesn't mean blending everything together, it means recognizing and celebrating the diversity. Instead of trying to westernize Japanese games or developers, or trying to make Western games appeal more to other audiences, we should simply concentrate on making the best games we can and letting the gamers decide which to buy. Otherwise the distinctiveness and style is lost and all that remains is a featureless mass of bland games that look like they could have been something but never were.

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johnld
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:58:57 AM

western developers makes great western games because they know who their audience is. it may miss like dragon age 2 a few time, but they completely understand their audience. most likely because they're making games that they know interests themselves.

the way i see it, eastern devs forgot about this concept. they're not making games that they love anymore, at least a select few still does, they're looking at what the current "fad" is. which is a mistake because they have no idea why the west likes games like halo or gears or call of duty. They've been making great games for so long but its like they didnt know that the fanbases for their games were growing. did they really think that the number of fans stayed the same with every final fantasy iteration they released? by today, that final fantasy fanbase has grown alot. it made every final fantasy game a big deal and made the franchise one of the most anticipated games whenever it is announced. then they loose alot of their loyal fans for someone who havent even heard of the franchise and unsure if they'll stick with it like we did.

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Dancemachine55
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 7:22:58 PM

MGS is the only series to keep up quality despite the decline in Japanese game development. It didn't try to cater to Western audiences by dumbing things down. It added on and gave the player the option to play hide n seek or run in with guns blazing. (Stealth has always been my option of choice, its why I loved CoD 4 the most and the rest since have sucked donkey balls)

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johnld
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:35:23 PM
Reply

its practically common sense. if you dont understand it, dont try to make it. apparently most of the eastern developers dont get it. just stick to what you do best and make it as amazing that you can. revive the squaresoft quality we loved and pass it around.

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gumbi
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:45:53 PM
Reply

Yes! Japanese devs listen to this man! Stick to what you know, what you enjoy, and what you excel at, there is a huge market for it in your hometown (and you've forgotten the following you had/have overseas).

Please oh please don't look at games like CoD as a success marker. This is not what you should be trying to achieve, especially if you don't understand its appeal.

It's also important to realize that neither market wants hybrid games. You just can't appeal to everyone. Pick a target audience, give them what they want and you will reap the rewards.

It's not too late.

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Bloodedge
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:27:53 PM
Reply

Yes.

Last edited by Bloodedge on 6/22/2011 11:30:16 PM

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cLoudou
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:31:00 PM
Reply

Sing it sister!

We don't need Japanese developers making games on what they think we like. What I like is variety, not all westerners like to play shooters 24/7. Gimme TB(turn based) RPGs.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:31:01 PM
Reply

I submit to you a kind of truce. It's just an idea: The WJRPG

http://www.titanreviews.com/#/wjrpg/4552669367

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/22/2011 11:31:30 PM

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:46:28 PM
Reply

ROTFLMAO!
"Americans like games where you have a gun and you're shooting at space aliens. If you don't understand why that's fun, then you shouldn't be making games for the world market; you don't need to. I mean, Japanese people might say 'Why space aliens?', but Americans will counter with 'What's with these games featuring these feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords?' "

Does Kojima read PSXExtreme?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:12:15 AM

He must have, I've seen that comment 100 times here. I'd rather play a young fellow with a big sword and some style than a gorilla man who swears every other word.

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cLoudou
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:33:37 AM

You'd rather play with a guy with a large sword than with a guy with a big gun?

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Highlander
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:36:22 AM

Swords are cool and make swishing noises when you wave them around. Guns smell of oil and go bang when you wave them around. Swords look fabulous, guns look...well...like guns. Swords have style, guns have...er...stopping power?

Dare I say swords rule, guns drool?

Last edited by Highlander on 6/23/2011 12:41:02 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 2:00:54 AM

It would probably be best if we didn't bring the gay jokes into the mix, hah

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ryu
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:33:19 AM
Reply

i think it's the other way around, if u'r gonna take the market share of the western gamers, take a hold of those weaboo and anime fan nuts first. Those are the people who can appreciate japanese games from the western seaboard, but they are not getting any.

if you cant even do that, don't bother going after the big fish like FPS trying to sweep the whole crowd

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enjoi
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:36:20 AM
Reply

The biggest problem with Japanese games is the terrible characters, cliche everything, and awful writing. Adding Guns doesnt solve anything as we've seen with front mission evolved, mind jack, quantum theory, dark void ect.

Last edited by enjoi on 6/23/2011 12:36:33 AM

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 2:28:22 AM

... and neither do replacing the guns with swords, or aliens with dragons. Cause I agree with you. The typical "japanese" games I've played so far (all this gen) are unfortunately summed up like that; "Terrible characters, clieché everything and awful writing".



Last edited by Beamboom on 6/23/2011 2:41:03 AM

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FM23
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 3:21:48 AM

YES, YES, YES. Bayonetta had a good story too me, but all in all this along with FFXIII had some weird ish going on. Don't care for anime, so my interest in this atmosphere isn't strong at all. Cliches everywhere indeed. That's all I was saying to my roommate while I played both these games. Then we played RE5, and I was like...WOW, such terrible terrible writing.

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FM23
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 3:24:12 AM

And even tid bits of Metal Gear Solid annoyed me w/ the common over dramatics and weird moans from female characters. What's with the moaning thing in Japanese culture. Not talking ish, just saying. I love MGS too death.

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 2:30:36 AM
Reply

I am a westerner that have no experience with the Japanese culture in games prior to the ps3. But I *want* to. It's not that I have anything against the Japanese or their culture. And I have nothing against creating a sword wielded babe in a jrpg (I usually do when given the chance anyways).

"Guns vs Swords" has *nothing* to do with this, and if that is what they think then they will keep failing for years to come.

So in my eyes Kojimas explanation is a total miss! They *still* don't get it.
Their games still have to be really, really good though, good compared to their western counterparts. One should not demand less "just cause it's japanese". That will not work other than to the addicted fans.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/23/2011 2:42:08 AM

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FM23
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 3:22:04 AM

Very accurate rant...lol

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Highlander
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 3:22:10 AM

I don't think Kojima was holding out those stereotypes as the reason, they were more of an illustration of the general position that clearly favors Shooters in the West - particularly in the US, and other genre, such as hack and slash action, or JRPG in Japan. Personally I think he's dead-on.

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 8:05:38 AM

Well, yeah, I think he's got some good points High, that's true. But he's far from "dead on".

To use myself as an example of a typical "westerner who just don't get it":
He's dead on in that the feminine looking boys with huge swords look corny to me. Indeed they do. But! I would not mind that, *if* the game itself were good!
That's what I consider to be the core of the problem here. A particular love for the Japanese is *required* in order to see past the (imho) mediocrity of these games.

I know many around here has a different opinion, but just look at the average ratings of the much favoured and cherished games you all talk highly about here. They cluster around 65-75%, in good company with loads of western games who flopped badly as well.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/23/2011 8:09:31 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 10:20:39 AM

I'm with both of you. I think Kojima is dead on. I also think this generation is filled with poor jRPG's... the few that exist anyways. I know WKC is one Highlander will defend to the end, but I still think it's just a decent game and nothing more. I -prefer- jRPG's, but this gen, I've enjoyed AC, Uncharted, Infamous, and Killzone more than -ANY OTHER JRPG THIS GEN.

The reason? As Beamboom said, they still need to be good games. And that's the problem. They've completely lacked 100% backing by their publishers. No one has spent the big-bucks to make something excellent. (Except FFXIII, but even that didn't satiate my jRPG needs)

I find myself -CRAVING- good jRPG's. So much that I've been spending all my time lately playing old PS1 and PS2 games like Dragon Quest 8, FFIV, FFVIII, Crono Cross and Trigger, Suidoken... hell, I even threw in Mega Man X Command Mission for some turn-based action...

I prefer good jRPG's. They are my first choice. But they have not been anywhere near my main focus this gen. I agree with Beamboom... they need to be greater in number and of higher quality. And no one is trying to do that. (Why the HECK won't they make another DQ for a console?!?!)

But I'm also with Highlander... Kojima is dead right. Either jap devs don't know how to make a success... or maybe they just are too scared to invest. I dunno... Either way, I'm sick of it all. Someone... please give me a sweet PS3 quality jRPG. Please... no more PS2.5

/unfocused rant/

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/23/2011 10:21:02 AM

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Highlander
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 11:43:22 AM

Underdog, I'll defend WKC to the end because so far this generation it's really been Valkyria Chronicles and White Knight Chronicles and that's a bout it. There are some good JRPGs that are much more niche games such as Atelier Rorona and Ar Tonelico Qoga, but the WKC is the closest to the archetype of a JRPG we have had in mainstream games on the Ps3.

That said, there's plenty to criticize about WKC, but few of the criticisms alter it's standing as a good game. They simply diminish it in comparison to the JRPGs of old. I mean if you set out a PS2 JRPG as a baseline - I'll pick Xenosaga - then we've seen no JRPGs on the PS3 that have come much closer than about 75% of baseline, and in my opinion, WKC is the game that comes the closest. But even WKC pales in comparison with the better JRPGs on the PS2. It's those games that we are missing so far this generation.

The sense I get from Kojima's remarks is that he thinks that to an extent Japanese developers should focus on what they are good at, and vice versa. By implication I think he's saying that the inferior quality Japanese games that have been delivered lately are inferior because, to an extent, the Japanese developers have been distracted from what they do best. Distracted by their attempts to be something they are not - western developers.

That says to me that if the Japanese developers spent less time trying to figure out how to change their game formula to appeal to western gamers, and instead concentrated on making the best game according to their own formula for what makes a good game, they'd sell more at home, and still capture the interested market abroad.

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Excelsior1
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 11:57:27 AM

@underdog and beamboom

those are great points all around. jrpg's are on life support with releases that are few and far between. a person would have a really tough time getting exposed to the genre this gen unless they went back and played the classics.

off the top of my head i can't think of any other jrpg's that come close to ff13's production values. the fact that most are niche titles with what appear to be low budgets shows japanese developers are afraid to invest heavily in the genre anymore. i would consider wkc a ps 2.5 game. it really doesn't look quite next gen.

do japanese developers really need to succeed wordwide? they sure think they do. you can see evidence of that with their so called western approach, and bringing so many titles over to the 360. i've heard some japanese developers say the japanese market has been in decline for some time, and if they want to survive they need to have success overseas.


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Highlander
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:28:57 PM

The problem I have with that kind of thinking (about the Japanese market being in decline or whatever) is that it's not. Markets change over time, but gamers typically remain gamers as they age, so the market can't really decline, but it can definitely change.

That said, Japanese developers investing heavily in games for a 'worldwide' audience spend their development budget on those games more than on games specific to the Japanese home market. The effect of that is that there is insufficient budget for AAA production values, and the games therefore have a lower quality appeal, and in many cases the games have been downsized to the handhelds because it costs less to do, and the handhelds are more popular in Japan anyway. So it's almost a self fulfilling thing. If on the other hand Japanese developers were to spend more on home console games and gave them higher production values, I believe that they would sell better. Look at how many people purchased FFXIII on the basis of it's name and production values alone. That demonstrates that there is a market in Japan to sell millions of copies, but the developers have to cater to the market. FFXIII catered to that market on the surface, but disappointed many because of the problems with the core gameplay not being what JRPG fans wanted.

So, in the situation where JRPGs get less attention and investment resulting in fewer games with inferior production values, or games that transition to handhelds instead, is it any wonder that there appears to be a decline in that genre? It's like I said regarding the paid exclusivity policy that MS has used this generation. That has fragmented the JRPG genre by platform. No one could say that the 360 is typically the platform of choice for the kinds of gamer that like JRPGs. Paying for JRPGs to appear exclusively on the 360 hasn't really helped JRPG sales in the west (if anything they are greatly diminished). But, what it has done is reduce the number of JRPGs appearing on PlayStation - the platform that is probably the platform of choice for gamers that like JRPGs. All of that has weakened the genre in the west, not strengthened it. Microsoft wins in two ways because the JRPG genre is weaker, and it was previously a genre that Playstation benefited greatly from, secondly - PlayStation itself is weakened because of the scarcity of JRPGs on the platform making it less attractive to gamers, and in the end less attractive to JRPG developers because of the poor sales of JRPGs in general.

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 4:46:44 PM

By the way, Highlander, did you ever start Dragon Quest 8? I remember you said you were gonna try it out. I plan on holding you to that. lol

It's a game I can 110% guarantee you'll like. There's nothing not to like. lol... sorry for the sorta OT. lol

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Highlander
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 11:21:50 AM

Not yet Underdog, but I definitely will be doing so - once I can straighten out a few other things...

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shadowscorpio
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 2:58:39 AM
Reply

Ben, anyway this issue can be addressed on PSxteme's next episode on Playstation Home? It'd be interesting outsourced this topic with any resource available and potentially get outside views on it i.e. Japanese gamers, western game devs, etc.

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___________
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 4:32:20 AM
Reply

of course you do!
money, money, money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
as ive said a billion times thats the problem, the millions of fans these companies like $E and crapcom had were not enough, they wanted more!
hes right, different cultures enjoy different things, but to say that they only like one thing is ridiculous!
a preference ok, but not a rule which will never be broken!
one of my best friends is japanese and hes favorite game is SOCOM for crying out loud!
how un japanese can you get!?
or me i like both, in equal quantities.
just because your a westerner or easterner does not mean your going to only like eastern or western styled games!

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Qubex
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 11:28:21 AM
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Lol... "feminine boys with their big swords"... man, this just made my day!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 6/23/2011 11:28:42 AM

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BeezleDrop
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 11:39:06 AM
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I see it more like this, Japanese Games bring more style to the table. And American games bring more of the Action. I feel ashamed that Mr. Kojima assumes I appreciate only guns and killing aliens.

But it really isn't like that, I'm looking for BF3 because I enjoy the combat, besting someone, or blowing things up/leveling buildings or houses. I really would like to get my hands on FF VersusXIII but it appears to be stuck in limbo.

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Highlander
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 11:44:56 AM

Kojima is using generalizations and stereotypes because he's talking about the entire market in general. Individual gamers may not match the stereotypes or generalizations but the market taken as a whole does.

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FM23
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:45:05 PM

Well if he was generalizing, why didn't he use War games instead of Aliens and Guns. Only Halo, Gears, Dead Space, and Resistance come to mind. Not sure why Red Faction went down this path, very dumb idea.

Other than that, we have games shooting everything, but Aliens. Just saying. I get his point though, it's just funny.

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Mr Wright
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 7:07:54 PM
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but Americans will counter with 'What's with these games featuring these feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords?

Yea, that's just weird. I'll admit, I don't play RPG's , but that's weird regardless. Is that what final fantasy is like?

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Teddie9
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 9:13:17 PM

I don't mean to unwelcoming man but I think you should play some if your gonna comment and be part of this community.

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Fane1024
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 3:03:22 AM

Last I checked, this isn't RPG Extreme.

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Highlander
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 11:44:02 AM

It's not quite like that. More traditional JRPGs, like the Final Fantasy series, have particular art styles and aesthetics that are not reflected in western games, because they are rooted in the Japanese sense of aesthetic and culture.

However they games themselves follow a very general formula that has the main characters normally being 'young adults' - mid teens through the early 20s in age. The male characters often have what appears to *western* eyes and expectations, slightly feminine faces and hair. The weapons wielded by characters are traditionally similar to the weapons common in Japanese culture and history. Unlike the US, Japan doesn't have a 'gun culture', so swords and bows are far more prominent.

When you blend those cultural factors (and a few more besides) along with more game related things, such as RPGs traditionally having both melee and ranged attacks as well as a 'magic' system, skill trees and so on, you end up with games not unlike things like the Final Fantasy series.

However, from a western point of view, when lumping JRPGs together, those cultural archetypes that are present in their games result in a stereotype. that's what Kojima was talking a bout - that stereo type. But at the end of the day, if you don't like that style, they you don't like that style. It's all about personal taste, and certainly in the west there is less of an appetite for it. However, that doesn't make it inferior, wrong or somehow a bad thing.

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Drake_RB3
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 10:02:38 PM
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Tired of First Person Shooters.

Let's go old school, Japan!

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BigBoss4ever
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 12:33:14 AM
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well said, very well said indeed!!! two thumbs up to you Kojima and waiting for your peace walker PS3 version.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 6/24/2011 12:34:01 AM

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Nynja
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 8:01:26 AM
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I think the East's perception of the West is convoluted because of media, marketing, and most importantly the sales numbers.

We, as Westerners, do the same thing trying to evaluate the core Japanese culture.

They only way we can understand each other more is by making worlds and characters the developers are passionate about. East vs West culture dominance is a pointless battle where no one wins in the end.

Artistic direction is one of the large differences between Eastern and Western games, but I think the language barrier is the big issue at hand.

Too many times publishers don't hire the right people to localize the games. If the game director or producer is not present, then more often than expected the feelings are lost in translation.

Instead of changing how Eastern games are developed, try changing how they are localized. Maybe we need to work on our communication, not ideas.

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Highlander
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 11:34:28 AM

Very much. Although as John and I were discussing further up this comment section, there are scores of games on the Japanese market that would sell hundred of thousands of copies to the various Anime/JRPG fans in the west even if they only got a translation of the text and subtitles in the games. I mean, when anime is 'localized', unless it's a dub, it's a straight translation with subtitles. To be honest, I prefer the subtitles to the dub because the original voice performances convey the original emotional intent of the words spoken. I know that a lot of Anime fans think that way - just as many perfer the dubbed versions, but I think if you ask fans of either preference that if the choice is between getting subtitles versions or not getting them at all, they'll 100% vote for subtitles. I think the same is true of games.

Just looking at the PSP, there are so many games that would appeal to that anime loving audience, and all they need is that text translation of menus and subtitles. They're not going to be localized any other way because that would cost too much. I'm thinking of obvious examples such as the idol master games and numerous JRPGs and the interactive/visual novel style games that the Japanese market loves. I wouldn't want anything changed in these games in any case, I want them to be as 'Japanese' as they are - with the obvious exception that I can't read or speak Japanese, so there needs to be a translation.

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Nynja
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 12:42:18 PM

Agreed 100%. This happens way too often. English voice actors lose the meaning of what is conveyed, not to the fault of their talents but more so not being directed properly.

Metal Gear Solid series is a great example of how to localize, though, one might argue the opposite simply due to lengthy cut-scenes.

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sazzrah
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 1:58:28 AM
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Japanese people might say 'Why space aliens?', but Americans will counter with 'What's with these games featuring these feminine-looking boys fighting in Japan with these huge swords?'

*cough* You mean like Raiden, Mr. Kojima? lol

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Beanie
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 9:30:34 PM
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Mr. Kojima did say is was an extreme look at gaming; and while I would generally agree with the statement, the fact is, that even in Western gaming, gamers are radically different as well. There are many gamers who like shooting games, and there many of them like to shoot aliens; however, that shouldn't represent Western (if not American) gaming as a whole. For me, I love games that make you think--strategy, puzzle, rpg, and adventure games. My 2 favorite games are Metal Gear Solid and Shadow of the Colossus (both Japanese-made games) And I know for a fact that there are a lot of Western gamers who prefer Eastern games. But I think Mr. Kojima's point was not about the 2 sides being so different, but that developers need to focus on making the best games they can rather than trying to shoehorn something to the wrong audience. Know who your game is for and make it awesome. (At least that's what I got from his words) To me, broadening a game's audience needs to be kept in mind but never the driving force of development. Audience should be the concern of the marketing and distribution divisions and not the developers. It could just be that a particular game just isn't being sold where the particular gamer can get it. Some of my favorite games I was introduced to via a friend who had them, but they were never sold around my hometown. Go figure.

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Chamoru_Warrior
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 9:53:50 PM
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gotta love Kojima. The sage has spoken.

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Chamoru_Warrior
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 9:53:56 PM
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gotta love Kojima. The sage has spoken.

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