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Is The Japanese Style And Artistry Doomed To Die?

As I was playing Shadows of the Damned the other day, it suddenly struck me: is this very distinct Japanese flair dying? In another decade, will it even exist at all?

It's not just about anime, which has always helped to define the Japanese video game market; a title like July's Catherine will never be as popular in the West. It goes well beyond that. As most veteran gamers know, there's a unique style and artistry that goes along with many Japanese productions. Sometimes, it's subtle and almost indefinable, but it's always there and it always lends the interactive production a recognizable aura. Shadows, for instance, walks that fine line between seriousness and comical tongue-and-cheek entertainment. It's gory and dark but that streak of Japanese influence is obvious and in this day and age, refreshing.

And as Western development studios continue to dominate and the Japanese designers desperately try to change their ways to suit Western tastes, that singular motif described above may disappear completely. Whether it's Resident Evil or Metal Gear Solid or Soul Calibur, all such franchises are very obviously Japanese, and that particular style is on the wane. And I don't count Mario, Zelda, and the other Nintendo franchises, as they've never really changed; they've also catered to a younger demographic. I'm referring more to dramatic, cutting-edge productions designed to compete with the Western big boys. There's just a certain attitude in Japanese titles and some people like that.

Even when Japanese designers attempt to emulate Western styles, it's never a complete transformation; there's always a small semblance of the Japanese culture that leaks through. So why deny it? Can it really be that nobody cares anymore? Will Japanese gamers be forced to adopt Western styles if they wish to continue playing games? Well, of course not. But maybe those titles won't be released over here...like, none of them.

Tags: japanese games, gaming industry, video games

6/26/2011 9:18:20 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (91 posts)

Clamedeus
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 9:44:45 PM
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I hope it's not doomed, I love the Japanese artistry put into games and also Anime.

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Nlayer
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 9:56:08 PM
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I'm sure there will always be at least one small company making Japanese styled games. Though we might never see it over here in the USA.

I'll always have Anime for Japanese style though. Unless that starts to completely change in which case I would be very surprised.

Last edited by Nlayer on 6/26/2011 9:56:20 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:20:55 PM
Reply

It's a bad trend. The problems occur when the Japanese devs try to do western things. The games come out bad and worthless and us fans of Japanese games get nothing. Maybe Japan influence won't ever sell like CoD and Halo, but they will always sell better if they stick to what makes them great. I enjoyed Ar Tonelico, but there was absolutely no reason to put in an action mechanic.

How is it possible that us gamers know what is good for the industry and the devs and publishers have no idea?

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GuernicaReborn
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:25:21 PM

You're exactly right world. Japanese developers had their own perfect little niche(wasn't that "little" at all, to be honest), fans were happy and games were more diverse than ever.

But then they felt if they westernized their games, they would sell more copies. If you ask me, their problem is that they got too greedy between last gen and this gen.

I don't fully understand it. They had their place, and it seemed to be working for them. Why ruin that?

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godsman
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:40:47 PM

I actually don't mind westernization as I have not played too many games to have as deep a bond as the gamers are on this website.

I do want to say one thing though. The market is there for Japanese games, just see the old PSone and PS2 sales in Final Fantasy RPGs. 8-10 million. Why the hell is Square Enix trying to Westernize their games when they can't even satisfy the original 8-10 million supporters? Sell 12-14 million copies of FFXIII then I would shut up and think "maybe Square Enix made the right business choice...".

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Highlander
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 11:53:54 PM

Godsman,

You may like westernization now, but put it this way, "you can buy any car you want as long as it's black...". That was what you could say before we had diversity among car makers. I we lose the Japanese style, influence, flair, or whatever you want to call it and all game share the same artistic style and game play, game will be very boring. You need that diversity, the differences, they Japanese and the western, all of it. Otherwise you lose something valuable.

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shadowscorpio
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:30:58 AM

We, the gamers have been the customers, buying these products called games for over a decade. In the world of business, if you produce something that people want, you will flourish. If you don't, you will fall.

It is only natural that we gamers know what best for the industry because we helped make this industry. Lets never forget that. Companies/developers grow so big on the success that is gained from giving us what we actually want that they get to a point where they think they can trail away from that and do anything, thinking they will never fail.

MS , with all their advertising power, has tainted the Japanese devs and has no doubt been an influence in leaving them confused. After MS failed with the first xbox to Sony, you know that had to put in a plan to make sure it wouldn't happen again. In doing so , they have managed to alter this industry, especially when it comes to the Japenese devs.

If what I say has no merit, then I beg the question: Why hasn't this ever happened before?

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shadowscorpio
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:33:45 AM

Highlander

Good way of putting this into perspective.

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ZettaiSeigi
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:46:08 PM
Reply

It's Japanese games that got me started on gaming, so I would dread to see the day that it actually "goes away". While I am a big fan of Uncharted, Infamous, God of War, Assassins Creed, and other top-notch western productions, there is always something refreshing and unique that I could only get from playing games made in Japan.

It's rather telling that my PS2 library is mostly comprised of Japanese games. I bought a PS2 because that's where SEGA moved the Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars) franchise after they stopped producing the Dreamcast. It was then when I got introduced to the games made from outside Japan. I liked them too, of course, but I also look forward to playing my next Japanese-style game. I miss the days when Final Fantasy is distinctly Japanese (or Asian) when it comes to its lore and gameplay. I don't think any western developer would've thought of a marvel like Okami and actually make it. And how could we forget ICO and Shadow of the Colossus? Easily wo of the most artistic games ever made!

So no, I would always miss how unique games from Japan are. It's so sad that most Japanese developers completely lost the plot this console generation and thought that all gamers want are realistic-looking shooters and Hollywood-style explosions. It would be a very sad day for me when all the things that made Japanese games great get flushed down the drain.

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godsman
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:51:52 PM

If you don't mind me asking, is it because you are an asian guy that's why you prefer more Japanese games?

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ZettaiSeigi
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:56:42 PM

Not necessarily. It is possible, but I don't think it is. I've been exposed to western stuff all my life, but my fascination for most things Japanese only started around the early 2000s.

And again, I am not saying that I prefer the Japanese games over the western ones. I just want to see them flourish alongside the excellent ones being made in the West.

Edit: I probably forgot, but I don't remember ever posting here I am from Asia. If you recalled that from another post, I would have to commend your memory! :)

Last edited by ZettaiSeigi on 6/26/2011 10:57:54 PM

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cLoudou
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 11:11:02 PM

Asian high five

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Clamedeus
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:44:36 AM

I'm not Asian and I like Asian games, and Anime. I also like the culture.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:34:28 AM

I'm as English and blue-eyed as they come. Love the Japanese style much better.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:15:50 AM

Zettai, I sort of remembered that, I have a mental mapping of many posters here, it's not very precise, but I generally have the regulars sorted out by region. Judging by your comment elsewhere in this section, you're from the Philippines?

I got hooked on Japanese culture, or at least very much more interested in it thanks to the novel Shogun. However, I always loved 'Japanimation' and grew up on a diet of re-voiced cartoons on TV. I watched and then bought a version of Akira (can't remember if it was dubded or sub-titled), about a decade before that was popular in the west outside a very specific group of 'Manga' fans. Actually, now I think about it I think it was sub-titled, because I remember being enormously disapointed when I saw it again later on cable TV, as a dubbed version - something was missing from the movie.

All that aside, purely from a gaming point of view, Japanese games have something different to games made in the west. I love both, I mean, Uncharted, inFamous, Little Big Planet, Ratchet and Clank, Crash Bandicoot, Lara Croft, Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake, Civilization, Sim City and even Halo (yes I enjoyed the original Halo folks - believe it or not) etc... all games that come from Western developers, all games I loved to play. However, my list of my top 10 games all time includes Xenosaga, Gran Turismo, Final fantasy, Valkyria Chronicles, Soul Calibur, and other JRPGs nearly too numerous to mention. You might expect me to be interested in games featuring samurai, well a bit, I really did enjoy Genji Days of the Blade, probably a lot more than most did, and I'm sure I could get into a lot of other games that are more straight hack and slash (and more samurai themed), if it wasn't for the fact the I like so many other games too.

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Clamedeus
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 4:33:00 PM

I also enjoyed Genji Highlander, I love everything Samurai and Ninja's.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 6:06:09 PM

Ahhh, in that case, I did post where I am from. LOL My bad. So yeah, I credit Godsman and you Highlander for that. Excellent memory I must say! And does that mean I'm considered a "regular" here now? LOL

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 10:40:34 AM

Zettai, is there any doubt as to your regular contributor status? Not here... LOL!

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ZettaiSeigi
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 6:09:39 PM

I'm nowhere near being as recognized as you, Worlds, BikerSaint, Jawknee, and hell, even Mr. Spacebar (a.k.a. World's cowpatty), but it's good to be associated to (mostly) classy netizens.

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godsman
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 10:49:51 PM
Reply

The Japanese would have a sense of humor. Like MGS4, there would be a scene where Snake crouches next to a pissing guard. The same scene to be made in an American game, would turn out nasty and disgusting.

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FM23
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:06:13 AM

Bro, I remember that scene...that was corny. I'm pretty sure a Western game wouldn't make it nasty unless your speaking about Bulletstorm or something.

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Claire C
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 11:51:15 PM
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I myself love the artistry that comes out of Japan. Final Fantasy, Okami, Metal Gear Solid, and Silent Hill are some of my favorite games of all time. I think many others will too once they finally kick off the training wheels known as first person shooters (and they will) and try something a little more deep and original. I missed out on a whole generation of jrpgs during the PS1 era because back then I really didn't understand them (had training wheels on). But now I'm the proud owner of the physical copies of games like Dragon Warrior VII, Grandia, Xenogears, Legend of Dragoon, and soon Legend of Legaia. I think trends also fluctuate, and right now West is on top and East on the bottom. I bet it'll change. Nothing ever stays the same, I have hope it'll even out.
=^.^=

Last edited by Claire C on 6/26/2011 11:53:57 PM

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:20:40 AM

If not, we will all have to learn Japanese, though from what I have seen, it's easier to learn to speak than read/write in Japanese.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:43:51 AM

It's easier in a way to speak Japanese because if you find a "romaji" text, you would most likely be able to say it right as you just need to read it "the way it is spelled". Where to put the stress is pretty much the only concern there.

Writing Japanese can be tough and you'd really need to take lessons to be good at it. They have three writing systems, each one having their own purpose. I taught myself to read the Hiragana and Katakana characters, and that was relatively easy. Writing them is another thing, since you have to learn how to do the strokes properly. Almost all people learning Japanese are actually "drawing" them instead of "writing".

Ah well. Sorry to go off-topic there. LOL

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:48:52 AM

Not at all, any insight is appreciated. I find that I'm able to pick out perhaps as many as 100 different words and phrases in spoken Japanese, but reading them is a non-starter. Isn't one of the writing systems a system of phonetic symbols that match the phonetics of the spoken language, so that you can write as you would speak?

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Claire C
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:19:06 AM

I didn't mean to put down FPSs, I should have worded it differently.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:00:10 AM

Two of their writing systems are actually syllabic, and those are the Hiragana and Katakana writing systems I mentioned earlier.

Katakana is used mostly for their "loaned words" (e.g. foreign names or anything that does not exist in the Japanese vocabulary). Hiragana, on the other hand, is used plainly for Japanese words but may not have the equivalent Kanji symbol.

I have read somewhere that there are still Japanese people who struggle with Kanji, and for a reason. Kanji is complicated. Katakana and Hiragana mostly use simple strokes to write (maximum of 4 strokes per character IIRC). But Kanji are those that require more than that and you could easily spot them if they're written next to any Hiragana or Katana character. Kanji also could stand for two or more syllables. In a way, think of Kanji as something that stands for an idea rather than for an actual word, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, that's what got me interested in Japanese. What I told you above are pretty much what I've learned on my own, so I could definitely be mistaken somewhere. I'm a frustrated polyglot and I can't help it. So sue me. LOL

PS: I guess the reason I found Japanese easy to a very small degree is because Tagalog (my native language) is also syllabic. We also read words the way they are spelled, just like the Japanese people do.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:19:55 AM

Isn't Kanji based on the iconographic 'written' language used in China?

As for the other two 'character sets', roughly how many characters do you have to learn for each?

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Beamboom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:33:21 AM

That was some very interesting posts, ZettaiSeigi! Cool with such insightful posts around here.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 4:49:20 AM

Nice to hear such feedback from you guys. Sorry to really go off-topic, but since you're asking... LOL

Anyway, there are 48 characters for both Katakana and Hiragana systems. So that's a total 96 just for the two systems alone. I'm not sure if I could actually speak for others, but these two are really easy to read (stressing on the reading part).

And you're right Highlander, Kanji was based from the one in China and it is indeed what you said. Japan and China do share a lot of Kanji characters, but as you would expect, they do have differing meanings (although a good few may still impart the same idea).

Again, I blame SakuTai on all this. LOL

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:35:59 AM

*Dragon Warrior 7 high five*

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:19:42 AM

I think I will try to learn both Hiragana and Katakana along with some spoken Japanese. It sounds like Kanji is the kind of writing system that you either study as an academic (when it's not your first language) or you grow up with and therefore learn from birth. Either way, it kind of seems like you may master it, but you may never know the entire written language (Kanji).

As for the Spoken Japanese along with Romanji, Hiragana and Katakana, I think I can cope with that, as long as the games from Japan use one or other of Hiragana and Katakana for menus and other text. It's still a daunting prospect though.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 6:17:31 PM

Hghlander, I think you would find Hiragana and Katakana easy to master. You just have to know the distinction between the two. I find myself getting confused between the two on several occasions. LOL

If you intend to learn how to speak Japanese, the easiest start is to watch Japanese animation and TV shows.

Like I mentioned before, I got my start with SakuTai and that was a pretty much all-encompassing franchise (video games, tons of music, anime, manga, stage plays, etc.) It's also a series that derives a lot of its humour on clever puns and other sorts of wordplay. When I first played the games, I kept wondering why SEGA never bothered to export the games to the West. But after realizing how much the franchise is "heavily Japanese", I could see why that never happened. It would be a very tough job to localize and the humour could easily get lost in translation. And for that same reason do I commend NISA for making a huge effort to bring Sakura Wars 5 to the West. But alas, it seems that it did not sell a lot of copies.

Anyway, good luck if you decide to pursue studying Japanese. I assure you it would be fun. I was seriously considering taking formal lessons at one time, but that never materialized for several reasons. I would definitely love to do it though granted that I get more time to do so, and honestly, more funds. LOL

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 10:47:15 AM

Thanks!

Actually I may have a huge advantage on learning Japanese. My son is home schooled. He is on the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum and profoundly ADD. Public school was failing him utterly, he went from being an A student in the first couple of years of school to being in remedial classes - and failing those - by 3rd grade. So we took him out and my wife teaches him at home now. Either way, he's technically in high school now, and has a strong interest in Japanese pop culture - anime and such. He wants to learn Japanese as part of his school curriculum, so I think that we'll be doing the Japanese lessons as a family. Not sure how we'll find a good program for him though, my wife has to investigate over the summer.

Thanks for the encouragement though. If we find a good program or system for learning, I'll post something on the Off Topic forum. I hope it works out though, there are dozens of games I'd import if I could speak Japanese well enough to cope. I hope that the games let you choose one of the character sets other than Kanji.

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ZettaiSeigi
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 6:05:08 PM

You're very much welcome, Highlander! If there's anything I could help you with, feel free to ask. Though I may miss it due to the nature of the comments section. Perhaps I should start actively participating in the Forums. LOL

With my experience with the few Japanese games I've played, I was not given a choice to select which writing system to use when playing. While quite unfortunate, we again have to consider that the games I played relied heavily on wordplay. Converting the words to either systems would lose such elements, and hence what made the games great for its fans. Perhaps the other games would not be as restrictive.

What you're about to venture out to (studying Japanese with the entire family) seems to be really exciting. Studying Japanese on your own should be fun enough, but it would be miles better with family and friends. Perhaps you'd surprise me one of these days when you're already posting in full Japanese, and in Kanji too! Hahaha!

Btw, I was advised by some Japanese friends to actually go to Japan after I've learned enough Japanese. And I agree. The best way to learn a language is to actually immerse yourself into it. I think you already have a head start, since you already know a few Japanese words. I think it is best that you familiarize yourself with the most common words and greetings, enough to get yourself around and ask simple questions. I've been told that Japan's transportation system (the trains) are quite lenient to tourists since they all have the names in Kanji, Hiragana/Katakana, and of course, Latin alphabets.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:19:06 AM
Reply

Several thoughts.

Ben, I honestly thought that when PSN and digital delivery arrived it would facilitate *more* of those Japanese games being released. I though that the vastly reduced costs of publication of a game on PSN would allow many more titles from Japan (and elsewhere) to be sold world wide via PSN. Look at the many Japanese games we never see, they only need a straight translation of text, menus and subtitles, no further localization is required. The cost of that is very limited compared to the cost of re-voicing the entire game as well as localizing all signage and so forth. For a very low investment the makers so so many Japanese games could so as the anime companies have, sell their product to fans hungry for it here in the West. I do not understand why this can't be done. I do not understand why it's not an option - apparently - since it clearly offers a low cost way to garner perhaps hundreds of thousands (or more) of new sales.

As for the wider question about the Japanese artistry and flare. I honestly think that the gaming industry is doing it to itself. Actually, to be more precise, the English speaking games industry is unwittingly (I hope) doing it to itself. What I mean by this is the apparently widely accepted notion that Japanese devs are inferior, the widespread opinion that somehow JRPG games and other games infused with that artistry and flare are somehow less worth they games like GTA or CoD. As this generation has progresses I have noticed an undercurrent, almost a xenophobic, or perhaps chauvinistic, sentiment that places Western games above Japanese games in every regard.

It's absolutely wrong to do that, I can't even tell you how many kinds of wrong it is, but I sense that undercurrent among gamers, much of the gaming media and even publishers/ developers. I mean, look at what happens if you have the temerity to think that a JRPG is a good genre. Apart from places (very few) like PSXExtreme, you'll be berated for that opinion, or at very least belittled for it.

But, it that kind of attitude, that kind of undercurrent that is doing the damage to Japanese games. The absolutely worst part of it is that hyper successful games like CoD have given Japanese game publishers the message that to make the billions CoD makes, you have to follow that template. The attitude present in western gamers and developers is felt by the Japanese developers, so much so that *THEY* believe it. Their own management and leadership are seeing CoD and telling their devs to imitate it in some way, and the feeling that the devs get from western gamers and developers is that somehow the Japanese are behind the times, backwards, inferior, and that to catch up they have to copy successful western games.

Ironically enough, I think that the truth is the opposite. Western Porgrammers are very adept at the technical side of games, they are great at building huge open environments 3D shooters, and 3D character and object models, they are great at sound design and all of the technology. What Western developers often fail at though is the play. Yes, there are some very notable exceptions to this. But, I finds that in general Japanese games are more pleasant to watch and play and they are simply more fun - in general. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but in general I've found it to be true. I think that the Japanese game designers and developers have retained a batter understanding of what a game is, thei8r games are still games to play with.

If we lost this Japanese influence we lose something vital to gaming, and we lose variety. I don't believe hat anyone in the western development community can compensate for that loss.

I don't know if we will see to go completely, the Japanese Home market will remain somewhat vibrant, it's large enough to survive on it's own. Plus, even with anime, we still get occasional dubbed released, and us hardcore fans can always watch at Cruncyroll with subtitles.

All that said, no western developer would ever have produced Soul Calibur, Tekken, Street Fighter, Gran Turismo, Yakuza, Final Fantasy, Xenosaga, Xenogears, White Knight Chronicles, Atelier games, Ar Tonelica, Tales of..., Valkyria Chronicles, Harvest Moon, etc....

Frankly, without games like the ones I just listed, gaming would lose a lot of it's attraction. I doubt I'd spend half as much as I do without Japanese games.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:27:48 AM

I second the motion!

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kevinater321
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 9:05:09 AM

The problem is most Westerns think that they are "superior" to pretty much everyone.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:46:26 PM

And non-westerns think they are superior because they don't think they're superior like those westerns and are humble unlike those darn westerns.

lol

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kevinater321
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:16:02 PM

lol underdog, that's not what i meant. I mean that i just get a vibe from the western society that they think they are better than other societies. I'm a westerner myself and i know a lot of people who think they are superior.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:23:54 PM

I know, Kev, I was just poking fun. :p

I think it's a human flaw, though. "Pride comes before a fall" isn't a modern teaching, afterall. People pride themselves on a large variety of things. I've got plenty, myself. Worst part of all, I know I should be a LOT more humble than I am. I just can't bring myself to be that way. lol

A bitter circle indeed!

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bentl78
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:38:52 AM
Reply

I wonder why shadow of the damned lack the ad it deserves.. i havent heard about it until just recently.. and it seems, not many arer talking about it either..

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FM23
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:51:46 AM
Reply

Personally, I have never been captured by the Japanese style of gaming. I understand its refreshing and colorful appeal, but the over dramatic/corny/bubble gum flavor of this style isn't really my cup of tea. It's pretty obvious this style is done. I love MGS, but I always hated the "over-dramaticness" and weird noises female characters made. FFXIII and Bayonetta may be the purest form of this culture I have ever tasted and I liked Bayonetta, but that game was weird. FFXIII had a good story, but the cliches, the overdramatics. The fantasy in Japanese culture is very strong and because of that, it doesn't appeal to alot of people...myself included.

But with that said, I don't want it to die because I enjoyed FFXIII and Bayonetta.

But I disagree with people who say Western games are nothing, but shooters. AC, Batman, etc are not shooters. And those same people will turn around and say they love UC because its a PS3 exclusive, but its a shooter. And then they say they hate CoD because it ruined Japanese gaming. Seriously, Japanese developers brought this on themselves by trying to compete with the Western market instead of just creating good games.

Face it, Western developers make better games nowadays so give credit where credit is due.

Last edited by FM23 on 6/27/2011 1:58:54 AM

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:01:08 AM

Face it, you sound a tad bit xenophobic and defensive.

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:06:54 AM

So far I haven't seen anybody here say that Western games are "nothing". So rest easy. The point is a lot of people who enjoy Japanese games are hard-pressed to find the things they liked about the games that are now coming out from Japan. Sure, it is not for everybody (like you), but there are still a lot of them that enjoy them and miss them badly.

And I agree with what you said about Japanese devs bringing this on themselves. Because a lot of them pretty much sold out.

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FM23
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:22:11 AM

Do I because that's not where I'm coming from at all. I'm just saying...people always like to blame the Japanese market downfall on western games. Blame Japaneses developers for messing up their winning formula. And I know people on this site are avid Japanese gaming fans, but everyone doesn't feel this way towards Japanese games or their relevance. Like I said I loved MGS because it wasn't all anime and ish, but Bayonetta and FFXIII were a little to extreme for my taste even though I enjoyed them both (both are 8.5+ games in my book).

I get tired of reading about how Western games are so this and that, but they truth of the matter is most of the good games are western developed and most are pretty diverse. I've never paid attention to Western or Japanese tailored games, but since I started coming to this site...I have learned this difference between the two. I didn't even know MGS was a Japanese game until MGS4 came out. But I like to play games that are good and ironically, imo...most came out of the West. That's really my point.

This is just opinion. Like I said, I don't want this style to die as I'm waiting for The Last Guardian and the ICO collection to hit, but I just dislike the way some people on here complain about the West when the west is creating some pretty good games that aren't just shooters. Notice how I never bash Japanese games saying they suck or anything, I just say the stories are full of cliches, etc(RE, MGS, SH). And at the same time, they are full of so much character...thats what really stuck out to me in FFXIII and Bayonetta. Really takes fantasy to another dimension, but I still find it weird most of the time.

I'm not bashing Japanese style at all. Remember that people. I'm just blaming its downfall on the developers and their mindset towards a changing industry

Last edited by FM23 on 6/27/2011 2:28:38 AM

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:22:47 AM

Tell me FM, how many Japanese/Asian people have you spent time with, and I mean REALLY spent time with? At work, we have a constant rotation of backpackers, many of them hailing from Asia, and let me tell you that what you term 'overdramatics' is pretty accurate to they way that they talk and act. Well, it is emphasised in video games to a degree, but it is very much reflective of reality. Some of the strangest, and most fun people that I've yet met have come from Japan, and I have a healthy respect for their actions. Perhaps that's why I don't see their games as being peculiar to the point of turning me off...

Also, don't get me wrong, Western games are often much better from a general standpoint than Asia-developed games, but they also lack a certain uniqueness. I'm not implying that they're all simply copycats or whatever, but a lot of them tend to blend together after a while IMO.

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 6/27/2011 2:29:17 AM

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FM23
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:36:20 AM

@Lawless...Yes and NO. I hangout or hung out with alot of Japanese people. Mainly in college, but alot of them either acted black or white depending on the crowd I was around. So in a way, I am not familiar with the overdramatics...lol

But I agree all the way with you when you say Japanese games have a uniqueness to them. That is so true. MGS and Demons Souls are some of the best games ever imo. And then something like Bayonetta and FFXIII placed alot of wonder in my mind even though I found them weird. I have nothing against Japanese gaming as I agree with you, but I just hate when people try to blame the downfall of Japanese games on Western developers...thats a weak argument.

Blame the Japanese developers for destroying their own art you know.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:06:37 AM

Oh, I agree that Japanese developers are indeed sinking themselves. At the same time, the blame has to fall somewhere, and that is firmly at the feet of Western developers, not for actively trying to cut out the Japanese aesthetic or whatever, but for becoming so immensely popular that they come across as having a certain draw not shared by Eastern games. That being said, it firmly results from a skewed viewpoint by Eastern developers. They're losing money as a result of the overabundance of Western games, and their own style can't really compete sales-wise, so something has to change. Unfortunately, it almost always results in losing of their unique identity.
Peace.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:52:46 AM

I agree! To blame western games for the lack of quality japanese games would be like... Like blaming western pop music for the lack of japanese rock on the charts?
Or something.

We all agree it's a loss but one can not be held responsible for the other.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/27/2011 3:54:21 AM

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:42:56 AM

No one is blaming the Western market for Japanese games being poor. People are blaming the Japanese games of trying to be too Western. The difference may seem trivial, but it's quite a fantastically large difference.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:47:32 AM

Oh, and as an added note... in regards to Japanese games being full of cliches and overdramatics...

What do you think drives the stories in CoD games? American and British war hero cliches. (Canadian war cliches are somewhere between the two, so we're no better) And games like GTA? Do you not think what happens in that game is just plain stupid, let alone overdramatic and overdone? Talk about fantasy.... Or how about Zombie games?

At least in the un-realistic-ness of Japanese games, they often dig deep into the /real/ humanity of the characters.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 9:35:45 AM

@Underdog:
Quote FM23: "people always like to blame the Japanese market downfall on western games"
Quote Lawless: "the blame has to fall somewhere, and that is firmly at the feet of Western developers"
-> that's like blaming Britney for being popular.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/27/2011 9:37:14 AM

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 9:52:35 AM

I don't think you can blame the Western developers unless we had more proof. I won't blame them until the Japanese ones actually try to make good Japanese games again the way they are supposed to... then they fail. Maybe then I'll blame the shift to popularity.

But... until then... I remain convinced the blame rests squarely (yuk yuk) on the shoulders of the Jap Dev's who are capable of making AAA Jap games, but simply do not.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:02:25 AM

Yeah, hehe, that's exactly what I am trying to say too.
:D

The japs gotta make good games, that's all…

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:05:00 AM

I have to agree with FM; while I haven't exactly had a full taste of japenese culture, I still don't care much for it (in games atleast). I mean, MGS4 was the best game of all time (damn you if you think otherwise) because...it was. Not because it was Japenese. BTW I just skimmed through the replies as I gotta go but I'll add to this post later if need be :)

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:40:07 AM

Guys,

I know that you're just abbreviating, but please stop saying Jap instead of Japanese. Whenever I've heard people talking about 'Japs' when referring to Japanese, it's invariably been disrespectful in tone - to put it mildly. Please use the whole word Japanese, it's only five additional character strokes, but it makes a world of difference. Referring to the Japanese as Japs is kind of like Americans being called Yanks, or British people being called Limeys or perhaps more accurately Germans being referred to as 'Jerries'.

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:37:18 AM

@TheHighlander

Or to put it more simply, the term "Japs" is politically incorrect.

Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/27/2011 11:37:31 AM

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:58:17 AM

Actually, I would have included the phrase 'politically incorrect' except for one thing. The use of 'Japs' for the Japanese people actually makes me uncomfortable. If it was purely about the PC-ness, I wouldn't even have mentioned it.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/27/2011 12:00:19 PM

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Beamboom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:26:26 PM

I'm sorry I didn't know it was disrespectful. Is it like "nigger"? I had no idea. Sorry, I never mean to disrespect anyone expect for named individuals. :)

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Underdog15
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:48:58 PM

I knew it's a derogatory term. So an extra sorry from me. I only said it in the sense of JAP region vs. NA region. In other words, had my sentence been about an American game, I would have said NA devs.

That's why I overlooked the term. My bad. Just wanted to let you know it's not how I intended to put it.


To add to Highlander: Or Canadians being called Canucks? Nah, just kidding. We love that term. :)

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/27/2011 12:50:56 PM

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 1:23:32 PM

Beamboom,
That's taking my comment out of context... To bemoan the undeniable, negative influence that the popularity of Western devs has had on Japanese devs was my intent, not to blame the developers themselves.

Highlander,
Never knew that you guys thought of 'Yank' as being offensive. 'Round here, it's generally used as a term of affection :/ Then again, we're also apt to calling our best friends c**ts so...

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 6/27/2011 1:24:49 PM

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:07:22 PM

'Yank' wasn't entirely the best example, but I honestly couldn't think of one that worked in the same fashion as the others. Being British I can think of several derogatory terms for Germans, but in the context, "Jerries" was the best analog. But the point simply was that I found the term to be offensive. In general using a derogatory term to encompass a group of people is pretty much a textbook case of prejudiced language. I'm *certain* that no one here wants to (or meant to) come across in that way. If I were talking to a friend in a less public setting I might call my friend any number of things - as Lawless suggested, but I wouldn't talk about an entire group of people from a specific country using a word that is understood to be a derogatory term.

BeamBoom, that word - the one beginning with 'N' - carries a very great deal of offense and power in some societies and is uniquely powerful in that way. It's a word that is utterly unacceptable for some in a society to use, while at the same time it's accepted as used in slang by others. But unless you belong to the specific social group where it's accepted, using that word is a fast track to a very nasty argument or worse. maybe that's a uniquely North American phenomenon, but in general, I'd stay away from that particular word.

Underdog (and Beamboom) I knew you were just using it as a short hand abbreviation, for convenience, but for whatever reason it really lights up a portion of my brain that simply says "Stop!". Too many people of my grand parents generation had experiences from WWII that left them with huge issues when dealing with Germans, Italians or the Japanese. They'd routinely use such derogatory terms, despite decades and generations passing and despite all three of these nations moving far beyond their history. Perhaps that experience left me more sensitive to the use of language? I don't know. Just one of those things I guess.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/27/2011 2:07:45 PM

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ZettaiSeigi
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 6:23:58 PM

I could understand where Highlander is coming from. Though I'm sure you guys meant nothing offensive when you used such terms. It's probably just a good idea to use them since we don't really know each other here *that well*. It's probably best to avoid such terms to avoid getting misconstrued. :)

Damn, it's so surreal how mature this community is! (For the most part, that is.) And btw, I personally kid my really close American friends by calling them "Merkins" Haha! That's because they'd know I was just fooling around. :)

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 2:40:28 AM

So the J word is from the second world war? That makes sense now that I think about it, but geeez, how is it I was not aware of it then... Back to the history lessons with ya, Beamy - this time in english! :)

Highlander, I know the N word and it's boundaries well since I occasionally listen to rap music. :D


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/28/2011 2:42:33 AM

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 10:55:19 AM

The way that the 'N-word' is used now is really an interesting thing. It's almost like those that were oppressed by the word and those using it in the past have decided to claim that word for their own, and are diminishing it's power by placing it into slang without the same meaning or power that t once carried. That said, a non-african american can't ever use that word in regards to an african american friend, even if they are both part of the same social group, even if that word is used in the common slang within the group, there are still very strict limits about who can and cannot use it and how it can be used.

The trouble with human history is that in ever conflict between nations or social groups, someone invents one or more slang terms of abuse for the other side, and they may become commonly used. Then decades later, those same words often still carry that burden, but it may not be known to everyone.

No harm done, as I've said, I knew no one was using the word in a negative or offensive way, but the word itself was jarring to me, so I said something.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:16:17 AM
Reply

I hope not. I really rather enjoy it. The anime styling is one thing that I'm learning to love (I was never averse to it, I was simply indifferent). The, in general, laughable voice work and dialogue options actually become more endearing as time goes on. And there is a certain simplicity and rawness in Asian games that you don't get from Western developments. There's more of a feeling that the developer has gone "No, screw you. I'm doing what I want to do the way that I want to do it", and this is quite refreshing.

There really do seem to be fewer limits on what Japanese developers are scared of doing, and that tends to lead to more ambitious developments. I mean, who can deny the sheer abstract beauty of El Shaddai, and what Western developer would make that the clear focus of their game. A similar sentiment must be shared by Okami. What Western developer would mix a life/dating sim with a nightmarish story and puzzle-platforming elements to conjure up Catherine?

What Western developers actually succeed at tugging at your heartstrings compared to games like FFVII, Valkyria Chronicles, ICO/SotC, and even MGS4? There is indeed a very unique atmosphere to their games, and if it ever disappears, then the gaming world will lament, even if they refuse to realise it yet.
Peace.

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FM23
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 2:30:11 AM

That is very true. MGS is my favorite series. My gaming history wouldn't be the same w/o it.

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___________
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:01:25 AM
Reply

depends.
IF they stop with this bullsh*t idea of only asians like that style of game then no it wont die.
but if they keep in that frame of mind, then yea a few more years and it will be gone the way of the survival horror game.
not dead, but as common as a flying pig.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:44:48 AM

If that's the case, then I can't wait for the porcine fly-past to commence...

;)

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:06:19 AM
Reply

Is The Japanese Style and Artistry Doomed to Die you ask?

I seriously doubt it. Yes, some Japanese developers are ambitious and want to sell like Call of Duty, most notoriously Square-Enix. But there are a number of others that are perfectly content to keep doing their own thing. Among them are Nippon Ichi Software, Gust, Idea Factory (and yes I know some people have issues with this one), Compile Heart, Atlus, Arc System Works, Level 5, From Software, Sony's Japan Studio, to a lesser extent Sega, and ARGUABLY Namco Bandai.

Those are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. If anyone can name any others then please feel free to add them.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:33:54 AM

I'd argue that Namco has an identity crisis going on though. It still has a lot going for it as Japanese developer/publisher, but also continues to be distracted by the allure of the western market and how to get a bigger slice of the pie.

Specifically regarding Namco, they have numerous highly successful franchises that would benefit greatly from an approach that does not look to specific markets and simply creates the beast damned game possible. Soul Calibur is a good example of this. While i understand the desire to include guest characters from Western game franchises to entice western gamers, and I also appreciate the western styled armor, weapon and clothing items in the create a Soul modes, the game is first and foremost what it is, the best weapons fighter that there is, and it's the best because of the Japanese art and flare. Namco needs to remember that and retain that focus. They'd do really well to maintain that kind of outlook with their other games, I think that they'd be healthier to ignore the monetary advances of console makers and stick to making great games instead of switching platforms for short term monetary gain.

While I remember, a word about paid exclusivity. If a console maker wishes to engage a third party developer to develop a new IP exclusively for their platform, I have no problem. If a console maker approaches a third party to develop an exclusive new game in an established franchise owned by the console maker, I have no problem. But, if a developer/publisher is making a new game in an established franchise that they own, and accepts payment to either switch platforms entirely (moving away from their existing customer base), or grant a lengthy timed exclusivity outside Japan to an alternate platform, then I do have a problem with paid exclusivity.

Several of the Major game publishers/developers in Japan are guilty of the third type of exclusivity I mentioned, and I honestly see this as one of the reasons that they are having problems. It's also one of the reasons that this entire topic is even up for discussion.

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:02:17 AM

Distracted by the allure of the Western market? Well, yes and no to that.

Yes they have looked to the Western market with interest before. But after the failure of Enslaved it would seem that they've become considerably more wary of it. They almost didn't green light Tales of Graces F for localization.

So yes, as you indicate it does seem to be somewhat of an identity crisis for them.

Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/27/2011 11:02:45 AM

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:10:49 AM

I think though that tales of Graces F and Enslaved are two completely different animals - so to speak. You may be right, but I'd hope that the people in charge of Namco can see that there is a huge difference between Tales of Graces F - a game completely infused with anime styling, and flare along with a fairly solid JRPG basis; and Enslaved which is a completely different genre of game - third person action adventure and not at all of the same style as Tales of Graces F.

They're so different that I honestly can't see one as the indicator of the success of the other in the West. Whether Namco has an identity crisis or not, if they took the reception for Enslaved in the Western markets as an indicator for how Tales of Graces F would fare, then they neither understand the market, or their games genre.

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mastiffchild
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:44:50 PM

Enslaved is a red herring though, isn't it? As a game published by a Japanese company but made by a western copmany it falls into a long line of failed marriages this gen which has left the likes of ?grin defunct. there was an ID crisis in Japan but it's calming down on that score-I just worry there's too much temptation for them to stay ho,me with more and more games. Odd to me, also, that when it came to localisation they don't, for PS3, just do another run of the Asian disc and put a subtitle patch on PSN for each language they want. There's been little looking into how to cut costs like this and it would help margins and help confidence.Hell, it might even allow Sega to, IDK, advertise a non sonic game in the UK.

Also, Enslaved's total lack of anything resembling a challenge for anyone with one eye and a couple of semi working fingers didn't seem to hurt them in Capcom's eyes now, did it?Would they have gotten this extra chance in the past I wonder or does it show an inferiority complex in Japanese gaming?

Whatever, the thing is we get fewer Japanese made games than we used to and when EA won't push a game they publish you have to wonder why, don't you? I think there's more politics to this than meets the eye, sadly. When, also, i think of the JRPGs reviewed this generation I also smell a rat. Sure, I'd be the first to say ythe last TRULY great TRUE JRPG I played was probaby Persona4 on PS2. However, the games made this generation have been unfairly lambasted at review in my eyes and several tmes i've played a jrpg thinkin "well, i'll give it a go" after seeing a poor review or ten and then finished the game and found it to be WELL above it's meta in terms of just about everything. Western games tend to get away with more and scrape a seven/ten whereas it seems the fashion to knock a jrpg for any little fault and games as varied as Nier, WKC, Trinity Souls of Zill O'll,Infinite Undiscovery and a ton of others all got a metacritic score a good bit below the one they deserved-some evenb lower than Alpha Protocol for example and none are as poor at what they set out to do as that game was in my eyes and I'm sure we can all point to a few games that ended up around a 70 on Meta from western devs that were pants while we played a few Japanese games getting that or lower that seemed a lot better. Is it just a fashion?

I hate the way DMCseems to be being reigned in by Capcom and worry that they got NT in because they think the can make it more subtle when that's exactly what we don't want. Again,though, who really has a grip on this one?

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:28:55 PM

@mastiffchild

I see where you're coming from. It would seem that Western reviewers are becoming increasingly hostile toward Japanese games.

But I'm happy to say that a number of such games that have been treated poorly by Western reviewers have done well sales-wise regardless.

It would seem that the reviewers can do all the hating they want because as long as we, the dedicated fans of Japanese games, continue to support them then what the Western reviewers think doesn't matter.

Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/27/2011 10:29:34 PM

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Kall555
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:29:05 AM
Reply

I agree with this article. Don't get me wrong, i love Western games too (Mass Effect, BioShock, Uncharted, Gears of War etc) but i don't want classics such as Metal Gear, Devil May Cry, Tekken, Silent Hill, Resident Evil etc losing their identity which has sadly occurred with a few of them already.

I mean they also made Siren Blood Curse (purely Japanese horror back on PS2)Western this gen....WTF leave it how it was.

I will always feel bitter about what became of Silent Hill & i will never believe how the old school horror of RE1 to RE3 became what it has today in RE5, they're almost like completely separate games instead of being part of the same series. Todays Gears of War Resi Evil is a far cry from RE2, which will most likely remain as arguably the best RE for it's time.

In a nutshell, I just wish they would let Japanese games be Japanese games; we love you the way you are.

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kevinater321
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 9:02:13 AM
Reply

Yes. But then it will come back even more stylish than ever. Similar to side scrollers.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 10:34:21 AM

I surely hope so.

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kevinater321
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 3:16:37 PM

same here highlander, same here.

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Excelsior1
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:10:19 AM
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well, this is a touchy subject. there is no doubt japanese games are in decline. jrpg's are almost on life support with releases that are few and far between. i think the 360's dramatic gain of marketshare this gen has done a lot hurt to hurt jrpgs. that's the genre ms meddled in the most, but i'd be the first to point out the japanese developers were more than happy to take the payouts.

it seems the rise of military shooters on the consoles(360 in particular) have hurt japanese games. japanese developers see those 20 million cod sales and are willing to throw out their traditdional ways of making games becuase they covet those sales so much.

i'm not saying it's the 360's fualt. gamers' tastes have changed a lot since last gen. unfortunately for japanese developers the hot genre is in a type of game they aren't exactly known for.

that does not mean the market for their type of games isn't still there. it's just smaller in comparison.

i still think the biggest reason for the japanese game indusrty decline is leadership. they just can't seem to figure this gen out.



Last edited by Excelsior1 on 6/27/2011 11:30:54 AM

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:49:30 AM

It may be true that Japanese games are not as popular as they once were. But in decline (as in in a continual state of decline)? I don't think so. Let me refer to my first post in this thread.

But I think that the main reason Japanese games aren't as popular as they used to be is the emergence of instant-gratification gaming. It's likely not a coincidence that a number of Western RPG franchises have become more and more action-oriented and less and less RPG such as Fallout, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age.

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Highlander
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 11:59:23 AM

@Looking Glass

Regarding more action oriented western RPGS - True Dat.

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The Doom
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 12:02:24 PM
Reply

I skipped Dragon Age II for Ar Tonelico Qoga and I'm proud of it, dammit!!

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mastiffchild
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:27:22 PM
Reply

Look at those missing games this generation. Look at the games not coming over from ?japan.Look at Nintendo not publishing Fatal Frame Four, The Last Story etc in the west. Look at the joke Namco managed with the Tales series this gen.

Then, look at Sega and their p[atheti western support for the successful in Japan Yakuza series(we had to fight to get a western release, Sega always complain it doesn't do well here yet NEVER once gave it anything like a marketing push and stocking is often a joke. then we have games like SOTD which even when published by a BIG western company there's poor stocks of the game and ZREO advertising. Where I live I've YET to see an ad for the game.

Whether it's the cost of making HD games that made Japanese devs so self conscious IDK but the talent and games are still there it's just they seem loathe to rally let their games go for it in the west yet companies like Atlus have been doing just fine B doing exactly that. Why EA are failing to support a game reviewing well, playing better and made by two massive names is beyond me too-I dunno what's gong on here and I remember thinking things loked bad when Ninty refused to release Fatal Frame 4 out here-a great game in a series with a ready following in the west. Times are crazy.

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Looking Glass
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 8:04:45 PM

Well, technically Nintendo is localizing The Last Story for a European release, although there's been no word of a North American release.

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Douchebaguette
Monday, June 27, 2011 @ 7:54:06 PM
Reply

"Scott earned the power of self respect!"

I believe all Japanese designers & publishers should listen to Kojima and start catering for their own country. Just like the opposite sex that prefers a sense of confidence in one's character, strengthening their own unique elements within their development would prove much more beneficial for their own creativity and probably commerical success rather than trying to immitate Western themes then failing miserably.


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PharaohJR
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 3:55:16 AM
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SMH money.

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SethB
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 10:54:29 AM
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I think you have to separate differing styles of Japanese games. I, for one, love MGS, DMC, Silent Hill, etc but really can't stand JRPG's or any game that resembles anime, and these are the games that people probably think of when they hear "Japanese games".

I used to play JRPG's back in the NES through PS1 days, but the repetition of character archetypes and story lines made me detest the genre. I am in my 30's now, and I have zero interest in playing a game that revolves around teenagers with daddy/mommy issues that have to save the world. These type of games have put a stigma on Japanese games, whether correctly or incorrectly it is there. I know I have a bias towards them, as I will avoid any game that even looks remotely anime-styled.

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yuanyao
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 9:25:51 PM
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darkdirtydwarf
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 2:57:39 AM
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It won't die. It'll just be "resized". Which is sad. But there'll always be an "Ico", "SotC" and so on. Unfortunately we shouldn't ask ourselves if it'll happen. It has happened already.

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