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Japanese Development Practices Are "Old-Fashioned"

Japanese game developers have recently talked about the West vs. East debate from a design standpoint.

The latest is former Grasshopper Manufacture game director Massimo Guarini, who has recently started up his own studio, Ovosonico. In talking to GameSpot about Shadows of the Damned - which was received well by the critics but suffered mediocre sales - Guarini addressed other subjects of importance.

For instance, when asked about new IPs, Guarini said the launching of brand new titles "will actually be the industry of tomorrow." Despite all the sequels and spin-offs, he maintains that "no market in the world" can survive without a continuous influx of fresh, innovative products. Then he was asked about the differences between Western and Japanese development processes. Guarini replied:

"Based on my experiences, Japanese development tends to be characterized by a creative overwhelming chaos, where productions are often driven by a tyrannical single creative mind and development practices tend to be quite old-fashioned and, at times, extremely inefficient. On the other hand, Western development is generally characterized by an efficient, well organized, risk-averse sort of democracy; actual creativity and strong vision get diluted, if not sometimes completely lost, in endless brainstorming sessions driven mainly by market analysis rather than creators."

At the same time, he does say that both styles are "deeply complementary" and that both have their pluses and minuses. Guarini believes his new studio will be able to take the best aspects from each style and implement them in their projects...and that's something we'd love to see.

Tags: shadows of the damned, japanese games, western games, game news

7/25/2011 12:33:58 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (34 posts)

Vivi_Gamer
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 12:48:10 PM
Reply

That's funny, because I find every american agme to be too board, notice how you don't get any simple platformers any more, you need to have an open world and guns! ... I am hoping Sonic Generations will break this curse.

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Temjin001
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:07:35 PM

Well Ultima, many platforming elements exist in games today, even Uncharted and Infamous. I think the traditional 2D platformer reduced in frequency ever since the full realization of 3D processing. Conventional side scrolling just isn't as appealing to many these days.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/25/2011 1:08:51 PM

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Beamboom
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 2:12:45 PM

... Or Assassins Creed, LBP, Prince Of Persia, Ratchet & Clank, Portal, Shattered Dimensions, Mirrors Edge, not to mention a long list of PSN games... One could argue that even Skate is a kind of platformer.

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/25/2011 2:13:35 PM

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Warrior Poet
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 9:40:00 PM

You forgot Sly Cooper! Shame on you.

The 2D "flatformer" is actually having quite the revival. Trine, Braid, VVVVVV, 'Splosion Man...Not as classic as the classics but very good and very interesting. They're mostly indie games, and very good ones too :)

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___________
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 6:53:50 AM

platformers only exist on DL areas simply because developers have it stuck in their head that gamers want a long extended replay time from there games.
which is kinda true, but that does not mean that people wont pay 60 USD for a good full 2D platformer.
look at little big planet, one of the generations best games!
allot of PSN and XBLA games could sell at retail for a much higher price and still do quite well!

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Douchebaguette
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 12:51:02 PM
Reply

This is quite true, hence why games made by the Gooch and Kojima were badass. Either method can alays would sweetly depending on whichever individual and required situation.

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Douchebaguette
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:57:44 PM


Either method can always pan out sweetly depending on whichever individual and required situation.**

No idea wtf happened there.

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Highlander
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:00:13 PM
Reply

So, we can have games created by a creative genius, or we can have games created by a risk averse committee? I'll go with the creative genius. No offense to anyone who's going to jump on these comments as some kind of validation that the Japanese must change, but you're wrong. Art is about the individual, single minded creative genius behind the creation. If you want truly creative games, you need to recognize that and deal with it.

I'm not sure I buy into what he has to say. I read the entire interview and he mentions phrases like "business model" and "entertainment brand" an alarming number of times. To be honest, he really doesn't sound like a game creator developer to me, but more like a suit or a producer. In which case it's no wonder he has problems with the more creative approach taken in Japan. Suits like orderly risk averse environments run by committee.

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Beamboom
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 2:20:14 PM

I believe both technical and creative excellence is required for a game to really shine. And that's what we want isn't it? :)

Just like with music: I always want creativity but they need to know their instruments too.

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___________
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 6:56:29 AM

but your forgetting 1 thing.
these people dont make games because of a creative passion.
theres a reason why asian developers are slowly starting to turn to western developers for there games!
as he said asian developers create from a idea, westerners create to what they think will sell.
we need a bit of both.
no point making the best game ever created if no one will buy it, and no point making the best selling game if its boring.
in a perfect world creative games would sell the best, because there different and unique, and that creativity would bring allot of quality with it.
but sadly we dont live in a perfect world!

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Temjin001
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:01:55 PM
Reply

Itagaki was the epitome of that quote. The new Team Ninja is more open to creative input. Question is, is that necessarily for the better?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:18:01 PM

Creative input for Team Ninja: Make DOA5 and go nuts with the bounce.

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Excelsior1
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:05:50 PM
Reply

i see very little going on in the industry to justify his opinion that new IPs will be the indusrty of tomorrow. it looks like the industry as whole is heading in the exact opposite direction.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/25/2011 1:06:54 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:18:32 PM

Truth

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Beamboom
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 3:10:34 PM

Sadly

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Eld
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:18:59 PM
Reply

Heh, maybe too much market analysis and tyranny of suits is what's destroying games from the east. Japanese games used to have uniqe appeal, but now a lot of them are in grey area.

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Ultimate_Balla
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:19:59 PM
Reply

Sonic's probably gonna roll(hehehe) with an AK-47 pretty soon ('_').

It's a mid-life crisis talk-thing among these developers, me thinks.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:20:08 PM

It's gonna be a Tec-9 I think

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cLoudou
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 1:45:25 PM
Reply

Who is this, hope he disappears like Justin Guarini.

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frostface
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 2:05:22 PM
Reply

What we don't need is another Shadows of the Damned. What a terrible game that was. I've no idea what the reviewers were smoking when they judged that favorably. ( Before any reviewers get all defensive, I'm not taking a pop at ya, I just disagree with your review respectfully )
The reason it wasn't as well received as the reviews might of indicated was simply that people don't want to buy a game that looks like a turd and has wonky controls.
I will give it credit for at least trying some nice ideas, e.g. having to escape the darkness or your life drains.
What ever techniques they brainstormed on that game just didn't work and if this guy was a part of that process, I really wouldn't be listening too much to his rhetoric.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 3:15:27 PM

You can have your opinion, but besides a slightly iffy dodge mechanic, the controls were perfectly fine. And the presentation was intentional; it's part of the design and style.

Reviewers basically all agreed on this because most know what they're talking about. ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/25/2011 3:15:39 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:21:29 PM

I found the controls really tight except when you got backed into a corner, then the camera change caused a serious aiming problem. Still though, it's largely a last-gen game. 3.5/5 from me.

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___________
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 6:58:21 AM

right so when reviewers agree with you there right because there the majority.
but when the majority disagrees with you there wrong, like with GT5.
gotta love that!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:26:10 PM
Reply

Whatever my own opinions I think this fellow is mostly right. It has always been Kojima's genius that makes his games so solid, and this new trend that tries to grab the "safe" CoD and shooter fans has destroyed Japanese games and it making all other games twitch fests.

Making a game safe for the market is where the poison is these days though, I think it's okay to do this but do it within your genre and within your fan's accepted threshold for change.

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Cuetes
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 4:49:42 PM
Reply

I think that our beloved hobby has room for both styles of making a game. If you didn't have them we would never have had the MGS series or grand theft auto so I think this guy is just blabbering of nonsense.
The main problem with our neighbors is not being able to look outside the box. I dont think however that this is by choice. There is talent over there, I think it's more of a clash of cultures.
The Asian way is already submissive, I think the games coming out of there are echoing the same elements. Stability is treasured over there, and developers are going with what they know best. The only problem is a bigger majority of gamers are people who like change and welcome the fresh. Therefore you have what you got now and Asian industry struggling to keep up with the new.

Last edited by Cuetes on 7/25/2011 4:52:34 PM

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gungrave
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 7:28:01 PM

When you worry a lot about other regions and forget why your franchise is successful, you get a game like FF13. That was the first FF game that I never bothered picking up. 1-they lied about going exclusive(that game was the reason I bought a PS3), 2-the quality of the game was compromised by making it multiplat. I know the PS3 version is superior but when I read that towns and stuff were not included, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why it wasn't included in the final product.

I'm not a bit surprised that the price of that game dropped within the first month. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

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main_event05
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 5:01:32 PM
Reply

I'm sorry, but I think the creation process should be just one tyrant with others working on his vision. When there are too many fingers in a pie that's when things get messy.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 5:18:49 PM

I prefer a tyrant with a somewhat open mind.

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main_event05
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 12:37:44 AM

well of course

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KNG201
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 5:56:03 PM
Reply

we still need a co-op platformer like contra for example. all this solo mission third person stuff is getting boring imo.

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Warrior Poet
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 9:42:41 PM

Check out Gunstar Heroes. That's a lot of fun.

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FatherSun
Monday, July 25, 2011 @ 9:21:15 PM
Reply

This is something that can be debated till the Sun engulfs the earth. I will not begin to speculate. I will leave that to those who have a FULL understanding of not only Japanese culture and American culture but the Gaming Industry culture as well. And to be honest, at this time it is just too malleable to pin it down anyway. Technology is changing the way everyone thinks and the way companies do business. It will be a long time for anyone to get it right. Who knows where we will be 5 years from now. So to Mr Guarini, Don't talk the talk if you cant walk the walk. What he says may sound good but will it translate to a successful and compelling product? Only time will tell.

But if I were to try to decipher it I would say that the Japanese gaming industry is attempting to not only remain relevant but to also actually make some money in the process. Who can blame developers for wanting at least a piece of the pie that lies outside of their borders. I just think that they should not abandon they way they were doing things in the first place. They should try to supplement what they already have somehow. Easier said than done I guess.

If you look at it.. I think this is part of the reason why Microsoft is so popular in the United States. And part of the reason that the PS3 is not as popular. They know how to cater to the audience they have. And it is now almost a captive audience if you really look at it. Yes some may say they are tyrants in the way they do business and they may not be they most moral company out there but hey.. What company is. It is a consumers market. You will only get to their pocket by giving them what they want. Or at least giving them what they think they want.

Basically.. It seems that Sony being a Japanese company has more of a Global Presence and why the XBOX is more USA centric. Of course there are many other factors but getting into that would make this post exponentially longer.

It is all about LIVE!

Last edited by FatherSun on 7/25/2011 9:24:50 PM

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___________
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 6:58:54 AM
Reply

could not of said it better myself!

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