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Will Japanese Games Recover Some Lost Swagger This Era?

Last generation, we saw a massive shift.

Western developers were just starting to get their feet wet during the PlayStation and PS2 generations, but things really shifted during the previous era. Even most Japanese designers admitted that they were lagging behind.

So, looking forward to this generation, do you think Japanese games will reclaim any of that lost brilliance? And if so, will it be in the form of established franchise that bounce back (i.e., Resident Evil or Final Fantasy), or will new IPs fuel the rejuvenation? Considering 2014, it doesn't look like a Japanese Renaissance is nigh; most of the bigger titles confirmed for this year are in development at Western studios.

Perhaps the biggest games on the horizon - Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Assassin's Creed: Unity, Batman: Arkham Knight, Sunset Overdrive, Uncharted 4, etc. - will be joined by some Japanese heavy hitters. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, despite all the controversy, is proof that talented Japanese developers like Kojima and Co. can still make fantastic games. We just need to see more, don't we?

I wonder if it's even possible...

Tags: japanese games, japanese gaming industry, next gen consoles, next generation

5/18/2014 10:21:11 PM Ben Dutka

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New Comment System


Legacy Comment System (26 posts)


Bonampak
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:01:05 PM
Reply

Its not likely to happen.

Japan is mostly a smartphone/handheld market. And every major Japanese game company is presently trying to make it big in the mobile market - Capcom, Square-Enix, Konami, Bandai Namco, etc. - It's all a big part of their current strategy.

And I don't think we can blame them too much for going mobile, either.

Gamers in Japan have not been supporting home consoles in a big way. Both the PS4 and the Wii U have pretty much bombed in Japan (so far). Even last gen consoles had a hard time being relevant there. For instance, the PS3 only had ONE million selling game in Japan for most of its entire life-cycle (FFXIII). That's a depressing fact of how bad things are over there for home consoles.

The PS4 has almost nothing lineup this year that will give it a good enough push in the Japanese market. Not until FFXV or KH3 come around.

But the fact that these big Japanese companies had nothing much in terms of system selling games prepared for the PS4's first year, speaks for itself. Their focus is elsewhere (mobiles and portables).

So I doubt that Japanese devs are going to make a comeback any time soon. At least not on home consoles. Hang on to your Vita's.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 12:59:13 AM

Interesting post.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 10:00:53 AM

The man has a point.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 11:12:03 AM

All very true. Seems to me like Japanese game developers will only make a splash in the mobile scene, unfortunately.

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cLoudou
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:19:17 PM
Reply

Hopefully because that list of Western games aside from Batman and Uncharted does not interest me at all...

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Japanese_Gamer
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:27:50 PM

I understand that feeling so well,actually not even batman.

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souljah92
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 9:01:31 AM

Yeah the expected line-up sucks big balls
I bet if a next gen locoroco came out then there'd be a reason to get a ps4!

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Japanese_Gamer
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:24:12 PM
Reply

Japanese Games are coming back this gen with PS4 Exclusivity.

The Last Guardian will finally be shown at E3 to get everyone excited,Another Souls game coming from From Software for the Playstation 4.
Final Fantasy XV,Kingdom Hearts 3 which are long waited Playstation sequels will also be there with amazing demos.
CAPCOM is finally trying new IP's this gen with Deep Down which is looking stellar with that Dragon Fight.
Konami has their Final Conclusion to the Metal Gear Saga so that's pretty exciting and another new IP from Kojima Productions.
SEGA has the Yakuza Series,with each entry they innovate and bring everything new and they are working on another AAA PS4 Exclusive to be unveiled from the guys who did Binary Domain which was an amazing game.
Don't forget Persona 5 for the Playstation 3.
All these games are not Indies like on Vita these are AAA Console quality PS4 Games.
Hope they can announce all the great Japanese games coming for the Playstation 4.
As there are so many games coming.
Console market is going to take over Japan in the coming years with the Playstation 4 and it's cheap price.


Last edited by Japanese_Gamer on 5/18/2014 11:26:39 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 12:11:24 AM

I don't know if you meant to imply they were exclusives (might just be the way it reads), but just in case...

Neither FFXV nor Kingdom Hearts 3 are exclusive to PS4.

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Japanese_Gamer
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 12:12:27 AM

FFXV and KH3 are long awaited Playstation Sequels

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Underdog15
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 10:08:23 AM

Isn't XV now a unique numbered title? Both XIV and XIII were multiplats as well. Not all KH games are even ON Sony consoles.

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Corvo
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:27:24 PM
Reply

Nope.

I don't mind Capcoms games so when it comes to them, I have all the faith in the world. Team Ninja LOVES ripping me off with DOA and NG (I like to pretend yaiba doesnt exist) so i'm cool with them as well.

The big question here is: Will JRPGs make a come back and honestly, who knows really. Sony has no faith in SE nor should they. I doubt my own love for the company I grew up with. The only games I would sit down for a few hours at a time. Its yucky thinking of SE like this but they did it themselves and as I've heard oldsters say, you sleep in the bed you make. Or however it goes.

Squares last shot at being Square and not publisher is FFXV. If that doesn't deliver, no ones going to care about what square makes and only what they publish. If anyone's seen real news sources give out SE's sales numbers you'd see ffx hd, tomb raider, thief and some weird dragon quest light defenders or something made them a ton of money. Guess what game isn't making them money.

3rd party games, and a 13 year old game made them money. If Japan can start up JRPGs again, Squares gotta get it together seeing how they were once the reigning kings of games, graphics, and JRPGs/RPGs.

I'd love to see them comeback but I don't care anymore. Dragons Dogma was the best JRPG I've played during the ps3 era, and I don't consider Demons/Dark souls a JRPG.

There's plenty of good games that are Japanese, just because they don't cost XXX million to make doesn't mean they've fallen behind. Give me Xenogears gameplay, size and scope with modern graphics. There's the comeback. Hopefully with Nintendo bringing Xenogears Origins errr whatever they plan on calling it, we'll see a rise in JRPGS again.

At this point in time, there will continue to be GOOD japanese games, but they won't probably reach western games sales numbers. The people who hear about something and go out and buy it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:38:57 PM

I wouldnt call Dragons Dogma a JRPG either, that game needs some western help big time too.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 2:44:58 AM

Didn't Xenogears end up costing too much, which causes ripples in the development which ended up causing compromises to the content - One for the biggest complaint of Xenogears I have heard is the story gets really weak on the second disc. I have yet to play it myself, I really need to.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 10:10:46 AM

@Vivi
Yeah it's true. It's not so much that the story is weak on the second disc so much as they condensed it into a narrative.

Story might be the most massive in a video game ever. Had they not made disc 2 a narrative, (literally cutscenes where a character sits on a chair and explains what happens) it probably could have been made into another 2 discs.

It certainly made the plot weak, though.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:28:52 PM
Reply

While I'm excited for the likes of Natural Doctrine, Lily Bergamo, FFXV and KH3, I don't think that the Japanese development scene is ever going to be the dominant force that it once was. The audience has, for some reason, moved away from the types of games that are made on those shores and their imitations of Western-developed games are just that: imitations. They're either not good enough, or not unique enough to stand out. Kinda sad, really.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 11:07:41 AM

Hey man, I need to get ahold of ya, got an email addy or link for me?

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Lawless SXE
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 5:51:46 PM

lawardornd {at} gmail {dot} com.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 11:31:19 PM
Reply

It doesn't look that way, they appear to have no understanding whatsoever of what gamers enjoy and will continue to struggle to figure it out. With fewer Jdevs able to spend the money it takes to make a AAA a comeback is even less likely.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 2:39:52 AM
Reply

Metal Gear Solid V trumps all of them games listed in the last paragraph for me without any 2nd runners. The only other game on that list I care for is Uncharted 4.

But sadly, I just don't see it the Japanese market striking back. Just look at the direction the industry has gone within the 2nd half of last gen and even with the beginning of this gen Japan got their consoles far later than the US did - which considering the natural order of gaming since... well for ever that is just unheard of.

It's going to continue and I hope Japanese developers don't disappear much like the JRPG market of the PS3/360/Wii gen. As I said, the reason I have a Wii-U on my shelf is for when Xenoblade 2 arrives, if it is anything like the first game on Wii it will groundbreaking.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 4:39:44 AM
Reply

I think the "world domination" they enjoyed on consoles back in the days are over for good. The sooner they realize this and stop trying to be "something for everybody" and instead focus on their uniqueness, they got a good chance of establishing some good IPs for their audience.

But they need to stop trying to "beat the rest of the gaming world", and istead find their place in it.

... And I WANT a new Katamari, damnit!

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/19/2014 4:40:46 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 10:02:05 AM

Touch my Katamari

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___________
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 4:54:21 AM
Reply

i dunno, weve seen allot of encouraging encounters from crapcom, both with DMC and even RE6, and the upcoming deep down, and dragons dogma, so maybe, just maybe, crapcoms FINALLY woken up and smelt the roses!
and maybe if they wake up and realize, then maybe other companies will follow suit.

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berserk
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 9:43:23 AM
Reply

Only if they stop trying to please us by turning series we love into something else .

If they want to try something new , just make a new I.P .Who knows , they might turn up awesome like Devil May Cry ( was a Resident Evil game at first ).

Last edited by berserk on 5/19/2014 9:44:46 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 10:05:10 AM
Reply

Japanese games should go back to providing varied gaming experiences, the western games keep specializing their gameplay so much that they are often confining. Japanese games always give you that variation. Nier was somehow an RPG, action hack and slash, and 80s shootemup. Even Lollipop Chainsaw was constantly switching styles. Getting locked into one gameplay style is what bores me about western games.

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SirLoin of Beef
Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 11:45:04 AM

I'd love to see a Nier-like game on the PS4.

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