In a recent interview with director Shinji Mikami, the man behind Resident Evil, God Hand, and Vanquish stated that “Japan needs to make games like Hollywood makes movies.” The director’s not the only person to say something about Japan’s influence on the gaming industry. Keiji Inafune, then-co-designer of the Mega Man franchise, has also mentioned that he felt that Japanese game designers have fallen behind. And Phil Fish, creator of Fez, recently said “Your games just suck.”
Shinji continues with stating, “Japan used to have the lead in the game industry, but now it’s quite clearly America. To be told that Japanese games suck is a bit harsh. But personally, 80% of the games I play at the moment are not Japanese. Skyrim, Batman…games like that are more interesting to me right now. Japan needs to make more good games if it wants people to think otherwise.” When Shinji is asked about any games that are of the exception he states, “Yes, there are amazing games, just not enough of them… So many are based on anime or fantasy – games that only appeal to Japanese people. Most gamers overseas aren’t interested in anime.” Shinji then moves to comment on a game that’s closer to home, “We made Okami at Clover. It was such a breathtaking game, yet it didn’t sell. If that’s the case, westerners obviously don’t like that sort of game. Maybe they prefer something a little more straightforward.”
Shinji then states what he feels what Japan should do and who are doing this well, “Hollywood spends like 200 million dollars producing a movie, and you can make an incredible movie with that sort of money. But Japanese movie studios don’t spend anything like that. The difference in [the] scale of the budgets [is] the same in games. Japan needs to make games like Hollywood makes movies. I think Capcom and Hideo Kojima’s team are trying hard on that front.” He then ends with this statement “I hope Japanese developers can take this hobby that we originally propagated and once more offer something special to the world.”
How do you guys react to Shinji Mikami’s statement and the other people lately who have been commenting on the Japanese gaming industry? I personally feel that yes, the Japanese gaming industry should produce better quality games. but does that mean that they should get rid of their aesthetic and vision? I believe Japanese game developers should make games that are good while still staying on the road and true to their vision; just make games so good that the only thing people will have to complain would be the fact that it doesn’t fit them aesthetically. A big budget is great but it doesn’t make games good. This is a quote I like to use from Tales of Graces f game creator Hideo Baba when he was asked about making more JRPGs and making it more suitable for western audiences. ”JRPG is the best genre for the team. We’re not going to create an open world game like Skyrim.” He also mentioned that Westerners don’t change their game to suit Japanese gamers, so he’s not going to change his game to suit Western gamers. I think Baba has a great outlook that other Japanese developers should be taking, create your game and make it great and don’t twist yourself just because some group of people are screaming for “this” type of product. Let me see your comments bellow.