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Capcom developer says everyone in Japan is making 'awful' games, emo JRPG characters have a cry

If legendary Mega Man designer and current Capcom bigwig Keiji Inafune is to be believed, the Japanese games industry is dieing on its arse. Speaking to The New York Times at the Tokyo Games Show last week, Inafune commented: “I look around and everyone’s making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind.” Ouch. For more damning words on the industry from Keiji’s homeland, read below.

Not content with savaging the work of his fellow countrymen at TGS, Inafune even went onto cast a critical eye on his own company. With the Resident Evil man admitting: “Capcom is barely keeping up.” It’s clear some senior designers at the company are now concerned about making games for a more Western audience. And Inafune added: “I want to study how Westerners live, and make games that appeal to them.”


Above: You can thank a Canadian developer for the copious amount of mankini action in Dead Rising 2

This might explain the growing trend of Japanese developers outsourcing some of their properties to the West, like in the case of Dead Rising 2, which was made by Blue Castle Games in Canada. Later in his interview the Capcom designer also poured the hate sauce on PS2 brawler Shadow of Rome, highlighting the fact that Japanese games needed more than superficial changes to make them more suitable for the West. He said: Westernizing a game takes more than turning eyes blue and changing the hair colour.

With most of the megaton, multi million-selling titles (like Modern Warfare 2 and the Halo series) now coming from the West, it’s no doubt a worrying time for the Japanese games industry. If we just focus on Capcom, it’s arguable that some of its biggest hitters this generation in Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5 have been out of date and grasping onto last-gen mechanics.


Above: Lets be honest, Resi 5 was pretty much just a carbon copy of a title from 2005

Anyhoo, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Why not write them down in word form and post them in our comments section below.

Source: The New York Times

Sep 20, 2010


Topics

Capcom

39 comments

  • epicdominican91 - September 23, 2010 12:53 a.m.

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  • pin316 - September 21, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    I for one really hate this mentality... Screw westernising games - surely that's what games companies WHO ARE ACTUALLY FROM THE WEST are for? Japan still produces brilliant games - sometimes they don't get picked up properly (Bayonetta - amazing game, crap sales), sometimes they're not released/released too late (Yakuza titles, Demon's Souls). If you don't like Japanese style games such as Final Fantasy (or JRPGs in general), then don't buy them and just stick to the masses of games that come out of the West instead. This growing trend of consolidating the market and trying to make everythingvwesternised is takling away the diversity that has made this industry so great for years.
  • Hotdiddykong - September 21, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    Their acting as if they need to make MORE shooters,god damn it If there's anything on japan that capcom dont think is failing, its the sequel to Miles edgeworths spin off in the ace attorney series
  • crumbdunky - September 21, 2010 12:49 a.m.

    BTW-Capcom have been woefully off form this gen in the games where they aren't comfy with the series. SF and MH continue apace but their story based games and series have almost all suffered.RE5 and DMC4 were series lowlights and it had little to do with where they were made. Get back on form and get back being confident in yourselves FFS! Oh, and if you can't put co-op in without ruining the SP of a series based on a great SP then either don't put it in OR keep the campaigns separate. They did it with LP2 as well.
  • crumbdunky - September 21, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    IDK. There's a lot of good opinion on this comments page with many, varied and often valid points being made. I have to be careful, with this subject, that I'm being fair and try to eliminate the chances of saying things just because I don't, personally, wish to lose the flavour in several of my favourite Japanese series or games from my favourite directors out there too. I don't think the need is to "westernise" as so many in the Japanese industry keep trying to do and keep on spouting off about at all. I reckon that their best games this generation have mainly been those unashamed of their roots and confident enough to allow a good game to shine with it's oriental or occidental leanings largely irrelevant. Take Bayonetta, for example, it's largely DMC with tits I know. It's made by that series creator(Kamiya)but though it shares some of the DMC obsession with western Gothic architecture and themes it's also full of game references and the game play is anything BUT western. The game is pretty beastern in many ways and isn't scared to show it when it is. Same with the upcoming Vanquish from what we've seen of the demo and clips. Sure, the TPS cover shooter is a western standby these days and alien to mainstream Japanese gaming but Mikami has taken nit and found a middle ground so it should appeal to both hemispheres with little effort-there's no need to ape the west completely. Demon's Souls, Zack and Wiki and a host of others show that a good game is a good game regardless of it's orientation yet we seem beset by games that could have been great(Nier, TLR, BC, LP1 and 2 -I could go on and on)bnut were castrated by this westernising constraint which sees either Japanese devs trying to make games slightly alien to their instincts(never the best way to operate) or totally farmed out to western devs who don't get the Japanese flavours that created the premise of the IPs or the series'. IO guess the prime example is the linear nature of FF13-I can't argue that it wasn't hurt by the remit that it's opening in particular by set out like a western FPS and I think it's sad that such a great, respected series felt the need to be something it wasn't. Just wish these guys could all find the resolve and the confidence to JUST MAKE THE GOOD GAMES IN THEIR HEADS. A good game is a good game and given the right treatment in marketing it5 will usually be a success. I fear they looked at their games, felt they needed to be selling more and put the fact they weren't down to their games being too parochial when it wasn't the issue. Western games started selling really well because a lot of better western games got made, a lot of western devs caught up and have tastes naturally closer to their punters as they share a culture. Japan isn't the biggest market on the planet these days(not outside of the handheld market where they seem very happy just to be themselves and the quality of PSP/DS games reflects their confidence-they succeed)and most gamers aren't Japanese. That, doesn't, though, mean we don't lioke Japanese games-we do-but the Japanese cannot make western games like westerners just as westerners cpouldn't make3 Japane3se games. It's daft not to go with what you know and are comfy with. Start from there and tweak but this wholesale aping of the west is destructive and silly. Have the confidence and games like Bayonetta and MGS4 can flow more readily and we'll have less silly comromises like Quantum Theory and TLR or games made by the likes of the defunct Grin when they should have been made back in Japan by people who truly got the original idea. For instance-why hand the reboot of DMC over to a western dev in NT? I LIKE NT but having seen the success of Bayonetta why on Earth are they being asked to make DmC? It might still bew3 a cool game but I cannot see it keeping the careful balance of fornweer series entries when handled by westerners. The variety spawnded by having eastern and western development centres is one of gamings best points and this all makes me think our games will soon lose that quality and feel like anyone, anywhere could have made them. I want good games made with confidence and with a bit of local magic. I don't want to feel like every game was made in the US as we already have plenty that actually were!
  • stuartramone - September 21, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    one of my favorite games of the generation was from Atlus. Demon's souls is great. multi platform with a little marketing it could hit the 1mil sales mark. MGS4 was good, a few gems stand out but most western games by % were shitty too.
  • McNeelyJ - September 20, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    I'd have to be hard pressed to say Capcom is keeping up. They made two great games for the Xbox when it was in it's infancy, but have done zero to build off of their titles. Instead they hand us sequals that feel more like DLC. Game Mechanics have not evolved with the categories. As an example look at Lost Planet 2 or Dead Rising 2. Both were sequals of great games, but have dont nothing to polish the playing mechanics of titles that are stifling compared to what is currently on the market. I would not say Capcom is keeping up, I would say they are shooting themselves in the foot...over and over again.
  • Lionzest7 - September 20, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    I'm not so sure capcom is keeping up so much, I do like their efforts though. I think people like konami and capcom attempt to keep a certain level of branching out along with producing the nostalgic games. Though this is sort of the real breakthrough generation where graphics and gameplay are starting to meet. We have games that aren't even gameplay based (heavy rain), and are more of just for looks. While these games aren't necessarily bad, games cost more than ever to produce, and don't always come out being worth any real time nor effort. Some games that have branched out recently have been negatively received. Any sonic game pretty much after Sonic 3 was pretty much shunned, any megaman after X4 no one cares about, and any rpg following psx days pretty much doesn't mean much anymore (with the exception of some srpgs). Japan is pretty much an isolated country, sure they made video games a big deal for everyone, but they need more western influences for people to continue to buy their games. While Japan does make plenty of great games this generation, they need to branch out more as a whole so that games in general can be better. Games with western influences that are good also, I mean not a lot of people dislike metal gear or resident evil games (besides 5). What could make Japan smarter and bigger is developing their games to branch beyond the nostalgic crowds of fanboys and go above and beyond to develop games to attract everyone. It's fine to keep developing your final fantasies and castlevanias, but there has to be more to it to keep in the market than that. On another note, I don't believe a lot of games of this generation are going to be as loved as others. A lot of games lack any real impact or flare, at least to me. Sequels aren't bad, but being trapped in the neverending cycle of rarely changing game mechanics is. I think a partial blame can go towards the gamers, since developers usually go with the notion of hoping they're making what sells. People got very attached to a late (boring) final fantasy title (VII), while the title brought almost nothing new, people got hooked. So there wasn't incentive for square to change, considering it wasn't much more than FFVI, and the titles that followed aren't as highly regarded, despite using a similar system. Japan does have it's safety audience though, all those fanboys there. Japanese fanboys will buy terrible games just because they exist, their consumerism knows no boundries. They like some product and are willing to buy 10 different renditions of the same crap.
  • paganpoet - September 20, 2010 6:56 p.m.

    He's got a point though. I quite liked FFXIII, actually, mostly because it was challenging which is refreshing for a JRPG. But I'm really sick of JRPG characters talking about hopes and dreams and love and believing in yourself. It gets really new agey and hokey fast.
  • FoxdenRacing - September 20, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    The NPD charts won't agree with me, but I'd rather see the Japanese gamemakers stop pandering to the west, find ways to stop stagnating, and embrace the identity rather than trying to pander. Phoenix Wright, Pokemon, Mega Man, Chrono Trigger, Advance Wars, Katamari Damacy, the original DMC...where would they be, what would they be, if they pandered to the west? **************************************************** * Oh, right...just look at the Mega Man 2 box art. * **************************************************** (Rant Begin) The games market is already flooded with bland, cookie-cutter action games that look similar, play the same, have cheap knock-offs of each other's lead characters, and similar mechanics. It doesn't need more. Reach was OK, Medal of Honor/Call of Duty/Battlefield suck...where are the Unreal Tournaments, the Quakes, the Battlefronts, the Mechassaults, the Starfoxes, F-Zeroes, the Earthworm Jims, and Donkey Kong Countrys? Where are the games that focus on being fun, that have the 'just one more round' syndrome, unique weapons, settings that aren't bland [how many different ways can you really use dirt, concrete, muzzle flash, and stubble?], stories that are either just enough to set up the action or more than just 'Oh No3s! Teh Bad Guyz are doing something horribles! Stops them, gets back the precious! Stupid fat hobbitses!' Some of the most brilliant games this generation are the ones that go overlooked in favor of YACRFPS (Yet Another Copycat 'Realistic' FPS), then disappeared again after the hype wore off, which is sad. Brutal Legend oozed personality and fooled players by sneaking RTS elements under the radar. Splinter Cell: Conviction, the first game in a very long time to get Stealth truly right...making the game harder for the run-and-guns but not punishing them otherwise, giving multiple routes through each mission, addictive 'had I not just made that mistake...one more time, this time I'll get it right' gameplay, though the twists and turns of the story turn it into a self-parody by the end. Borderlands, a pedestrian FPS/RPG hybrid that would have been nothing without its personality. Team Fortress 2, an incredibly stripped-down version of Tribes, again storming along unstoppable on its personality and fun factor, despite having only a handful of maps and only 2 or 3 game types. Portal...a glorified tech demo that was Valve's redheaded stepchild, loved by millions [myself included] and became a cultural phenomenon...not because of its raw testosterone, not because of its stubble, or licensed weapons...but because of its personality, its quirkiness, its humor, and its ability to be memorable. Halo manages to stand out among the FPS crowd for doing its own thing [and angering YACRFPS fanboys] by doing its own thing...bright colors, unique weapons, fairly simple mechanics. It's stagnated in recent years, relying too heavily on players knowing the backstory and catching references, but has stood as an old-school FPS in a world that'd have the same 10 officially-licensed weapons and the same cookie-cutter plot every game. (rant end) Heavily-marketed cookie-cutters will sell well to those that buy what the TV tells them to, but those companies are also swimming in debt, hoping a Halo or an MW2 will prop them up while they release a dozen Blood Bowls (gobs of personality, terrible gameplay); one run of bombs and any of the big publishers will end up in a world of hurt. But then again, I'm unabashed about being old-school. I would gladly buy a lot more new games if there were more Earthworm Jims, more Rock and Roll Racings, more Lost Vikings, more Toejam and Earls, more Zone of the Enders, more Blurs, more Megamans, more Crackdown 1s, more games out there that push the limits of creativity, rather than the limits of realistic-looking stubble. So long as my choices remain 'Activision's generic shooter, EA's Generic shooter, or Ubisoft's generic shooter', the choice I'll make is to pass and pick up a game with entertainment and personality at the forefront...a Bayonetta or Borderlands. I know, I know, I'm a cute relic from a time gone by, today's "more testosterone than brains" gamers want bulging biceps, stubble sharp enough to pierce concrete, tits the size of beach balls, and the same 10-20 real guns over and over again. Get off my lawn.
  • JakeyBaby - September 20, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    Oh the irony. *dialogue* /facepalm
  • JakeyBaby - September 20, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    @PanzerDSS I really wouldn't say SEGA don't get it (I mean, if you're a Sonic fan then ok, your statement is justified) with the likes of Vanquish. I think there is hope yet. FROM SOFTWARE had Demon's Souls, and lets not forget that Armored Core 5 was announced a while back and is supposed to be a reboot/revolution of sorts. The very fact we haven't seen that game released should show they're definatley working on it. As for Namco, they've been taking steps too. With the Ace Combat getting a reboot, and I could make an educated guess that the same thing is happening to a new Ridge Racer somewhere. I think the Capcom are the ones who're struggling, because they're misguided in their attempts to appeal to the "west", and also because none of us are prepared to accept their bobbins dialouge, and garbage storylines anymore. Immersion. Get that right. The "west" is won.
  • KidKatana - September 20, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    Many Japanese games have a unique charm which is a big part of what I - and I'm sure, many other gamers - love about them. The problem seems to be that they've been making games the same way for years, and rely too much on conventions that are increasingly outdated. Much as I love Zelda, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid, none of those games have changed in years, but the style is what carries them. Meanwhile Western devs are pushing the envelope in terms of new game mechanics, and Japan needs to catch up - the cover system and shooting in MGS4 simply can't stand up to something like Uncharted or Assassin's Creed, and the game feels dated as a result. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of Japanese devs have the wrong end of the stick, and think that Westernising something involves completely overhauling the style that made everyone like the game in the first place without addressing the gameplay shortcomings - i.e. the ones we were willing to overlook because we liked the game's style...
  • Channel4 - September 20, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    ...and they'll continue to be five years behind if they don't stop trying to copy western developers. There's plenty of good stuff at TGS this year, infact imo the least interesting stuff there is the annoying, blatently westernised stuff like the new DmC and Dead Rising. Good games are pretty universal, if he makes a good game that he wants to make or that he would want to play then it should be a success. Isn't the Japanese games market fairly self sustainable? It seems to me that hes just being greedy and hes bitter because his new games are a bit rubbish and he can't work out why. I'm about half way through Persona 4 right now and it is brilliant. That makes it all the more depressing to hear a Japanese developer being so negative about what his country is producing when nearly all of my favourite games are Japanese, and i'm hardly a Japanophile.
  • DarthCockels - September 20, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    JRPG's are played out, there has got to be more waiting to come out of Japan besides Pokemon and choppy hair emo bitch boy stories. I agree that most Japanese developers are basically off "the mark" these days. I can't say I own a single game from a Japanese developer and that is a first for me on this generation of consoles. Somewhere along the line the over dramatic or completely silly approach to games from Japan has become tiresome. The stories and scenarios are over used too and I think it is a big part of it. Look at Ace Combat for example; why bother with some gay story no one gives a shit about? More action. Or Final Fantasy; each games is about the goddamn same: I'm an emo boy in love with so and so oh hey magic and battles and shit just like the last game and the next one but we will make the hair cooler(?) and setting a bit more like a glitter party on a houseboat. In short; fuck those games. Try harder Japan.
  • Chrisd - September 20, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    And he thinks the new DmC is good how? but yes I think some games need to do more than they have been delivering but trying to westenise a game can ruin it not make it better. If a game has a good established story and classic character's which people have come to love then why change them to fit a passing trend *cough* Twilight Dante *cough*. ok start a brand new serise aimed at the west using western character modles and cluture but don't try to make it fit in to something that it won't.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - September 20, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    Resi 5 was alright being resi 4 because this gen needed a Resi 4, or at least something like it. That said... Resident Evil 4 HD please???
  • Dorglesisthebest - September 20, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    nothing against Dave for misspelling Dying, but I am surprised no ones corrected it yet
  • Clovin64 - September 20, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    It might be true that some Western games are getting ahead of most Japanese games, but doesn't mean that "Westernizing" a game is some sort of magic cure that will prevent a game from being shit. IMO, Japanese developers tend to have their own distinct style (not just whiny JRPG stereotypes) and I think Jap developers need to improve their own formula rather than just Westerise it. Look at Bayonetta for example, a damn fine game that is fairly rooted in Japanese styles of design. If Japanese developers started copying Western developers, then we will inevitably end up with wave after wave of indentacle Space Marine/ Army Grunt shooters. We need more innovation from games, and simply Westernising games is not going to accomplish that as if by magic. That said, FFXIII rocked.

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