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33 comments

  • BladedFalcon - October 8, 2013 4:46 p.m.

    " I truly want to believe Japan can be a global leader in gaming, but each year I go to TGS, my optimism fades." I'm sorry to say Henry, but I very much doubt Japan will ever become a global leader in gaming again, at least, not in it's current state. Thing is, Japanese companies are in general obviously having financial troubles, but unlike in the west, indies are almost non-existent, and crowfunding options such as kickstarter are largely unheard of, Mighty Number 9 I believe is one of the very few projects that have tried crowdsorcing from people in Japan. Because of this, most developer's creativity is completely stifled by publisher's demands, who are obviously less and less willing to take risks, and so, they rather just bank on what's obviously popular over there and nothing more. So, unless those companies crumble and give way to a new way of thinking and developing games in Japan, just as such options have already opened up here in the west. I'm afraid we're going to see Japanese gaming encroach on itself further and further.
  • Arobadope - October 9, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    Indies are everywhere in Japan, they are just making hentai games and visual novels. Kickstarter is known about in Japan, but again, most of the games made are visual novels, look at Yatagarasu (which ran an indiegogo campaign that was hugely successful). Your comment seems more misinformed on this part. Also...lol at thinking a new way of thinking has cropped up in western devs, don't let the rise of indie games fool you, most are lucky to break even, and most companies here still don't want to try anything new.
  • BladedFalcon - October 9, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    Not really, my point still stands. The indie presence, as you just stated, is relegated mainly to a very specific kind of market, and with such perception, there isn't that many developers there yet that are willing to try anything new. Yes, Yatagarasu is ONE exception... but that's hardly saying much. Also, if you're failing to see the impact that indie and kickstarter projects are having, then I don't know what to say to you. Yes, most AAA companies over here are also risk-adverse, and as a result, most of them are having financial problems, and continuously downsizing personnel to try and stay afloat. The rising indie scene obviously isn't perfect, and has it's big share of risks, yet the fact that a lot of developers are willingly leaving their "safer" positions at AAA companies in order to take such risks, clearly speaks of a climate that desperately needs, and WANTS that change. That's the difference with Japan. That wave of developers seeking or wanting to try and do new stuff is largely non-existent, like you just said, most of them are focused on making more of the same shit, so everything I said still applies: They are stuck in a loop, encroaching on themselves further and further, and when that approach no longer works, they are going to struggle harder than the west is, because at the very least the west is showing potential in other areas that are NOT the AAA market or ultra specific genres like visual novels.
  • Arobadope - October 9, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    THere's more than one example, Yatagarasu was just the first to my mind, if you really want to say Yata is the only one come on. Never said they didn't have an impact, but let's put words where I didn't. I never said you were wrong, I said the west is the same. /facepalm.
  • BladedFalcon - October 9, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    Except it ISN'T the same, that's the point :P Yatagarasu might not be the only one, but the amount of kickstarters like that coming from Japan that aren't dedicated to visual novels is absolutely pitiful compared to the amount coming from the west.
  • Arobadope - October 10, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    ....hmmm ok I think we got derailed, what I was disagreeing with you on was that large companies in the west are the same as large companies in Japan in that they both turn out the same games over and over (from what it seemed like was that you believed western devs weren't doing that). After that, everything else I agree with you on. And yes, it is pitiful, but it's there. The reason why we don't see more indies from Japan is because so many are doing that visual novel stuff.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    *nods* okay, I admit I also misunderstood you. I definitely agree with you there. Large companies in the west are just as bad, I am just more hopeful for the gaming future here because at least the indie scene is flourishing. And yeah... You have to wonder if that can last indefinitely though, as poplar as visual novels obviously are, (And no doubt cheap to make, all things considered) you'd think that they would be bound to reach an over-saturation sooner than later.
  • Arobadope - October 10, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    I don't think they will hit oversaturation just because so many of them are more or less fanfictions from established series already. However, what I do think will happen is that "real" (if you want to apply that label) indie devs will end up getting more of a voice. NIntendo snubbing Japan I think was kind of a minor jolt to the indie scene there, and I think Sony said they were looking into whether they will allow publishing in Japan as well? I can't remember if Sony released a statement on that.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    I don't know any specifics to that, but I do know that Sony has been very vocal in their support and courting of indies in general, so perhaps it's true, here's hoping! Frankly, I'm still convinced that when they put their minds into it, Japanese game makers can be super creative in ways that westerners aren't. Which is why I really want to see what will happen if/when the real indie scene in Japan explodes and becomes more noticed just like it's doing right now in the west.
  • Arobadope - October 10, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    I agree I think Japan is a great place and has a knack for putting very unique spins on things, where as the west seems more likely to fall into well trodden paths, break out of them, then fall back into a well trodden path. I have been liking the message from both Nintendo and Sony when it comes to indies, MS has been...way too mixed for me to get behind on any occasion, plus the way they f***ed people over this last gen has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and why I am ditching xbox and going back to my roots of Nintendo/Sony
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 3:39 p.m.

    Well, I think both cultures have the capacity to innovate, it's just that because japan thinks in a way that is very distinct from ours, when they come up with new ideas, they feel far more interesting than what we usually come up with, even when we innovate. Also, they seem to be far less concerned about stepping on people's toes when going into mature or complex themes, even if sometimes they don't explore such themes fully. And yeah, I completely agree there. I don't have any perpetual loyalty to any side, but just as the 360 felt like the more compelling choice last gen, right now Sony seems to have the best idea and approach, and Nintendo is doing a very good job with the 3DS. And heck, you can already see the plus of Nintendo courting indie devs, what with getting pretty cool titles like mutant mudds, bit trip runner, steamworld dig, and the upcoming Shovel knight.
  • Arobadope - October 14, 2013 7:45 p.m.

    Actually I disagree with you on the last part, if Atlus has shown anything it's that Japan, when they feel like (key part), they can really show the west up on a mature story line and how to handle mature concepts (compare Kanji in Persona 4 to Gay Tony in GTA4). Even Square back in the old days with FF handled heavy themes (FF2, the black sheep of the ff family, dealt with orphans from war). However, I think Japan has gotten lazy to an extent (which I believe you touched on earlier), but I feel more hopeful with recent unveilings and motions by companies. Yeah, I am the same way, I am going PS4/Wii U, and personally I love my Wii U, it's one of those systems that once you play it and own it, you just fall in love with it. Miiverse (something that gets terribly underplayed) is easily the best social media integration in gaming hardware and isn't intrusive or hard to get into at all. It also really makes you feel like you're a part in the larger gaming community. I agree with everything else you said, 3DS has looked awesome, Sony is actually turning the vita around (if they get rid of the proprietary mem cards I'll probably buy one), and the PS4 is doing everything right. Also, thought you might like this. http://www.joystiq.com/2013/10/14/japanese-indies-head-west-with-mecha-brawls-manic-shooters/
  • BladedFalcon - October 14, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    ...Huh, well that's certianly a step in the right direction! Thanks for the link! ^^ And no no, don't get me wrong, Japanese games CAN be very mature and handle such themes more deeply, and yet more subtly than westerners can... But like you said, the best examples you can find about this is usually on the Japanese games of old, I mean, just compare the themes and scenes handled in FFIV, (Which you correctly mentioned) or FFVI (Dat phantom Train scene with Cyan, Sabin and Shadow.) to the stuff in FFXII and worse even in FFXIII. Look at how they handle coping with death in the previous games, and then how Hope copes with the death of his Mother in FFXII >_>; And well, I differ in my opinion with the Wii U, but that's mainly because I've learned to distrust nintendo's consoles. I know they all have their share of great games, but the fact that it's almost always 80% for the 1st party stuff is a turn-off for me. But this is just my personal preference. Also, I'm not big into online communities or online multiplayer period, so that's also another reason why I don't really care about the Wii U XD But yes, Sony seems to be learning... let's just hope they don't slip up in this, the final month leading up to release XD Also, the one thing I want to hear from them, is more new Ips, be it 1st party or 3rd party, but right now while the Indie offering is spectacular, the 1st part line-up isn't exactly up to par to Sony's standards so far.
  • Arobadope - October 15, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Let's not speak of Hope lol. Actually when I said FF2 I really meant the Japanese FF2, FF4 also has very mature themes (who can forget Cecil facing his dark side to become a paladin?) However, to be fair to FF13 Sazh's story line was handled very well (probably the only one) and was actually really touching. Of course, his is....really the only one. I'm not sure I can even think of another story in FF13 that was good. I'm not big on online Multiplayer, but honestly Miiverse won me over. It's really cool to see what people put up there, and while I don't really post anything, it is fun to just scroll through and look at things. However, I do get the sentiment of not being into that stuff (I don't have a facebook as a personal choice) so it's all good. I stand by my statement I've made since the PS4 and X1 were announced, I think Sony and Microsoft rushed their consoles to release and that's why we are seeing such a weird mix of games being released as part of the launch line-up. It's also why I am holding off on getting a ps4 until a couple months after it releases (same thing I did with the Wii U) because I am counting on there being bugs galore. I really feel like the announcements and release were meant to happen next year, not this year.
  • BladedFalcon - October 15, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    Yeah, actually, I'd argue that Sazh is the ONLY good thing about FFXIII, at least to me XD But considering he doesn't even get that much focus compared to the other melodramatic slobs in the story, it's sadly easy to overlook how good he and his story was. That, and it doesn't help that he's presented as little more than character relief on the first hours of the game >_>; And yeah, I also agree. It really does feel like both companies would have preferred an extra year of development, and I'd also would have been totally fine with that as well. But y'know how people are, first they bitch that new consoles suck, then when they actually START to get good both in terms of being developed for and having a robust library of games, everyone starts bitching that they want the new generation to come in >_> Even though games like The Last of Us continue to prove that there IS still a lot of life and juice in current consoles.
  • Arobadope - October 15, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    I actually kind of liked Sazh's comic relief bit in the first hours, though that was more looking back on it AFTER the fact, because when looking back it was like: ah ok, I see how that added to his character. Indeed, 100% in agreement there. I believe only NIntendo really "needed" to release a new console (they had to go into the HD era) while Sony and Microsoft were better to just sit back and develop their stuff. I actually think them releasing this earlier will hurt them rather than waiting. But I guess they got spooked when nintendo announced the Wii U and felt they had to jump to? No idea why but that's what it seems like.
  • BladedFalcon - October 15, 2013 5:15 p.m.

    Maybe so? although I honestly feel like Nintendo also could have used an extra year of waiting, the fact that only this fall the system is getting a decent stream of 1st party games while the last 9 months have been outright barren save a game or two shows that clearly most of their development teams needed more time. That, and had it released with a more steady stream of game son the first months, maybe then they wouldn't have that much of a hard time convincing even multiplatform lovers like EA and Capcom to jump aboard. And yeah, I mean, in retrospect it works for the character, but at first I found his antics a bit eye-rolling because they made him look TOO much of a spaz, while he was actually very damn capable. Basically, he was performing the "everything I do goes wrong or backfires" routine, which is kinda weird when you then see that he's actually serious and smart.
  • Arobadope - October 16, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    I agree Nintendo should have probably waited too, but I think Nintendo also wanted third parties to carry that initial load, at least that's what some of Reggie and Iwata's comments make it seem like. But I agree Nintendo either trusted 3rd parties too much, or they rushed the Wii U out the door just like Sony and Microsoft are. However, the other thing backing your claim is that look at how many games have gotten delayed from Nintendo, so it is probably that they needed more time. That's really true, I would like to hope that Square did that whole opening thing like that on purpose for the deeper characterization, and because I still try to believe in square as a good company (I try so hard T.T) I give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was all purposeful. Honestly, why is Lightning even the main character? rename FF13-3 (lolol) Sahz returns and I'll buy it day one.
  • BladedFalcon - October 17, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Yeah, and well... Look at the relationship Nintendo has had with 3rd party developers in general since the N64 days, and you'll see that it's always rather poor... EVEN when some third companies did make genuine attempts to support and champion nintendo consoles like capcom did back in the GC days, it usually doesn't end well. Whether this is because third companies are too unfair to Nintendo, or Nintendo simply isn't as pleasant to work with as the other two, I don't know. But seeing how this has happened now for 4 consecutive generations of home consoles for Nintendo, it's hard to think they aren't partially to blame at least. Even so, maybe if they had waited that extra year, EA and others might not have bailed out so quickly. ...I honestly don't know man, as you can probably tell, I also love square's properties... But i really do feel like they've taken a deep dive in quality this generation, the only noble exception The World Ends with You for the DS, which is beyond amazing. Everything else Square has released (as in THEM, not Eidos) this generation has disappointed me on varying degrees. Probably none more so than FFXIII though. ...But even then, and even though I liked both FFX and FFXII, I can't help to feel that square's ability for story telling has progressively been decaying, FFVI being their highest point, and Yasumi Matsuno's games of the PS1 era holding strong. (Vagrant Story and FFT both have fantastic plot.) After that, I feel like their deeper stories and characterization has been progressively weaker, starting with FFVIII, and being more notable with every following entry. FFXII I liked almost solely because half of the main cast was fantastic (Balthier, Ashe and Basch) and mad scientist Cid is perhaps the most fun villain apart from Kefka the series has ever seen. But the story was otherwise a mess. And yeah, that's another thing, the choice for protagonists in FF games has become super baffling as of late as well. Like trying to sell Vaan as the main character of FFXII even though he's actually completely non-essentially to the actual plot of the game, and him and Penelo being the people that have the least to do in the story. It's clear the protagonist in that game should have always been Ashe, or at least Basch.
  • Arobadope - October 18, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    I think it goes both ways, I think part of it is devs not trying and some of it is Nintendo. I mean like you said, Capcom did support the GC (and their games sold ebtter on the GC iirc), but comparatively, the GC itself just didn't sell like Sony did. I also think Sony is more willing to toss money at 3rd parties to put games on their console where as Nintendo is more like "you should want to make games for us" kind of mentality. Either way both parties are to blame. Let's not forgot EA's hilarious Wii u debacle of first supporting, then bashing the console, then DICE saying they couldn't get Frostbyte 3 to run on the console before everyone called them out on that BS then them backtracking and saying they could. I mean the whole situation was hilarious imo. So it definitely goes both ways, and Nintendo shouldn't be excluded from that blame. Dude, The world Ends With You was my game of the year, that game single handily recaptured the same feeling I had with Jet Set Radio, even better it sold like hotcakes. I also give square credit for Theatrhythm as I do love that game (and I am excited for the sequel/update), but I agree they have been lackluster otherwise. You have to give them credit for FF14 though and them recognizing the game was ass and putting it back into production so they could actually make it good. I think it paid off for them honestly from what I played of the Beta (best MMO for me right now is still Guild Wars 2 though). I agree, I think what happened was square started getting into a formula, they stopped caring about telling good stories, and just said ok put this protagonist here, make him do this and that, have this bad guy do this and that, and call it a day. FF12 I think kind of gets underplayed, but I think that one actually had a decent story to it. Cliche? Yeah, but still solid. You more or less already stated what made FF12 good. I really just think square has fallen intoa formula for churning out FF games, and that's sad really. I can't even....I don't know WHY they made it that way. Like before I was kind of just like ok it can't be that bad, he's probably connected loosely, then I played FF12, MADE NO SENSE!!! Why is he even there?!!? Looking back on it you could literally cut him out from the story and have it run just fine. I think Square is just trying to appeal to who they think plays their games not realizing most of the people who play their games are 17+ years old. You don't need blood and guts for a mature game (which seems to be the west's measuring stick for 'mature'), but to make the main characters all pre-teen to 14 years old, come on. That brings me to Nier, part of what made that game fun and actually pretty great imo was that you were a dude trying to save your daughter. Simple as that. It also let the jokes be a bit more mature in their telling and was actually got a few good laughs from me. Nier, the GodHand of this generation.
  • BladedFalcon - October 21, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    Apologies for the tardiness of the reply, life and such, also Pokemon Y, lol XD And yeah, again, not saying Nintendo gets all the blame, but I definitely hold them responsible, specially because it's shown that when they want to, they still can get great support, as the portable consoles have consistently shown. Yeah, TWEWY is by far one of the best new IPs of this generation for me, alongside the likes of Vanquish, Dark Souls and TLOUS. And I mean, it sold really well, but I feel it's a game it doesn't get nearly as talked about as it should... And heck, if there's a series taht deserved sequels, it was TWEWY, NOT FFXIII :P As for Teathrythym... It was definitely a fun game, but honestly it's main draw is banking on nostalgia and the power of music they've already produced. The gameplay and presentation are good, but even for a rhythm game, I'd point to superior games like EBA to show it's not THAT great. Still good, but not exactly a sign for a company that produces great stuff that break the mold, as they USED to be. Same for FFXIV. I applaud that their second attempt at it is apparently very good, but aside from the fact that MMOs are not my thing, I'd would have rather have them either make a different MMO altogether, or put that effort into making a different game, period. I get that this was an attempt to clear the name of their brand, but to me, it feels like wasted energy for two reasons: This still doesn't erase the fact that the original FFXIV still happened, and secondly, good as it is, I very much doubt that it will sell enough to justify the amount of money spent on both this and the original FFXIV, specially in a climate in which subscription based MMOs are becoming a dying breed. But yes, like I said, it's not that their games are horrible, but yeah, where's the company that used to take risks and make not just deep, mature stories like FFIV, FFVI, Vagrant Story and FFT, but also tried new stuff with things like the Mana series? Heck, even unfortunate failures like the PS2 Musashi game, the bouncer, and dirge of cerberus were at least attempts at trying something new. They don't even try anymore. At least FFXV looks promising, and if nothing else, there doesn't seem to be any annoying kids in the main cast. So perhaps they'll take the story more seriously this time, one can hope at least. And huh, speaking of risks, Nier certainly counts as one. I haven't played it yet, but it sounds like one of the biggest cult hits of this generation, so I may give it a try eventually. And yeah, like you said, God Hand was also a criminally underrated game, tried it last year, graphics don't hold up that well, but the combat was pretty damn good. I'll still hold that Zone of the Enders 2 definitely falls into this category, worse still, a lot of people seem to dismiss it due to the mediocrity of the first game, but not only is ZoE2 a legitimately good game, I still think it holds up great, and does action in a way no game does to this day.
  • Arobadope - October 22, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Oh I agree with Theatrhythm, I enjoy it solely for a music game not really a rhythm game. I was actually hoping that Square would do something more with the music and the RPG elements in mixing them more (battles are played out with different battle musics from past FF games and when you attack you have to hit the beats right or you miss the attack and damage, something along those lines). So I was kind of let down, however, any time I feel like just getting a quick song in from a classic game, I put it in and lose myself for an hour or so. I point to it more as a sign of Square willing to take a chance with something rather than showing them on the right path personally. Sure it has FF music attached to it, but it was still a risk. The fact they stuck to subscription is actually surprising to me, however, gamers don't seem to care because apparently in Japan it sold like hotcakes. Now, how do the sub numbers still hold up? I couldn't tell you, but it did sell very well shockingly. I thought it was going to actually flop or at the very least sell a decent amount. Honestly, I think it's because those games were received so badly. Not to mention as the dev costs increase Square can't really risk taking those major chances again (a reason I hope areas like Steam and the arcade platforms on Wii U, PS4, and maybe X1 (what the hell is microsoft doing with their arcade and indies anyways?) will encourage some bigger devs to pursue smaller pet projects) like they use to. My ssue with FFXV is that it's done by the guy who did Kingdom Hearts...which means i expect either convoluted story, or super "friends are my power!" type things in the game. Which might ruin the atmosphere for me. BUT I have been digging this most Techno-Fantasy vibe of FF13 and FF15 compared to the fantasy-tech feel of FF12, FF6, and FFT, seems like square wants to capture that magic of FF7 and 8 again in people. Personally, I loved both ZoE1 and ZoE2, and the improvements made in ZoE2 are astronomical. Really speaks towards Hideo Kojima and his staff. I highly recommend Nier, it's actually a pretty good story with its sad moments and funny moments, though there will still be those typical parts where you just go "come on really?" but I highly recommend it. Not to mention the combat is actually pretty deep, the items have a fair bit of customization to them, and the spells are all really cool and unique with each one being used for different means and the best part you actually use them and WANT to use them more than just one time to get through an area.
  • LordZarlon - October 8, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    I have a passing interest in MGS 5. Used to be a big fan but I don't really care anymore. Final Fantasy has gone to far away from it's roots to interest me anymore. The only game you mentioned that I would love to see is Phantasy Star and I guess that's not coming to America. What a shame. Times have changed.
  • sweetchiliheat - October 8, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    "I wrong thought that..." Shouldn't it be: "I wrongly thought that...". I may have grazed over it normally if wrong wasn't in orange.

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