Grabbing the God Hand

We've been talking to a number of game creators this year at TGS. In prior years a lot of people had talked about wanting to make games that would appeal to Americans. This year it seems more like people are saying "Well, I'm Japanese. I want to make a game. I can only make a game as myself. And hopefully it will appeal - we think that this sense will come across." What do you think about that sort of situation?

Inaba: I've never been one to think that because I'm Japanese I must make a game that's only going to sell in Japan and only going to be aimed towards Japanese users. I think in terms of trying to appeal to a global audience - so not just Japanese or not just Americans, but everyone. And with that thought in mind, I think you have to recognize that there comes a point in the game where since it's now clear what kind of games sell in this territory and what kind of games sell in this territory - you have to tune, you have to change things for each territory - to make it appeal as best as possible. But the heart of the game, and what I'm trying to make are for the global scale. So I think that's something that I want to continue to do - I want to continue to aim towards the global markets.

Speaking of which, Okami has come out in America, and actually we have heard that it's already started to do well. And the interesting thing there is that the game has a very Japanese feel. So what is it about that game that you think appeals so well to America?

Inaba: So if you think back to Viewtiful Joe, it was made very heavily influenced by the American comic book style. And it was actually made to kind of show Japanese people something they had never seen before: this American comic book style, it introduced it to them. But because of the style, it was also very highly accepted in America.

I think Okami is kind of the reverse. Okami was a game that we wanted to make - a game that felt new, and that Japanese people would enjoy. But I think foreign markets are increasingly accepting Japanese culture and finding Japanese culture very interesting. So this game that's very heavily based in Japanese culture kind of appeals to people there because it's about something they are very interested in. So with Viewtiful Joe we're trying to introduce American culture to Japanese. I think that with Okami we've ended up introducing Japanese culture to Americans.