Former Capcom boss and Comcept founder Keiji Inafune has always spoken his mind. And when it comes to the subject of the lagging Japanese video game market, he's always candid and even brutal.
During a recent IGN interview , Inafune said that on the plus side, Japanese developers are starting to recognize the problem, but there's still a ways to go. He said they realize they have to learn from the western market, but "they don't know what to do or how to do it." This has been an issue from the moment Japanese game makers began attempting to appeal specifically to the continually expanding Western audience.
So is it a lack of talent or understanding? In fact, Inafune argues that it's more about pride:
"Even worse, their pride gets in the way, preventing them from learning from overseas developers. As a result, they end up staying in the domestic market rather than going global."
In recent years, some Japanese publishers have sought Western assistance, even for the biggest and most iconic franchises. For instance, Capcom turned to Slant Six for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City , and opted to let Ninja Theory produce the Devil May Cry reboot. As for whether or not Japanese designers truly understand what's necessary in the near future, Inafune says it's just "wishful thinking."
"So we much appreciate the fact that the world is concerned, however, [Japanese developers] still don’t really get it. Some developers are saying [the] Japanese game industry is still doing fine, but that's wishful thinking. Words are not enough, we must act and prove it. Unless at least a few titles from Japan make it to the top 10 games of the year worldwide, we won’t prove it."
He does have a point. But what can Japanese developers do to return to their former glory? Perhaps nothing; the industry is a very different place these days, after all…