If you're wondering why most all long-running Japanese franchises are clearly adapting what the Japanese see as quintessential Western traits, here's why.
I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but for the past few years, whenever a Japanese developer is interviewed and answers questions concerning changes in a game, franchise, or genre, they inevitably mention Call of Duty . I mean, it's all the time. And it doesn't even have to be relevant; I've seen Japanese studios cite CoD when talking about games in completely different genres that have basically no connection to shooters whatsoever.
The latest example comes from Resident Evil: Revelations producer Masachika Kawata during a recent Gamasutra interview , in which he says the survival/market category is simply too small for a franchise the size of Resident Evil . Said Kawata:
"Looking at the marketing data [for survival horror games] … the market is small, compared to the number of units Call of Duty and all those action games sell," he said. "A 'survival horror' Resident Evil doesn't seem like it'd be able to sell those kind of numbers."
Yup, there it is. And of course, that's in regards to sales so it makes perfect sense to mention the biggest-selling franchise in video game history. But wait, he does it again when speaking about Resident Evil 6 and the clear new direction Capcom is taking:
"I can't really speak for Resident Evil 6, but I don't think that it necessarily has to go all the way in that [action-heavy] direction, the Call of Duty direction. It doesn't have to be a straight up shooter. But my impression is that Resident Evil 4 and 5 aren't shooters, per se."
Look around for yourself; it's actually really surprising just how many times Call of Duty is mentioned. Another important note is that it seems to be the only big Western title that is cited so often; I rarely see a Japanese game maker talk about Uncharted or Batman or Assassin's Creed or even Grand Theft Auto . No, only CoD, because it seems painfully obvious that the Japanese designers have shooters on the brain, that all we Westerners want to play is Call of Duty .
And maybe that is part of the problem.