I had no idea this was true.
Throughout this generation, I and many others saw Japanese developers actively struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing video game landscape.
I say "actively" because we can find a Western influence of some kind in many major Japanese releases over the past five years or so. This would imply that Japan knows they're lagging behind in terms of advancement and overall quality, correct? I mean, they're re acting, not just acting, right?
But former Capcom boss and Comcept founder Keiji Inafune really dropped a bombshell on that whole argument . He's been saying for a while now that Japanese game makers need to – in short – adapt or get out. And after reiterating that to some extent in his most recent interview, he hit us with this interesting nugget:
"Right now, Japan believes that other Asian games, and American games, aren't as good as theirs. But across the world, American games are the best-selling and considered the most fun. But Japan's gamers and game creators still won't accept this. This is why Japan can't win."
Wait…really? They're still so far out of the loop that they think they still hold the quality torch for this industry? That almost doesn't seem possible. If it's true, what's their explanation for their lagging? Is it just that Westerners have more Western games to choose from now, and they're just going with what's familiar? In the old days, it was basically all Japanese; all the games we bought came from Japanese designers, so we didn't really have much choice. But now, we have the option from a cultural standpoint.
But don't they read reviews? Do they honestly believe all critics are simply biased against Japanese games now? Or maybe they think that because a game like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots can still dominate, they've still got their finger on the pulse of gamer nation. But I'm not sure I'm buying that. I refuse to believe Japanese developers are just turning a blind eye on lower review scores, lower sales, and a ton of fans expressing their displeasure with Japanese products.
But then again, maybe it makes sense…how else can they explain totally missing RPG fans going, "Uh…hey…you know, we would've been buying turn-based games to this very damn day."