As the Japanese market continues to struggle to catch up to the popularity of many Western offerings, many designers have come forward with an opinion or two.
Ex-Capcom boss Keiji Inafune has been especially vocal in slamming the Japanese developers for not keeping up with the times and now, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski recommends a healthier dose of multiplayer.
During a recent Gamasutra interview , Bleszinski said that his advice to Japan is that "in a disc-based market right now," you just can't ignore multiplayer. He did add that not every game requires the option, but he mentioned Shadows of the Damned , saying it was a "wonderfully crazy adventure," but it still needed multiplayer. He also said it was a "crime" that Platinum's Vanquish didn't have a multiplayer element.
However, to be fair, Bleszinski said some Japanese designers are doing some innovative things with multiplayer, such as From Software's Demon's Souls and Dark Souls ; he called this unique approach to multiplayer "mingle-player," as there's no traditional boundary between single-player and multiplayer action.
But is the lack of multiplayer in games like Vanquish and Shadows of the Damned really the reason the Japanese industry is floundering? Is multiplayer so dominant that it can single-handedly dictate sales charts…?