Shinji Mikami, ex-Capcom producer behind Viewtiful Joe, Ace Attorney and Devil May Cry, has added more harsh words to the continued decline in the Japanese gaming development market. Mikami firmly believes that the West has definitely taken the lead on producing quality games, admitting that he mainly plays games such as Bethesda's Skyrim and Rocksteady's Batman instead of local titles.
"Japan used to have the lead in the game industry, but now it's quite clearly America," Mikami stated. Mikami, who currently works as CEO and founder of Tango Gameworks, believes that game development practices have to change; they have to become more like Hollywood if things are ever going to improve for the major Japanese studios.
"To be told that Japanese games suck is a bit harsh," he said, commenting on earlier criticisms by Eastern and Western developers alike. "Hollywood spends like 200 million dollars producing a movie, and you can make an incredible movie with that sort of money. But Japanese movie studios don't spend anything like that. The difference in [the] scale of the budgets [is] the same in games. Japan needs to make games like Hollywood makes movies. I think Capcom and Hideo Kojima's team are trying hard on that front."
"I hope Japanese developers can take this hobby that we originally propagated and once more offer something special to the world."
To do that though, things have to change with development practices. Sure, Japan has big hits like Super Mario Land 3D, Monster Hunter and Yakuza, but they represent such a tiny fraction of development for Eastern companies.
"We made Okami at Clover. It was such a breathtaking game, yet it didn't sell. If that's the case, westerners obviously don't like that sort of game. Maybe they prefer something a little more straightforward," noted Mikami.
Mikami is currently working with a Western publisher, Bethesda Softworks, on his latest unnamed title. Tango Gameworks hopes to release a title by 2013, but nothing besides a codename ('Project Zwei') is known about the new game.