Inafune: The Western audience is turning its back on us

Outspoken developer continues his crusade to save the Japanese games industry

Comcept's Keiji Inafune has sent out yet another distress call on behalf of the Japanese games industry, begging it to wake up, recognise its problems and to begin working with Western developers.

You should tell the truth about Japanese games not being what they used to be," he told Wired.

"Unless they get that criticism, Japanese game creators are just sitting on the glories of the past. They won't get the message that the Western audience is turning its back on us."

The interview follows Inafune's inflammatory talk at this year's GDC, where he made much the same plea for change. As he spoke to Wired he praised Korean and American titles, and pointed out that Japan won't acknowledge that serious competition.

"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."

He praised GREE and DeNA's drive and success, but also suggested they were the exception rather than the rule. And even though he's currently working on a 3DS title, Kaio: King Of Pirates, Infanue still didn't let Nintendo get away unscathed.

"It's always been the big player that's provided great creatives to the world. But lately I feel what they're doing is not very contemporary. They're behind the times a little."

He said the answer was Japan finally accepting it had fallen behind in the race, "when they're embarrassed and they feel obliged to change, it would make a difference," and working with other Western developers.

"It's impossible for Japan to win with just Japanese power. Everybody in Japan should work with foreign developers," he argued.

"Not just paying them money and letting them make whatever they think is good, but really working together, coming up with new ideas together and discussing how to make something brand new. That would result in a chemical reaction in a good way. There's no way that Japan can be on their own anymore."

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Latest comments (5)

Tony Johns8 years ago

"It's always been the big player that's provided great creatives to the world. But lately I feel what they're doing is not very contemporary. They're behind the times a little."

I think that Nintendo of America has always been behind the times, they did not even want to localize Xenoblade and Last Story, not even Pandora's Tower ever got mentioned by Nintendo of America.

And don't get me started on the Mother series and how Nintendo of America screwed up with their advertising of Earthbound

"This game stinks!!!"

If you want to blame the reason why Japanese games are not selling more than American, Europe or Korean games?

Blame the Nintendo of America and SONY of America for their shocking advertising of Japanese games, not even Microsoft acknowledged the commitments of Mistwalker for Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey .
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Giles Smith Studying maths, University of Sussex8 years ago
Simply put westerners don't want Japanese developers to be successful in the West, it's that simple. You can call it a form of Anti-Japanese Sentiment.
Attributing falling sales down to some kind of sudo-racism via the medium of wild speculation is not going to solve any thing. It is clearly a cultural juxtaposition whereby people seek to buy games they can relate too, if Japanese developers want to maintain their position on a global domain they are going to have to stop making such strange games which westerners can not understand.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I cant say I dont agree with Inafune. I remember having more fun with Japanese games a few years ago. but right now few japanese games capture my attention. Right now capcom is pumping games were all you do is shoot tons a bullits and blow shit up. RE: Operation racoon city was a flop. And the line up they had at the captivate convention was unimpressive. Resident evil 6 has turned into a 3rd person shooter, DMC and lost planet 3 are more of the same and then we have street fighter x tekken. A game which they expect people to pay 60$ for an incomplete roster of characters, forcing you to pay more to unlock them. Then we have the PS Vita version with exclusive characters and content which i imagine will be available as DLC for the PS3 version. but my expirience with previouse capcom fighting games has held me back and their recent linup of games seems like a bunch of shooters looking to take a chunk at the call of duty market.

Frankly after what happened to me with Street fighter IV and Marvel vs capcom, that updated versions were announced, i will probably wait to purchase street fighter x Tekken and maybe not even purchase it considering my expirience in the past. I was mad that Street fighter had 2 updates to it, but i expected it, but I was furiouse when Ultimate Marvel vs capcom was announced.

And regarding capcoms other game line up, its nothing more than a bunch of shooters. It looks like they are throwing everything they have to see if at least one title can aquire a chunk of the"call of duty" market.

The only game I give credit to trying is Asuras's Wrath. Id love to buy that game, but at 60$ it isnt worth it when it only lasts around 5 hours. And now they announced DLC... so how much is a game costing now a days?

Then there is Square Enix who i see as a company that has fallen from very high and very hard. recent final fantasy entries have been horrible. final fantasy XIII-2 is just marketing ploy to cash in on DLC. I hope Final Fantasy XIII versus does well as long as they avoid the cheesy, over the top melodramatic story, drama and weird character designs from the past. Final fantasy needs a good story with likable characters and satisfying game mecanics.

Tecmo has fallen a Ninja Gaiden 3 was their nail in the coffin. They crossed it over with dead or Alive, all the woman have huge tits and they are all blonde. i prefer the story and characters from the old NES games. I like to be a Ninja in new york streets fighting to stop an impending invasion by demons from another dimension. And it would do the franchise well if it was standalone. I would reboot it and set it in the world of the old games. Id also bring back Irene. She was a good strong female character.

The few japanese games that i have appreciated recently is Catherine and Xenoblade. I really loved these games and they offer a glimpses of hope for japanese games. Other memorable games has got to be the Shin Megami tensei Persona series. Part 3 and 4 were amazing gaming expiriences. Vanquish was also amazing. It took the shooter genre and did something differant with the whole zipping down and about the entire battlefield. I wished it were longer and had a deeper story to it. Demon souls is also a good game. I also like the Fire Emblem games. im also looking foward to last story since Xenoblade was so amazing.

Bottom line, i think Inafune has a point, and capcoms recent line up of games confirms it. Operation raccoon city can hardly be considered a success. I honestly feel the way foward for Japanese games is not to try to be "American" but to actually make better games.


Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 13th April 2012 3:40pm

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Show all comments (5)
Liam Farrell8 years ago
Don't forget how Konami has lost the plot
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
Konami... I forgot about them... goes to show they havent realeased anything of great significance since Metal Gaer Solid 4 and castlevania. And Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, is not a metal gear game to me. Honestly im just waiting for Zone of the Enders HD collection. Games from when Konami actually produced good games. It seems Konami juiced what they could from Metal Gear and now they dont know what to do. Frankly I would stop producing Metal Gear Games. Like a good book it had a fitting end. And I feel if they keep messing with it they will ruin it. Hideo Kojima can do alot with old IP such as Snatcher and Policenauts, Id be ok with a "Zone of the Enders 3".

But then they release games like "Never Dead"... and a bunch of music and dancing games. Silent Hill is practically dead as a franchise. its latest iterations were dissapointing.

However i did like hardcorps Uprising. I clocked in around 200 hours playing that game. Thats how much i loved it. Konami has so much IP and they do nothing withit... Contra, Gradius, ZOE, Axelay, Metal Warriors, cybernator, Vandal hearts, Suikoden.... yet they do nothing with it.
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