Japanese game development should be more "Hollywood" says Mikami

Ex-Capcom producer behind Devil May Cry wishes to push Japanese market towards Western model

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.

[via CVG]

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Latest comments (3)

Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom5 years ago
It sounds like what he's saying is that Japanese games should pander to Western tastes while creating titles with larger budgets? Is that a correct summary of his point?
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
Ya know Mr. Shinji Mikami... just make a VANQUISH-2 and Ill be happy. I LOVED the first one. Capcom is doing what your saying to resident evil. making it more hollywood and using more people and bigger budgets... the result? Resident Evil 5 is the LAST resident evil I will ever play.

You should also make a sequel to P.N.03... that was a good game. it was made with smaller production value, but had great style, music, aesthetics, and the core gameplay was fun. It just didnt have enough production value, few cinematics, virtually no story. The few plot points and reveals were great though. And I can see a really epic sci-fi story.

You know Mr. Mikami... establishing a new IP is not easy. Sometimes you just have to start out small... The first street fighter wasnt that good, Megaman was an 8-bit game, that slowly became a huge brand that capcom let die. i just think it comes down to starting small and working a brand IP into something bigger and prophitable. but you cant do that with just one game. I think vanquish has a solid future, i would have loved to see a multiplayer in which, you had lots a people Zipping and taking cover in the battle field. But no, you just gave up after one game.

I know games are a business and have to make money, but establishing a brand requirs more than one game. I dont remember the first few call of duties being that great. And its also alot of marketing.

Vanquish and P.N.03 had potential. You just gave up after 1... ONE game.

However, even big franchises that are well established are not invincible. Square Enix is doing everything possible to fuck up Final Fantasy. Just make consistantly good games, instead of milking the cow to much. Or juicing the shit out of a franchise.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 11th July 2012 3:32pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
Yeah, that's what Japanese publishers need to do. Focus on big budget blockbusters with massive advertising campaigns. Then they can start losing money like the Western publishers do. Equality!
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