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Inafune slams Japanese industry for "making awful games"

Capcom creative head says "Japan is at least five years behind"

Capcom's head of global research and development, Keiji Inafune, has damned the Japanese game industry in a New York Times interview, claiming that it is "at least five years behind" the rest of the world.

The statement echoes previous comments which the Mega Man designer made about the state of the Japanese industry, when he claimed in 2009 that it was "finished". More recently he had appeared to change his mind and become less pessimistic about the future of his trade in Japan, telling attendees of Capcom's TGS press conference this year that "the Japanese industry is not dead as long as Capcom is still around".

His words to the NYT were uncompromising, however.

"I look around Tokyo Games Show, and everyone's making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind. Capcom is barely keeping up. The ideas, game play, design - there's no diversity, no originality," he told the paper.

"I want to study how Westerners live, and make games that appeal to them."

Inafune seemed to divide the blame between a lack of creativity on the part of Japanese designers and an absence of financial clout from their publishers.

"A lot of designers, if they find a genre that works for them, they stick with it. A lot of designers just stick to a set formula. That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that. The business side is not keeping up with investment. You need to be prepared to invest 4 billion yen or more on a game, and then spend 2 billion yen more to promote it. But Japanese companies can't do that. So we're losing out to the West in terms of investment in games."

Attendance at this year's Tokyo Game Show reached a record high this year, showing that the domestic market hasn't declined - but Capcom's profits were also at their lowest since 2004.

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